A Guide to Proper Nutrition for Swimmers

A Guide to Proper Nutrition for Swimmers

As a swimmer, your body requires a lot of energy to sustain your intense workouts and maintain your stamina. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and make sure you’re providing your body with the right nutrients. Below, the pros from San Diego Pools, the swimming pool installer San Diego homeowners and businesses have trusted for more than four decades, discuss the best diet for a swimmer, including the foods you should eat and those you should avoid.

Carbohydrates: The Foundation of a Swimmer’s Diet

Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for your body, especially during intense exercise, and they’re essential for endurance activities like swimming. Therefore, it’s important to include carbohydrates in your diet. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the best sources of carbs because they provide sustained energy throughout your workout. Simple carbohydrates like sugar and processed foods should be avoided because even though they provide a quick burst of energy, they can leave you feeling fatigued and sluggish.

Protein: Fuel for Recovery & Growth

Protein is essential for muscle recovery and growth, and it’s especially important for swimmers because they use so many muscles during their workouts. The recommended daily intake of protein for swimmers is 1.2–1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and legumes. Plant-based protein sources like tofu and tempeh are also great options for vegetarians and vegans.

Fats: The Right Kind 

Fats are an important part of a swimmer’s diet because they provide sustained energy. However, it’s important to choose the right kinds of fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are important for reducing inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health. Unsaturated fats like those found in nuts, seeds, and fatty fish are good choices because they can lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Saturated fats like those found in butter and meat should be limited because they can lead to elevated cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.


Staying hydrated is essential for swimmers because they lose a lot of water through sweat during their workouts. In addition to water, sports drinks can also replace electrolytes lost during exercise. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.

Foods to Avoid

As mentioned earlier, simple carbohydrates like sugar and processed foods should be avoided because they can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. In addition, swimmers should also avoid foods high in fat, sugar, and salt because they can increase the risk of weight gain and other health problems. Fast food, fried foods, candy, and sugary drinks should be limited or avoided completely.

Meal-Planning Tips for Swimmers

Swimmers should aim to eat three meals a day plus regular snacks. It’s important to eat a meal or snack within 30 minutes of finishing a swim session to replenish glycogen stores and aid in muscle recovery. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. Here are some meal-planning tips for swimmers:

  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
  • Plan your meals around your workouts. For example, eat a carbohydrate-rich meal before a workout and a protein-rich meal afterward.
  • Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals can leave you feeling fatigued and make it harder for your body to recover after a workout.
  • Pack healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, fruit, and protein bars to eat before or after your workout.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Swimmers need to maintain a healthy weight to perform at their best. Being overweight can slow swimmers down in the water, while being underweight can lead to a lack of energy and muscle loss. To maintain a healthy weight, swimmers should aim to eat a balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity.

It’s important for swimmers to fuel their bodies with enough calories to support their high level of activity. However, it’s also important for swimmers to be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating. Swimmers should also avoid fad diets or extreme calorie restriction, as this can lead to nutrient deficiencies and muscle loss.

By following these guidelines, swimmers can fuel their bodies for optimal performance in the water. If you want to enhance your swimming routine even more with a pool of your own, reach out to the experienced pros at San Diego Pools. We’re a family-owned custom pool builder that’s been transforming customer dreams into reality with innovative design and custom construction for more than forty years. Give us a call today at 888-707-7786 to learn how we can build the pool of your dreams.

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