A key aspect of any regular workout routine is providing your body with the proper nutrition to sustain the workouts and gain the most benefit from them. Although American swimmer and 16 time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps’ swimming abilities are enviable, and nearly everyone would love to be able to emulate his athletic abilities in a swimming pool, neither PcPools nor the Wall Street Journal recommends emulating his 12,000 calorie per day diet. The rest of us need to be much more careful with not only how much we consume, but what we consume.
The reality of proper nutrition has a wide set of fundamental basics, but every person will be different in what their body requires to keep up with a swimming pool workout routine. This of course depends on how many calories you are burning, but more than that, each person is different.
Some general nutrition tips are to load up on carbohydrates and lean proteins. This will provide your body the energy your body needs to make the most of your time in the pool and the “raw materials” to help your muscles recover and strengthen. This is exactly why Michael Phelps eats so much pasta, pizza, ham, and eggs. Avoid sugars and alcohol to the extent possible. These will drain your energy and inhibit muscle growth.
Here are a few other specific foods that will aid you in feeling energetic and promoting post-workout recovery: Quinoa (a gluten-free whole grain high in protein); Pomegranate (fruit seeds high in necessary vitamins and antioxidants); and Oat Groats (fiber-rich whole grains).
What about good ole fashion water? Drink lots of it. Many beginning swimmers forget this important part of maintaining their body because they fail to realize how rapidly they are losing fluids when swimming. Just because you are in a swimming pool and don’t feel “sweaty” does not mean you don’t need to drink water like you would with other forms of exercise.
To sum it up: eat carbohydrates (focusing on whole grains), lean protein, and non-processed foods high in nutritional content. Oh, and don’t forget to stay hydrated and have fun!