What time are you swimming?

If you’re swimming first thing in the morning, straight after work, during your lunch break or in the evening, it is important to consider what you’re eating and when.

Almost everyone will have been told as a child not to swim straight after food or they’ll get a poorly tummy – leading to an irrational fear of jumping into a pool after an ice cream on holiday! But you may have also been told not to swim on an empty stomach. So let’s try and clear this up!

How long should you wait before getting in the pool after eating?

In general, allow 2-4 hours before your swim, following a larger meal to allow for digestion, and 30 minutes - 2 hours for a smaller snack.

What should I eat before I swim?

Opt for energy boosting snacks and foods before a swim. So if you’re swimming in the morning then cereal with milk, porridge oats, banana with yoghurt, some fruit or wholegrain toast with jam are great breakfast ideas. However, if you can’t stomach something before the swim or you don’t have the time to wait, then foods that are easy to digest like bananas, raisins, eggs, a smoothie or a yoghurt drink are a good option.

If you’re swimming later on, then complex carbohydrates such as pasta, sweet potatoes, peas, beans and unsalted nuts for your lunch or dinner, will give you the energy you need.

What should I eat after my swim?

After a swim, your body needs foods to help it to recover. To help your muscles, then healthy sources of protein such as lean chicken, turkey, oily fish, Quorn, peanut butter, brown rice, low fat milk and cheese are ideal. You will also need to restore vital nutrients, so it’s important to pair those lean proteins with a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. If you’re swimming for weight loss, it’s possible that water workouts may increase your appetite, so choose post-swim foods that will help you to feel fuller for longer including soy products, beans, fruit, milk, pasta, grainy bread, porridge and lentils.

What about drinks and snacks?

Remember to drink fluids little and often to stay properly hydrated during your challenge

As for snacking, healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits are a good idea to be munching on in and around your swimming challenge, these include:

·         Water, diluted fruit juice with a pinch of salt or a sports drink

·         Pasta salad

·         Plain sandwiches e.g. chicken, tuna, cheese with salad, banana, peanut butter

·         Bananas, grapes, apples, plums, pears

·         Dried fruit e.g. raisins, apricots, mango

·         Smoothies

·         Crackers and rice cakes with bananas and/or honey

·         Cereal bars, fruit bars, sesame snaps

·         Yoghurt and yoghurt drinks

·         Small bags of unsalted nuts e.g. peanuts, cashews, almonds

·         Prepared vegetable crudités e.g. carrots, peppers, cucumber and celery

What food should I avoid before swimming?

In the 2-4 hours before, you should try to limit excess fibre, excess fatty foods, unusually spicy foods, excess caffeine intakes, and alcohol – as these could definitely cause that poorly tummy we’ve been warned about!

Swimming provides a good workout for the whole body and is a great way to keep fit and healthy. If you’d like to sign up for the Aspire Channel Swim, click here.

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