Fuel Foods Every Swimmer Needs in Their Life


Fuel Foods Every Swimmer Needs in Their Life

By Suzie Ryan

Training hard, giving 100% in every session, day in and day out, both in the pool and the gym, are all essential for smashing your goals, making that podium, and earning qualifying times. While dedicated to these aspects of the sport, swimmers sometimes forget about their nutrition, sleep, and recovery routines.

We all get busy and consumed with day-to-day life. Work, school, social life and the other curveballs are thrown at us, but if we are not feeding our bodies with the right fuel foods, how do we expect to perform at a high level?

A wise coach once told me to think of my body like a car. If you put good fuel into your car, it will run well. But if you put the wrong fuel in, it won’t. The same goes for your body. If you put nutritious food (fuel) into your body, it will run well, and you will increase your performances during training and competition.

Here are 10 foods that will fuel your body and give it the energy necessary to perform at a high level.

1. Pasta

Carbs, carbs, carbs. They are a swimmer’s best friend. Carbohydrates are vital in fueling a swimmer’s body. They help us get through long sessions, hard sets and long meet days. When carbs enter our body, they are stored as glycogen in our muscles which helps them remain strong and release energy, which we use throughout our swim sessions.

2. Oats

What a surprise, it’s a carb again. Oats are the perfect breakfast for swimmers as they keep us full for longer and give us slow-release energy. Allowing us to have energy throughout the day is essential on meet days. Add protein powder, berries, or peanut butter to spice up your morning oats.

3. Fruit


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Apples, bananas, berries, mangos and oranges are all perfect to snack on throughout the day and give you a little pep in your step before training.

4. Rice Cakes with Toppings

This one is an all-time favorite among swimmers, and a go-to snack during the day. There is nothing better than rice cakes with peanut butter and honey on top, and if you want to spice up your rice cakes, you can add some bananas on top. It tastes good, and you know it is fueling your body with carbs and proteins.

5. Sushi

Who doesn’t love sushi? It’s the perfect race-day snack because it’s light on your stomach while fueling your body with carbs and protein while repairing your tired and sore muscles.

6. Sports Drinks

Sports/electrolyte drinks are essential for any athlete, but as swimmers who can have up to eight races in one day, it is vital to stay hydrated. Take your pick from Lucozade, Powerade, Gatorade or hydrolyte, but sipping on these drinks during training and on race day will give you that extra edge.

7. Yogurt 

Yogurt is a great breakfast or snack option. It’s light on the stomach but is packed with protein, vitamins and calcium which is vital for building strong bones. Instead of eating plain yogurt, spice it up with fruit, muesli, or cinnamon.

8. Chocolate Milk


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You’re probably thinking, “chocolate milk is good for me?” Yep, you read that right. Chocolate milk is filled with protein and calcium, which is essential for recovery in swimmers because it strengthens our bones by feeding and repairing our muscles with amino acids.

9. Lean Chicken Sandwich or Salad

Lean chicken should be a staple of every swimmer’s diet whether it is in a sandwich, salad or by itself. It’s filled with protein which you should have guessed by now is essential for growing muscles and boosting the immune system. So, it’s the perfect meal before training and in between races.

10. Smoothies

Smoothies are amazing for before or after training because they are easy to drink but are filled with nutritious energy. Even better, you can choose what you put in them. My go-to is coconut water, berries, peanut butter, honey and oats. It tastes good and gives you the energy you need to smash your training session.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.