Male swimmer in open water.

What to Eat After Swimming

No matter what time of day you do your swim workouts, it’s common to feel ravenous after a harder swim session. In this article, we will help you understand what to eat after swimming, and explore the best post-swimming foods to satisfy hunger, maximize your recovery, and enhance your performance in the pool.

Protein for Muscle Repair

Protein is essential for repairing and building muscle. After a hard swim session, aim to consume a meal or snack with at least 20-30g. Food sources could include Greek yogurt with fruit or in a smoothie, a sandwich or wrap with lean chicken, fish, or turkey, or a bowl of chili. Protein will also help you feel full and satiated which can be helpful after swimming.

Carbohydrates for Energy Restoration

Swimming for more than 60 minutes can start to deplete glycogen stores, the primary energy source for your muscles during activity. Replenishing these stores is crucial to recovery and restore energy levels for your next workout, especially if it’s later that day or within 24 hours. Food sources include fruit, grain products such as bread, cereals, and pasta, and some vegetables like potatoes and corn. A bowl of cereal, oatmeal, whole-grain bread for a sandwich, or fruit and/or juice in a smoothie can be great options.

Hydration for Replenishing Fluids

Despite being in water, and not always feeling yourself sweat, you are still losing fluid when swimming. It’s important to rehydrate after swimming sessions. Hydration options include water, electrolyte drinks (especially if swimming in hot pools or warm water), smoothies, and hydrating foods like watermelon or cucumber.

Timing of Post-swimming Fuel

Timing is important for optimal recovery. Aim to eat within 30 minutes to one hour after your swim session to maximize nutrient absorption. 

Final Thoughts

Swimming is a great full body workout and an essential part of any triathlete’s training. Fueling your recovery and knowing what to eat after swimming is a key component to your overall triathlon nutrition plan. Check out our article on Building Your Triathlon Nutrition Plan for more details on overall triathlon nutrition.

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