General Guide To A Swimmer’s Diet

swimmer's diet

If you’re planning on adopting swimming in your fitness program, you need to consider adjusting your diet to suite your new training regiment.

Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for muscles. An athlete’s diet should consist of approximately 60 percent of total calories from carbohydrates like breads, rice, cereal, pasta, bagels, muffins, fruits and vegetables. Athletes with low-carbohydrate diets cannot easily recover their pre-exercise muscle glycogen levels before their next workout.

Some swimmers are unable to eat after practice due to time constraints, lack of appetite or stomach discomfort. During these times a liquid meal replacement, such as a nutrition shake or a high-carbohydrate drink, can be used.

Staying Hydrated

A swimmer should keep taking fluid up to the start of training, and also during REST periods in a training session. Sports drinks provide the best form of complex carbohydrates, minerals and water replacement for the swimmer. Fluid loss during competing will affect performance if the body does not have adequate levels of fluid in reserve. Therefore, fluid replacement during exercise is extremely important to the swimmer. It is worth remembering that thirst is an extremely poor indicator that fluid is required by the body. A sports performer should drink fluid long before thirst arises.


Don’t Forget To Recover

Once the workout is over, it is very important that swimmers eat a regular breakfast. Most competitive swimmers work out six days a week. To recover from the workout, both fluid and fuel must be available to the body. If the meal can be eaten within 30 minutes after the workout, then the body can start the recovery process faster and be ready by the next practice to provide a quality workout.

Example of a Swimmer’s Daily Meal Schedule


  • Whole grain wheat bread/toast
  • 1 Bowl cereal
  • Baked beans
  • 1 Cup fresh fruit
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Glass Milk
  • Half a cup serving of cottage cheese


  • Tuna/ turkey/ chicken sandwich
  • 1 Large bowl of vegetable salad
  • Stuffed pitas
  • Whole grain pasta


  • Grilled fish
  • Lean Steak
  • Chicken soup
  • Brown rice
  • Stir fried veggies


  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Fresh fruit/ fruit salad
  • Fruit juice
  • Crackers
  • Granola bar
  • Low fat, dark chocolate


To conclude, a swimmer’s diet is very different from a weight loss program. Ample amounts of carbohydrates and snacks are required to maintain high energy levels. Furthermore, eating around the clock is often suggested.

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