A Guide To Swimming Fuel

Make a splash with enhanced swimming endurance, speed and recovery

Swimming is fun and a lung-bursting session is a great way to get fit, stay healthy and get a real sense of achievement. However, it’s also tough on the body and requires a huge amount of energy and nutrients to power you through a swim whether it’s a fitness session or competitive gala. Whatever your current level, from weekend fitness to elite level, discover how to combat fatigue and boost swimming performance. Enjoy the edge….

Fuel-up to swim

Carbohydrate is the key fuel used to generate energy when you’re in the water. Stored carbohydrate (glycogen) is broken down in muscle cells to produce the energy needed to power high intensity and prolonged swimming sessions.

However, glycogen storage is limited (around six to ten seconds of sprint swimming can easily drain muscle glycogen levels by ten or twenty percent)! It’s no surprise that prolonged prolonged swimming leaves you feeling fatigued and unable to swim at a high intensity. What’s more, because your upper body muscle are smaller but are worked very intensely, upper body energy can rapidly fatigue.

Despite being in the water, swimmers still typically lose around two litres of fluid and essential sodium during sixty minutes in the pool, causing a performance decline of around 5%, including a loss of mental focus and a reduced blood volume and oxygen delivery. Even if you’re a very fit swimmer, low fuel levels and dehydration rapidly impacts swimming performance.

The good news is, optimal nutrition and proven sports fuel like Maxifuel can help boost stamina, speed and power during swimming training and competitions. Follow a similar strategy to elite swimmers:

Boost focus and maintain swimming energy:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours and consume a serving of slow-release carbohydrates with every meal (such as oatmeal, pasta, rice, fruit or wholemeal bread).
  • Eat a carbohydrate and protein based meal two-three hours before swimming (for example, a jacket potato and lean mince).
  • Drink 250ml of Viper Active or Viper Boost sports drink/bar/gel 20 minutes before swimming, supplying rapidly digested carbohydrates, fluid and electrolytes. For alertness off the blocks, opt for Viper Boost.
  • Sip 250ml of Viper Active sports drink/bar/gel every hour while swimming. Viper-active also contains branched chain amino acids to aid focus and stamina and support muscle repair.

Swimming recovery – the forgotten performance key

So your swim is over or you’re resting between heats. You’ve just beaten your PB or burnt 500 calories, so it must be time to chill-out. However, what about recovery? Once your swim is over, it’s easy to jump in the shower and find the nearest chair to relax. But every swimmer knows that a tough session can leave them feeling sore, fatigued and even unwell during the next few days. What’s more, it can leave you unable to train intensely or perform to your best in a competitive race or training session. Talk about flat batteries!

Sports scientists have proven that fast-acting whey protein and carbohydrate immediately after swimming can help you replenish energy and power after intense exercise much more quickly. It’s also essential for maximising fitness adaptations.

  • Drink a high quality recovery drink like Recovermax within 20 minutes of getting out of the pool.
  • Eat a whole-food meal of lean protein and complex carbohydrates, such as lasagne about ninety minutes later.

Even if you do socialise after your swim – kick-start your recovery first and you’ll feel the difference the next day and be energised for your next training session or competition.

Boosting swimming power and endurance – elite edge

Consuming genuine energy drinks/gels and a recovery shake will rapidly enhance your swimming performance. However, if you want to get even more of an edge, add creatine to your swimming nutrition. Creatine is naturally found in foods like beef and is stored in small concentrations in muscles, where it’s used to create rapid energy bursts. It’s research proven to aid repeated sprint performance and endurance. As one of the world’s most researched sports fuel nutrients, creatine is used by many Olympic level swimmers.

Swimming muscle?

If you’re a sprint swimmer needing strength and power, or just want to look good when you’re at the pool, weight training is the way to go. In addition to at least two weight training sessions per week, make sure you consume around 1.8g of protein, per kg of body mass, every day (Protrient shakes are ideal to boost your protein intake). For rapid growth, visit maximuscle.com and power your growth with Cyclone, the UK’s best-selling all-in-one muscle growth shake.

The convenience of Maxifuel makes swimming nutrition easy – just throw the products in your sports bag and kick make waves with your performance.

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