Are you swimming easy or intense? Either way, try these suggestions on how to fuel properly for a pool session

By Kaye Lopez | Photo by Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

15 to 20 minutes before a 6am swim session


1. An energy gel

2. One cup skim milk + 1/2 cup Cheerios cereal + 8 oz coffee or tea

Why? Contains 15 to 30 grams of high glycemic carbs and 8 to 12 oz of water. Easy to eat and digest you have limited time. May prevent overeating, improve early morning mood, and minimize leg cramps in the pool.


60 to 90 minutes before a 6pm high-intensity swim session


1. Two lightly salted rice cakes or an English muffin (sliced into two) + 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter + 3 oz flavored non-fat Greek yogurt

2. 5.3 oz flavored non-fat Greek yogurt + a cup of grapes

Why? Contains 30 grams of carbs and 10 grams of protein. Easy and portable snack on the go with a 3:1 ratio of carbs and protein. Avoid high fat and high fiber foods 90 minutes before, and feeling stuffed four hours before a hard workout.


75 to 90 minutes before a long (over 90 minutes) swim session


1. Two light rye crackers + a tablespoon of peanut (or other nut) butter + a tablespoon of honey + one egg white

2. Banapple smoothie (1/2 cup sliced apples + 1/2 cup sliced bananas + a tablespoon honey + 1/2 cup skim milk and/or 10 grams soy or whey protein powder mixed together in a blender)

+12 to 16 oz fluids with an optional electrolyte pill or 8 oz coffee or tea

Why? Contains 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein (30 to 50 grams carbs + 8 to 13 grams protein). Low fiber, low-volume, carbohydrate-dense foods that are easy to digest reduce GI distress, top up your liver glycogen, keeps you hydrated, and aids in muscle recovery.


30 to 60 minutes before an easy recovery (30-60 minute) swim


1. 1/2 cup unshelled edamame + 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

 2. 4 dates (or 1/3 cup dried fruit) + 4 oz cottage cheese (or 5.3 oz non-fat Greek yogurt)

+ 8-12 oz water or 8 oz coffee or tea

Why? Contains 15 to 30 grams of carbs and 5 to 10 grams protein. Provides proper refueling from days or weeks of intense training and in preparation for upcoming workouts. Can reduce overeating later in the day.

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