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Plan it and Pack it: Pre- and Post-Workout Foods and Beverages


As pools reopen and training begins in earnest, one thing that will likely change is access to food and fluids. Coaches, boosters, and parents will not likely be providing a community cooler for swimmers to grab drinks, and the snack table will be a thing of the past. So, for now, swimmers should plan to pack their own pre- and post-workout foods and beverages.

Here’s a guide to help you plan it and pack it:

Plan It: Before Early Morning Practice

Pack It: Hard boiled egg, instant oatmeal or grits, over-night-oats, applesauce fruit cup, 16-ounces water.

These foods provide some protein, ample carbs, and not much fiber to help you through the morning workout without weighing you down in the pool.

Plan It: After Morning Practice

Pack It: Greek yogurt, low-fat chocolate or white milk, cereal, milk, and berries, energy bar made with whole foods (oats, nuts, fruit), melon cubes, 16-ounces sports drink or recovery drink.

Aim for at least 20 grams of high-quality protein for muscle recovery and carb-rich foods to start the replacement of muscle glycogen for the afternoon practice. Melon (any kind) is a high-water fruit containing carbs, vitamins and minerals, like potassium, important for nerve and muscle function.

For the lactose-intolerant swimmer, check out ultra-filtered milk that provides the nutrients of milk without the milk sugar or lactose. For plant-based athletes, soymilk is closest in nutrient composition to dairy milk. Berries or recovery drinks make with tart cherries, blueberries, or black currants contain plant compounds that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammation agents.

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Nutrition USA Swimming