Nutrition Advice

Good nutrition and diet play a vital role to the improvement and development of a swimmer, getting the most benefit from your time in the pool.

So what is a healthy diet? We all know fruit and veg are healthy, but proteins and other carbohydrates also play a vital role and balancing the foods at the right time before and after training.

  • Carbohydrates - for energy.
  • Protein - for muscle repair and growth.
  • Water - hydration.

If you’re training later in the day, try to eat a small slow releasing carbohydrate meal preferably 1 to 2 hours before you swim.

  • Wholegrain pasta with tuna/ salmon and veg(fresh is best but tinned is fine)
  • Baked potato with beans (don’t forget to eat the skin)
  • Chicken with wholegrain rice
  • Drink water before, during and after training, hydration is key.

  • Fruit (fresh is best but dried is fine) bananas, apples, grapes.
  • Cereal bars
  • Wholemeal bread/toast
  • Yoghurts (low fat if possible)

If you are putting in the metres in the pool you will need a boost when you finish training. Always try to refuel within 20 minutes after training as this is when the body absorbs the most nutrients. Your body immediately needs nutrients to repair and replace energy lost through training.

  • Glass of apple juice (excellent liquid carbohydrate, quickly digested and absorbed)
  • Sandwich (chicken, tuna, salmon, egg) preferably with salad
  • Chocolate milkshake (good source of protein & carbohydrate)
  • Toast with jam


Do not swim on an empty stomach, breakfast is the most important meal of the day even if you don’t feel like it. Easily digested foods:

  • Cereal with milk
  • Banana with yoghurt
  • If you are really struggling try a smoothie or a milkshake

The list below offers great snack options to eat through the day to keep energy levels up:

  • Wholemeal pasta salad
  • Smoothies
  • Fruit
  • Prepared veg e.g. carrots
  • Water, diluted fruit juice
  • Please NO NUTS poolside - we have a number of swimmers with severe nut allergies.

For a small boost just before going to marshalling try a raw jelly cube or a couple of jelly babies (not the whole packet!)

Don’t let a poor diet ruin the hard work you put into your training. You only get out what you put in.


Many thanks to Susan Wheeler for contributing this article based on advice given at the England Talent Camp.