There are lots of reasons to love swimming. Some people relish the opportunity to clear their heads and get some time to themselves, while others simply enjoy being in the water. There's no doubting that there are lots of mental health benefits to swimming.
The majority of people enjoy swimming thanks to its massive weight-loss and fitness potential, though. When it comes to the number of calories burned swimming is a great workout option and you can really improve your cardiovascular health.
If you're going to achieve peak performance and get the results that you want, though, it's critical that you fuel your body with the nutrients that it needs. You've also got to do this while avoiding foods that will make you feel uncomfortable in the pool.
Here's a complete guide on how to fuel your body for swimming.
Carbs And Cardio - Why You Should Eat Before Swimming
Swimming is an intense cardio workout, so you need the appropriate levels of energy if you're going to maintain a good pace and workout duration. Those two factors help to significantly boost the number of calories that you burn during your workout.
People are often nervous about eating before swimming, though. We have all heard stories about the dangers of swimming too quickly after eating. While it's true that you should avoid swimming immediately after eating (to avoid discomfort), it's important that you don't swim while you're hungry.
If you are hungry while you swim you'll find that your performance is affected because you lack the appropriate amounts of energy. You'll also quickly build up an uncomfortable appetite that distracts you from your workout.
What to Eat Before Swimming
If you are going to get the most from your workout, you've got to know what to eat - and when.
When it comes to preparing for an intense swim, carbohydrates with a low Glycaemic Index (GI) score are the best foods to eat. A GI score determines how quickly a carbohydrate is digested and broken down into glucose - a low score means that the carbohydrate breaks down slowly to provide you with a steady stream of energy.
Here are some examples of dishes that contain low-GI carbohydrates alongside just moderate servings of protein and fats:
Omelet with brown rice stir-fry
Brown rice is a great source of low-GI carbs. You could put together a delicious brown rice stir fry to provide yourself with fresh vegetables while the omelet gives you a protein boost to improve your strength.
Root and lentil casserole
If you have the time to put together a more sophisticated dish, you might want to create a root and lentil casserole. Both the roots and lentils in this dish provide you with healthy, low-GI carbs.
Sweet potato and black bean curry
This dish brings together two great sources of low-GI carbs to provide you with the fuel that you need to enjoy a great swim.
Knowing what to eat is important, but it's also very important that you know when to eat too. You should think carefully about your swimming schedule and when you're going to be able to prepare and eat your meals.
If you swim early in the morning, for instance, it probably makes more sense for you to enjoy a light snack that you can quickly digest. This will help you to avoid feeling uncomfortable while swimming.
If you swim in the evenings, though, you could consider eating a meal filled with low-GI carbs for lunch. This will provide you with the fuel that you need to enjoy a successful swim.
How Many Calories Are Burned Swimming
Swimming is one of the best ways to burn calories. Many people prefer swimming to running or cycling given that it's safer and has a reduced impact on their joints.
The number of calories that you burn will depend on the pace that you keep and the duration of your swim, as well as the stroke that you use. Here's a closer look at some general figures according to the stroke that you use:
- Butterfly stroke: 774 calories per hour
- Breaststroke: 704 calories per hour
- Freestyle: 700 calories per hour
The butterfly stroke is very difficult to master and the difference in terms of calories per hour is negligible. This is why most people decide to swim the breaststroke or freestyle.
Why Swimming Is Great For Weight Loss
Many people ask themselves "why is swimming good exercise compared to running or cycling?".
There are lots of reasons that people pursue swimming for weight loss. Here's a look at some of the reasons that it's such a great workout:
Exercise your whole body
Swimming is such a great workout for most people because it really is a full-body workout. Whichever stroke you decide to use, you'll find that your whole body is active. This can help you to burn more calories and it also helps you to limber up and feel great.
Improve your cardiovascular health
Cardio workouts help people to improve the way that their heart, lungs, and circulatory system function. Swimming is a great cardio workout and studies show that swimmers have half the mortality rate of inactive people.
Tone your muscles while losing weight
You can burn a serious number of calories while swimming but best of all, you can also tone your muscle at the same time. This makes swimming very unique and leads to some dramatic visual changes.
Work around your injuries
Lots of people have aches and pains that stop them from being able to enjoy running or cycling. Swimming has a much lower impact on your body, though, and protects your body from further harm.