Swimming Pre-Workout Nutrition

Swimming Pre-Workout Nutrition

Dr. GJohn Mullen Blog, Nutrition/Supplements, Training 1 Comment

What,  When and Why

Sports nutrition is a complex and hotly debated subject. Unlike resistance training and stretching, everyone eats, making a proper diet mandatory for success.  At every Olympics the same countries are at the top, don’t be fooled and believe it is secondary to talent. There is no coincidence the top countries have the top services to provide the athletes. One of these services is a nutritionist to individualize and specialize diets.

Despite this, typical sports diets are extremely complex and can cause unnecessary headaches. At COR we suggest the following program for those attempting to maintain or make slight muscular gains.
The goal of any nutritional program for athletes is to maximize lean body mass, energy during workouts/competition and speed recovery. The more lean body mass, the higher the capacity for force production. The more energy, the more the athlete can work. The faster the athlete recovers, the sooner they are fresh for their workout/competition to make gains and prevent injuries. This program maximizes these three facets.
Peri-Workout (around workout) nutrition is essential to improve these facets. Follow these guidelines for optimal athletic nutrition. For all other meals, a more detailed consideration is needed, but in general, at COR we suggest no white carbohydrates while consuming lean protein, fibrous carbohydrates, and fat at every meal occurring each 3-4 hours.
2-3 Hours Prior to Exercise
  • 30-40 grams of a slow digesting carbohydrate like whole-wheat bread, yams, wild rice, beans, red potatoes and/or fruits to give long-lasting energy for the competition.
  • 30-50 grams of a lean protein like chicken breast or fish. Basically, a protein that’s low in saturated fats.
  • 20-30 grams of a fibrous carbohydrate source like a salad to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles.
60 Minutes Prior to Exercise
  • 100-400 mg of Caffeine. Can be from coffee or supplement (not recommended for pubescent athletes). Don’t consume more than 500 mg (5 cups of coffee) within one hour, would result in a positive drug test.
30 Minutes Prior to Exercise
  • 30-40 grams of a fast digesting protein like whey isolate supplement. Take this meal as a shake (Protein shake) and not an actual whole food meal because a whole food meal won’t get digested and utilized fast enough.
  • 20-40 grams of a slow digesting carbohydrate like an Apple (low to medium Glycemic Index (GI)).
  • Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAA’s). Most BCAA’s contain glutamine and citrulline malate which makes Arginine, so get a three in one (not recommended for pubescent or prepubescent athletes).
  • 2- 5 grams of Glutamine to improve strength gains (not recommended for pubescent or prepubescent athletes).
  • 5 grams of pure Creatine Monohydrate especially for swimmers to improve bone mineral density (not recommended for pubescent athletes).
  • 2-5 grams of Arginine these non-essential amino acids are shown to increase blood flow to muscle fibers by increasing levels of nitric oxide. (Not recommended for pubescent athletes).
  • A 2-5 gram of Beta Alanine (BA) to boost the intensity of the workout. (Not recommended for pubescent athletes).
During Exercise
  • High carbohydrate (moderate to high GI) for exercise longer than one-hour snack low in fat is beneficial like a carbohydrate gel pack.
30 Minutes After Exercise 
60 Minutes After Exercise
  • 30-50 grams of moderate to high glycemic index carbohydrate, not in supplement form.
  • 40 grams of lean protein like chicken breast or fish. Basically, a protein that’s low in saturated fats.


These guidelines are simple but are the nuts and bolts to peri-workout nutrition. There is plenty more stuff, but if you perform all these tips you’re doing better than 99% of the athlete’s you’re competing against in nutrition! This improvement results in stronger, faster, healthier swimmers!

Comments 1

  1. Thank you very much for sharing this great information about the pre workout nutrition i should take before going for my swimming. I used to know about theds protein and creatine supplements and their uses. But i never thought bcaa and glutamine could also help me in this. This opened my eyes. Thank you.

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