As temperatures go up, the temptation to jump into the swimming pool becomes greater. With the exposure of Indian athletes to international events like Ironman, and the ease of access to triathlons close to India like the Himalayan Rush, more of our homegrown athletes are being driven towards the rush of competitive swimming.
Just as it is with running, cycling and other endurance exercise, recovery nutrition is an important part of training in the pool. Since swimmers prefer to train in the morning, their recovery meals often coincide with breakfast time. At the end of a grueling session, first and foremost, it is important to consume a blend of carbs and protein in a 4: 1 ratio, which has been scientifically proven to aid recovery and bring down recovery times. This needs to consumed within 30-45 minutes of your session to benefit from the ‘window of opportunity’ when the body is most receptive to recovery nutrition. Athletes can now also use instant sports nutrition drinks which offer carbs and protein, along with electrolytes and antioxidants to ensure complete system recovery – which means bringing down muscle soreness, reducing fatigue, lowering free radical concentration in muscles, and initiating the process of muscle repair.
Remember that this is just the beginning of the body’s recovery process. It is crucial to consume carbohydrates throughout the day, along with a serving of protein with each meal. This will go a long way towards restoring your body’s depleted Glycogen sources. Restoring these sources means that you avoid muscle cramping and muscle damage.
Some meals that might be ideal are
– Bowl of oatmeal with raisins and nuts
– Brown rice, with dal and legumes
– A bowl of pasta with fresh green vegetables and a peanut salad.
It is also helpful to keep sipping water throughout the day to counter dehydration and to monitor the color of urine. Coconut water is also a great way to replenish electrolytes. Foam rolling and stretches throughout the day, along with plenty of sleep should also ensure that you are back into training shape the very next day.