Sport and Nutrition: Is There a Connection?

Swimming and sport in general have a very positive effect on our bodies and our psyche. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle can come from fitness and exercise, but a healthy diet is also important. In this article, we will discuss the right diet plan for swimmers and what is really behind the myth of not swimming after eating. 

Nutrition for Endurance Athletes: Some Tips

Carbohydrates play a very important role in endurance sports such as running, cycling or swimming. However, it makes a difference whether they are consumed before, after or during exercise. In the following sections, we look at what sportswomen should pay particular attention to when it comes to nutrition in everyday life and on training days.

→ Would you like to know how many calories you burn through your swimming training? Find out more about swimming and calories on our blog.

Everyday Diet

In general, athletes should make sure to eat a balanced diet, which is characterised by a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats. Carbohydrates serve as the main source of energy, proteins play a role in muscle repair and rebuild and healthy fats, which are found in foods and oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts and avocados, are important for overall health. 

The WHO makes the following recommendations related to a healthy diet:

  • 3 pieces of vegetables a day
  • 2 pieces of fruit a day
  • Choose wholemeal varieties (e.g. pasta, rice and bread)
  • Balance your fluid intake with water and tea
  • Cut down on sugar and salt
  • Favour healthy/vegetable fats

Pre Workout 

Experienced endurance athletes have already adopted strategies such as carb loading, which involves consuming carbohydrate-rich foods before high intensity workout. For example, athletes consume a large amount of carbohydrates the evening before a competition to ensure that the glucose stores in the muscles are built up.

During workout

For long and intensive sports sessions, it is important to know which foods to eat during workout.  A carbohydrate drink and small, easily digestible snacks should be consumed. Also dextrose and glucose drinks, energy bars, dried fruit or bananas are recommended. 

Post workout

After a sports session, you need to replenish glycogen stores. Food rich in carbohydrates, proteins and egg white is also recommended here, ideally within 30 minutes after exercise. For example, quark, cottage cheese, oatmeal, chicken or rice contribute to muscle regeneration after workout.

Swimmer Diet Plan: The most important Vitamins and Minerals 

Whether breaststroke, crawl or other types of swimming, vitamins and minerals contained in food must also be taken into account when drawing up a diet plan for swimmers. Below is a list of the most important vitamins and minerals for female athletes and what can happen in case of deficiency.

Vitamins for sportswomen

Vitamin A:



  • Growth
  • Development of skin and mucous membranes
  • Metabolism
  • Visual processing
  • Eye dryness
  • Scaly skin
  • Infections
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hearing disorders

Vitamin C



  • Builds up connective tissue, bones and teeth
  • Antioxidant effect
  • Prevents cells and molecules damage 
  • Joint, limb and headaches
  • Bleeding gums
  • Increased vulnerability to infection
  • Fatigue, reduced performance, depression

Vitamin E:



  • Supports the immune system
  • Protects against free radicals
  • Muscle weakness and breakdown
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Fatigue and pale skin
  • Difficulty concentrating

Vitamin B1:



  • Carbohydrate breakdown in the muscles, brain and other organs
  • Essential for physical fitness and mental concentration
  • Tingling skin, gait disorders
  • Fatigue, headaches

Minerals for sportswomen




  • Normal functioning of nerves and muscles
  • Laziness and confusion
  • Muscle tremors and convulsions




  • Transmission of nerve impulses
  • Important for muscle contractions, heart function
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Weakness
  • Cramps
  • Tremors
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Cardiac arrhythmia




  • Bone and tooth formation
  • Regular nerve and muscle function
  • Lack of concentration
  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • Increased irritability
  • Tiredness, lack of energy, excessive sleepiness




  • Strength of bones and teeth
  • Muscle cramps
  • Confusion, depression, memory loss
  • tingling lips, fingers and feet
  • Stiff, painful muscles

Summary: How Sport and Nutrition are linked

An unbalanced diet can have a negative impact on athletic performance. On the one hand, foods that are difficult to digest or lead to gastrointestinal problems can directly impact your performance. In the long term, nutrition of endurance athletes, such as swimmers, must contain many vitamins and minerals to help the body cope with sport performance. Deficiencies can also have a major impact on performance or lead to serious health problems.

Myth: Why Swimming after Eating is not a Good idea? 

Still on the subject of nutrition and swimming, we took a look at the myth that you shouldn't go swimming after eating and must wait a certain amount of time before doing so. According to this myth, swimmers would get stomach cramps and would no longer be able to stay afloat. In fact, there is no scientific evidence for this. For most people, it is probably safe to jump into the water straight after eating. Of course, everyone should listen to their body and take a break before entering the pool if they feel overly full. Children or people prone to cramps should also take a break. However, this is more of a precaution than a medical necessity.

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