This post is sponsored by UCAN, a brand that makes nutrition products for swimmers on the go. For 20% off your order, use code MYSWIMPRO.
Whether you’re a new swimmer who’s building their fitness base or a seasoned pro who racks up the yardage, post-swim hunger is a real thing! How you handle this hunger pre-and post-workout can make or break your performance in the pool and your focus throughout the day.
What is it about swimming that makes us so hungry, and how can we fuel our bodies for optimal performance? We’re diving into that and more, plus we’ll share a few of our favorite nutrition products from UCAN to help you fuel up and recover like a pro.
What Happens to Your Body When You Swim?
To uncover why we get so hungry after swimming, we need to take a look at what’s happening in our bodies when we go for a swim.
- Engage Muscles: Swimming engages nearly every muscle in your body. Water is 800 times more dense than air, so swimming is serious work!
- Recruit Energy Systems: Swimming recruits the aerobic system when you’re swimming at a relaxed pace and the anaerobic system when you’re sprinting. While each system functions differently, both process your body’s energy stores to keep you moving.
- Increase Metabolism: Swimming increases the speed at which your body synthesizes food into energy, which will make you hungry!
Why Does Nutrition Matter?
Proper nutrition is important because it fuels your body to perform. Eating the right foods can be the difference between feeling strong and feeling sluggish.
This is a 24/7 commitment — what you consume before, during and after your workouts supplies your muscles with the fuel they need to move you through the pool. If you aren’t eating and drinking enough, you’re not likely to reach your full potential.
Common Nutrition Challenges
Improper nutrition can affect your swimming in a few ways. Swimmers commonly fall into one of three categories:
- Swimming with a “Heavy Stomach”
Carbohydrates, like oatmeal, toast, or a banana, are a common choice before a workout, but they often sit heavy in our stomachs. If you eat too much food too close to a workout, you might feel heavy and sluggish in the water.
To combat this, many people choose to train fasted (without eating), but doing so means you don’t have energy for sustained workouts.
- Choosing the Wrong Energy Sources
Sports drinks, gels and bars are popular snacks for before, during or after a workout, but they’re filled with sugar and “fast carbs” that spike your blood sugar. They give you a rush of energy at the start, but leave you with nothing for the rest of your workout.
- Not Fueling for Weight Loss
Related: How to Lose Weight Swimming
If you have performance or weight loss goals, fuel accordingly! Fueling with sugar often causes you to crave more sugar after the workout. This results in constant snacking throughout the day, and you likely won’t feel satisfied. You’re not putting your body in a metabolic state to burn fat during exercise.
For optimal performance, we want to maintain a consistent blood sugar level throughout our workouts to ensure steady energy supply to the muscles and brain, and control cravings. UCAN helps you do just that!
Related: Watch Our UCAN Unboxing Video >
UCAN makes a variety of nutrition products, including energy bars and protein powders, that are designed to give you long-lasting, clean energy.
Each product contains UCAN’s patented SuperStarch ingredient that delivers a steady release of glucose into your bloodstream. This low glycemic carb is derived from cornstarch and was originally developed for kids who needed lasting energy to sleep through the night.
- It clears your stomach quickly, helping you avoid that “heavy stomach” feeling during your swim.
- It helps you burn more fat by keeping your blood sugar steady.
- It’s keto and low-carb friendly, too!
Some of the best athletes in the world, including Michael Andrew, use UCAN to fuel before, during and after workouts or competitions. Our team has been testing out the Essential Nutrition Bundle and have seen great results!
Choosing the Right Carbs
Let’s look at how SuperStarch stacks up to water and maltodextrin, a common energy source found in sports drinks and gels.
Water can be considered our control in this chart. It’ll keep you hydrated, but it won’t provide any glucose your body can use.
Maltodextrin will spike your glucose levels right away, but they’ll taper down over time, leaving you feeling like you’ve had a “sugar crash.”
UCAN SuperStarch is the clear winner. It gradually increases your glucose levels, maintains them over time, and tapers down much later than maltodextrin.
When to Use UCAN Products
UCAN products are designed to be used before, during and after your workouts. With special formulations for performance or recovery, you’ll find something that meets your needs.
- Pre-Workout: Fuel with UCAN Energy Powders or Energy Bars 30 minutes before your workout for sustained energy.
- During Workout: For workouts over 3 hours, take 1 serving of UCAN Energy or eat 1 UCAN Bar per hour. It’s important to experiment with nutrition during long workouts to find the balance that works best for you.
- Post-Workout: UCAN Energy + Protein combines SuperStarch to restore your body’s glycogen stores and protein to aid muscle repair. Mix it with your milk of choice and you’re good to go!
- Healthy Snacks: Maintain a stable blood sugar between meals with healthy snacks. UCAN Energy Bars and Energy + Protein are great options!
We’ve had a chance to test out UCAN’s Essential Nutrition bundle, and love these products for before, after and during a workout! Get 20% off of your order here > Use code MYSWIMPRO for 20% off other UCAN products.
In short: Don’t let your nutrition hold you back from achieving your goals! If you want to feel light in the water, curb excessive hunger and sustain your energy for maximum performance, give UCAN a try.