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For swimming sessions lasting less than 60-90 minutes or less there’s really no need to fuel up during training. However, if you’re going to be out there for longer or (and I’ll whisper this in hushed tones) you are a triathlete and planning on jumping on your bike for a few hours, then you’ll need something to keep you going.

For exercise over an hour, you will need about 1g of carbohydrate per minute until the end of the session. The key here is quick energy release carbohydrates. Keep fat and fi bre to a minimum, neither of these will help you train more eff ectively and may cause gut issues. Protein is also not really needed for all but those involved in long endurance events lasting more than a day.

Keep the portion size quite small. You won’t need any more than 30g of carbohydrates per serving, which is only 120 calories. Don’t worry so much about sustained energy, sweet sugary snacks are that way forward and with its reported anti- infl ammatory properties, honey makes a good core ingredient. If you’re a fan of those rice crispy cakes you used to make when you were young, now is the time to enjoy them again!

You can also consume some of your calories in liquid form. Diluted fruit juice is popular with some swimmers.


RECOVERY ENHANCING SNACKS Recovery is where the magic happens. It’s where you get fi t er, stronger and faster and can be enhanced signifi cantly by eating and drinking the right things aſt er training. Get ing the right foods in as soon as possible is crucial and so it is here that a homemade recovery bar or snack can really come into its own as it can be eaten while in a pool changing room, or lake-side, allowing your body to start the recovery process while you are on your way back home, or to work. The ingredients of a recovery snack need to be diff erent from the other snacks here to make sure you recover as well as possible: Protein is key to enhanced recovery, so adding a whey protein isolate to a standard fuel snack mix is a good way to achieve this. Nuts and seeds are also good sources of protein, although not as complete as a whey protein/soy protein source A good recovery snack will also give quick and sustained energy releases, so a wholegrain snack, sweetened with honey or fruit will help tick both boxes. The size of the snack will depend on what other food you will have

available. If you’re going straight home for breakfast or supper, then a smallish snack will help to kick start recovery. However, if you won’t get to eat for up to an hour then a large protein-rich snack s more than kind of thing you want. Milky hot chocolate is a good option aſt er a cold swim. ○


○ Double check that most of the calories in it come from carbs that will help you train and recover, rather than fat, which generally speaking, won’t. Look at how many grams of carbohydrate are in the bar and multiply that by four. This number should be at least 60% of the total calories. You don’t need to be too technical, it’s just a guide.

○ You can also do the same for fat, but remember that if the bar has nuts and seeds in it then it might be high in fat, but good fats, rather than the bad ones (see issue 8). If the bar doesn’t contain nuts this is still a good test, so multiply the amount of fat by nine as there are nine calories in every gram of fat. The closer to 10% of the bar’s total calorie count the bet er, but less then 20% is still fi ne. More than that and it’s too much!

○ On UK food labels the ingredients are ordered by how much of each is in the product from most to least. Therefore, look for whole grain natural sounding ingredients among the fi rst few. Ideally this should be a theme all the way through the ingredient list, but bars that list things like oats, soybeans, nuts, seeds or dried fruit as the main ingredients are off to a good start. Beware, there are some bars out there that don’t have any natural sounding things in them at all, so it’s worth looking! ○ Dried fruit is a good ingredient as it adds natural sweetness, which is oſt en medium GI because of natural fi bres occurring in the fruit that slow down the digestion of sugars as well as off ering some natural fi bre…runners need to be careful with their fi bre levels, but for swimmers it’s all good!


In issue 5 we took some time to review a few of the commercial energy bars out there on the market so that you knew which ones to grab and which to avoid. However, there are loads of bars out there, and while in terms of taste – which let’s face it is more than half of the equation – you are the best judge of what you like the following check points might be useful when choosing a shop bought bar.

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