Article image

by The Professionals at Hammer Nutrition

June 28, 2010

As a competitive swimmer, you want to get the most out of every workout and race, so you can enjoy the best possible results come race day. Although the subject of proper fueling encompasses a number of factors, here are three that we believe are of the utmost importance. Adopt these in your training and racing, and we have no doubt you’ll experience higher quality workouts and better race results.

Avoid simple sugars in your fuels. Use complex carbohydrates only.

We believe that simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, and dextrose) are not only health hazards, they’re also poor choices when it comes to fueling your body during workouts and races. Simple sugar fuels give you undesirable energy peaks and crashes, and they also have a severe limitation on absorption, needing to be mixed in calorically weak concentrations for efficient digestion. You can consume more, but you can't absorb more; you'll only get sick trying. Complex carbohydrates, however, absorb at about three times the rate as simple sugars, meaning more calories available for energy production. Plus you get smooth, steady, reliable energy – no peaks and valleys. That’s precisely what you want when you’re putting in the work, be it in the pool or open water.

Remember to replenish electrolytes prior to and during training sessions and races, keeping in mind that electrolyte replenishment means more than salt.

You can get your caloric fuels – the body’s “gasoline” – dialed in right, but if you neglect the electrolytes – the body’s “oil” – the warning light comes on. Problem is your body doesn't have a dashboard warning light. Instead, you get cramps, spasms, muscle revolt, irregular and rapid heartbeat, and major bonk. Don't wait for the light to come on; those are the final symptoms of increasing impairment. If you don't respond well before your body's oil light comes on, you can pretty much kiss optimal performance goodbye.

Additionally, “electrolyte replenishment” does not mean “sodium or salt replenishment.” Sodium chloride, salt, is indeed an important component of electrolyte replenishment but it does not fulfill the entire requirements. Calcium, magnesium, and potassium should be replenished as well, as all of these minerals play key roles in the maintenance of many important body functions.

Think of consuming electrolytes prior to a swim workout or race as a pre-emptive strike, meaning that your body is receiving these vital minerals just prior to when they’re truly needed. If you have the opportunity to do so, taking additional electrolytes hourly during your workouts and during or in between your races will help keep the “oil reservoir” topped off, ensuring that your body has an adequate supply of minerals to keep many of its important body functions working optimally.

Replenish your body with carbohydrates and protein as soon as possible after each exercise session.

Here's a statement to remember: “When you're done training, you're not done training, at least not until you've put some fuel back into the body.” Increased fitness simply won't happen, at least not efficiently or effectively, if you ignore your body's cries for fuel replenishment. Give your body what it needs immediately after exercise, when it's most receptive to replenishment, and it will respond wonderfully – recovering faster, efficiently adapting to physical stress, and “learning” how to store more and more readily-available fuel (muscle glycogen) in the muscles.

Because muscle glycogen is the first fuel your body will use when the next workout or race begins, having maximal supplies of this premium fuel available is a huge advantage. How do you maximize muscle glycogen stores? First by training and second by making sure you replenish your body with high quality carbohydrates and protein after all your workouts.


These are three key recommendations that you can (and should) employ in all your swim workouts and races. Doing so will dramatically improve the quality of your training sessions, which translates into better race performances.

Hammer Nutrition fuels are precisely what your body craves prior to, during, and after tough swim workouts and races. All of the Hammer Gel caloric fuels—Hammer Gel, HEED, Sustained Energy, Perpetuem, and Recoverite—contain only complex carbohydrates, no added simple sugars, and no artificial colors, preservatives, and sweeteners. High quality, long-lasting energy is the hallmark of Hammer Nutrition’s line of fuels.

Endurolytes provides your body with the full spectrum of electrolytic minerals that it needs, not just salt, and in a well-balanced and easily assimilated form to help maintain the optimal performance of many important body functions. You’ll be able to resolve cramping and other electrolyte-related issues with Endurolytes.

Recoverite contains high quality complex carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen stores, the highest quality whey protein isolate for helping with rapid and complete muscle tissue repair, and a generous helping of the multi-beneficial amino acid glutamine, for immune system support and a plethora of other benefits. Recovery is a crucial component in athletic success and Recoverite is the ideal and super easy way to fulfill that need.