When people think of swimming in regards to getting a workout, cardio is the first thing that often comes to mind.
Yes, swimming is an excellent cardiovascular and calorie-burning workout, but it also involves strength training, making it a full body workout.
This is because water has 12 times the resistance of air and in order to push our bodies forward through the water, muscle strength is required.
Of course, as you swim, you will begin to break down your muscle tissue and you will need protein to aid in the repair/recovery of this worn down muscle.
Whey protein is a fantastic source of protein and can be the perfect choice when thinking about the best protein for swimmers.
Why is Protein Necessary for Swimmers?
Taking whey protein after swimming can be a convenient way to get the nutrients your body needs to recover from a tough workout.
Considered a “complete protein”, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids, whey protein is a high quality protein derived from cow’s milk during the cheese making process.
Whey protein is fast absorbing and easily digestible which makes it an ideal protein source for athletes like swimmers. And because it’s quick and easy, it’s also great for people who are constantly on the move, going to and from the pool.
Why is Whey Protein After Swimming a Good Choice?
You always hear about how endurance athletes need their carbohydrates due to the fact that carbs are a good source of energy for the body, and while this is true, some endurance athletes neglect protein because of it.
The average person needs high quality protein sources for many basic body functions, but athletes like swimmers also need it for the repair and building of muscles after challenging their body with this type of physical activity.
Whey Protein for Swimmers Improves Recovery Time
One of the most important things for a swimmer’s training program is to reduce recovery time. The quicker you can recover from a swimming session, the less time is required for recovery before you can train again.
If you don’t consume a sufficient amount of protein, it results in muscle weakness and longer recovery times, and can lower your immune system and cause you to become more susceptible to sickness.
If this becomes a consistent pattern of inadequate protein, it can progress to much more serious health problems. This can make you more prone to exhaustion and low iron stores. This is a common issue with competitive female swimmers.
Fortunately, getting into the habit of consuming whey protein after swimming can substantially lower your risk for these types of health problems. Plus, it’s an easy way to optimize your body’s recovery time between workouts so you can get back to the pool quicker.
How Much Protein Does a Swimmer Need?
Protein is critical for muscle growth and repair and if you are a swimmer, you’ll want your muscles to repair quickly in order for your stroke to keep getting stronger.
If you’re wondering how much protein a swimmer needs, the answer is that it depends. However, many health experts, including those for the U.S. Masters Swimming nutrition team, say that most athletic swimmers should aim for between 1.4-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
Without the proper amount of protein, it will be more difficult for your body to recover after you swim and you may experience unpleasant side effects like muscle weakness and fatigue.
Many whey protein powders contain around 15 grams of protein per serving or more.
Finding an Ideal Protein Supplement for Swimmers
All in all, whey protein for swimmers is a good option. The only issue that could possibly arise concerns caloric intake.
Whey protein is low in calories (which is a bonus for most people), but this can be a problem for serious swimmers who can burn up to 780 calories in an hour. When an athlete is burning such an extreme amount of calories, they will often have to eat more to keep up with the calories they burn. In other words, if you don’t replenish the calories and protein you use in a workout, you will experience unwanted weight loss and likely lose muscle mass as well.
For example, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps needed to consume 12,000 calories a day to keep up with his training regime. These calories gave him the energy he needed for optimal performance, supported necessary recovery between workouts, and supported maintenance of his weight and muscle mass.
In cases like this, a high calorie form of whey protein may be necessary in order for you to consume the calories your body requires.
To find a high calorie whey protein, you’ll need to read ingredient labels and determine whether the powder contains a good amount of calories for your swimming routine. You can even take it one step further and mix the high calorie whey protein with a high calorie liquid, such as a high calorie whole milk.
If you are a swimmer, or are considering getting into the sport, whey protein can definitely help you post workout. Sprinkle it over your cereal, bake it into muffins, make protein bars, or blend it into a shake to provide your tired muscles with the tools they need to recover.
Enjoying whey protein can be the perfect addition to your health and workout routine to improve muscle recovery time, replenish depleted nutrient stores, and prevent unwanted weight loss that can result from intense physical activities like swimming. It can also make a delicious recovery drink for swimmers.
For some high quality whey protein options for swimmers, check out all of the whey protein products that Vital Whey has to offer.