Powerful Effects of Swimming on the Keto Diet

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Description: Nutrition is an integral part of a swimmer’s life and training. What we eat, as a result, becomes building bricks and repair material for our body, as well as a source of energy for sports. The more balanced the food during keto diet is, the more strength you get for training and less time spent on recovery. 

Photo by Emily Rose : Pexels

Our nutritional recommendations will make your swimming results more productive.

What is a Keto Diet and How Does it Work

A ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet with high-fat content and a moderate amount of protein. Its peculiarity is energy production due to the breakdown of fats, not carbohydrates. The goal is to trigger the ketosis mechanism in the body. Due to the decrease in the number of carbs from food, the liver begins to convert fat into fatty acids and ketones. The latter is used by our brain as fuel to obtain vital energy.

The ketogenic diet has not yet been adequately studied. However, the results obtained are encouraging. It is especially true for swimmers and everything related to physical activity.

Keto Diet and Swimming

It is believed that the keto diet is exemplary for anyone involved in cyclic sports: running, cycling, swimming, and triathlon. The body uses fat as the primary source of nutrition, significantly reducing the consumption of glycogen stores. This “rainy day fund” helps to stay in a vigorous condition for a sustained period.

Let’s talk about how carbohydrates/sugar is stored? Only about one teaspoon (4 g) in the form of glucose is dissolved in the blood. A maximum of 500 g (2000 kcal) in the form of glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles. Everything else is stored in fat and stays there until the insulin level drops. Usually (not in ketosis), our bodies take energy only from glycogen and glucose in the blood. Therefore, swimmers get tired when all their modest resources are burned, and therefore they eat high-carb foods before and after training. If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, then the body depends only on them and does not identify how to burn fat. 

How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn? 

In ketosis, we teach the body to burn fat as it begins to prefer fats to glucose. And the fat amount in our body starts with one hundred thousand calories and above. On such a gas tank, being a fat-adapted person, you will go much further. After fat-adaptation, the body burns fatty acids directly in the muscles, ketones go to the brain, and the missing glycogen is synthesized from protein by a process called gluconeogenesis. It gives you more power during swimming workouts.

How to Lose Weight Swimming?

During the keto diet adaptation period (the first two weeks), swimming will not be easy. Not for everyone, but as a rule. Until the body determines how to work on fats, your performance will subside, and it is normal. While you adapt, give your body time to readjust, don’t be zealous, slow down. After adaptation, the muscles begin to work efficiently on fats, not glycogen. Keto swimmers burn fat much more efficiently, retaining muscles. During intense training, many free radicals are released, but since the keto diet has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, muscles recover faster.

Fans of swimming will admire keto – after all, endurance increases sharply compared to glucose, since your “gas tank” will always be full.

Here are a few important tips to get the most out of keto diet for swimmers:

  • A small amount of protein before swimming workout

While carbohydrates do not play the role of your fuel during keto diet, then a small amount of protein in keto diet snacks eaten before exercise will help you repair damaged muscle fibers faster. This particular component is the building material for new muscles and the source of energy instead of carbs, which are forbidden. The recommended dose is 0.15-0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight one hour before training. You may try some keto diet drinks and learn about Keto Supplement Reviewed to maintain the level of vitamins and other nutrients.

The second reason to refuel with protein is that it helps to create a complete nitrogen balance in the body. It speeds up the process of its absorption by muscles, prevents the breakdown of muscle tissue, and prolongs the feeling of satiety. As a result, it’s much easier to hold out without carbs until the end of the workout, your strength increases, and you feel more power to conquer new goals.

  • Do not forget about vitamin D during keto diet

Vitamin D makes our bones stronger and has a positive effect on muscle condition. Recent studies have shown that it plays an essential role in synthesizing new muscles and in contracting them during a keto diet. For example, people with an evident vitamin D deficiency have muscle weakness. Therefore, everyone who is actively involved in sports and swimming, in particular, is advised not to forget about a balanced diet rich in vitamins and other trace elements. Vitamin D is found in large quantities in oily fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel), cheese, and egg yolks, which are the top of the keto diet food list. 

  • Drink plenty of water while in ketosis

Usually, you don’t feel like drinking while swimming, unlike running and other “dry” workouts. But it does not mean that your body does not need liquid. Dehydration during keto diet diminishes work efficiency by 30% and can be dangerous. The loss of only 2.5% of body weight due to dehydration during swimming reduces productivity by 45% and may cost you the desired result.

Conclusion

Such a diet does not hurt swimming. You just need to give your body time to adjust the ketosis process and wean it off from eating sugar and other simple carbohydrates. Often the latter is given especially hard. As a result of the transition, the body will get used to a new style of nutrition, turn on the mechanisms necessary for the breakdown of fats, and you will begin to lose weight and get more energy for your swimming workouts.

How good is swimming for you? Do you practice keto diet and swimming? Please tell us your opinion in the comments below.

Author’s Bio: Joe L. is a passionate swimmer who has been practicing keto nutrition for five years while training almost every day. He tested the different amounts of carbs and compared the workout results. Joe L. has his popular blog with varying tips for swimmers and keto-lovers.

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

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