Whether you practice swimming in order to keep fit or achieve performance, a balanced diet will be an essential complement to achieving your goals. Here you will find information about the needs of the swimmer and you will discover how to balance your diet to meet these needs.


Energy expenditure is expressed in kilocalories (or kcal), even though in common parlance the term calories is used to designate kilocalories. With reduced physical activity during the day, a man consumes an average of 2100 per day, a woman 1800.

During a swimming session, the energy expenditure is very variable. It depends on multiple parameters such as the distance traveled, the effectiveness of the swimming technique, the intensity of the effort or the weight of the swimmer. Thus, we can give only approximate indications on the number of kcal consumed by the swimmer. At a moderate pace (about 2 km per hour), the energy expenditure of a swimmer would be around 400 kcal per hour of swimming, while for more sustained training (about 3 km per hour) the swimmer would consume between 600 And 700 kcal per hour of swimming. As for the training of the swimmers of high level, they can entail an expense close to 1000 kcal per hour of swimming.

The daily energy expenditure is therefore significantly increased by a regular practice of swimming. Moreover, if one consumes calories during the session itself, a trained muscle also consumes more calories at rest. Sporting practice therefore has the advantage of also increasing caloric expenditure outside training periods. A good diet will then have to balance the energy inputs provided by our diet and the needs generated by the activity.


      ➡ Sugars (carbohydrates)

Energy can be created from carbohydrate stores inside the muscles (glycogen) or carbohydrates circulating in the blood (glucose). The former will provide a little more energy than the latter and their stock will increase under the effect of training.

      ➡ Fats (lipids)

Muscle cells can produce energy from the first few minutes of effort from the fats circulating in the blood. The adipose tissues are then mobilized mainly under the action of the hormones secreted by the pancreas and the adrenal glands.

In proportion, lipids will be preferred over carbohydrates when the effort is moderate because the use of fats requires more oxygen. However, it should not be inferred that moderate-intensity exercises should be preferred for weight loss purposes. On the contrary, intermittent efforts including periods of high intensity have shown better efficiency. This may be related to the greater mobilization of lipids after exertion, greater total caloric expenditure and / or fewer hungry feelings after the session.


The needs of the athlete are also expressed in liters. Whether the exertion is moderate or more intense, it is essential to be well hydrated so that the muscular contraction can be carried out under good conditions. It is estimated that dehydration of only 2% of body weight results in a decrease in muscle yield of 20%. Now the sensation of thirst comes only when the dehydration is already well engaged. So drink enough (about 2 liters a day) throughout the day and before you get thirsty.