Terrible Early-Morning Swim Workout...Why?

author : acbadger
comments : 0

Member Question

I went this morning to the pool for my first morning pool workout. It was horrible! I had absolutely no stamina. I have been able to swim 200-300 yards without stopping for the past couple of weeks, but this morning I couldn’t swim more than 50. I have been doing a total of 700-900 yards per workout, but this morning all I could muster was 450. I also got a side cramp when I got out of the pool that is just now going away an hour later.


I am trying to figure out the reason for this. I did not eat or drink anything before I went to the pool. Could this make this big of a difference? If so, what do you suggest for a small quick easy snack before my morning pool workout -- protein or carb? If you don’t recommend either food or drink, do you have any other ideas? Does a person just naturally have less energy first thing in the morning? Or is it just all a mental thing for me?

Answer

Mandy, first of all I am going to attack the main reason I believe you had a rough day at the pool and then I am going to suggest some quick easy/healthy things to eat before a workout.


Working out in the morning has nothing to do with energy level. Usually those who work out in the morning tend to be more committed to their workouts and, on average, continue their workouts for longer periods of time (years as opposed to weeks). Also, first thing in the morning, you are not only well rested (if you were able to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep that night), but you have far fewer excuses NOT to workout at that time of day. No last minute meetings…no groceries to get…no kids to pick up from school…you’re golden! It’s a great time of day to work out!


Now, that being said, you have now gone (AT LEAST) 8 hours without food. Your body is not going to be properly fueled for an early morning workout. My advice is this: get up about 30 minutes to an hour earlier than you normally would to get to the gym at your regular time. Pop a piece of whole wheat bread in the toaster, top it with a tablespoon (at the most) of natural or reduced fat peanut butter and eat half a banana on the way out the door. This gives you the right amount of protein/carbs and bit of potassium for the workout you’re about to put your body through.

 

I typically pop 3 egg whites in the microwave for 2 minutes while toasting a piece of whole wheat bread, put it all together and eat it on the way to the gym. Your body needs more than protein or carbohydrates alone, so combinations of the two are the way to go. Now, if you are a REALLY early gym go-er…try a cup of skim milk and a piece of toast or half of a banana on the way out the door. If you usually get up at 4:30 to get to the gym by 5:00 AM…sometimes it's hard, or near impossible for that matter, to get up between 3:30 and 4:00 AM!! This I understand completely. So, try to keep your meals quick, simple and made up of the right combination of carbohydrates and protein.


Another thing to remember is that we can’t ALWAYS have good workouts. Be prepared to have a ‘bad’ day. If you are faced with a hard workout that you can barely finish, allow yourself an off day. Just listen to your body, do what your body will allow and remember, some form of exercise is better than none. On the flip side of that, also keep in mind that it is about the QUALITY of your workout, not the QUANTITY. So, if you only get 200 to 400 yards in one morning, just be sure you are paying particular attention to your form. Perhaps do a few drill laps to improve upon your technique. Maybe do a morning of pulling, or a morning of kicking. Whatever you do, be sure to listen to your body. If you are that tired and cramping up like you described, there is most likely an underlying factor that your body is trying to point out to you. Our bodies are the best indicator of our abilities…so listen to it closely!

Good luck with your workouts!

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date: April 2, 2006

Author


acbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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avataracbadger

Four Sprint Triathlons and 2 Olympic Distance Triathlons. Several marathons and Boston qualified. Because of my new found love of these sports, I got my Personal Training Certification and USAT Level I Coaching Certification so I could help others attain their goals!

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