Marathon Swimming Nutrition: Do it yourself

The last in a series of four posts about nutrition in marathon swimming. To recap:

Although I do think Perpetuem is a good product for swimmers, my best advice is to **skip the one-size-fits all formulas and do it yourself.**This is the only way to ensure you get the nutrition you need on a marathon swim, and not the stuff you don’t need.

There are two basic varieties of “DIY,” the “full DIY” and the “semi DIY.”

The Full DIY

  1. bulk maltodextrinBuy some **plain complex carbohydrate**– maltodextrin (Carbo-Pro, Maxim, or bulk) or if you want to be adventurous, Superstarch.
  2. Mix your chosen carb with water, and **flavor it**with something tasty. Possibilities might include fruit juice or Gatorade.
  3. Calculate your drink **recipe**by:
    1. how many calories (including the ones in your flavoring) you want to consume per hour
    2. how much fluid you want to consume per hour
  4. If you’ll be swimming in warm water and/or freshwater, add some **electrolytes**(e.g., Hammer Endurolytes). Keep in mind many fruit juices already provide some potassium.
  5. If you want to add some **amino acids**, go for it (try this).

This is, in fact, exactly what I do. For a 30-oz feed bottle, I mix:

This recipe provides approximately 280 calories and 70g carbohydrates (depending on the juice). Assuming bulk maltodextrin ($33.54 per 12 lbs) and premium juice ($4 per quart), the total cost of my 30-oz custom bottle comes to $1.06. For everyday workouts, I dilute the recipe by 50%, bringing my cost down to 53 cents.

**Important Caveat:**Some people have trouble digesting fructose. Fruit juice contains fructose (along with glucose & some other stuff).

**Always test your feed plan before you use it on a marathon swim!**

The nutrition info for Maxim and Carbo-Pro are pretty boring, but here they are anyway:

Maxim Energy Mix

Maxim Energy Mix


Carbo Pro

Carbo Pro



The Semi DIY

  1. Infinit NutritionGo to the Infinit Nutrition website.
  2. Complete the online interview (or schedule a phone consultation).
  3. Get your customized formula. Infinit will blend it, put it in a nice little bag, and mail it to you.

Everything is adjustable – flavor, calories, electrolytes, protein, amino acids, and even caffeine. Tell them what you want, and that’s what you’ll get. You could even have different formulas for different swims – perhaps a low-electrolyte formula for a cold ocean swim, and a medium-electrolyte formula for a warm lake swim.

(No, I’m not getting anything for saying this. However, my buddy Jared – who initially brought Infinit to my attention – is sponsored by them.)

Posted 29 January 2012 in: knowledge base Tags: nutrition

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