Watermelon: How This Fruit Can Prove Beneficial to Training and Nutrition


Watermelon: How This Fruit Can Prove Beneficial to Training and Nutrition

Watermelon is the third largest fruit produced in the world. It is rich in many nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium. Potassium and magnesium impact regulating heart rate along with proper cell, muscle and nerve functions, while vitamins C and A strengthen the immune system and maximizes bone health.

Watermelon also contains a non-essential amino acid, citrulline, which is used in the nitric oxide system that promotes blood flow by dilating arteries and relaxing the body’s blood vessels. This includes penetrating the muscles in our arteries. This increase in circulation and oxygenation of the blood improves energy and stamina, and also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, which impacts an athlete’s recovery time. The research is still working on possible outcomes.


Did you know if you are 1% dehydrated, your performance can decline up to 12%! Thirst does not kick in until a person is 2-4% dehydrated. The rule of thumb is to drink at least half your weight in fluid ounces a day plus the fluid needed for activity. Watermelon is over 50% water per one cup serving! It is a yummy way to rehydrate!


Watermelon also contains simple carbohydrates that provide energy for a workout, and it is light on the stomach. Some could even have watermelon during competitions, pending on the activity. Watermelon is definitely a great post-recovery snack. It is cool and refreshing, and it also helps rehydrate and replenish the fuel in the muscles for optimal recovery!


Watermelon juice is also available if you don’t want to buy a whole watermelon or if the fruit is not in season.


Watermelon is a nutrient-dense fruit that provides many benefits! When in season, try to add it to your daily routine or a team meal. Implement before, during or after trainings when appropriate. Enjoy!

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Here is a sample training menu that includes several options for watermelon. Remember: this article is educational only and should not be used in place of medical advice.


Pre-Swim Practice (4:30-5:15 a.m.)
Watermelon pancakes
Resource: https://www.watermelon.org/recipes/watermelon-pancake-sandwiches/

Training (5:30-6:45 a.m.)
4-16 oz Water an hour (amount needed depends on sweat rate)

Breakfast (6-7:30 a.m.) – MUST HAVE WITHIN 30-45 minutes after training
Watermelon pizza
Resource: https://www.tastemade.com/recipes/watermelon-breakfast-pizza

Have at least 1 cup high-protein yogurt, 1/4-1/3 cup nuts and 2-3 cups of watermelon

Multivitamin and mineral tablet
Fish oil capsule (very high in EPA/DHA)
Vitamin D3

Lunch (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.)
Watermelon, tomato and feta salad
Resource: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a6408/watermelon-recipes/
Make sure you add some grilled chicken or cold shrimp, and add any healthy fats to get enough calories
16 oz Water with 1-2 NUUN electrolyte tablets

Afternoon Snack (2-3:30 p.m.)
Watermelon skewers
Resource: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a6408/watermelon-recipes/
16 oz Water (optional: add one NUUN tablet)

Training (3:30-5:30 p.m.)
4-16 oz Water an hour (amount needed depends on sweat rate)
Post-recovery within 30-45 min:
Watermelon smoothie
Resource: https://www.wellplated.com/watermelon-smoothie/
Consume 1-2 servings
1-3 T Flax or chia seeds
1-2 cups Greek Yogurt
1 lg Banana frozen
1-1/2 cups Watermelon
16 oz Almond milk/milk/soy milk

(If you can have dinner within that time, then this snack is optional)

Evening Meal (6-8:30 p.m.)
4-6 oz Organic chicken/shrimp
1-2 cups Rice
1 Avocado or 1 T olive oil or 3 T organic butter
1-2 cups Watermelon salad
Resource: https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/a6408/watermelon-recipes/
16 oz Water

Multivitamin and mineral tablet
1 Omega-3 capsule high in DHA and EPA

Evening Snack—OPTIONAL (8-10 p.m.)
2-3 servings Banana watermelon muffins
Resource: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/recipe-banana-watermelon-seed-muffins/

Dawn Weatherwax (RD, CSSD, LD, ATC, CSCS) is a registered/licensed dietitian with a specialty in sports nutrition and founder of Sports Nutrition 2Go and Dawn Weatherwax Sports Nutrition Academy. She has been working with swimmers for over 25 years and has launched an online nutrition program for swimmers at Dawnweatherwax.com. She is also a board-certified specialist in sports dietetics, which is the premier professional sports nutrition credential in the United States. In addition, she is an athletic trainer with a certification in strength and conditioning from The National Strength and Conditioning Association.