Swimming to lose weight is a very popular method of weight loss and can be very effective when done in the right way. Swimming works just about every muscle in the body, but it’s how you swim that ultimately determines if you have burned a large amount of calories or only a few.
Hate the gym? Are your legs crying in pain at the thought of going outside for a jog? Maybe you have a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to do many load bearing, gym based exercises. Or maybe you’re just one of those people who loves to swim.
Lets face it, swimming is relaxing, calming and peaceful. You’re not going to get interrupted by someone calling on your phone and you can let your mind escape away as you glide through the water.
Swimming is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise, but swimming to lose weight requires getting out of your comfort zone.
Let’s be honest – swimming is easy to take it easy. You can swim up and down the pool without a care in the world, swimming breaststroke or whatever stroke you swim and slip into a comfortable pace without knowing you’ve done so.
So, step up the pace. Swim a few lengths faster than usual, enough to get you a little breathless. Enough to increase your heart rate slightly, and you only need to do it for a short period of a couple of minutes.
Do this a few times during your swim and over the coming days and weeks, increase the amount of times you swim faster or the length of time you swim faster for. You will find it becoming easier as your fitness and stamina improve and this will result in weight loss and gradual changes to your body shape.
One of the most common cries I hear in the pool from regular swimmers is:
“I swim 40 lengths every day but my weight and body shape have stayed the same.”
Arguably the most common mistake when it comes to exercise and weight loss, including swimming to lose weight, is to do the same thing every time. Swimming 40 lengths once upon a time may have been an effective form of weight loss for you, but that does not mean it will be now. What worked once before will not continue to work for you in the same way.
The reason? You have slipped into your comfort zone without knowing and you are no longer challenging your body. Your muscles and cardio respiratory system have become used to your routine swim and your body now needs fewer calories to get through it. The result, no more weight loss and you may even see your weight begin to increase.
The solution is to get out of your comfort zone again. Change the routine by swimming some faster lengths for longer times. Try a different swimming stroke or maybe try and get your 40 lengths done in a quicker time.
Give your body a different challenge and it will respond by burning more calories.
Yes, absolutely you can. As long as you change the pace and duration of your swims, you can effectively burn sufficient amounts of calories swimming breaststroke.
Put in a flat out sprint length followed by a slower recovery length to help increase your heart rate for a short time.
Swim a set distance against the clock and then see if you can repeat the same distance next swim but in a quicker time. For example you swim 800m breaststroke and it took you 25 minutes. See if next time you can swim the same distance in 22 minutes.
You do not need perfect swimming technique to lose weight, but a basic grasp of the strokes will help. Swimming out of your comfort zone is the most important aspect of swimming to lose weight, so swim the way you have always swum for now. Worry about swimming technique later.
If improving your swimming technique is something you wish to do, my books about swimming contain everything you need to know. Or, simply download 'The Swimming Strokes Book', which contains practical exercises and technique teaching points and tips for all four of the basic swimming strokes.
If you get out of the pool after swimming 30 or 40 lengths or more and feel as fresh as when you started, or you feel like you could swim another 10 or 20, then you haven’t worked hard enough. You have most probably been swimming within your comfort zone, therefore swimming to lose weight will not be effective.
I’m not saying you have to crawl out of the pool on all fours, clinging on to life. That’s going a bit too far. But you do have to feel like you have worked hard.
Here is an easy way to measure how hard you have worked. When you have finished your swim, ask yourself ‘on a scale of 1 to 10, how hard was that?’ (1 being the equivalent to walking slowly along the street not working very hard at all and 10 being the hardest you could possibly push yourself, to the point of complete exhaustion). Be true to yourself and if you can honestly say your swim was a 7 or 8 then you can leave the pool being satisfied with your swim.
Remember: the most progress is made outside of our comfort zone – and you can apply that to anything in life, not just swimming to lose weight. Go for it!
If swimming to lose weight is your chosen and preferred method of weight loss, then these basic workouts are just for you.
The swim workouts for weight loss available to download here cover front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke. They are designed to take the average basic swimmer out of their comfort zone in order to raise their heart rate and get the most out of their swimming for weight loss.
These swimming workouts are designed to take your swimming fitness to a new level by making you work harder as you swim. The three workouts are based around the most common swimming strokes, front crawl, breaststroke and backstroke and you can change and adapt them to suit your level of swimming.
Click a link below for the workout of your choice. Relevant PDF file viewing software is required and they are compatible with iPhone and iPad.
Most of us that swim on a regular basis do so in our comfort zone, i.e. swimming at a pace and in a way that is comfortable to us at the time. We slow down without really being conscious of it and it only takes a slight increase in that pace and intensity to make all the difference.
These swimming workouts are tailored to help increase and improve your overall cardiovascular fitness and help you to burn calories and lose weight. Swimming uses all the major muscle groups of the body, all at once, which makes for intense cardiovascular workouts (350 to 400 calories an hour), at the same time as giving toning benefits similar to doing a full circuit of weights in the gym. It also feels easier than it is, largely because you do not feel hot in water.
It has been well known for a long time that swimming is one of the best types of exercise for all round fitness, which is why swimming to lose weight really works. With zero impact on the joints in the body, it tones up all of the major muscle groups and gets the cardiovascular system working all at the same time. It is also a perfect way to workout if you are not a fan of the gym or are recovering from an injury. On the other hand, it is important to have a wide variety to your training and swimming offers that extra diversity to challenge your body.
Fine-tuning your swimming technique will make you faster and more efficient through the water and there are specific books to download containing precise swimming exercises to help perfect swimming strokes.
Ebooks are available for front crawl, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly stroke. Click the books below to find out more about these great books that will improve your basic swimming strokes in easy to follow steps.