Swimming can be a great alternative or an addition to your usual exercise routine to burn more calories and lose weight fast. Yeahhh, that’s if you know how to swim.
After trying other common ways to lose weight such as running and cycling, finally swimming has crossed your mind.
Even if you don’t know how to swim, you can always look for an instructor or a coach to guide and teach you how to swim. If you don’t know how to swim, please don’t jump into a swimming pool.
Swimming can work your cardio and improve your strength if you do it right. Any swimming strokes will lead to a higher heart rate and burn those excess calories stored in your waistline.
With all the water resistance, you need to use more muscles strength to propel yourself forward. More strength used = more calories burnt, eventually leading to faster weight loss.
By the way, you don’t need to swim fast and furious. You can swim like sloth and still lose weight and burn those stubborn fats easily. Bet you didn’t know sloths can swim eh?…
Follow these 8 super effective swimming tips to lose weight fast:
1. Just start swimming
Yes I know starting is always the hardest, but you still gotta do it to begin your weight loss journey. Don’t be a lazy sloth, nothing will be positive by being lazy.
Laziness will only cause you to gain more weight instead. But sometimes it is not about being lazy, it is fear of the unknown.
The fear you have when trying something new or starting a new exercise routine. It can be challenging to overcome the fear of the unknown, but don’t worry about it, you will eventually overcome it!
So how do I overcome the fear of the unknown?
- Understand your fears.
- The more you understand something, the less you fear about it.
- Relax and soften your mind.
- Fear of the unknown is created by your own thoughts and its limited by your beliefs. Try meditation to induce mindfulness and peace of mind, and to keep you mentally fit.
- Acknowledge that things may not go the way you want it to be.
- Things may not go as plan, you may fail, but nothing will change if you stay in your comfort zone.
- Stay real to yourself, don’t stray into the unknown.
- Be present in reality and don’t stray into the unknown, it is all in your mind, don’t let fear control you. You control yourself!
- Accept and embrace change.
- In our fast-paced daily lives with constant changes, be ready to accept and embrace change. Refusal to change will allow your fear to control and destroy you from within.
Don’t think too much, once you have overcome your fear along with every challenges and obstacles, you will soon be able to start swimming with ease of mind. Be happy and enjoy swimming!
Remember to start slowly and gradually to allow your body to adapt to swimming. Swimming too much, too soon, will lead to pain and injuries.
Besides, don’t forget to warm up before you start swimming, warm up is important to prevent pain and injuries.
Watch the video for a simple warm up routine before you start swimming:
2. Reduce your calories intake and create a calories deficit
Munching down on sweet foods is a great way to relieve stress, but it is also a good way to gain weight, increase your waistline, and possibly suffer diabetes.
The most important factor in weight loss or weight gain is calories consumption or calories intake. In simple words, what you eat is what you will become.
You won’t be losing weight if you are still eating your favourite high-calories foods such as pizza, burger, cake, chocolate, ice cream and so on…
I am not asking you to go cold turkey and quit eating your favourite junk foods. You should gradually and slowly reduce your calories intake instead.
Having a cheat meal once a week or once every fortnight is okayyy… Anything more than that, is bad for you…
You can use the calories calculator below to calculate the calories needed to maintain your weight, amount of calories needed to lose weight and amount of calories needed to gain weight..
For your information, if you want to lose 1 kg per week, you need to reduce 300-500 calories per day…
That’s equivalent to the calories of eating a delicious burger or two slices of pizza…
It is easier NOT to consume that extra 500 calories than to burn 500 calories by exercising. You need to understand that weight loss is 85% diet and 15% exercise.
After reducing your calories intake, you need to maintain a calories deficit until your desired weight is achieved. It may be hard to keep at it since it is a total change to your usual lifestyle.
I find it hard to cut down on my calories intake, what can I do about it?
This can be quite challenging for you because it is a huge change to your usual daily lazy and couch potato lifestyle, i.e., munching on donuts and pizza while watching TV.
It is better for you to gradually reduce your calories intake, DON’T GO COLD TURKEY. Slowly restrict your unhealthy diet on a daily basis and eventually you will get used to it.
You can try to prepare and portion your meals, or you can call it meal prep. A meal prep basically means you prepare your meals for the whole week. If you are interested in meal prep, read more here.
Furthermore, having a cheat meal once or twice in a WEEK is fine… You do know that staring at unhealthy foods won’t increase calories right? Yeahh… You can stare and drool at this burger, but don’t consume it.
3. Implement and follow a swimming training program
As with all forms of exercise to lose weight, you will need a proper training program to ensure you progressively overload your workout.
Ever been in a situation whereby you don’t seem to see any weight loss results or improve in fitness? That’s because your body has adapted to the demands of your workout.
To overcome this, you MUST progressively overload your swimming routine over the weeks, not days…
If you increase too much, too soon, you risk suffering pain and injuries especially at your shoulder.
4. Use butterfly swimming stroke
By the time you reach this Tip, I assume you know the basics of swimming and have learnt the various swimming strokes such as freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and sidestroke.
And no I am not here to teach you swimming strokes. If you are interested, you can learn swimming strokes here.
Okayyyy… Now, when you go for a swim, try using butterfly stroke to burn more calories and lose weight faster.
Butterfly stroke is beautiful, but it is hard to learn and master. It requires good coordination of your arms with your legs and exceptionally strong upper body strength.
The butterfly stroke is the most difficult stroke and it uses much more muscles compared to the other strokes, thus leading to more calories burnt and faster weight loss.
However, if you are unable to swim with the butterfly stroke, then you can opt for the freestyle stroke instead.
Freestyle stroke mainly work the upper body muscles, but requires less coordination than butterfly stroke.
It maybe hard for you if you are not used to freestyle stroke, slowly practice and you will master it…
You can also stick to breaststroke or any stroke that you are comfortable with.
5. Get a swim coach
This one is optional; if you know how to swim with decent technique then it is not necessary to get a swim coach, if you are unsure of what you are doing in the swimming pool then get a swim coach.
Besides, you may not even get a swim coach and end up doing this instead:
Okayyy jokes aside… A swim coach can design a workout plan for you, and teach you the proper swimming strokes and technique along with proper breathing technique.
A swim coach will also be there to guide and help you while you are swimming, if needed. Not if a shark is around…
6. Incorporate high intensity interval swimming
Interval swimming is whereby you swim as fast as you can for one lap, and then swim at a slow and relaxed pace for the following lap.
This is extremely challenging and strenuous, give yourself more rest if necessary.
Because of the alternating fast swimming (high intensity) and slow swimming (low intensity), you further tax your muscles and are able to burn more calories, eventually leading to faster weight loss.
Incorporating interval swimming is way better than sticking to a steady-pace swimming to burn fats and lose weight fast.
Unless of course you swim to smell the roses.
You can either do this on your own or get a swim coach to help you with this workout.
You don’t need to do much interval swimming, you won’t last 20 minutes doing it. Nahhh… You won’t even last 10 minutes.
If you can’t swim fast for one lap, it is okayyy… You can break up your interval into shorter duration, e.g., swim fast for 15-30 seconds, then swim slow for 15-30 seconds. You can rest longer if needed.
7. Add resistance exercises to your swimming routine
Not happy with your usual swimming routine because it is too mundane and dull?
Then add some spices to your swimming and you can make it extra hot and spicy to burn more calories.
As a beginner, doing resistance exercises in a swimming pool is beneficial for you and your body. You can have an effective workout that’s easy and gentle on your joints.
With the added resistance in the water, it makes the exercises harder and you need to exert more force to do the exercises. Thus, leading to more calories burnt.
When you are in the swimming pool, you feel you are “lighter” because of buoyancy. Buoyancy is the upward force exerted on any objects submerged in water.
When you are swimming, your whole body weight is “held” by the water itself.
This is why swimming and exercising in the water is great for your joints, for people with arthritis and for people who are undergoing rehabilitation.
Heck man! Swimming is also a good exercise for women with osteoporosis as it can help in improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.
It has been thought that swimming, a zero-impact exercise will cause a decrease in bone density and bone mass.
On the contrary, a study has found that:
Swimming does not seem to negatively affect bone mass, although it may not be one of the best sports to be practised in order to increase this parameter, due to the hypogravity and lack of impact characteristic of this sport.(Gómez-Bruton, A., et al., 2013)
So what kind of resistance exercises can I do and how to do it?
Swimming in the swimming pool itself is a form of resistance exercise and full body cardio.
The water is resisting you. But, once your body is strong enough, you won’t feel much resistance.
Resistance training in water yield similar benefits as lifting weights in the gym. Here I will explain about the resistance exercises you can do in the swimming pool.
1) Water Dumbbell Exercises
A dumbbell on land provides resistance against gravity, but an aquatic dumbbell wants to stay afloat.
Therefore, you need to exert more force to push the dumbbells downward into the water.
Aquatic dumbbells are basically made of foam and plastic, which are lightweight, and of course… it wants to stay afloat.
Water dumbbells exercises are great to work your upper body muscles and to have more fun while swimming.
The exercises (of course, pick and choose which you prefer, not all) that you can do with the aquatic dumbbells are as shown in the video below:
2) Water Fan Paddles Exercises
Before you can begin with this exercises, you will need to get a water fan paddle. It is a handheld mini fans at both ends attached to a plastic handle.
The mini fans, actually not mini fans, ahem… Aquatic fan paddles are used to create resistance (drag) when you move it around in water.
The aquatic fan paddles differs from the water dumbbells as the direction of resistance created is different.
The mini fans creates a horizontal resistance, whereas the water dumbbells creates a vertical resistance. Incorporate both for a great combination to workout your upper body.
Exercises you can do with the underwater mini fans are as shown in the video below:
3) Resistance Band Exercises UNDER WATER!
A latex rubber blended mix into a single entity called resistance band. As the namesake of the band, it is to create resistance.
The more you stretch the resistance band, the greater the resistance. But, if you stretch it too much, it will eventually snaps!
No, it isn’t moving and it won’t snap, calm down.
Resistance band is cheap and it is quite durable even with frequent usage.
When you are doing the exercises in the water, the water’s resistance together with the resistance band, will surely work your lazy muscles.
These are some examples of exercises that you can do with a resistance band in the water:
So how does doing all these resistance exercises help me lose weight?
To do these resistance exercises in water, your muscles need to exert more force. It looks simple and easy, but it can be challenging and strenuous for you.
You will eventually burn more calories as your muscles are working harder than usual.
Besides, you may feel your muscles are burning while doing the exercises… You don’t need to worry about it, it is not a cause of concern.
The burning sensation in your muscles is called acute muscle soreness.
Acute muscle soreness is the soreness felt during the exercise and immediately after exercising.
The pain can be mild to severe, depends on the volume and intensity of the exercises that you did.
This differs from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), the typical pain and soreness you feel in your muscles within 12 hours of starting a new activity or exercise, and can lasts for 24-96 hours…
It is possible for DOMS to last up to one week, if this is the case, you know one thing’s for sure… YOU, workout too much, too soon!
How can I tell the difference between muscle soreness and an injury?
- Soreness feels achy, annoying, tight, stiff and/or burning sensation. | Injury is categorised as sharp and stabbing pain.
- Soreness affects throughout your muscle. | Injury affects a specific point/area only.
- There is no swelling for soreness. | Swelling is obvious if there’s an injury.
- You can continue your workout with soreness and still feel okayyy. | If you are injured, you can’t workout anymore as it hurts badly.
8. Start running in the water
You should start running in water, literally in water, not on water…
When running in water, you need to be submerged in water or half-submerged in water. Watch the video below on how Usain Bolt runs in water:
Of course it is not necessary for you to push yourself to your limits. Pool running is a great way to burn even more calories than your usual swimming work out.
Pool running may not feel as tiring and strenuous as running on land, but it uses loads of energy. Well, using more energy doesn’t mean you feel more tiring.
You can combine pool running with other water-based resistance exercises to burn a ton of calories and lose weight even faster.
Running in the pool is an alternative to running on land if you are recovering from injuries or if you want a low-impact exercise without putting much stress on your joints and still get your heart rate up.
Since pool running is a low-impact exercise, it won’t increase bone density and bone mass.
If you are seeking ways to improve your muscle strength/mass along with bone density/mass, you can do body weight exercises at home.
What are the benefits of swimming?
- A zero-impact exercise which reduces impact to your joints and it is a great workout to burn more calories and lose weight fast.
- A simple exercise to work your cardiovascular system and have a good whole body workout.
- Able to build muscles strength and tone muscles, basically swimming uses your whole body muscles.
- A good exercise for elderly people and for injury rehabilitation.
- Helps reduce stress, anxiety and depression.