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TOPIC: Any one successful with swimming?

 
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May 24, 2013 7:35 PM
I used to be a competitive swimmer when I was in middle/high school and recently got back in the pool for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it's my one true love in terms of exercise, and a great stress reliever. I work full time, am finishing up Grad school and getting ready to start my Doctoral program. I decided this semester to just make time for exercise, and have been swimming for 45 minutes-1 hour (between 1-2 miles) 5 nights/week. I have read quite a bit online about the benefits of swimming vs. running. I have successfully lost weight running before, but I just hate it and have a hard time motivating myself to go after work, etc. But I genuinely look forward to hitting the pool. I know some studies indicate that swimmers burn fat more slowly than runners (we run through glycogen more quickly, thought), but I am hopeful that with enough time, I will lose weight and tone up. Would love to hear from some others who have had success in this way.

Also, I am having a hard time with my calories. I keep coming up under my 1,200 calorie mark every day and I haven't eaten back any of my swimming calories yet. I am a little fearful of eating more than that, but I have plateaued since I started swimming again and I am wondering if that is just because I am not eating enough? I have a pretty huge deficit after a work-out. Is this "starvation mode" thing legit? I haven't felt crappy yet, so I have been trying to just listen to my body. But I would listen to you as well. ;-)

Thoughts appreciated.
  18221768
May 24, 2013 7:43 PM
1200 is the bare minimum a healthy person should eat to lose weight, and honestly it's too few for most to stay on for long. Eating less than that doesn't mean starvation mode, but it does mean that your body is probably burning off some muscle and starting to realize you're not going to give it what it needs, so it will hang on to whatever it can. If you can, try slowly increasing your calories so you can build some of that muscle, which will only help you lose fat. And you're not feel crappy now, but don't let yourself get to that place like I did!

Don't know much about swimming unfortunately but good luck to you!
May 24, 2013 7:52 PM
I swim an hour a day. I do 20 min. Freestyle, 20 min breast, 10-15 butterfly and then finish with freestyle again.

I have some pics on my blog about how my body has been changing since I started two months ago.

Just call me Dori!
May 24, 2013 7:56 PM
first off...eat more!!!

those of us who have had success in losing weight and keeping it off have a few things in common, one being that we eat a lot more than 1200 calories per day....try increasing your intake slowly by adding in some high calorie foods like nuts, yogurt or even drinking milk of your choice (I love dark chocolate almond milk)...

second, as for the swimming...like you I was a competitive swimmer as a kid and also did surf lifesaving. I recently had to get back in the pool and swim laps to get in my cardio as tore up the ligaments in my ankle and have had to change up my workout routine while I get my injury sorted out...

wearing my HRM I burn a lot more calories than I ever anticipated...about 400 in 40 minutes, swimming a combination of freestyle and breast stroke at a moderate pace...this is why you have to eat more...

im not sure if I have lost anymore weight as I have given up on the scale...but I have noticed changes in my shoulders, back and core muscles so yes, I would say that swimming is a great way to change up your workout. im not a runner either, though I have completed a few 5Ks for fun. I would much rather swim anyways...I don't sweat and I find it relaxing.
  29455395
May 24, 2013 7:57 PM
I've found swimming as part of an overall program really good as it tones a lot.
May 24, 2013 7:58 PM
I will be starting to swim again in a few weeks...it is only seasonal where I live....I can't wait to see the changes once I start swimming again!
  22568223
May 24, 2013 8:13 PM
Swimming is great exercise! Easy on the joints as well.

I feel like everyone is always arguing about whether "starvation mode" is real or not. I think that everyone is different. I'm technically on a "starvation diet" and I'm not hungry and losing weight quickly! But what works for me may not work for you. Try bumping up your caloric intake to 1200 with proteins and see if you lose weight. Just remember bodies change and sometimes we have to switch up our game plan. : )
May 24, 2013 8:22 PM
I love to swim too! It's a great way to cross train, since my knees have been getting more sore after running and spinning. For my swim workout, I like to mix up timed intervals (50 meter sprints) with 500 free, 500 with kickboard, 500 with paddles/buoy. Swimming especially strengthens my shoulders, back, and core.

I will say that swimming makes me more hungry afterwards than when I run or spin. Weird! Any which way, it's a great form of exercise and if you love it, that's the most important thing!
May 24, 2013 8:23 PM
YES! I was successful with swimming! I started swimming in the early summer last year, and it really kicked my weight loss into gear. At the time, I was just walking, and doing an aerobics class 2-3 times a week. When i added swimming in the other 2-3 days a week, the pounds starting coming off! I swam straight thru the year-- only took about 3 weeks off in April to get ready for a 5K (went for runs instead of swimming). But I was back in the pool this week and it felt great!

I say YES! to swimming- it's a great exercise because it's the best of both worlds-- cardio AND strength (the resistance in the water is awesome!) Here is a link to my 'success' story that I posted a couple of weeks ago on my 1 year anniversary... you can see that swimming was part of it for me!

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/985909-1-year-anniversary-at-goal-80lbs-gone-pics

Good luck with it- and if you can find a pool that is open (and heated) year round-- keep it up! It really is one of the best exercises a person can do!!
  25827003
May 24, 2013 8:36 PM
Thank you all so much for the feedback, Dogo do you eat back all your exercise calories? Think I should try to maintain at 1,200 first? Thanks for reminding me about the chocolate milk- I remember reading in a Women's Health magazine that it's a great post-workout drink.
  18221768
May 24, 2013 8:38 PM
QUOTE:

YES! I was successful with swimming! I started swimming in the early summer last year, and it really kicked my weight loss into gear. At the time, I was just walking, and doing an aerobics class 2-3 times a week. When i added swimming in the other 2-3 days a week, the pounds starting coming off! I swam straight thru the year-- only took about 3 weeks off in April to get ready for a 5K (went for runs instead of swimming). But I was back in the pool this week and it felt great!

I say YES! to swimming- it's a great exercise because it's the best of both worlds-- cardio AND strength (the resistance in the water is awesome!) Here is a link to my 'success' story that I posted a couple of weeks ago on my 1 year anniversary... you can see that swimming was part of it for me!

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/985909-1-year-anniversary-at-goal-80lbs-gone-pics

Good luck with it- and if you can find a pool that is open (and heated) year round-- keep it up! It really is one of the best exercises a person can do!!


You look incredible! What an amazing achievement! Thank you for sharing!
  18221768
May 24, 2013 8:47 PM
I swim 2-5 days a week for 30 to 45 minutes, about 25-35 laps (25 meters). It is my secondary cardio, in that I always do it after Spinning for 45-50 minutes or after my strength training. I love swimming. It was really hard to start because I was so out of shape and weak, but now I am glad I got back into it. I swam as kid for years and was also a swim instructor through college so I really was happy to get back into.

As stated by another it gives a really good burn according to the HRM, especially using proper form and technique. I have found that even if I just move at a light steady pace I burn a pretty substantial amount of calories, better than going home and sitting in front of the tv after my work out I figure!

But if you are exercising daily you should be eating more than 1200 calories.

I think the term starvation mode needs to be tossed, and we should refer to it what it is, metabolic resistance.

The problem with any low calorie, extreme calorie deficit (especially one without exercise) is that it REDUCES YOUR METABOLISM. It is not that it starves you, it is just that your body learns to function on less and STAYS that way, it other words it "resets" your BMR so you will gain weight on LESS food in the future. Your body thinks it is doing you a favor.

That is the whole trouble with calorie deficit, TDEE and BMR. You really never know what is standard for YOU, until you begin to count your calories and activity. For me I have a "sweet spot" of about 1800-2000 calories, but I work out 5 days a week, and I shoot for 90 minutes a day. I cross train doing spinning/swimming one day and lifting/swimming/water aerobics another day. I rest Sat and Sun (well at least Sunday, I am swimming tomorrow ;)

The key to keeping your metabolism functioning is MOVING and EATING. If you stop those two things your body compensates and reduces your calorie need.

For me when I was a lard butt couch potato I could gain on 1400 calories, though every calculator out there told me that I needed 1600 just to function in coma state...When I got back into exercise I only lost 4 lbs the first month because I only ate 1200-1400 cals a day and was Spinning every day.

I got better results upping my calories, strength training and moving a lot more in a variety of ways, not just one type of cardio. (cardio 90 mins 2-3x a week, heaving strength training 3x)

My metabolism is now burning fat at a steady 4 to 8 lbs a month.
Edited by SarahSmilesCA On May 24, 2013 9:00 PM
  37325501
May 24, 2013 8:50 PM
I would definitely start by eating your swimming calories, and maybe tweaking your macros a bit (less carbs, more good fats and protein). In an hour of swimming you probably burn close to 500 calories, so you're essentially living on 700 calories net, which is extremely low, and quite unhealthy long term, frankly.

Also, are you good Mon-Thurs but go buck wild on Friday? I know I was super strict Mon-Thurs, and then Fri-Sun I would have relatively small surpluses in calories, which basically erased all my efforts during the week.

A lot of people get frustrated because there are a lot of misconceptions out there, and most people think that if you were good 4 days in a row, sure an extra drink and or dessert on Friday won't hurt, but the reality proves to be different.
  38233859
May 24, 2013 9:02 PM
I swim at least an hour a day in the summer and remain (a bit) overweight. Actual heart-pumping swimming. On top of biking, walking, yoga, etc. multiple days a week. I wish it had a bigger effect on my weight, but I love swimming anyway! :-)
  44021660
May 25, 2013 10:47 PM
Swimming's pretty much the only exercise other then walking to the dog I really really enjoy.. As it's near winter here I have to travel to another town to use the indoor pool so I only get down there once sometimes twice a week (1hr sessions)... Ive been doing this for 5 months now and not sure if its helping with my weight loss but it's defiantly helping to tone my arms up! I can see muscle now instead of just fat lol :D
  42753263
May 25, 2013 11:07 PM
Swimming combined with running produced results for me as far as excercise. It's not just plain swimming that has worked for me. I would do other resistance exercises in the water. I love being in the water so much that it is not really excercise to me. It's fun instead!!!! You can work so many muscles in just about every possible direction in the water. It's easy on the joints. The water is great!!!!!
  22473258
May 26, 2013 7:09 AM
Hi!

I, like you, swam in high school too. I just got back into swimming recently because I always felt my body responded well to it. I am 5' 4 and have been eating around 1340 calories per day and have seen weight loss results. I believe it is a result of two things. 1. I agree with the other responses to eat more. 2. I recently read eat right for your blood type and started avoiding the foods it asked to avoid and focused on eating the foods recommended for my blood type. Before I started swimming I dropped 6 pounds in 2 months.

The foods I have been eating sustain my hunger and I don't feel like I'm starving, even after swimming. Best to you!!!
May 26, 2013 9:37 AM
I haven't been a regular swimmer in a few years, but I know that I never saw any fat-loss results with it (and when I did swim, it was always seriously, continuously, goal-in-mind kind of swimming). I love swimming, because it makes me feel good, and it's meditative.....but I've never seen any kind of measurable change in my body. I imagine my strength has improved somewhat, though not drastically, and my endurance always improves, which includes cardio health and breathing, but.....I don't think I even see *measurable* toning.

Just one of the unlucky ones, I guess! It's a good thing that body-change isn't the reason I swim, or it would be horribly disappointing. I suppose it's possible that it increases my hunger enough that I eat back too many calories - I've never tracked my food when I've swum regularly before.
May 26, 2013 10:03 AM
I also swam competitively in middle & high school. I fell away from it for years mostly due to lack of access. Recently a new gym franchise moved into my area with a 25 yard 3 lane lap pool. I switched gyms for that alone and I'm very happy with the decision. Swimming is not my only exercise now but it is tossed into my overall mixture as another source of muscular challenge. At my age, I can't swim hard enough or long enough for it to be the primary source of exercise or weight loss. It's fantastic for supplemental benefits though. I swim about 30 minutes 2 times per week in rotation with other exercises like weightlifting, crossfit with a trainer and other sources of cardio.
I agree with others who have said you are not eating enough. It happened to me early on too. You think, "Less calories are good so even lesser calories are better". WRONG! There is a caloric "sweet spot" for weight loss that you have to find. Too few calories can be just as bad for you in different ways as too many. My sweet spot is to eat back about 2/3 of my exercise burn. You have to fuel your activity. Your spot may be different and you just have to tinker with it to find it. Good luck!
  22344905

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