Are you looking to shed some extra weight? You'll have to prepare mentally and physically to give yourself the best chance of success. This means lowering your calorie intake by managing your diet and burning more calories by exercising properly.
Running is often the go-to exercise for most people. It's simple and free, but it can often wreak havoc on your knees and you might not have anywhere that's safe or convenient to run.
If running is out of the conversation, you might want to look at swimming. Swimming for fat loss can get you some magnificent results - you can expect to burn around 500 calories per hour! That's a huge amount and it can put you on track to meet your weight loss goals.
In this post, we're going to take a closer look at swimming to lose body fat and we'll also dive right into the hottest swimming and weight loss tips.
Is Swimming Good for Weight Loss?
If you are trying to find the perfect exercise to burn more calories, you might be asking yourself "does swimming burn fat?"
The answer to that question is a huge "yes". Swimming is an amazing form of exercise that elevates your heart rate without putting too much stress on your body. It helps you to tone your muscles while building both your strength and endurance too.
You can expect to burn a staggering 400 calories an hour on average, too. That number can go up dramatically too, depending on the pace that you keep and the stroke that you decide to use. This means that swimming is a perfect exercise option to complement your diet.
If you suffer from arthritis or a similar condition, swimming is the perfect low-impact option for you too. To make it even more attractive, it's a relatively affordable exercise option when compared to others like cycling that requires specialist equipment.
10 Tips for Swimming and Weight Loss
If you are swimming to slim down, you can elevate your results by following these tips.
- Reduce your rest periods
Knowing when to rest and for how long is the secret to maximizing the calorie-burning potential of swimming. Many people decide to take regular rests between their laps at the end of the pool, but you should try to cut them down as much as possible.
It might feel a little scary to start swimming a new lap while you're tired, but you should try to push yourself within sensible limits. Shorter rest periods mean that your heart rate remains elevated for longer and that you burn more calories.
As a general rule of thumb, try to make sure that you only spend around 10% of your time at the pool actually resting.
- Set realistic goals
Lots of people turn up at the pool, hop into the water, and start swimming. While it's great to get started, this approach isn't going to get you the best results possible.
To get the most from your workout, you'll need a plan. You should try to constantly assess your performance and set new benchmarks. This will help you to set realistic goals that keep you motivated and performing as well as possible.
Hitting a new goal is a great feeling and that hit of endorphins will keep you on track.
- Join a class
Everybody has a different level when it comes to swimming. You might find that your technique is a little rusty or that you lack the motivation to carry on swimming by yourself. If that's the case, a class is a perfect solution.
Swimming classes give you the ability to sharpen your technique and push yourself further than ever before. The vigilant eye of an instructor gives a lot of people comfort and it adds some structure to their workout. Helpful pointers along the way will turn you into a swimming pro, too.
- Perform other exercises in the pool
Swimming is an amazing all-body workout, but there are other workouts you could do in the pool too. Aqua jogging can strengthen your muscles and really take your cardiovascular health to new levels, for example.
It's a fun workout that might look a little strange at first, but it's an amazing way to work out your legs without the impact that comes with running on land. The resistance also means that you'll burn a huge number of calories while water running.
- Use the right strokes
There are lots of different perspectives on which stroke burns the most calories (we'll take a look at that later), but you should really focus on finding the stroke that you're most comfortable with. This will help you to swim efficiently and focus on achieving the great form that will help you burn as many calories as possible.
- Buy the right equipment
Swimming is so great because you really need very little in terms of equipment and gear. You should make sure that you cover the essentials, though, and that they help rather than hinder your swimming progress.
If you are getting serious about swimming, you should get the following at a minimum:
- A great piece of swimwear
- Swimming goggles
- A comfortable swimming cap
- Avoid overeating
A great swimming workout will often leave you feeling famished - it's the sign that you had a great workout and burned through some calories. It's important that you don't overeat, though, or you could run the risk of just undoing all of your hard work!
Try to have a healthy meal planned or prepared so that you don't give in to temptation and treat yourself a little too generously.
- Use an interval training program
Interval training is a great way to maximize the returns you get from your swimming exercise. The technique is used by swimmers and cyclists, too, and it's pretty simple. Essentially, you want to swim one lap as fast as you can and follow that up with a more relaxed one.
This type of training helps you to maximize the benefits of swimming and burn as many calories as possible.
- Draw motivation from others
You might find that you eventually become comfortable with the speed and intensity of your training. This complacency could mean that you're failing to get the maximum benefit possible from your swimming workout.
In those instances, it can often be a great idea to get a swimming partner who's faster than you - they give you lots of motivation to push yourself! Even if you don't know the swimmer personally, single out a person who is faster than you in the pool and try to approach their pace.
- Enjoy the mental side of swimming
Swimming is a tough workout without a doubt, but it's also a great time to think and have some alone time. You will find that as you hit your rhythm, it's a very pleasurable activity and that you have some quality time to yourself.
Use this time effectively to focus on your body and how you feel. This can help you to enjoy the exercise more and build a positive association between swimming and happiness.
What Swimming Stroke Burns the Most Calories?
Struggling to decide which stroke you should use? Here's a brief breakdown of the main strokes out there and how they affect your body:
- Butterfly stroke: 774 calories per hour
- Breaststroke: 704 calories per hour
- Freestyle: 700 calories per hour
While the butterfly stroke burns the most calories, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best choice for you. It's an incredibly difficult stroke to master - this often means that the breaststroke is the best choice for most people.
The breaststroke is simpler to master, meaning that you can swim efficiently and focus on getting the best workout to burn as many calories as possible.