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yellowgirl
August 6th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Hello everyone,

I recently happened to have read a few (probably misleading) articles about swimming and weight loss. I have started swimming 3 months ago as a replacement for other cardio exercises due to knee injury. I enjoy swimming greatly but also I want to lose weight.

What I read is that because of the cold water the body tends to build a layer of fat underneath the skin to heat the body... that also the body doesn't burn as much fat because the cold water keeps it from heating... and that the cold water causes the apetite to rise.

Is any of this scientific? Does it make any sense?

SwimStud
August 6th, 2008, 10:58 PM
Hello everyone,

I recently happened to have read a few (probably misleading) articles about swimming and weight loss. I have started swimming 3 months ago as a replacement for other cardio exercises due to knee injury. I enjoy swimming greatly but also I want to lose weight.

What I read is that because of the cold water the body tends to build a layer of fat underneath the skin to heat the body... that also the body doesn't burn as much fat because the cold water keeps it from heating... and that the cold water causes the apetite to rise.

Is any of this scientific? Does it make any sense?

Yellowgirl: Swim hard and swimg long you will burn the fat...it's just slower with swimming. Part of the problem is the voracious appetite that you get after swimming. Prepare your meals before you go, and chew slow to allow the body time to feel full, otherwise you'll chips and cookie yourself into dismay.
Doing some other activity like, light and high rep weights will help.
FYI I swim 4-5 nights a week this summer in a long course pool. I have lost 5lbs, it was not a goal but it has happened.

fanstone
August 6th, 2008, 10:58 PM
It is beyond non scientific, it is beyond urban legends, it is totally wrong! Look at all the fat people (why call obese, what is obviously fat?) around you who never enter the water. Your body temperature is always the same, unless you have a fever, irrespective of the temperature around you, be it air or water. Your appetite depends on so many factors, least of which is the cold water. The reason swimming might be less of a weight loss as compared to running or lifting weights is the simple math of caloric expenditure. If you swim enough to spend more calories than you are eating than you will lose weight.

Allen Stark
August 7th, 2008, 12:38 AM
Urban myth.The problem is that what is classified as "swimming" is highly variable.Is it hanging on the wall talking,head up reststroke or 100s on the 1:15.Swim hard and don't eat more and you'll lose weight.

taruky
August 7th, 2008, 01:10 AM
It is beyond non scientific, it is beyond urban legends, it is totally wrong! Look at all the fat people (why call obese, what is obviously fat?) around you who never enter the water. Your body temperature is always the same, unless you have a fever, irrespective of the temperature around you, be it air or water. Your appetite depends on so many factors, least of which is the cold water. The reason swimming might be less of a weight loss as compared to running or lifting weights is the simple math of caloric expenditure. If you swim enough to spend more calories than you are eating than you will lose weight.

While I agree with the premise of your response, namely that swimming can help with weight loss, the sentence I bolded is incorrect. Temperature around you can in fact change your body temperature when at extremes. For example, leave someone in a hot car with windows closed for 1 hour, and their core temperature will rise. Likewise, people end up in ERs with hypothermia all the time due to cold exposure. The body tries to maintain homeostasis, i.e. avoid extremes, but it has its limits.

Of course, the extra layer of fat insulation theory is garbage.

Rykno
August 7th, 2008, 01:54 AM
I would guess that it also has something to do with your heart rate or level of intesity.

most people that run/jog or bike usually really work their bodies. they might not be going really fast, but they are really pushing themselves.

AS Allen mentioned, what is the level of swimming they are refereing.

I can swim 1000m in 40 minutes and it would do little to nothing for me. not even sure my heart rate would even top 90.

But if I swim 3000m in 40 minutes then I am pretty sure my body switches over to fat burning mode.

I can use myself as an example. I swim 3 times a week, usually 3500-5000m in 90 minutes depending on the type of sets we have. this type of swimming plus a better diet helped me to go from 238lbs down to 186lbs in 12 months. in the month of July after all my meets I only swim twice a week, but I did really really easy 2000-2500m lake swims taking roughly 45-50 minutes. and over the course of 3-4 weeks my weight went up to 192lbs. last week I jumped into the pool twice to get a feel of 25m again, and this week our workouts started. I have already gotten back down to 189lbs

so the slower lap swimming might be good for your overall conditioning, but you really need to work hard in the water to burn fat.

That's just my opinion
-Ryan

yellowgirl
August 7th, 2008, 06:01 AM
To be honest, I used to be a semi-professional squash player prior to my injury. So I've been doing sports and resistance training for over 8 years and I can say that I have pretty enough of a basic understanding to refuse all this crap I read about swimming and weight loss. Nevertheless, I thought I'd give it a benefit of the doubt since this stuff was the result of (I think) two studies back in the 80s. After further research I've done, it turns out that these studies were lacking in accuracy, preparation and so forth.

I agree with all what you said. It is HOW you swim that determines weight loss. Although I've picked up swimming SERIOUSLY 3 months ago, I have always been swimming crawl and I was trained by an olympics swimmer. So I can say that I have a safe and good technique and I can tell a bad swimmer when I see one. When I go to train in the pool, I see many people TRYING to swim but with wrong technique. Either they got the breathing wrong or the arms wrong or so on. Obviously they never last for more than 10 laps. I do around 70 laps x 25 in about 60 minutes and I feel my body burning for the next 24 hours. I can really feel the after-effect. And about cold water and hunger, I haven't experienced anything of note. However I read somewhere that jumping into the sauna after swimming would help?!?! Also, can't seem to get this.

ViveBene
August 7th, 2008, 07:56 AM
It isn't the technique per se - I swam for many years "wrong," a mile a day, and it was excellent for weight control - but caloric expenditure versus intake. Perhaps you can mix in some sprint work with straightforward lap swimming and see what happens.

To avoid eating everything in sight, I take along some tasty fruits (cherries or orange sections seem to be very good) and milk or yogurt for postswim eats.

Don't know about the sauna thing; maybe you'd sweat off a bit over time, but it's not the main activity.

VB

tjrpatt
August 7th, 2008, 09:55 AM
I lost 32 pounds just primarily from swimming. But, I wasn't swimming leisurely. Since January, I have been swimming about 25K yards a week and 25k Meters a week in the summer. You are not going to lose that much weight loofy a 1000 to 2000 yards every time you get in the pool. You have to put 110% in the pool. Challenge yourself. Do paces that are faster than your normal pace. Of Course, I will cut back the swimming just a tad to do more dryland in the fall.

Allen Stark
August 8th, 2008, 11:04 AM
I'll throw in another myth;the "fat burning" pace.Some people say go at 60% effort so that you will burn more fat.That is wrong,at that effort you will burn primarily fat,but not more.Your body would rather burn fat as it gives 9 Cal/gm of energy instead of 4Cal/gm with carbs and protein.It takes a lot of oxygen to burn fat,so as you exert more your body has to use energy sources that take less oxygen,primarily burning glycogen.The fat burning is still going on,but glycogen is the larger source.Then when you stop,if you are just "fat burning"you will recover quickly using little more energy.If you were working harder,you'd take longer to recover,using more energy,and since plenty of oxygen is again available you are burning fat.Over all,a hard workout burns much more fat than a easy one.

dorothyrde
August 8th, 2008, 11:12 AM
I have found that for me, weight loss is 90% what goes into my mouth and 10% exercise of any form. I actually find consistent swimming helps control my weight(I have lost 40 pounds and kept it off 8 years). This is along with weight training, and biking, running, lots of things to keep my interest high in fitness. Watch the diet, and you will lose.

Ripple
August 8th, 2008, 12:37 PM
[quote=yellowgirl;145463]...What I read is that because of the cold water the body tends to build a layer of fat underneath the skin to heat the body... that also the body doesn't burn as much fat because the cold water keeps it from heating... and that the cold water causes the apetite to rise...quote]
Lynn Cox experienced a rise in body fat % without added calories (probably subcutaneous fat) when she was acclimatizing to extremely cold water for her Arctic and Antarctic swims... but few people are swimming in water that cold. A lot of public pools are, in fact, uncomfortably warm.
I gained about 60 pounds after injuries from a car accident took away all my favorite land-based activities. About 25-30 pounds came off gradually, over a period of years, just from swimming. I've been at a plateau for a few years and have taken up running again (very cautiously) to try to get down a few pounds more, but there is no doubt in my mind that I'd have gained even more weight if I hadn't overcome my dislike of swimming and stuck with it.

SLOmmafan
August 8th, 2008, 01:39 PM
Well, I can't say too much about weight loss - I swim so I can eat without having to really count calories of think anything of it otherwise. I would imagine that just as with any sport, the more intensity you use in each practice will dictate caloric intake needs. Bottom line for me, if I am hungry I eat - if not, I try and find something else to occupy myself with (as a lot of overeating is done in response to boredom).

Also, I try and do at least one set (like 5 - 100m free) on a quick interval to really get the heart beating and the body warm.

Donna
August 8th, 2008, 07:58 PM
You can lose weight swimming. Remeber you didn't put it on over night and it doesn't come off over night. You will also build muscle which weighs more than the fat you lose. You really need to focus more on inches and how your clothes fit than what the scale says. I have gone from 220 lbs 4 years ago and am in the low 160's now.

The greatest loss of inches were when I started swimming with the kids and doing more sprint training.

I have actually found that about a month out from a big taper meet I start losing weight faster than when I am doing my normal training. The reason is the bursts of intensity that are added to my workouts. Changes in pace and intensity make such a difference in weight loss. Usually I have to eat extra to keep from losing weight too fast.

ImFree
August 8th, 2008, 08:57 PM
input < output

Eat less, burn more, or just burn more.

I lost around 40lbs 4 years ago mostly swimming, plus weights, and some eliptical trainer, and some slight changes to diet. Ultimately, as long as the calorie input is less, and you burn more, the lbs will come off, as long as you stick with it. Also, keep in mind these "swimming is not good for weight loss" studies seem to assume common lap swimmers, who may not exactly be getting the heart rate up. Organized Masters swimming will get the heart rate up (ease into it) and burn calories at a higher rate, if you put the effort in.

nkfrench
August 9th, 2008, 12:00 AM
My personal experience is that hard swim workouts suppress my appetite for a few hours. My tastes change towards wanting all "good" foods and no "junk" foods. I find it impossible to get/keep my weight down without regular exercise and swimming has been the best for me in a lifelong struggle. I enjoy my time swimming so I am able to exercise at a good intensity and duration to be effective. A note, even when craving "good" foods I still have to be careful about total calorie intake.