View Full Version : Weight loss

March 31st, 2015, 04:47 AM
Since this is my first post here I wanna say big HI to everyone! ;)

I think I have to give a little background about myself first so You guys can guide me better (hopefully). So I used to train boxing for a couple of years. I was a boxing maniac to be honest, training 5-6 days a week with lots of sparring. Everything was great untill one day I fell on the ground and could not walk for a few weeks. MRI diagnosed severe bulging discs but I didnt give up and stayed in the gym for an extra year or two. I managed to centralize the pain but MRI showed the violent twisintg motion involved in punching is getting things worse so I had to stop. I was literally addicted to the sport so it took another 2 years for me to get myself off the ground and move on. During this time I took some swimming lessons as I knew I have to find myself another sport and swimming is the best sport for back problems. I started from the cratch as I could only swim some basic breast stroke and now I can swim decent freestyle, backstroke and I'm learning the butterfly. My current situation wont let me hire a coach (both lack of time and money) but I certainly will in a few months perspective. Till that time I have to just focus and develop the strokes further on my own.

I'm pretty happy with my progress but what bothers me is my current state of body fat. I never did any dieting as I allways stayed in shape over the last years. I could eat anything and I was just getting better and better. Even the last few months of boxing when the pain was persistent and I could only train like 2 times a week I couldnt gain any fat at all while now I'm just getting fatter and fatter while swimming my ass off in the pool 3times a week.

I tried everything from doing laps to intervals. i.e. my yesterdays workout looked like this:
200m fs
200m bs- warmup

10x100m fs

4*100m kick (fs/bs/side)

200m bs pull buoy
200m fs pull buoy

cool down- slow steady fs, flip turns and butterfly kick practice

I understand my knowledge at this point is close to none but I'm trying to mix things up and focus on a short distance intervals instead of doing laps. I also constantly focus on my technique.

Some time ago I came to the conclusion that maybe I dont kick properly so I dedicated the whole workout strictly focusing on the proper kick technique. I read somewhere that to kick from the hip You have to squeeze the buttocks so I swam each laop focusing on this. I could barelly walk the next day but the fat stayed. I know that when I finally get to the right level of intensivenes the fat is just going to melt away in a couple of days but I cant seem to get there anyhow.

After each session in the pool I do some very light lifting (2compound excersises/2-3s each/push/pull).

Now my questions is what am I doing wrong? Should I swim more each workout or focus on something in order to burn the fat? Like I said it took me a few rounds on the heavy bag 2 times a week to melt the fat away while now I'm doing miles in the pool without any effect. As for my back problems I almost forgot I had any. Swimming works like a charm!

Dieting is not an option for me. Id rather live in the pool 24/7 than waste time on dieting.

Please help ;)

April 1st, 2015, 09:08 PM
I got back into swimming to loose weight and through a combination of changing what I ate and swimming I was able to drop 55lbs in about 6 months. I have been a consistent 180lbs for about 2 years. I heard a guy I swim with saying you should never ask a skinny guy for advice on loosing weight so take this for what it is. I am a skinny guy now but at 235lbs I was not. I lost weight primarily by changing what I eat. I gave up alcohol, I don't eat deserts and I watch my quantity of food in a single sitting but I genuinely eat what I want and snack between meals. I swim 6 days a week for about 90mins a session. I have done both high yardage aerobic training and also race pace high intensity training. Swimming is a great form of exercise and I honestly love it but I don't believe I would have lost the weight just by swimming alone. I used myfitnesspal as a way of adjusting my quantities of food. Like I said I eat a lot of food but not at any one single sitting. I hope my advice helps. I also documented my journey on my blog on these forums and if you want to use any of my workouts feel free.

One last thing to consider on the swimming front is to join a masters team. The cost is not much more than swimming at a pool, but there are two big advantages I have found; first the coach can give you some great stroke advice, second having people to workout with is much easier than swimming on your own.

April 1st, 2015, 10:47 PM
Congrats to Stewart for his success! I'm in a similar situation but not nearly so far down the road. I switched from 35 minutes of swimming 4-5 times a week to 60 minutes (not counting rests) about 4 months ago. I've lost 18 pounds and have ten to go. Here's a good site for measuring calories burned: http://www.swimmingcalculator.com/swim_calories_calculator.php
At 210 pounds and swimming at about 55 seconds per 50 yard lap, I burn about 850 calories in an hour.

I also recommend mynetdiary for tracking calories burned and consumed. I hear you on not dieting, but you can eat pretty much a normal diet and lose a pound a week as long as your diet truly is "normal." And honestly you don't know the answer to that question without tracking intake. A Quarter Pounder and fries, for example, would erase an hour of swimming.

Good luck!

Gary P
April 2nd, 2015, 08:32 AM
There was a time when I could eat all I wanted and not gain an ounce. Like 5000 calories a day worth of "all I wanted." That was when I was a teenager with a teenager's base metabolism and I was in the pool or weight room 20-25 hours a week. Sometime in my late 20's, early 30's, father time started catching up to me. I wasn't a teenager, and I wasn't working out like I did as a teenager, but I was still eating a lot like a teenager. The pounds started accumulating. By 45, I was 230+. (For reference, I graduated at ~155).

My story from there is similar to Stewart's. I dropped 60 lbs in 9 months with a combination of swimming and diet. Yeah, unfortunately diet was a necessary part of the equation. Honestly, it was probably a bigger part of the success than swimming. I used a specific plan that kept the calorie count in check and kept the allocation of the various food groups in balance. The biggest change has been a complete avoidance of sweets and foods with processed sugars. Also, the total amount starchy carbs is reduced dramatically from what I ate previously. Conversely, I eat more fruit, vegetables, and lean protein than before. I didn't give up alcohol completely, but I did cut back. (When you only get 3 or 4 "carb servings" a day and a light beer or glass of wine counts as one, you tend to think "do I really want this?" before opening a bottle or pouring a glass :)).

For almost everyone, there comes a time where you have to watch what you eat in order to avoid getting fatter. There is no technique advice or magic workout set that anyone can give you that will burn enough calories in three 1-1.5 hour swim workouts a week so that you can eat what you want without gaining weight/body fat. At this point, you probably don't have to make the wholesale changes I did. But you might want to start tracking calories at a minimum, just to see how much you're really consuming. Then compare that to how many your burning. revchris is right, it only takes one poor choice to offset an entire workout's worth of work.

Lastly I would suggest you increase the frequency of your workouts. You said "Id rather live in the pool 24/7 than waste time on dieting." Well, there's a pretty big gulf between 3 times a week, 1-1.5 hours a workout (my guess as to how long it takes you based on the sample workout you provided) and "24/7." I saw a noticeable increase in my base metabolism when I went from swimming 3 times to 4, then 5 or 6 times a week.

April 2nd, 2015, 10:55 AM
My experience has been pretty much the same as Stewart's RevChris and Gary P. metabolism slows especially at about 50 yrs and your appetite stays as it was when you were 20 working hard and burning calories like an incinerator. I cut out most of all of the extra carbs (crackers, cookies, ice cream, alcohol etc.) except on special occasions and limited my alcohol intake to 2 beers/day on weekends. I never really counted calories but ate more veggies, fruit and lean protein when I was hungry instead of carbs and only weighed myself once per week (same day same time). I dropped about 2-3 lbs per month swimming about 12k+ per week, but then began spinning and running too and that really accelerated the weight loss. Running burns calories the fastest and I think spinning burns them slightly faster than and equivalent time length of swimming - long runs (or fast walks) are the best as speed isn't really much of factor. I got rid of about 40 pounds in about 10 months, but put some back on each time I fell off the wagon. The pounds come off much faster and with less work when you are young!

April 2nd, 2015, 12:01 PM
Swimming alone is not necessarily going to lead to immediate weight loss and viewing swimming from a weight-loss perspective could lead to frustration. Lauren Trocchio, who is a nutritionist in the northern Virginia area, wrote a great article on swimming and weight loss - perhaps it will be of some help! http://www.swimspire.com/swimming-weight-loss-activity-exercise-futility/

April 2nd, 2015, 02:56 PM
Thanks for the link to that article, Swimspire. Also, to underscore what Gary P said, in addition to increasing the swim time, I also upped the frequency to 6 days a week in order to lose the weight.

April 8th, 2015, 01:08 AM
It is not about the exercise it is about the eating and drinking.

I cannot agree more with Stewart....get that myfitnesspal app and get on the website and start tracking your intake of food and drink. If you drink beer like I did it will end immediately when you see the wasted calories you are putting down. I lost 10 pounds in a year exercising like a freaking animal and it drove me nuts why. I cook all my meals, but when I added the steaks, potatoes, fruit, eggs, toast, etc and then toss in 5 beers a day I was at 3500 calories per day easy.

I learned the body is a machine and it is predictable. I started tracking my intake on excel b/c I was sick of hoping I would lose a pound this week after the weekend wine or scotch. I decided I was going to 'predict' my weight. Immediately I saw I was spinning my wheels. I ran into that app by accident and it is much easier than building your own excel sheet. It will hold you accountable. I just made a massive pizza for dinner with my own non-salt, non-sugar, tomato sauce and an entire package of cheese. 1300 calories. I threw in a 7 hour intermittent fast today so I could do this. Two coffees during the fast...Easy. I am woddling around the house I am so full right now and I only put down 2000 calories today and burned 1000. So my caloric deficit is around 1800 today. I'll lose just over .5 pounds today alone and I would wager on that. It is a fun science for me now, the hope game is over now. I prefer to have a prediction and be almost dead nuts accurate. Predicting my weight loss before it occurs is like having skin in the game of a business venture. You just work harder when you have skin in the game.

After a year of non-discipline and thinking I could work out harder than my eating and drinking I finally got smart. The good thing is for every wasted step there are experiences had. I'm looking forward to figuring out how I am going to be able to eat 3000 calories without drinking beer....maybe I'll have a couple once I hit 190....20 more pounds to go :)

April 8th, 2015, 01:22 AM
Get a gram scale too so you can weigh food out. do this for 2 weeks and you won't need to weigh anymore, but at first I thought I was eating 100 grams of broccoli and I was eating 400 grams. Not a material mistake b/c it is broccoli, but you get the idea. Nice to have a scale when you want to clobber a massive 1000 gram sweet potato once a week and you have no clue how many calories that puppy is! :bouncing:

My days on this app and weighing my food are numbered most likely....Or maybe just like a sport it will have a limited time frame per year. I know that I can eat without counting calories, actually eating one item of fruit per day, no alcohol, plenty of protein and green vegetables I am not sure if one could really over eat even if you tried.

April 10th, 2015, 06:36 AM
Thank You guys for all the replies! I was beeing pretty busy lately so couldnt post earlier (didnt skip a single workout though). I did a slight change to my dieting and I can say I'm finally on the right track. What I did was adding one extra meal (very light) about 2hrs prior hitting the pool. The workouts I'm doing are exact 1.5h long (You pointed it right there Gary) so I thought maybe I should give my body some fuel so it wont have to store anything as a fat. Before I was eating one BIG meal around 1pm and that was it. This slight change gave me an immediate better overall feeling + looser pants on the next day.

I dont think its up to age but the intensity which is not available for me at this point due to lack of proper skill. It is pretty easy to just do some workout on the dry land and it doesnt require any decent technique. While in the pool I have to learn the strokes first in order to be able to get tired properly.

Joining the masters team would be the best solution and I allways knew it. The problem is I cant find anything near my location.

Swimming a series of freestyle 100's does a good job for me but again it will take me some more time to get on the proper intensity level. Sometimes I have to slow down my stroke not because I'm tired but just because the lack of air.

I'm now considering buying some training-aid watch. There are some models which count the strokes and I can use them to plan the workouts. This way I can see whether I'm swimming faster or not.

Anyone using a watch like this?

April 10th, 2015, 02:11 PM
I use the Garmin Forerunner 920XT but if you're only interested in swimming and not triathlons, I recommend the Garmin Swim watch (the Garmin Swim watch does what the 920XT does in lap swim mode but it's much cheaper since the Garmin Swim watch only does swimming). It can track distance, stroke type, stroke count, stroke efficiency (SWOLF), average pace, best pace, calories burned, and drills as well as intervals.

April 11th, 2015, 08:27 AM
I also recommend the MyFitnessPal app and community (with a forum for swimmers, too). They have a huge database of branded and generic foods and exercises, which makes it very easy to track your calories in and calories out (CICO). By combining killer work-outs and a very low calorie but variable diet, I lost 60 lbs in 3 months and increased my swimming endurance from 3 laps to 3 miles continuous. The variable part of the diet is important as is getting proper rest. I tend to eat much more, especially protein, AFTER my work-outs and get PLENTY of rest so that my body can rebuild itself stronger than it was before. I've also been doing some strength-training in the gym to keep from losing muscle. Good luck to you!

July 16th, 2015, 03:45 AM
I decided to bump the thread as this information might be usefull for someone struggling with similar problems.

So I did a major progress since April and even hired a coach and my conclusion is that the intensity>time spent in the pool

My current workout allways ends with a set of 10-20 25m sprints with 10-15secs breaks. This gives me an instant hormone rush resulting in better performance on every drill/excercise/distans. I even started to gain some good quality muscles after very light gym sessions (2 compound excersises, 2 series each in super sets) and the best part is that im loosing fat RAPIDLY without any changes to my diet. The only change is that I eat twice as much as I did in April ;))

I feel great in general so if anyone is looking for the way to quickly get in shape I strongly advice to incorporate heavy sprinting to their workouts.

Still I'm in search of a good watch that will help me with my workouts. I like garmin swim but I handled suunto ambit3 during the weekend and it just feels nice. Anyone have any experience with the suunto?

July 16th, 2015, 08:01 AM
I don't know if this was mentioned in previous posts, but be sure you're staying hydrated. Often hunger is actually your body's craving for fluids, so make sure you drink before, during, and after your swim. Congratulations on how much progress you've made.