View Full Version : My First Post on USMS

June 16th, 2002, 04:46 PM
Howdy, everybody!

I'm 48, as of this past Monday, and I have been getting back into shape since about Sept. of last year. Just a quick brag, I weighed 240+ back in Sept, my doctor wanted to put me on cholesterol lowering meds and my blood pressure meds were no longer doing the trick so I had to up them about 4 times until it was under control again.

In two months time, I had lost 40 lbs (yes, I know that was TOO fast) but I was able to stay off the statin drugs! My other goal was to get completely off BP meds by my birthday and I did that... first time in about 11 years! It's been almost 10 months and the weight has remained between 195 to 200. I had my body fat measured at 12% a few months back but not sure if it's still that good or not but the weight is still the same. I had some surgery a month ago so I had to slow down some temporarily.

I'm lifting weights every other day and currently swimming on the days in between. I had been doing my cardio on an elliptical machine but I just enjoy swimming so much that it's a hard choice. My problem is this. I want to get my heart rate up to get the most benefit from my cardio time but I seem to have a harder time of it in the pool than I do on the elliptical machine. Am I just not working hard enough or is it just harder to do in the water?

I've thought about joining a Master's club because I miss the competitive aspect like I had from playing basketball for years, which was my main sport until a few years ago when I decided to give my knees and back a permanent vacation. What do you think? Could I participate successfully and just swim 2 to 3 times a week? I don't want to give up the weight either and there's only so much time in a week.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Sally Dillon
June 17th, 2002, 02:08 PM
BSmith - by all means, join a team. It sounds like you would benefit from the competitive aspect of training with others and there is no doubt you would also benefit from having a coach. Even veteran swimmers do. If you swim 3 days a week you should experience significant improvement. Although there are swimmers who train 5+ days a week, there are also many successful ones who only swim 3 days a week. Just remember to make the most of every training day - stay focused.

June 20th, 2002, 09:06 PM

I think I'll put this URL away somewhere and leave it for a while... it's pretty dead around here.


June 21st, 2002, 06:14 AM
If you sign up for automatic email notification of posts you'll find there is a LOT of activity on this forum.

June 21st, 2002, 07:06 AM
I was aware of your messsage, emmett, because of automatic notification so I thought I was signed up. Do you have to sign up for each thread or is there a global option?

June 21st, 2002, 11:11 AM
At the top level of each forum you can subscribe to the entire forum (all threads in that forum). So you can pick and choose which forums you have an interest in and ignore the others.

later - e -

Rick Harris
June 27th, 2002, 07:09 PM
You don't say exactly what you're doing when you do swim, so it's a little hard to say why you may be having trouble getting your heart rate up. I believe, however, that it is possible for anyone to get a good heart rate workout in a swimming pool.

I have a few suggestions you might try. (NOTE: If you have a competitive swimming background, then you don't need any of this advice.)

1. Yes, as has been suggested, you should consider joining a Masters club and committing (to yourself) to attend the club's workouts some specific number of times per week. There are some people who seem to be able to get in shape and work hard in the pool without a coach on deck or training partners in the water. I am not one of those people, nor are most of the swimmers know. It is much easier to get motivated to give it my best when a coach is standing on the deck watching me, and when there are others in my lane who are doing what I am doing. If you will go to the workouts and do what the coach asks, you almost certainly will put demands on your body that will increase your heart rate to the degree you seek.

2. If you have been going to the pool and doing the same thing every time, swimming a straight 1000 yards, for example, your body has probably adapted to the demands of this work and this makes it more difficult to get your heart rate up. The work involved in your workout, in other words, has become too easy. The way to get around this problem is to vary your workouts. This is another reason to join a club, because, as a member of a coached club, you will be doing a new, different workout every time you go to the pool. If you decide not to join a club, you might look up some of the workouts posted on the workouts section of the discussion forum, and bring a new one with you every time you go to the pool. And, in any event, you should be doing some interval training, which, again, you will get with a club, but you can also do this on your own.

3. Try mixing in some kicking sets with your swimming. And to really, really get your heart rate up, try some kicking sets with fins. Put on a pair of fins, kick fifty yards/meters several times with a short rest (10-30 seconds) between each repeat, work moderately hard, and I'd be surprised if you weren't panting pretty hard by the time you finish. In fact, that might be such a good way to get your heart rate up that you should be careful not to overdo it.

The largest muscles in your body are in your legs and rear end. If you are just putting the main work load on your upper body, which is what some swimmers do, then those muscles, being smaller, don't normally need as much oxygen as, for example, your legs would need during a run or a bike ride. When you put a work load on your legs (and fins do this), your big muscles start demanding a lot of oxygen, which translates to a higher heart rate. Another benefit is that burning more oxygen generally means burning more calories.

There are many brands and types of fins that are made especially for swimmers and you can see these advertised in Swim magazine or at any of several swimming related web sites. Expect to spend between $25.00 and maybe $60.00 for a good pair of fins designed for swimmers. Many clubs like their swimmers to use the same fin, so if you decide to join a club, ask the coach about what kind to buy. Many clubs can even order fins and other swim equipment for you.