Weight loss and swimming do not closely link together in people's minds. Swimming is good for total-body toning and cardiovascular exercise, though it does not build lean muscle mass, as it is a non-weight-bearing exercise. Although swimming might not increase metabolism like weigh lifting, it does burn calories. One side effect of swimming workouts, potentially troublesome for those trying to lose weight, is that swimming makes athletes hungry. The appetite boosts from swimming occurs with more intensity than that from running or biking, perhaps due to the cooling effect of water on the body, says Alicia Kendig, MS, RD, registered dietitian in "Swimming for Weight Loss," in an April 2008 article appearing in "Swimmer" magazine. Swimming a mile takes moderate-speed swimmers about 40 minutes. Combining sprint work with slow distance work keeps the metabolism fired up, and the swimmer from getting bored.
Write down a diet and exercise plan. Start a daily journal to note exercise completed and calories consumed per day. Look up and calculate daily calorie consumption requirements using calculators available on government health websites, such as MyFoodPyramid.com.
Write down how many calories per day you need to consume to maintain your current weight. Subtract 500 calories from the number. That represents the number of calories you should eat each day for gradual steady weight loss.
Weight yourself and write down the number. Search online for a Body Mass Index calculator, often appearing on government health websites. BMI uses height and weight to determine healthy versus overweight weight ranges.Figure what the healthy weight range for a person your height is using a BMI index.
Compare your BMI index with those falling within the healthy range, typically those between 18.5 and 24.9. Certain BMI index calculators, such as the one featured on the American Heart Association website allow for variables such as an athletic build. Write down your target weight, and how many pounds you need to lose to reach it.
Buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Purchase whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice. Prepare the grains ahead of time and divide into single servings. Use the individual servings and reheat with servings of vegetables or lean proteins. Season food lightly, substituting fresh herbs and spices for salt whenever possible.
Swim 100 meters at an easy pace and note the time it takes to complete the distance. Use the pace clock at the pool, or a stopwatch to time the laps. Swim 100 meters fast and note the sprint pace.
Swim 10 x 100 meters, each on the easy-pace interval you timed. Swim 5 X 100 meters, at the sprint pace you timed. Perform a slow warm-down lap, and get out of the pool. Reverse the work out the second day, doing 5 X 100 meters easy and 10 X 100 meters sprint pace. Start with the easy pace set first, then do sprints.
Add backstroke and breaststroke to the work out in the second week, in order to vary muscle usage. Reserve the sprint sets for freestyle, and swap breaststroke or backstroke for freestyle in the easy sets, alternating between the three styles, on different days. Swim all freestyle if you do not know how to perform backstroke or breaststroke.
Replace calories burned after swimming by eating a low-fat snack, such as a banana or a protein bar. Swimmers often experience intense hunger after workouts, so keeping healthy fuel available reduces impulse junk food consumption.