Caution: 99.9% of the time you find me in a pool it’s because I’m cooling off on a hot day.
Usually with a cold beer in my hand.
Sometimes Corona. Sometimes a Sierra Nevada.
And some form of shenanigans are going on.
However, we get asked if swimming is the best exercise to tone up and lose weight quite a bit. So I will toss in my two cents.
Swimming has some phenomenal benefits. It’s great for increasing flexibility and flushing out the soreness from a tough workout. You also work the body through a broad range of motion in a very low impact way, which your joints will thank you for.
My favorite benefit of swimming is the relaxation and focus you get from the deep rhythmic breathing.
That being said, if you need to lose weight quickly, I wouldn’t swim as the sole exercise to get lean. Your program should have a solid resistance training foundation, and then you can add swimming for cardio as an extra calorie burner.
Your main goal is to lose weight and get lean. Assuming your diet (the biggest factor in getting lean) is dialed in, that leaves exercise.
The exercises that will crank your fat burning gauge to maximum speed; the ones that will increase your metabolic rate the most, are the resistance exercises.
The reason is that not only do you burn a great number of calories during the workout itself, but the metabolic changes that occur because of the workout (increased cell turnover, muscular recovery, hormonal spikes, etc) have your system churning and burning calories until the cows come home.
If they do indeed come home I hope you have a big lawn, I hear they eat a lot of grass.
Another bonus of resistance training is that the increased muscle mass gained from the rebuilding phase of resistance training raises your metabolism and keeps it up even when you’re done exercising.
For this reason, I’d make resistance exercise the backbone of your weight loss program.
Swimming is a fun, relaxing activity. If it’s your favorite form of cardio, then go for it- in addition to the big dogs (resistance exercises), not instead of them.
But… Michael Phelps eats 12,000 calories a day!
He was also training six days a week for five hours per day.