Swimming for Weight-loss
Print 10 Things I Learned During My Body Transformation At the end of the holiday season, people start thinking about their health and fitness goals for the following year. But many people give up on their goals before the first month of the year is even over. That's why I recently decided to share my own transformation-something that took me way out of my comfort zone.
I took the photo on the left in April I was okay with my body, and I loved working out. But I felt like I should be leaner for how much work I was putting in at the gym.
On the right, 20 months later, my mindset, eating habits, and workout schedule are completely different. I still work as a writer and editor, but I'm now also a certified personal trainer. I finally have the body I wanted, and the best part? I'm confident that I can maintain it. That said, it took a lot of work to get where I am now.
Here's what I learned over those 20 months, plus how I actually changed my body after years of trying and failing. There is no secret. This is probably what people least want to hear, but it's also the truest. I truly thought there was some simple secret to getting my best body ever that I was missing out on.
I tried going dairy-free. I got hard-core into CrossFit. I did dance cardio every day for three months. I considered doing Whole I tried well-researched supplements like fish oil, creatine, and magnesium.
There's nothing wrong with any of these things. They all probably made me healthier and maybe even fitter. But the aesthetic results I wanted? They just weren't happening. That's because I was missing out on the big picture. Making one big change isn't enough. There was no single thing that helped me change my body.
Instead, it was the combination of many small diet, fitness, and lifestyle changes I made. When it comes to workouts, more isn't always better. In my "before" picture, I was working out five to six times per week.
What I didn't realize was that for my body and goals, this was totally unnecessary and might have actually been making it harder for me to make progress. Related: How to Work Out Less and Get Better Results Working out so frequently made me feel like I was burning tons of calories overestimating how many calories you burn through exercise is a common phenomenon , and then I'd end up overeating thanks to the appetite I'd worked up.
While this isn't the case for everyone, anecdotally, many people find that cardio workouts increase hunger, which can make it harder to stick to nutrition goals-and that was definitely my experience.
Plus, working out very intensely without enough rest can lead to overtraining , which can make it harder to lose weight. Looking back, I have a sneaking suspicion that the fatigue and difficulty losing weight I was experiencing a couple of years ago was due in part to overtraining. Now, I work out a maximum of three to four days per week. Allowing myself to take plenty of rest in between workouts means I work harder during the time I do spend in the gym.
Related: I Started Exercising Less and Now I'm Fitter Than Ever I also started to enjoy my workouts more when hitting the gym didn't feel like a daily chore that needed to be completed. Instead, it became a chance to try to increase the weights I was using each session. That was key because progressive overload can help you see results much faster. You don't need to feel like you're going to pass out after every workout.
HIIT is a well-researched method of exercise. The benefits are plenty. It's time-efficient, burns loads of calories, and provides a serious endorphin boost. But you know what else is really well-researched? Strength training. About a year and a half ago, I started working with a new trainer. Her rationale was simple: It's just not necessary. Related: 11 Major Health and Fitness Benefits of Lifting Weights If my goal was to reshape my body and lose weight, lifting weights was the most efficient route.
When you're eating in a caloric deficit, lifting weights helps you retain and sometimes even build muscle mass while losing fat. This is also known as body recomposition.
Why would you want to gain muscle when you're trying to lose weight? Not only does gaining muscle mass help you burn more calories at rest , but it also gives your body shape and definition. In the end, that's what many women are really after-whether they know it or not-not just losing fat, but replacing it with shapely muscle. So, my coach encouraged me to continue doing HIIT one or two times per week if I enjoyed it, but after a few months, I realized that I actually didn't like it that much.
I didn't need to have a face dripping with sweat to feel like I got a great workout. Instead, milestones like getting my first chin-up and eventually going on to bang out sets of five , my first pound trap bar deadlift, and my first double bodyweight hip thrust became way more satisfying.
Plus, I was getting a pretty intense heart rate boost from lifting heavy weights. In between sets, my heart rate would come back down, and then I'd start the next set and spike it again. I realized I was basically doing HIIT anyway, so I said goodbye to burpees and squat jumps and have never looked back.
You can't ignore your diet. For years, I avoided the difficult, research-backed truth that exercise alone was not going to get me where I wanted to be. Erm, wrong. In order to lose weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit. In other words, eating less than you're burning. While those intense HIIT workouts were burning plenty of calories, I was loading them right back up and then some with those four glasses of wine, cheese boards, and late-night pizza orders. Once I started tracking my meals and controlling my calorie intake I used macros , but there are plenty of other ways to control calorie intake , I started seeing the results I was after.
Changing your diet is HARD. Now, there was a reason I resisted changing my diet. I like eating-a lot. And I still do. Overeating had never really been a problem for me until I got my first full-time job after college. I knew I was incredibly lucky to be employed in my dream industry, but I was working very long days and was extremely stressed due to a high-pressure environment and the knowledge that if I failed at my job, there were hundreds of other qualified candidates who would gladly take my place.
At the end of the workday, all I wanted to do was treat myself. And most often, that came in the form of food. Within a year of graduating from college, I'd packed on a solid 10 pounds. Over the next six or seven years, I'd added another 15 to my frame. Of course, some of that was muscle from my long-standing exercise habit, but I knew some of it was body fat, too.
Transitioning to dialing in my nutrition was not easy. It became very clear that I was using food for more than just nourishment and enjoyment. I was using it to soothe deep-down, uncomfortable feelings. And once I stopped overeating? I had to find other ways of dealing with them. Exercise is a great outlet, but I also talked to friends and family on the phone, made more time for self-care, and hugged my dog a lot.
I also learned how to cook tons of healthy meals, which can be surprisingly therapeutic. Spending time with my food helped me feel more connected to it, while also helping me be more aware of my food intake.
Don't give up the foods you love. Just because I was cooking healthy doesn't mean I never ate anything fun. Cutting your favorite foods out of your diet will only make you miserable and crave them even more-at least, that was my experience. Instead, I learned how to eat them in moderation. I know, easier said than done. I couldn't help thinking, sure, they can eat that because they were blessed with amazing genes, but if I ate that, I'd never be able to look like they do.
But I couldn't have been more wrong. Yes, everyone has different genes. Some people can eat whatever they like and still maintain their abs. But the majority of fit people who eat pizza, french fries, and nachos every now and then? They're enjoying them in moderation. What does that mean? Instead of eating the whole thing, they're having however many bites it takes for them to feel satisfied, and then stopping.
How HealthifyMe transformed a Former National-level Swimmer
A dip into your backyard pool or nearby lake does wonders for your health. Unlike other types of cardio exercises like biking or running, swimming works your entire body from head to toe and burns major calories. Thankfully, you don't need to swim , yards a week like Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps in order to see results. Yards aside, just swimming in a body of water every day will help you develop stronger muscles hello, swimmer's bod , heart, and lungs, as reported by Time.
Swimming is also great for your mind. Take it from four-time Olympic medalist Maya DiRado, who told Shape that swimming is an "amazing stress reliever. Before diving off the deep end, you should know what happens to your body when you go swimming every day. Keep reading to find out. You'll have a tight bod in no time if you go swimming every day Shutterstock Hate jogging in the summer heat?
This is why swimming in a public pool or ocean is a great alternative, especially when you can burn just as many calories doing so. Exercise physiologist Tom Holland told Healthline that while certain factors, like intensity, determine how many calories you burn while swimming, he said that generally a "pound person will burn roughly calories during an hour-long swim at a moderate pace and at a vigorous one.
If you swim every day, you're also working your entire body, toning muscles literally everywhere. Your body is also building strength and endurance thanks to the water's moderate resistance. Your cardiovascular system is also winning. According to Healthline , your heart and lungs become stronger as you make swimming a regular part of your exercise routine.
So go crazy on those backstrokes, butterflies, and breaststrokes. You'll be bikini-ready in no time. You'll expose your hair to harsh pool chemicals if you go swimming every day Shutterstock While your body may benefit from swimming every day, you risk ruining your hair when plunging into the water.
This is especially true if you frequent your backyard or neighborhood pool. You can get "swimmer's hair" if you don't take steps to protect your locks. While chlorine is necessary to kill bacteria in pools, your hair may end up a dry, tangled, and discolored mess as a result. According to ThoughtCo. This opens up your hair to copper compounds that can give your locks a greenish hue. Pool chemicals can also cause dryness and significant damage. There are things you can do to prevent damage, like wearing a swim cap or rinsing your hair with water before and after a swim.
Jenna Laramee, a spa director at a Ritz-Carlton in Florida, told Allure that hair acts like a sponge when it's exposed to water. However, "it can only absorb so much moisture, so loading your hair with water and hydrating oils [like leave-in conditioner] can help minimize the space for chlorine to fill," she explained. You risk getting sun damage if you swim outside every day Shutterstock The sun's ultraviolet rays can be just as harmful to your hair as pool chemicals.
When you swim in the ocean or in an outdoor pool, you're exposing your hair to UVA and UVB rays, which can strip away your hair cuticle, leaving it exposed to sun damage, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Typical tell-tale signs of sun damage include dryness, split ends, discoloration, and frizziness. Dermatologist Wilma Bergfeld told the Cleveland Clinic that the sun damages not just your hair's cuticle, but also its protein keratin.
And watch out, blondes. Your hair is more prone to sun damage if it's light-colored or fine. It doesn't help matters if you use bleach to color or highlight your hair or if you use heat styling products like flat irons. You might notice a skin rash if you go swimming every day Shutterstock Your skin may be at risk if you swim every day — and we're not just talking about a sunburn. You may develop what is called a "chlorine rash" if you regularly swim laps in the pool.
The itchy rash is often visibly red with small bumps or hives, according to Healthline. As its name suggests, chlorine rash is caused by a sensitivity to the pool's chlorine, but it's not particularly dangerous, board-certified dermatologist Joely Kaufman told Women's Health.
It's important to note that even salt water pools contain small amounts of chlorine. If you swim in fresh water, you're not completely safe either. You can contract what is called swimmer's itch , aka cercarial dermatitis, from "microscopic parasites" found in fresh and salt water. Luckily, there are ways to reduce your risk of both skin conditions. When it comes to the chlorine rash, shower before and after a swim to rinse off any lingering chlorine.
And for swimmer's itch, don't swim in any area with unsafe water signage, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. If you go swimming in a pool every day, you might suffer from dry skin Shutterstock You'd think swimming every day in a pool would hydrate your skin, but it can actually dry it out, according to Miami-based dermatologist Ana Duarte. She told Live Science that "too much chlorine can cause a lot of [skin] irritation.
As of this writing, there isn't a topical product available that can create a barrier between chlorine and your skin, but Georgia dermatologist Lauren Ploch told Allure that there is a theory that suggests thicker sunscreen may protect your skin from pool chemicals.
While the jury is still out on that one, Ploch recommended swimmers moisturize after a dip in the pool with a skin lotion that includes ceramides and alpha hydroxy acid. Pay special attention to the areas of your body with thinner skin, including your elbows, shoulders, chest, and under-eye area.
Your nails may become dry and brittle if you go swimming every day Shutterstock Ever wonder why your nails are dry, cracked, and break easily? Maybe it's because of your daily swim routine. Your nails are no exception. Hydrating your nails can be as easy as using hand moisturizer on the daily, Women's Health reported. And, according to Allure , there are things you can do throughout the day to protect your nails and make them stronger before and after any swim sesh.
Be sure to avoid using too much acetone nail polish remover, wear gloves while cleaning and washing dishes, and apply a strengthening top coat to your nails to protect them from chlorinated pools. Although frequent swimmers may notice their nail polish chips more easily compared to non-swimmers, don't skip the manicure.
You might develop red eyes if you go swimming in a pool every day Shutterstock When it comes to your eyes, swimming in salt water may be a better option, according to optometrist Arthur Kobayashi. Unlike saltwater pools, chlorinated water has more chemicals that may irritate and redden your eyes.
But it's actually not solely the chlorine that causes this problem. It's the combination of chlorine with sweat and urine that creates a chemical called chloramine, which can then irritate your eyes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained. Red eyes occurs when "blood vessels near the surface of the eye become enlarged and dilated," said Kobayashi.
Just because you suffer from red eyes, that doesn't mean you can't swim in a pool ever again. Try wearing goggles to protect your eyes, Kobayashi suggested. It's not a bad idea to have saline eye drops on standby as well.
If you go swimming in contact lenses every day, you could get an eye infection Shutterstock You might want to listen to your eye doctor the next time you're told you shouldn't wear contacts while swimming.
If you don't heed that advice, you'll be at a higher risk of developing an eye infection as a result of the bacteria found in water via VSP Vision Care.
Timothy Gibbons, an optometrist, explained to University of Utah Health. According to the university, contact lenses are considered "porous" and, as a result, allow "chemicals and bacteria to lodge inside the lens and press against your eye. If you want to lose weight, consider swimming before breakfast every day Shutterstock While you can swim anytime of the day and still receive the benefits of a full-body exercise, a morning swim may be better if your goal is to lose weight, according to Speedo.
Swimming on an empty stomach about an hour prior to breakfast time is best. Not only are you burning more calories during your AM swim, but you're also waking up your body's metabolism, which, in turn, will burn those calories faster throughout the day, even while you're desk-bound at work.
If you can't stomach the idea of waking up early to swim, you can still burn plenty of calories and tone your muscles with an afternoon or evening workout routine. If you go swimming every day, you may sleep better at night Shutterstock If you go for a swim every day, you probably don't need a fancy pill to fall asleep at night.
A study on aerobic exercise and chronic sleep disorders found that people aged 55 or older who exercised used the elliptical, swam, etc. Although there's no known "mechanism that explains how [exercise and sleep] are related," according to Dr. Charlene Gamaldo , John Hopkins Center for Sleep's medical director, there's no denying the fact that there is a strong link between them.
What isn't yet known is how late in the day you should exercise before it impacts your sleep. With just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at a time, you may notice an improvement at bedtime. Even Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps understands the relationship between sleep and swimming. Your back will thank you if you swim every day Shutterstock If you swim every day, you may be able to keep back issues at bay.
That's because this low-impact, horizontal workout counterbalances any of the time you may spend sitting behind the steering wheel or at your desk.
Swimming is also better on your back than other aerobic exercises. You may not only improve your back posture while swimming but also prevent any injuries related to a sedentary lifestyle.
If you already suffer from a lower back or neck injury, you may want to avoid certain swim strokes and wear a mask and snorkel to avoid arching your injured back while swimming, according to Veritas Health. Going swimming every day may reduce your stress levels Shutterstock You may feel calmer and happier if you go swimming every day.
It's universally known that all forms of exercise bring on a release of stress-relieving endorphins. But, according to a study published in , swimming goes a little further when it comes to relieving stress.
Findings in the study showed that aquatic physical activities helped relieve painful symptoms in patients suffering from conditions prompted by chronic stress. As a result of the study, water therapy is recommended "as a nonpharmacologic therapeutic approach in the management of [fibromyalgia syndrome]. Buoyancy, for example, helps "improve muscle activation and range of movement" as well as lessen "perceived fatigue. You'll breathe better if you go swimming every day Shutterstock You'll pretty much have lungs of steel if you go swimming every day.
Seeing as oxygen isn't exactly readily available when you're underwater, your body has no choice but to learn how to use air "more efficiently," New York City swim coach Earl Walton explained in an interview with Shape. With every inhale and exhale as your head bobs over the water, your body will in turn develop a lower "resting heart [rate]" and "blood pressure. There's typically a higher concentration of chlorine in indoor pools. A three-decades-long study published in the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education found that swimming reduces one's chances of dying prematurely.
While the study focused on men aged 20 to 90 between the years and , any person — man or woman — can benefit from swimming and physical exercise in general. Ultimately, any type of physical activity is better than nothing. As one of the study's authors, Steven N. Blair, explained, at least minutes of moderate exercise or 70 minutes of vigorous exercise is recommended each week.
When You Go Swimming Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body
Swimming is full of good things and maybe some not so great things. A few things you should be prepared for. Be prepared! There is something relaxing and meditative about swimming laps. It increases your stamina, breath, builds muscle, burns fat, improves the way your heart and cardiovascular system works and relaxes you at the same time. At pounds the idea of starting a running program never crossed my mind—swimming, on the other hand, was the first thing I thought of.
Swimming is the perfect form of exercise. It was only days a week for less than 45 minutes at a time and I was losing about pounds a month because of it. Sure I started to see progress, 10 pounds gone, then 20 pounds…and so on. What I noticed the most were my shoulders. Who knew I even had such broad shoulders? I never did before. But swimming laps transformed my body into a V shape.
The reason behind this is because when it comes to swimming the part of your body that does the most work is your shoulders, arms and back. The act of your shoulders and arms pulling your body through the water will develop muscles you never knew you had. I always smell like chlorine. Chlorine is a necessary evil. Do not curve your back or sag your hips. Engage your core and lift up your right knee, bringing it toward your elbow or as far as you can.
Return the right knee back to the starting position as you simultaneously drive your left knee up toward your left elbow. Return to the starting position and continue switching legs as you pick up the pace. It should feel like you are running in place in a plank position. Jumping Rope This is a fantastic cardio workout that is not only fun but works out muscles in both your lower and upper body Swimming is a fantastic full-body workout that can be done by almost anyone.
People with disabilities, children, the elderly and even pregnant women can safely swim as a way to incorporate exercise in their day to day When it comes to burning calories, a dip in the pool is also a good idea. Different swimming styles and intensities burn different numbers of calories depending on your weight. Here are the calories you can burn in 30 minutes while swimming 3 Leisurely — to Breaststroke — to Vigorous laps or treading — to If you are wondering how many months does it take to transform your body through swimming, this is not an exact science.
Your body transformation largely depends on what you eat and your workout regimen, as well as many individual factors including genetics.
However, with a healthy diet and regular intensive swimming, you could start seeing results in as little as a month 7. If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way — BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process!
Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe! Most people tend to think that they need to work out as much as possible in order to achieve their desired result. Going to the gym, or doing home workouts seven days a week is not always healthy for you and could lead to overtraining.
Overtraining is when you work out without allowing enough recovery time between sessions. Not only does this hinder your results, but it can also lead to other physical and mental problems When it comes to how many days a week should you work out, as a beginner, it is advisable to do some moderately intense cardio 3 days a week.
10 Things I Learned During My Body Transformation
After a while, you can work up to doing cardio 5 to 6 days a week. If you are lifting weights, then the same rules apply.
However, do not exercise the same muscle groups two days in a row. If you are doing full-body strength training, be sure to skip a day in between your workouts. Depending on your fitness level, you should workout 3 to 5 days a week Never skip rest days to allow your muscle to recover and grow and prevent overtraining.
When looking at yourself in the mirror when you first begin working out and eating right you might see some slight changes in just two days, but this is mostly due to lack of bloating and loss of water weight 9. However, when it comes to strength and building muscle, this takes longer. Some say that it might take four to eight weeks to see results while others believe that changes start appearing after six weeks 8.
Factors That Affect Fitness There are numerous factors that can affect fitness levels in different people. They include: Age. Older people are not as flexible as they were when they were younger.
Their muscle mass declines, and bones become brittle preventing them from being grey baby poop physically active as they would like. People who eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods will perform better at the gym than those who fill up on unhealthy options and empty calories. Illness and Fatigue. Anyone who is unwell or tired has no business in the gym. It is better to wait until you are well and fully rested before resuming training.
Especially controlled substances will cause damage to vital organs affecting your fitness and performance. They could also lead to death. Unlike women, men are generally stronger than women.
This is because women have type I muscle fibers while men have type II fibers. Type II fibers ensure that men have a greater power output, while type I ensure faster recovery How To Accelerate Your Results The Safe Way Enrolling in a gym or starting home workouts and improving your diet are two great steps in your fitness journey.
However, did you know that there are some things you could that will help you arrive at your goals faster? They include 10 : Increase your protein intake. Many fitness experts tend always to have a protein shake after their workout.
Eat enough food for your goals. If you are looking to lose weight, eat on a calorie deficit but make sure that you do not under-eat. Under-eating will leave you unable to exercise and will make your body hold on to fat because it thinks you are starving.
If you want to build muscle, then you must increase the number of calories you eat to give enough strength to lift those heavy weights. Lift more weights.
Less is More: Accidentally Crushing a Best Time at Age 39
Fitness is not just cardio; strength training is also a major part of it. Combining cardio and weight lifting decreases body fat and builds muscle faster. Do more HIIT workouts. Hundt recommends no more than 20 grams of fructose a day for most people. According to Dr. Smoodorganic food is key to maintaining the health of your skin as you age, helping you maintain your youthful glow in the process. If you only have 30 minutes, focus on getting an intense and efficient workout.
There are She recommends limiting your intake of starchy vegetables as well when you're over 40, so keep those potatoes, squash, and corn on the menu, but only in small amounts. Kimchi, here you come. Hundt recommends doing lower-intensity workouts, like yoga, to maximize your fitness goals while limiting the cortisol-spiking stress response other workouts can cause. In a study conducted at the Medical University of South Carolinaresearchers found that a very low carb diet actually helped reduce the body's fat stores without significantly depleting muscle mass.
However, getting a metabolic assessment from a trainer or doctor may help you better understand your caloric and exercise needs and adjust your meal and exercise plans accordingly. Hundt recommends that clients over 40 try swimming instead of some higher-impact exercises to limit the stress-related cortisol spikes often triggered by higher-impact exercise.
Researchers at Fukuoka University found aerobic dance effective at reducing body mass among middle-aged women with mild obesity, despite the workout's generally low-impact, low-injury nature.
Try loading up on healthy fat. Hundt recommends keeping an eye on how much fat you're eating and ensuring it comes from quality sources. In fact, researchers in Denmark found that just two weeks of immobility significantly reduced muscle mass that six weeks of training afterward couldn't make up for.
If you can consistently exercise only minutes, do it. The longer days will present themselves and you'll be better conditioned to take advantage of them. Researchers at the University of Milan found that high levels of vitamin D supplementation yielded the greatest weight loss among overweight and obese adults, so don't be afraid to enjoy a little controlled sunlight and supplements.
While stretching isn't a major calorie burner, research published in the Journal of Athletic Training reveals that stretching can reduce muscle soreness and injury risk, limiting the risk you'll find yourself sidelined and unable to exercise.
In fact, research published in the Journal of Translational Medicine suggests that eight weeks of time-restricted eating yielded significant fat loss while maintaining study subjects' muscle mass. Research published in PLoS One reveals that omega-3 supplementation significantly reduced obese study subjects' waist circumferences.