Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
October 17, 2019
The last few weeks have been a slugfest when it comes to keeping your body moving. Walk a lot of miles to get that body burning some fat. Run a bunch of miles to get those joints stronger. And then finish it off with some good old fashioned biking, where you burn some supreme fat and experience life in the cool breeze of the moment. All of these things come into play when you really want to ratchet up your fitness and start losing weight in addition to gaining elasticity and precision to your physical and mental faculties. These are the biggest movement based philosophies out side of weight training because just about every sport requires you have some grasp of these type of movements. But here is the thing, even if you don’t do these movement based exercises, you still have some other options. Oh man, here we go as we get through something of a speed round for a severely under appreciated movement.
Okay, so here we go. Anyway, we already did the running and we already did the cycling. What do you think is left over? If you guessed a huge meal at your favorite vegan restaurant (mine being City ‘O City in Denver, Colorado) then you are wrong. Sure, a nice huge meal would be pretty cool I guess, but the last piece of the puzzle is swimming. I say this because of the popularity of triathlons. When you think of swimming, you almost automatically think of the Olympics. This is because despite all of the sports being run in the Olympics, American broadcasts have to show this stuff ad nauseum because the United States reigns superior and we have to show sports we are superior at so then we can feel superior and blah blah blah. I wanna see some handball and field hockey dammit! Anyway, many of these people are pretty darn good, and they display a real talent for navigating the water unlike anyone has ever seen. Being a terrible swimmer myself, I have a feeling a triathlon is not something I will be very good at, especially if it is with a lot of swimming. Why does no one really mention swimming as a good alternative to fitness these days? Well, a couple reasons.
First of all, you have to have a pool at your disposal, and your backyard pool is probably not ideal for the kind of swimming we are talking here. You can certainly do some good resistance training in your regular pool, but you seriously need a lap pool, or essentially an olympic sized pool to get the job done. Those are not easy to find, considering most fitness clubs stay away from the pool aspects of training because that would require…you know…employees and the company spending money. In the fast and loose world of corporate gyms, that is going to affect the bottom line in regards to having to hire attendants, life guards, instructors and also have a pool cleaning maintenance tech. The second reason hits close to home…I’m just a lousy swimmer and nothing makes you look worse than flailing around in the pool and then having to have the 18-year-old life guard swim you to safety when you cramped up in the middle of the pool (which happened once when I was at the University of Arizona, and thus ended my swimming “regimen”). It is just not an easy exercise to do, even if you are just doing simple swimming moves. But here is what you might not know about…it will utterly destroy your fat!
You probably remember the “diet” that Michael Phelps used to engage in during his time at the top of the swimming world, right? He was choking down thousands of calories of food per day, the amount of food that a typical bodybuilder probably needed during their training season. To be exact…12,000 calories. That’s almost ten thousand more than what I average on a day where I am not working out or anything. One bodybuilder I have mentioned before on this blog—Brian Shaw—is currently in a “cutting” diet of 10,000 calories a day so he can be 400 pounds rather than 450. The amount of food Phelps used to eat would have made me sick even when I was a 400-pound eating machine that didn’t care about calories. Here is the thing, when partaking in swimming you have to remember a couple things that are going on. First, your body is basically floating in suspended animation, and will rightly start using the carbohydrates you have in your current system to keep the body moving. According to Speedo, you crush your daily carbohydrate take in roughly thirty minutes, and thus your start utilizing your fat to keep the engine going. So if you are vigorously swimming for an hour, you can cut through the same amount of calories you might get in an average weightlifting or cycling session.
Here is the best part about swimming….it has one of the lowest impacts to the body amongst all of the movement based sports. Once again, you are not hitting the pavement or bending over or throwing massive weights all over the place. You are simply flying, suspended from all hard objects and simply moving along at whatever speed you move yourself. The best part of course is the caloric burn. While the numbers tend to go all over the place, you do have something of a primer to work with. https://www.active.com/triathlon/articles/how-many-calories-does-swimming-burn According to this article, even a smaller person can easily crush some massive calories. I figured this. If I could swim one mile in the pool in an hour, I would burn 700+ calories! Now I am sure it might be more than that but it is a hypothetical. Plus me getting a mile in the pool is kinda ludicrous.
There are some other things you need to know about swimming before you really get into it. While it is low impact just remember there are some injuries in the sport, namely rotator cuff injuries and shoulder soreness. If you are also a vigorous swimmer, you might get some usage fatigue in your legs and hips. Also, be sure to be eating accordingly. Deficit eating gets a little tricky with swimming since you are going to be blowing up calories faster than usual. Don’t jump into the deep end too quickly if you are using this to help with your weight loss (yup, dad pun intentional). And here is something you probably didn’t expect…stay hydrated. What many people forget about is the fact your body temperature is rising and you are basically turning your body into a fat burning furnace. Not being able to see the sweat come off you doesn’t mean you won’t get dehydrated in the process. Drink that water!! Avoid the cramps.
Here is the most important thing. If you are a bad swimmer, then take some classes to improve yourself or else start in a shallower pool. Plus, just remember to avoid the line dividers on the lanes in the pool. Trust me, running into those things are kinda embarrassing.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.