T Nation

Swimming for fat-loss


I have recently started swimming. I am a medical student and don't have as much time to devote to training as I'd like, but with the time I do have I train as hard and as efficiently as possible.

To give my heart a good kick in the pants and to get some fat-loss I've decided to start swimming after my weight sessions - not the most ideal time, I know, but again the time efficiency is a factor.

I was think of applying CT's "Running Man" principle to swimming to get the fat-loss. Do you have any tips, ideas or workouts that could help me in my quest?

Thanks for your time.


that sounds like it could be a good idea. i am interested what everyone has to say about it as well. how would you go about it? would you time your laps?


I may be WAYYY off base here but.... I read somewhere that swimming isn't ideal for fat loss because the water is cold and it lowers your body temp. I read that somewhere but I don't remember where.

BUT I also read that cold water is good for fat loss since your body has to expend more energy trying to keep you warm.

Go figure.


The problem with swimming is that the cold water spikes your appetite. As long as you can avoid the PWO binge, it should be good.


Af for Post workout nutrition - I won't be eating anything extra to what I would normally eat, so increased appetite will not be a problem.

As for measurement - I am not entirely sure yet but my current ideas are these.
First couple of weeks - swim as far as I can in 30-40 mins. Hopefully it should be further at the end than when i started! ie 800m, 900m 1000m, 1500m etc

Second couple of weeks - take the distance I can swim in 30-40 mins and try and decrease the time it takes me to complete it. ie take 1500m and try and swim it in a shorter time.

Next few weeks - use the running man plan. eg 50m freestyle sprints with 25m slow breaststroke recovery for 30 mins. Or sets of 50m/100m/ or any number I choose sprints with 30 sec staionaery rest periods.

These are just some ideas that I will probably implement, but until I get in the water and gauge my current level I can't be sure - last time I did some proper swim training was in high school 4 yrs ago.

THanks for your help, it is much appreciated.


I think simming should do the trick. The cold water is a trivial matter IMO because you will still be getting an outstanding cardio workout and burning a lot of calories, while increasing lung efficiency at the same time. Have fun swimming 1500m.


Last summer i used play basketball from 10-12 am, than workout from 2-3 pm and swim immedietaly after for half an hour and if still up for it play tennis till the sun sets(i had a few cousins over and there wasnt much to do in town as they were underage so all we ever did was play sports etc).

Unbelievably i didint gain or lose any more than 3 pounds the entire summer. I honestly stayed in the 177-180 range all summer and thats the exact weight i entered the summer in. But i am sure i dropped BF%.


I have also heard that swimming is not as good for fat loss because of the cold water. I personally think though that the gains from the swimming will outweight the negatives.

One suggestion that I can give you is that if you want to swim for anything more than caloric expenditure you should look into getting some technique lessons. Total Immersion swimming will really help to improve your swimming efficiency. I took some lessons and it really helped me to swim further, faster, and with less effort. Good luck.