Looking to shed fat and tone up? With a few simple tips, your swimming sessions can become efficient fat-burning workouts. The key is to mix up your training with different swimming strokes, training aids, interval training and water weights, and keep your workout fresh and exciting by trying to hit new lap times.
Need inspiration? Incorporate a mixture of the following ideas to help turn your body into a fat burning furnace.
If you plan ahead and follow the right swimming drill, a fat burning swimming workout can burn around 300 calories in around 20-25 minutes. Our News, Tips and Techniques area includes drill ideas and how-to videos for all abilities, designed to target different aspects of your swimming – from technique drills to upper and lower body drills. The key is to find the one that suits your fitness goals.
For fat burning, try the following swimming drill:
Swim four lengths, freestyle stroke, with just 15 seconds rest after each length. Next, move on to backstroke or alternate freestyle for 8 lengths, aiming to complete the entire 8 lengths in around 4 minutes. To add some variety to your swim, swim the next four lengths with a kickboard, taking a minute per length. After using the kickboard, swim freestyle with a pullbuoy for two minutes. Next, alternate freestyle and backstroke for eight lengths once again, completing this in 4 minutes. End on a high with two lengths of your favourite stroke, completed in one minute.
Turbo-charge your workout using weights
Incorporating resistance training into your swim will turbo-charge calorie burn and help you build lean muscle, increasing your resting metabolic rate so that your body burns more calories before you even break a sweat (hello, efficient fat burn.)
You can start by setting up a pool workout using aqua dumbbells, or other hand-held water weights, as part of your training. Walking lunges, squats, high knees (jogging on the spot) and upper body work on the triceps, biceps and shoulders can all be incorporated into an aqua workout using specialised water weights.
If you want to focus on your swim but still benefit from resistance training, try adding training aids your drill sessions. Strap on some Power Paddles (hand paddles designed to add resistance to your swim, targeting the upper body) and get swimming!
Fire up your fat-burning with HIIT
Short on time? Research says you don’t need hours in the pool to burn fat effectively. Between 20 and 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you’re working for short bursts at close to maximum effort, have been scientifically proven to be an efficient way to burn fat and increase fitness. Best of all, unlike low intensity steady state exercise (LISS) your body continues to burn fat long after you’ve finished exercising – for up to 24 hours afterwards.
The key is to ramp up your heart rate with intense intervals of effort. A simple way to achieve this is to swim as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for between 15 and 30 seconds before sprinting again. Repeat as many times as you can manage – aim for double figures. If sprinting isn’t for you, treading water quickly is a great way to elevate your heart rate.
Take it down a notch with LISS
More of a steady longer-distance swimmer than an energetic HIIT lover? That’s fine, you can still swim your way to a leaner body. Low intensity steady state training, where you keep your body in the traditional ‘fat burning’ zone (60-70% of your maximum heart rate), remains a great way to lose weight. It lacks the prolonged post-workout fat-burn that HIIT creates, but still burns fat effectively during your swim. If you need to keep track of a longer swim (and the number of calories you’re burning), try our Aquacoach watch, which counts laps, distance, speed and calories burned.