Three Swim Workouts

It’s been awhile since I talked about how much I love and enjoy swimming. Even though I haven’t mentioned it lately, never fear–it’s something I will always do, even if I don’t write about it. My workout routine currently is as follows:  1 spin class, 2 cardio days with weight lifting and 2 days of swimming. The swimming is always there and always will be. I love it. It’s the perfect activity for sore muscles the day after a really hard weight lifting session. Swimming is the perfect activity after a long work week when I need to decompress.

If you are looking for some ideas on how to spice up your workout, give one of these swim sessions a try. You can shorten it or lengthen it depending on your abilities. Don’t be ashamed if you’re only doing 2 lengths at a time, or if you need to rest. We all start somewhere! When I first started swimming I was tired and out of shape and needed to rest after each length of the pool.

Here are three workouts that I alternate between depending on my mood and whether or not I’m swimming as a “recovery.” My recovery swims are slower because I’m sore. It feels so great to swim when my muscles are sore! And it’s even better when I can sit in the hot tub afterward.

Workout #1 – About 50 minutes

  • 50 lengths freestyle, fast no stopping
  • Rest 2-4 minutes
  • 10 lengths medium pace w/kickboard, no upper body
  • 10 lengths freestyle with buoy, no kicking
  • 10 lengths breaststroke
  • 10 lengths freestyle with buoy, no kicking, and using hand paddles
  • 10 lengths breaststroke

Workout #2 – Between 45-55 minutes

  •  30 lengths freestyle, fast no stopping
  • 10 lengths breaststroke
  • 10 lengths freestyle with buoy, no kicking and hand paddles
  • Rest 30 seconds-1 minute
  • 10 lengths medium pace w/kickboard, no upper body
  • 8 lengths freestyle with buoy, no kicking, and using hand paddles
  • 12 lengths freestyle, fast
  • 10 lengths breaststroke

Workout #3 – Between 40-50 minutes

  • 30 lengths freestyle, fast no stopping
  • 20 lengths breaststroke
  • Rest 2 minutes
  • Interval sprints freestyle as fast as possible down and back then
  • Rest

Be sure to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! Swimming makes me really thirsty, especially if swimming in a salt water pool. I think the salt water sucks the moisture out of my body while I swim or something. I drink one water bottle through my hour long pool session and try to drink water when I get home too. Also, don’t forget to hydrate your skin after you clean up to prevent the swimmer’s “itch” (dry skin from chlorine).

As with every really hard workout, follow it with a hearty, healthy meal. My most recent swim session was Workout #2 and when I got home, Michael and I made homemade turkey burgers. What I love about turkey burgers is that they are tasty, filling and pretty low in calories.

The turkey burger itself was about 200 calories, the slice of Swiss cheese 70 calories, sandwich thin 100 calories, lettuce and tomato. In addition to the turkey burger (which was juicy and satisfying), we steamed broccoli with Goddess dressing:

And I had some red grapes with dinner. And maybe….a glass of some other kind of grapes….

I’ve been adding some fruit to my meals lately, and not just having fruit as my snacks like normal. I liked having something sweet after eating my breakfast or dinner because I tend to want SWEETS. Eating some fruit with dinner makes it easier to limit the sweets I have for dessert. Win-win.

Swimming is how I lost 110 pounds and I firmly believe swimming is how I’ve kept the weight off. No matter what happens (injury, etc) I can always swim! If you’re on the fence about whether or not to try swimming, I say take the plunge. Give it a try. If I could dare to get into a swimsuit at 250 pounds, anyone can!

QUESTION: Are you a swimmer? What’s your favorite routines?

14 Responses

  1. As a swimmer recently out of retirement, this is GREAT to see, and I’ll have to print these up to bring to the pool with me next time!! I’m still working on doing longer amounts of swimming at once without getting bored (either with the stroke or with just being in the pool alone in general) so it’d be great to have some extra structure to my workouts.

    PINNING IT!
    Jordan @ food, sweat, and beers recently posted..Sloppy Sams: A Lentil Adventure

    1. Thank you, Jordan! I appreciate the pin too!

      Swimming is something that I love and always will love but yes, the long boring cardio can be mindless. It’s not like running where you can change up your route to see new scenery. But switching up the strokes often changes perspective. At least for me.

  2. Haha, I was just thinking about swimming, since we just joined a new gym with a fantastic pool. Granted, I probably can’t do any freestyle or breaststroke yet. What I’ve been wondering though, is what kind of food do you eat *before* your swims? Do you eat a full meal or a snack, and then eat a full meal afterwards?
    Esther recently posted..rekindling my passion and finding my inner self

    1. Good question! It took me years to figure out WHAT to eat before a swim because I’d be famished if it wasn’t the right thing.

      Two things seem to work for me: a toasted english muffin (about 120 calories) OR greek yogurt. Everything else I tried was a massive fail. I eat my snack at work right before I leave–so about an hour before I’m actually in the pool. It gets me through my 60 minute swim and then I eat dinner when I get home (or lunch if it’s a weekend day).

      1. Sounds like a plan! Since I’d be going in the mornings, I just wasn’t sure whether to eat a lighter breakfast and then lunch when I return (I have to take the bus back to my house from the pool). I don’t think I’ve had an English muffin in about 10 years LOL.

        Speaking of Greek yogurt, I thought of you when reading this post about making your own and thought you might be interested!

        http://annies-eats.com/2012/03/08/diy-greek-yogurt/
        Esther recently posted..rekindling my passion and finding my inner self

        1. If you’re going early in the morning, then I’d probably have a snack (maybe the greek yogurt) and then eat breakfast when you get home. I like English muffins as a pre-gym snack because it’s about 120 calories and doesn’t upset my stomach or make me feel too full. Some days it doesn’t work and I am famished mid-workout (like last night).

          I’ve never tried to make my own Greek yogurt. It’s something I’ve been curious about. I did make my own sour cream once! Thanks for the link.

  3. I am so far from being able to do any of those workouts, though once upon a time, I got in the pool and swam a mile twice a week without stopping. It took an hour, I’m slow, but I did it. Then 2 other days a week I did 80 minutes of water aerobics. *makes muscle man pose* LOL I need to get back to that again!
    Deb recently posted..Day 144

    1. You can tailor it to anything you can do! Make it 2 laps of this, one lap of that, do lots of resting…whatever you can do! That’s great that you used to swim so much!

      1. I’m waiting on a few things before I get back in the pool again. To shake a few more pounds so my swimsuit actually fits properly again, and well, that’s mostly it to be honest… lol.

        It took me a long time to work up to being able to do a mile at a time, and I was still so slow! 1MPH! haha
        Deb recently posted..Day 144

    1. It really is! The entire body inside and out gets a workout. Swimming made it so much easier to transition to running for me because I had all that breathing training down pat.

  4. This makes me want to get in the pool and give it a go. I want to like swimming. I think it boils down to self discipline for me. If I get bored, or want to stop- it is hard for me to keep going unless I am in a class setting. Do you ever struggle with that?
    Jill recently posted..Thank You Mother Nature!!!

    1. Not really. I understand that, and yes sometimes I get bored. But for the most part swimming is my “relaxing” workout. I can disconnect, not think about anything, meditate, or fantasize. I like it!

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