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?

You Are Stronger Than You Think

Portland weather has apparently skipped Fall and gone straight to Winter. It’s been in the high 30’s lately and of course, the rain. I’ve had to scrape my car windows in the morning because it’s been so cold. Not exactly conducive to biking to work, either. But then I’m a fair-weather biker/runner.

I finally tried a spin class! I went last Thursday night after work with my friend Robyn.  I’m really glad I put “spin class” on my November Goals list and actually got out there and did it. I liked it! I might be a new convert.

I enjoyed the class. It pushed me further than I’d ever push myself on a bike alone in my living room. That’s the good thing about classes like this, you can’t go easy on yourself with an instructor telling you to push it.

The other thing I liked was that it was fun. It was a change from the boring ol’ routine. PLUS I am very excited to be able to maintain some sort of cycling fitness throughout the winter. I hated having to quit the bike last winter but I’m just not going to bike in the rain.

The class was only half full. It was kind of fun to be in a smaller class. It felt more intimate. I also noticed that the instructor knew the names of all the regulars. I thought that was pretty cool.

The class we joined on Thursday did a Hill Routine. Quite the workout for a newbie! I enjoyed it though and it wasn’t too much of a challenge. There were several moments in the class where my thighs were burning on the “hills” but I pushed through it. The instructor told us we were “stronger than we think” and to PUSH through it! I did.

Several times during the class I looked at Robyn and she gave me this look:

She gave me so many evil eye looks during the class I wondered if she’d disown me after the class. 🙂 They were similar to the above photo.

I wish I’d had my heart rate monitor to see how many calories I burned in the class. I went online to see on average how many calories are burned in a Spin class at “moderate” pace. It said 688 for my weight. I’m skeptical. I would put it closer to 500 at best. I checked my pulse several times during the class and it was racing! If I had to guess I’d say it was in the 150-160 range. I sweated more than my bike commute, but less than my normal runs (to give you an idea).

When the class was done I had a quick snack (so glad I brought snacks). I ate a few apricots and prunes and then we parted ways.

When I got home we had turkey burgers for dinner. I was famished! I also had some cucumber salad and half a serving of baked fries with dinner. It hit the spot.

Some Observations:

There were people there of all shapes and sizes. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t at goal weight yet. I think Spin would be a great class for someone starting out in their weight loss journey.

Most people wore regular workout clothes. I was the only one that was wearing cycling clothes. But I was much more comfortable in my cycling gear than I would have been in anything else. I wore my bike shorts and was glad I did. Robyn borrowed an extra pair of my cycling shorts and she was happy she borrowed it!

I brought my cycling shoes to clip in but the clips were not conducive to my shoes (I have mountain bike shoes). I think my other cycling shoes might be better. I just wore my regular running/workout shoes instead and they worked just fine.

The class was a lot easier for me than other classes I’ve taken. The main reason I dislike fitness classes is that I can’t keep up with the moves. I don’t know the routines, I’m uncoordinated and I’m always two steps behind the rest of the class. It’s just frustrating. Spin was not like that. It was easy to catch on and keep up. Perhaps it was easy for me because I am already a cyclist?

The next day–I was not sore from the class at all. So that’s good. I guess my fitness level on the bike hasn’t totally diminished yet.

Next time: I’ll bring 2 water bottles instead of just the one. I went through my water fast!

It’s important to have the bike adjusted properly in the class. Mine was a little off. I noticed because my knees started to hurt during the last 10 minutes of class or so.

QUESTION: Are you a Spin enthusiast? How often do you go? Any tips for a newbie?