Is Swimming the Best Exercise For Fat Loss and Getting Lean?

by Pool Builders on 05-15-2009 in Articles

I'm looking to increase my fat loss so that I can get lean for the summer. A friend of mine told me to swim because that's the best way to lose weight, but I want to know for sure if swimming is the fastest way to get there?

This question gets asked a lot, and my answer is that I would not use swimming as your sole exercise to get lean. It can be a decent add- on to a solid strength training and high intensity cardio program.

Here's why.

Your goal is to get lean. Assuming your diet (the biggest factor in getting lean) is dialed in, that leaves exercise.

The exercises that will crank your fat loss gauge to maximum speed; the ones that will increase your metabolic rate the most are the weight bearing exercises- with a weight that will overload the muscles. The reason is that not only do you burn a great number of calories during the workout itself, but the metabolic changes that occur because of the workout (increased cell turnover, muscular recovery, hormonal spikes, etc) have your system churning and burning calories until the cows come home.

In addition, the increased muscle mass gained from the rebuilding phase of overloaded weight training raises your metabolism and keeps it raised even when you're simply watching tv.

Swimming, by itself is not able to provide anywhere near the same metabolic benefits. You will burn a decent number of calories during the activity itself, but it does little in terms of EPOC, or building muscle fiber to keep the metabolism raised.

Swimming is a fun, relaxing activity for many people. If you enjoy it, go for it- in addition to the big dogs, not instead of them.

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