get off land AND GET IN THE POOL
Let me just preface this post by stating I am not a swimmer. Yes, I swim but I don’t consider myself a swimmer. I consider the water warriors in the far left lanes gracefully crushing a 100 meter fly (swimmer slang for butterfly, aka. One of the hardest strokes) the real swimmers. I’m still trying to maneuver a flip turn. Am I working my way towards potentially considering myself in that category, yes. It has been a little over 5 years since I first learned how to properly swim. Let me paint the picture for you of how it all began……
It was 2 months after the passing of my father and my dear dear friend and soul sister for life, Sarah suggested we sign up for a triathlon. From the moment the words crossed her lips I knew I was in. I needed a healthy distraction and what better way then to immerse myself in training for a tri. I hung up the phone that night, perhaps the suggestion was even made over text but regardless, I got off of my phone and immediately registered us for our first triathlon. I was already a runner, a biker I was not but I was an avid soul cycle attendee so check on that one, and swimmer…..um if doggy paddle counts then we could possibly put a check there.
For the record, I suppose doggy paddling your way through the race could suffice but I decided not to rely only the only stroke I knew. I promptly signed up for a triathlon swimming class at our local YMCA. If you thought I was exaggerating in any way about doggy paddle being my only stroke then let the fact that the instructor insisted Sarah and I stay in the shallow end of the pool for the first two lessons speak for itself. We needed help beyond the scope of what the class could offer us. We left our first class and immediately sought out the help of a private coach recommended to us by a follower swimmer. Enter Coach Ken Holland, who completely changed our swimming game in three sessions. Fast forward through three months of training to race day and neither Sarah nor I drowned and we both successfully completed the race. I honestly don’t know if I could have done it without the help of coach Ken.
Learning how to swim was no walk in the park. Like literally we are built to move and breath on land trying to negotiate our way through water, with agility, speed, and proper breath is so totally against our nature. But, and there is a big but, once you learn how to do that swimming is one of the best workouts you can do for your body.
Here's 8 reasons Why..........................
1. It's a total-body workout. Swimming tackles everything from sculpting your back to toning your arms—all without having to pick up a weight. Rather than needing a plan to work specific muscles, all four strokes work to strengthen your entire body.
3. It doesn't require fancy equipment. You don't need to spend hundreds of dollars to swim. All you need is a swimsuit, cap, and goggles. Even if you do decide to add more equipment (e.g. a kickboard), they are rather inexpensive, and chances are your local pool has a few handy.
4. It's a great way to burn calories. Those rumors about swimmers and calorie intake aren't false: An hour of moderate swimming can burn around 500 calories. This revs up your metabolism, continuing the burn well after you've stepped off the deck.
5. There are several variations. The workouts are endless when it comes to the pool. Beyond all four strokes, you can kick, pull, or even use the wall for pushups.
6. It's optimal for cross-training. Avoid an elliptical or gym class burnout by trading your normal workout for the pool. A swim session will actually improve overall performance at the gym (and vice versa). And when you're training for a marathon or any other competition, jumping in the pool can offer you an extra edge over your competitors.
7. It maximizes your cardio. Swimming is the ultimate aerobic activity. There is more breath control compared to running, thus an increased demand for oxygen, causing your muscles to work harder. Because of this, you can get more bang for you buck in a short amount of time.
8. It's refreshing. C'mon—jumping into a pool is fun, and you certainly don't need to be a professional to reap the benefits and enjoy yourself. If anything, you'll walk away with a nice endorphin kick.
These 8 reasons were apparent almost immediately for me. I did mention that it was not easy but I immediately felt the benefits of swimming once I began my training. It is why I try to commit to showing up to the pool at least twice a week. It is also why I am writing this post. I believe that if possible (possible being that you actually have access to a pool) then you should introduce swimming into your weekly workout regimen. If your not a swimmer don’t sweat it just get yourself in the pool and try. There are options to learn: Look for classes a your local YMCA or swim club or hire a private coach. If you don’t have the money for that no worries! A quick youtube search on swimming instruction will give you countless instructional videos guiding you to become the next Katie Ledecky. Most importantly, if your just get in the water and don’t be afraid that your going to be judged. We all have to start somewhere. Just remember I spent my first few lessons restricted to the shallow end.
Here are three killer swimming workouts from 100 Swimming Workouts that will help you improve, endurance, breath, and technique. They will also help you scorch some major calories!