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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Is swimming useful for calorie burning?

Hi, I've been on this service since Easter and I've lost 7lbs. I'm not hugely overweight, my target is to lose another 7lbs and then see how I feel. One thing that's been annoying me is that my weight plateaued even though I was working out really hard at the gym. I tried to change it about a bit, and although I didn't gain weight, I haven't lost a pound for months. So, I started swimming last week and I really enjoy it. Only thing is, I've read a lot of things about it being really rubbish for weight loss. What do you think of this? Thanks very much.


Our expert says...



Firstly, a big well done on your weight loss so far and for your sensible approach to change something, after reaching a plateau, to encourage increased calorie burning.


With relation to swimming being ‘rubbish’ for weight loss let me explain how you may well have seen it interpreted that way. Swimming burns calories as does all movement, walking, cycling, classes, gym training, yoga, Pilates, sitting and even sleeping….they all burn calories, it is the amount of calories per second they burn that significantly differs.


Swimming can actually be a large calorie burner as it does use a lot of muscle groups and obviously the higher the volume (number of length) and the higher the intensity of your session (effort put in to each session) the higher the resultant calories burned. Swimming can also be deemed, however, as a lower intensity option when compared to exercise classes or circuit/weight training and this relates to the non-impact nature of swimming with the support of the water on the body.


I would recommend keeping swimming in your weekly plan, especially if you enjoy it and try and do some gym training as well. If you are training hard in the gym then you may be significantly improving your body shape and muscle tone and this affects weight loss in lbs in the short term, so could be part of the reason for your plateau. So keep an eye on how clothes fit etc, as no noticeable change on the scale may not reflect you getting the balance wrong.


If you do not see a drop of weight in the next 2-3 weeks then recalculate your nutritional calories whilst staying strict with your exercise plan and adjust your intake slightly.


Hope this helps,



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