Swimming and weight lifting aren't two activities you'd immediately put together, but the truth is they can be a potent combo in your war against fat. Swimming can burn up to 488 calories in just half an hour, while weight training boosts your strength, torches calories, ramps up your metabolism and can improve your swimming performance. The key is to balance your workload so you get the most out of both activities.
Hit the gym three times a week for your weights and train your whole body each time. Full-body training is far more effective for fat loss, claims trainer Rachel Cosgrove, author of "The Female Body Breakthrough." The added bonus of a full-body over a body-part split workout is that you only need three weekly workouts, freeing up time for swimming. Base your workouts around multijoint movements such as squats, lunges, pushups and rows. Not only do these hit more muscles and burn more calories, but they'll increase your strength for swimming.
Swim on the days in between your weight sessions. This will give you more energy for swimming, so you'll work harder and burn more calories. If this isn't an option though, or your gym has a pool and you'd rather only make one trip to work out, then swim after your weights session. It's vital that you do cardio after weight training, not before, writes strength coach John Leyva on BuiltLean.com. You have more energy for lifting weights this way, get favorable hormone and blood pH changes, which lead to greater fat loss, and you are at lower risk of injury.
Take a rest day should you feel the need. Weight lifting and swimming are both high-intensity activities and can take a toll on your body, so have a day off if you're feeling really fatigued. It's not an excuse for skipping the gym if you just don't fancy it, though. When swimming, combine longer steady sessions of easier strokes such as breaststroke with tougher, sprint intervals of butterfly or crawl. This high-intensity interval cardio is much better for shedding fat and maintaining muscle, claims fitness writer Amanda Vogel in "Oxygen" magazine.
- Check with your health-care provider before starting a swimming and weight-lifting workout.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images