>1. I plan on swimming 3 times per week for 20 min for AEROBIC fitness.
> I have heard a lot about how swimming can make some people fat.
Oh, no, not the "fat myth" again. :-) Swimming will not make you fat.
No aerobic activity will make you fat; by definition, they all burn
calories. It's just that, for the same amount of expended effort,
swimming will not give you as big a metabolism-boosting, fat-reducing
effect as (for example) running would. This is because most lap pools
contain relatively cool water (not bathwater, anyway), and the cool water
inhibits the metabolism-boosting effect of the exercise. Also, people
tend to feel hungry after swimming, unlike many other activities. Some
people will then overeat, using the bogus excuse that they burned enough
calories while swimming to justify the pig-out.
It is still quite possible to lose fat by swimming: just don't expect
too much too fast, keep your workouts at a high level of intensity, and
(BTW, I once trained in a WARM pool--it was at a Y, and the water was
kept warm for the senior citizens and little kids that typically used
the pool--for six months. My metabolism got a big kick each morning,
and I lost several pounds with no other change in my lifestyle.)
> Does it effect women more then men?
Not that I know of, no. BTW, though my name doesn't show it, I'm female.
>2. I'd like to lift weights a bit after swims to work the muscles swimming
> doesnt work as much. Anyone have any experience/tips using weights
> and swimming together? Is it harmfull in terms of overtraining to
> do so?
If you're going to be lifting to work the muscles that swimming DOESN'T
work, where will the overtraining come in?
Just as an example... I swim twice a week for an hour or an hour and a
half (not by choice; that's all my schedule allows), and I lift twice a
week for an hour and a half. When I lift, I don't bother to do anything
to work my pecs or biceps; there's no need, the swimming takes care of
that. Instead, I work legs (I don't kick much when I swim :-) , back,
abs, and the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder (see below).
>3. I've heard that swimmers have problems with their shoulders like
> runners do with their knees. What can I do to PREVENT this problem?
True, swimmers do have to watch their shoulders... though, if you're only
training for 20 minutes 3 times a week, I don't think you'll have any
problems. (I've had problems myself, but they were due to swimming with
less-than-perfect form 4 to 6 times a week, for an hour and a half each time.)
Still, to prevent problems, get a GOOD coach, and have them make sure your
stroke is okay. Have them make sure you're not putting too much stress on
your shoulders, especially at the "catch" phase of your freestyle stroke.
Also, be aware of any problems cropping up with your shoulders; don't
try to "swim through the pain." Note that swimming, like running,
produces endorphins, which are essentially pain-killers, so be aware
of any "funny" (and not just painful) sensations in your shoulders while
or just after swimming. Don't hesitate to use ice, take anti-inflammatory
*** (aspirin or ibuprofen), or lay off the training schedule if problems
do start to develop.
Two things cleared up the problems I was having with my shoulders:
modifying my stroke, and starting a weight-lifting schedule geared towards
correcting muscle imbalances in my shoulders. This training schedule was
put together partly on advice of a sports medicine specialist, partly from
reading a book addressing shoulder problems faced by athletes (I have the
reference at home, if you're interested), and partly on advice of an
unusually knowledgeable weight lifting partner.