Swimming and body building

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 15, 2013 5:56 AM GMT
    Hey guys, so I have recently started going to the gym and I have a few questions I'd like to ask, I would really appreciate some feedback icon_smile.gif.

    I used to be a competitive swimmer and I have been swimming since I can remember, nowadays I only swim to stay fit and to clear my mind.
    I have recently started going to the gym in an attempt to build some muscle, increase strength and consequently improve my swimming. I am lifting and swimming twice a week, it's all I have time for at the moment. I vary my swimming workouts with anaerobic and aerobic focused days, swimming between 1.5km and 4.km a day depending on what kind of exercises I am doing of course. When at the gym I have been doing full body workouts, focused mainly on strength training. Nutrition wise I am still eating clean like I always have, the only difference is that I eat a bit more and I am having protein powder and mass gainer shakes to complement my daily diet. I have been doing this for one and a half months and I have gained 3.5 kilos so far while keeping my body fat levels virtually constant.

    So do you guys think that's a good strategy? Am I going to be able to build muscle? Do you have any tips on nutrition or workout ideas you could give me? Would love to hear back from anyone that has done the same or knows what they're on about icon_smile.gif!
  • musclmover

    Posts: 8

    Oct 30, 2013 5:41 PM GMT
    Hey Kesky,

    I also swim and lift weights. Lifting weights will build up your slow-twitch red-fiber muscles the heavier the weight and the slower the movement. Fast-twitch white fiber muscle tissues are built up with explosive movements like Pilates or Olympic lifting or the typical cardio moves like swimming, running, etc.
    It is a trade-off. Swimming movements will naturally lengthen and loosen your muscles, especially in the legs and arms, while lifting weights will bulk up and tighten them. You can do both, but your will eventually find your swimming to be somewhat painful for the first 20-30 laps, depending on how hard you have lifted the weights the day before and how much your muscles have tightened up.
    There is no hard and fast rule, but if you were still attempting to be competitive in swimming, you would only want to supplement your workouts with weight training sparsely, focusing on speed and ease of movement in the water instead.
    Each body is unique and the right combination is up to you to figure out. Swimming naturally builds up shoulders, lats, triceps and glutes. Those will be the ones you will be able to really make fast gains in size and shape when you lift weights. To avoid injury, do the opposing muscles. like back of shoulders (to combat swimmer's slope), abs, biceps, and quadriceps.
    Pecs are not naturally built up on swimming, as none of the strokes are pec users. Your ability at short distance sprinting will probably go up, but long, intense workouts in the water will be adventures in some rather painful muscle stretching and lengthening. I have done this for a number of years and while not enormous like a professional bodybuilder, I am happy with my muscularity and strength. It is a question of personal desire and the only really solid factor is the cardiovascular benefits of swimming. Plus it is much rarer to get injured in swimming, water therapy often being recommended for other sports injuries. Heavy weights do wear on the joints. Powerlifting, especially, is extremely taxing on the body and there are few powerlifters in their late forties or fifties without bad backs and other injuries.
    Diet advice is the same for any sport, carbs for energy (complex carbs, preferably) and protein for recovery (lean protein). Your weight gainer supplements have both of these. Any food combination can also help. New research in the importance of healthy bacteria in the gut (Acidophilus, and the other range of healthy bacteria gotten from fiber foods like onions and celery) is very new and only lately been established as an important health factor in humans.

    Hope I have been of help,

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 30, 2013 7:36 PM GMT
    ^^^^^Well said. As a guy who lifts weights every other day, while swimming laps the alt days (Sundays off) I agree with what you've laid out here. In my undergrad years playing H20-polo, we were taught by the coaches to integrate lifting and swimming - to achieve the most perfect balance of strength and endurance. Adhering to this plan of alternating swimming and lifting has kept me in great shape since my playing days - 30+ years ago. I'm very happy with this work out regime.