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  #1  
Old 03-06-2012
KarenK KarenK is offline
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KarenK
Default TI and exercise - naive question?

I've just begun practicing TI and find that - because of all the amazing efficiencies gained - I am not tired even after swimming for an hour. This would be great if my main interests were speed, preserving energy, and the exquisite feel of swimming like a fish. However, the reality is that a primary reason I swim is for exercise. In other words, I want a work out in which I burn calories and strengthen muscles.

Is TI less effective for this purpose than traditional, inefficient swimming where you pull with your arms and kick hard with your legs? I tried to find the answer to this in the freestyle forum posts, but had no luck. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Karen, congratulations on picking up better swimming technique so quickly through TI, it can be really amazing in the first few months.

I can answer your question pretty simply. Michael Phelps and Sun Yang are both very efficient swimmers but they are also very fit and strong.

The point of swimming efficiently means you will go much faster for the same effort than other people in the pool and will be less likely to get an injury, and your stroke will be a joy not a struggle.

How much of a workout you have will be up to you. If you want to feel the burn try a Tabata mini set. Sprint a length full speed (with good technique), rest only 10 seconds, then repeat 7 more times with 10 seconds rest. You should feel your lungs and your muscles then.

This is why lots of us like to enter races it makes a great hobby even more interesting.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Karen,

Do not mistake the tired muscles, and out of breath feelings with being the results of a good work. TI and efficient swimming is a different animal than land based exercise, Andy makes a very valid suggestion if you want to feel the burn.

Sunday I swam next to a gentleman who entered the pool and started pounding the laps as fast as he could. He swims about 2000m's, stroke very fast and SPLs are 28-30 per 25. Just a classic example of what I am sure he considered a good workout.

Continue to swim with an efficient stroke and you will be amazed at the muscle development through different parts of your body. Injuries will be fewer and energy levels for the land based exercises will increase.

They are not the same, although I am sure you can do as Andy suggest. The problem being when the burn and out of breath feeling comes, your stroke efficiency is most likely breaking down. This is especially true foe longer distances not so much for sprints.


Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Lance armstrong is an efficient cyclist...but he can go for an easy ride or he can go for a hard ride when he cycles. Efficiency and "burning calories" are not mutually exclusive.

LIkewise for excellent swimmers. Find a youtube video of Phelps or Popov warming up or drilling. Do they look efficient? Are they burning a lot of calories? Now watch a video of either one racing and ask the same questions. They remain efficient but are burning a lot more calories.

In swimming it's painfully easy to create a sense of "work" by swimming harder while not only decreaseing efficiency, but causing efficiency to plummet, if you are not also acutely aware of ways to hold onto and improve form while trainig

There are efficient and inefficient ways to spend X number of calories in the water.

if you don't feel tired after an hour...and you want to feel tired, then you can spend more energy while you swim TI...and you'll also be swimming faster.

Sounds like it's time for you ti get a tempo trainer to help guide your ongoing sessions. Check out the "favorite sets" forum for lots and lots fo ways to "get tired" in the pool while still swimming with good form.

AS your form continues to improve and you develop "fluency" with choosing the rate/tempo and stroke length at will, you can create any variety of swim sets from restorative and meditative to downright uncomfortable efforts...but all done in a controlled way based on your "Neural threshold" for any given distance or time.

Example:

lets say a typical swim for you is 4 x 500, and it takes an hour adn you feel fine (just a starting point for this example).

Questions we would need to know:
-How long does each 500 take?
-What is your stroke count per 25 for the duration of each 500? (doesn't have to be exact, but knowing you start #1 at 18 strokes and finish at 22 strokes tells us one thing. Knowing you start and finish with the same number of strokes tells us another thing).

Depending on those two simple variables, a coach or many of the non-coach TI swimmers here could help you design a set that will feel like you are "getting exercise" while still holding good form or even...improving it in the process.
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Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
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Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 03-06-2012 at 06:21 PM.
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  #5  
Old 03-07-2012
CoachToddE CoachToddE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenK View Post
However, the reality is that a primary reason I swim is for exercise. In other words, I want a work out in which I burn calories and strengthen muscles.

Is TI less effective for this purpose than traditional, inefficient swimming where you pull with your arms and kick hard with your legs? I tried to find the answer to this in the freestyle forum posts, but had no luck. Thanks.
Karen,
You say you want a work out in which you burn calories and strengthen muscles. What is your prime objective in burning calories, shedding pounds? For strengthening muscles? Swimming does burn calories no matter how long you swim. As mentioned previously, the more effort you apply the more calories burned as in any activity, i.e., walking vs running in the same amount of time. Strengthening muscles is another subject as swimming in an of itself will not give you added strength to your muscles. Swimmers main objective with muscles are long sinewy vs the common weight lifting type of short bulky muscles.

I have found over my years especially the last 15 or so (I'm 57 - 58 this year) that swimming alone will not shed pounds. I burn calories but find my appetite is increased due to the total body exercise. I found that I actually had to supplement my swimming with dry land activities, e.g., bicycling, running, and weight lifting. The elite swimmers you see do a rigorous dry-land activity that supplements their swimming. Swimming alone will not, in my opinion, build muscles or strengthen you. It will give you tone and some muscle shaping. Remember you are in a weightless environment and can only apply so much force on your muscles to add strength. Weights and core exercises added to your swimming will do wonders to not only your swimming but aid in burning calories. You don't have to be a serious weightlifter but can do bands, light dumbbells, and the machines with light weights. Increasing your swimming workout as Coach Suzanne and andyinnorway suggests will also add to increased caloric burn.

To our point of TI less effective, definitely no. You will be able to practice (not workout as Terry likes to emphasize and I agree) longer and add more effort at precise times in your practice.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-2012
CoachBillG CoachBillG is offline
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I get this question quite a bit from swimmers who are implementing swimming into their fitness programs or using fitness as their primary form of exercise. You are confusing "burning the most amount calories in X period of time" or sore muscles as better fitness. Efficient swimming gives you the freedom of:

1. not being sore to allow you to pursue other activities and

2. for you to dictate how many calories, yards, miles, strokes, laps you want to burn or do.

It's like two guys that are the same size and body weight each lifting a 35 pound weight. One guy has lousy form, poor bio-mechanics, bad timing and lacking in coordination and presses it for 20 reps and struggles with it. He is sore for days after. The other guys form is picture perfect and does 50 reps with less effort and is not sore the following day.

Are you telling me the guy that did 20 reps had a better workout?

Look at your fitness in a more holistic way and you will benefit tremendously :-)
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  #7  
Old 03-07-2012
rbs24h rbs24h is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenK View Post
I've just begun practicing TI and find that - because of all the amazing efficiencies gained - I am not tired even after swimming for an hour. This would be great if my main interests were speed, preserving energy, and the exquisite feel of swimming like a fish. However, the reality is that a primary reason I swim is for exercise. In other words, I want a work out in which I burn calories and strengthen muscles.

Is TI less effective for this purpose than traditional, inefficient swimming where you pull with your arms and kick hard with your legs? I tried to find the answer to this in the freestyle forum posts, but had no luck. Thanks.
good one....
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  #8  
Old 03-07-2012
KarenK KarenK is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 2
KarenK
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Dear TI community,
Thank you for your helpful and insightful comments. TI is very new to me. I am excited, but know I have a lot to learn.
All the best,
Karen
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