fat-swimming

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Summer night swim! Feeling pretty, cute, and fun, just like everyone deserves to feel in swimwear, and all clothes, no matter their size! There’s no size limit on beauty, or the ability to rock a swimsuit!

Swimming at Every Size, Tip #7: Breathe, Baby

When I’m at the pool, the thing I notice swimmers struggling the most with is breathing. I’ve seen people try to swim without ever putting their face in the water, lift their head straight up to take a breath, and have to stop mid-lane to keep from drowning.

Breathing is also the thing that people who talk to me about swimming are most concerned with.

So, breathing.

It starts with proper swimming form. For a freestyle stroke, just a basic front crawl, your body needs to be elongated with your face in the water, so you’re looking down at the bottom of the pool.

If you’re new to swimming, your instinct might be to lift your head so you’re looking toward the end of the pool you’re swimming toward. If you’re in this habit, it’s something you’ll have to break yourself of. If you’re afraid of running into the wall, remember that the bottom of the pool has a marking line that ends with a T a yard or so from the wall.

When you’re swimming, your arms alternate between being dormant and being active. Your active arm is the one in the water, starting over head and pulling through the water down the length of your body. That arm goes dormant when it leaves the water and you bring it back around over head.

Breathing involves rotating toward your dormant arm, as it leaves the water. Your body rotates as if you were on a spit with your head in line with your shoulders and hips. Your head pushes water ahead of you, causing a little breaking wave that gives you space to breathe, even though you keep one of your goggles and one ear in the water. 

Look at the water line in this picture. See how it dips? That little dip is where you breathe

Your brain might try to tell you that you need to lift your head higher or lift it straight up instead of too the side, because your eye is still in the water. With practice it will get easier.

It’s important to exhale under water. You only have a second to take a breath and you don’t want to waste it getting rid of the last one. I’ve seen advice that says the exhale continuously under water. I don’t like that, because it causes you to swim through your bubbles and that sends water up my nose. I usually exhale a little as I put my head back under, and then exhale the rest of the way as I’m turning my body for the next breath. Your goal is to only need to inhale when you get your mouth above the water line.

Swimming is all about energy conservation. If you over rotate during your breath, you’re using energy that is better spent on your stroke. Also, your hips will drop and you’ll waste the oxygen you just took in trying to even out again.

So you don’t want this:

Instead, a good rule of thumb is to keep one goggle and one ear in the water. Like this:

Ideally, you should breathe bilaterally–every third stroke, so that you breathe to your left and then to your right.

Here’s where I say do as I say, not as I do.

You probably have a stronger side. I definitely do. My body lifts higher when I’m pulling with my strong right arm, so it’s by far easier for me to breathe to the left. So much so, that right now, I haven’t even been trying to breathe bilaterally. I’ve stayed aware of it, though, because breathing only on one side causes  muscles to build unevenly. Eventually, lateral breathing causes an asymmetrical stroke as well. 

When you are very new to swimming, you might find that you need to breathe every other stroke. I know that it’s only after about six weeks that I can even start to think about breathing every third stroke. Now that I’m getting I’m getting stronger, I’m ready to incorporate bilateral drills to help my body get stronger on the left side. I’ll write more about that soon.

The most important thing to think about right now, is proper breathing technique, regardless of how many breaths you need each lap or whether you breathe laterally or bilaterally. The video below gives you some good drills to help you learn the technique.

And another one because if there is one thing I love as much as the lake it’s myself, which I think is a really good thing. So i’m going to celebrate it since  it took me almost a quarter of a decade to get to this point.

I like the way I look, but my self worth doesn’t depend on it. I’m not going to shy away from showing my arms or wearing short shorts just because other people don’t like it. I’m still going to climb giant rocks and go swimming and eat guacamole and do whatever else I want to. I’m not going to keep from living because my body is shaped different, or my fat doesn’t deposit to more desirable areas.

I’m going to love myself. Not because of, or in spite of this body. 

Summertime

I’m still 99% sure that I would enjoy summertime a LOT more if I had a swimming pool.  Preferably one that I didn’t have to actually take care of, but if my job was just to scoop leaves out of it every so often, I could probably handle it.  I’ve got no idea how intensive having to put pool chemicals in and clear out filters is, but if its fairly easy then I could prob handle that too.

THE POINT IS

I love swimming and I would be a lot more “cool” with summertime if I had regular pool access.

Swimming at Every Size, Tip #5: Eat Your Elephant One Bite at a Time

I went back and forth about whether I should just go right into the technical aspects of swimming, or post a few more tips that I hope will help you decide to actually get in the pool.

I figure, you can find stroke and kick and breathing advice anywhere. So, today, I’m going to talk to you about making a goal and then making slow and steady progress toward it.

My swimming goal right now is to be able to swim 3000 freestyle meters. That big goal is broken down into mini-goals of 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 2500 meters.

What’s yours?

Let’s shoot for the moon and say you want to be an Olympic swimmer.

I can’t promise you the podium. But I promise that if you make a goal, start where you are, accommodate for your abilities, and make slow, steady progress, you’ll get closer than you are now.

Chances are, you won’t make it to Team USA (or Team Any Country)–I mean, hardly anyone does. Lots of talents, qualified hopefuls don’t. But you could join your local Master’s team and compete. You could eventually add running and biking and complete a triathlon. You could swim the English Channel.

See what I’m saying? You can go from where you are today to some pretty spectacular places, if you …

Okay. Now that that’s out of my system.

I try to alternate a swim where I make a small increase in distance (always 50 meters, or two laps) with a swim where I focus on improving form and, hopefully, speed.

In other words, i swim each distance twice. The first time, it is an increase from the last swim that I completed. The second time, I swim the same distance focusing on doing it a little better.

Every fourth or fifth swim or so, I add a longer interval. So, I started swimming only 25 meter intervals. Then I added a 50 meter interval. Then a 75 meter interval. The last time I swam, I added a 100 meter interval. 

I have my swims going all the way to 3000 meters planned. When I look at the longer ones…really even just a few hundred meters beyond where I am now, I get a little queasy. But the very next workout? I got that. And when I get there, I got the next one, and the next one.

So, make a goal. Figure out your starting point. What will it take to get from here to there? Break it down into manageable bites. Take the first one today. Take the next one the next time you get in the pool.

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No one told me that Denver would be so much hotter than Ohio. 96° today so the roommates and I went swimming. I’ve finally felt comfortable enough with my body since we moved here to go out consistently in crop tops. This is the second time I’ve worn a bikini outside of my backyard and the first time I wasn’t feeling extremely anxious about it. I still feel weird about my vgs scars and I worry about the extra skin on my arms and tum. But my body positivity has been off the charts! Excuse the wet mess that is my hair.