My name is Michael Allon and I’m the Co-Founder and Android Developer for the MySwimPro app. Here’s how I changed my life and lost 100 pounds through diet and swimming with MySwimPro.
Use code SWIM35 for $35 off your first year of MySwimPro Coach >
My weight gain started in college. Before I joined the MySwimPro team, I never would have considered myself a “swimmer.” I was overweight (technically obese), clocking in at 264 lbs as a late 20’s 5’10” guy. In college I had gained my “freshman 15” which turned into the sophomore, junior, and senior 45.
Related: How I Lost 10kg Swimming with MySwimPro
Up until January 2018, I lived a very inactive lifestyle. I had been working as a computer programmer (a sedentary job) and barely worked out, which led me to my final weight of 264 lbs.
Near the start of 2018, I decided that I needed to make a change. I made a promise to myself that I would work out 4 times a week, focus on my diet, and make a lifestyle change before my health got any worse. I had been working at MySwimPro for over 3 years and was always finding excuses to not swim regularly. I was now determined to figure out how I could stick to a plan and not bail.
I set a goal to swim four times a week. I committed to the Get Fit Training Plan in the MySwimPro app, which gave me a clear plan of all of the Swim Workouts I could follow to stay on track. I did a Swim Workout from the app four days a week with my iPhone and Apple Watch. Having a coach telling me what to do each day made it really easy!
Related: How I Lost 75lbs Swimming & Reclaimed My Life
Related: 30-Minute Swim Workout to Burn Max Calories
If you’re not familiar with MySwimPro Workouts, I’ll break it down for you. The app has a library of Swim Workouts (20-50 mins long), Technique Videos and personalized Training Plans. It also has a swim log where you can track your progress and see how much faster you’re getting each week.
You can get the app on your iPhone or Android, and it’s optional to pair it with a smartwatch. Once you’re in a Plan, the app will tell you what your Swim Workout is, and you can take it with you to the pool to complete. I suggest syncing it with a smartwatch (details here) because it records everything and coaches you through the Sets, but you can also bring your phone or a printed version of the Workout to the pool.
Related: 3 Swim Workouts for Beginners
If you’re a beginner swimmer, MySwimPro is really helpful for learning stroke technique and learning how to structure a swim workout.
I have the Coach Subscription which unlocks all the Workouts and recommends a personalized Training Plan that’s tailored to my speed and goals.
After six weeks I was able to swim one mile continuously. After that, I progressed to the Enhance Speed Training Plan.
Seems like a lot, right? Wrong. These Workouts were challenging, but really simple to get done. Since the Workouts were only 30 minutes long and the app tells you exactly what to do, I never got bored. It felt good to push myself, and by the end of the 30 minutes I was usually exhausted! It’s amazing to see yourself drop time and swim faster every single week.
I also used the Runtastic Results app for my bodyweight fitness routine. This app provides awesome training plans, full of push-ups and sit-ups, which I can do at home. The app has allowed me to maintain and even gain more muscle as I lost weight.
“When I first started swimming because I was technically obese, it was difficult to go to the pool because of body image issues. It can be intimidating when you see everyone else at the pool and it looks like they know what they’re doing. I didn’t know how to do a flip turn. Just go in the pool and start swimming. You can learn as you go.”
Creating a Calorie Deficit
Swimming was a big part of my weight loss journey, but my diet helped me shed even more weight. I used a tried and true method – CICO (Calories In – Calories Out). CICO uses a simple mathematical formula:
Total Daily Energy Expenditure + Calories From Exercise – Calories From Food = Caloric Deficit
Related: How to Lose Weight Swimming
To lose weight you need to create a caloric deficit (ie. expend more calories than you take in). You expend energy through exercise and through your normal every-day actions (Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE). The general rule of thumb is that a deficit of roughly 3,500 calories is equal to one pound of weight loss.
When I weighed 264 lbs, my TDEE was around 2,600 calories (you can calculate TDEE with this tool). I swam a MySwimPro Workout 4-5 times per week, so I averaged roughly 300 calories burned from exercise per day. I also limited my food intake to 1,650 calories per day.
This makes my equation look like:
TDEE + Calories From Exercise – Calories From Food = Caloric Deficit
2,600 + 300 – 1,650 = 1,250 Caloric Deficit
So my daily caloric deficit was 1,250 calories, and my weekly deficit was 1,250 x 7 = 8,750. This equates to roughly 8,750 / 3,500 = 2.5 lbs lost per week.
My Advice for Losing Weight
1) Find a community or friends who can help you out.
Weight loss is a difficult journey to undertake on your own. It’s great to have support for what you’re going through. There is also so much misinformation out there about weight loss, and having a group to discuss with can help you sift through the BS. I’d recommend the community reddit.com/r/loseit for online weight-loss discussion. For swimming-specific discussion I’d recommend the MySwimPro Global Community Facebook group. I personally drew inspiration from Patty Deters, a member of the Facebook group who lost 75 lbs using the MySwimPro app.
2) Prepare and portion your meals.
Lots of people use apps like MyFitnessPal for calorie counting. I find that it’s difficult to track calories this way – but if that works for you, more power to you. Instead of calorie-counting, I opted for meal prep. Every week I plan out my meals and go shopping for the groceries I need for my planned recipes. Every Sunday and Wednesday I prepare and portion meals for the rest of the week. In this way, I know exactly how many calories I’ll consume each day. Check out reddit.com/r/mealprepsunday for meal prep ideas.
3) Find a form of exercise that suits you.
For me personally, swimming absolutely made the most sense. Not only does swimming burn a ton of calories, but it also works all your muscles! Swimming also helps me set goals and keep things interesting with my exercise. I’ve used a couple different Training Plans from the MySwimPro app this year.
I even worked up the confidence to race in my first Masters swim meet! I’ve dropped a ton of time in my freestyle events since earlier this year, and even competed at the U.S. Masters National Championships in Indianapolis, IN and the UANA Pan American Masters Championships in Orlando, FL.
“Using the MySwimPro app has made exercise so much more than just putting in hours on the treadmill or mindlessly swimming back and forth – it’s an exciting challenge!”
Related: What it’s Like to Race at the UANA Pan American Masters Championships
4) Good habits are key, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
The main goal with weight loss is to be consistent and establish good habits. Set up a regimen that you can stick to – maybe it’s exercising 3x a week, or maybe it’s cutting sugar from your diet. It’s ok to start small – you don’t have to make huge changes in your lifestyle to start. If you’re struggling to lose weight and you go on a food-binge or forget to exercise once in a while don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s ok to indulge every so often and you can always jump back on the weight-loss wagon – there’s no rush!
Related: Why You Need a Structured Swim Plan
5) Don’t let swimming intimidate you.
I promise you that if you swim 3-4 times a week for at least 20 minutes, you will see changes. You’ll get faster in the water, and your strength and stamina will improve every time you swim. And if you’re struggling to understand swimming technique, you can always contact our team and we’ll coach you through the plan!
You have to learn to celebrate the little wins. Celebrate when you go faster on a swim set, when you get out of the pool without feeling winded, and when you have more energy during your work day.
The number on the scale doesn’t always define your progress. If you can commit 30 minutes, 3x a week, you will notice improvements in many many other aspects or your life.
I hope my story helps someone who’s looking to make a change or lose some weight. Please reach out to us in the comments, on social media, or to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or feedback!
More Inspiring Stories
Check out Patty’s swimming journey! Swimming helped her lose 75 pounds and manage rheumatoid arthritis. To watch more incredible stories from swimmers around the world, subscribe to our MySwimPro Community YouTube channel!
Ready to start your personalized Training Plan? Use code SWIM35 for $35 off your first year of MySwimPro Coach >
Hi mike, I am a high schooler and I have struggled my whole life with being overweight, I live in a house with my parents, they are not into “healthy eating” and exercising so it is hard for me to get motivated to go workout and sit down and make a healthy meal, I also struggle when it comes to fighting the temptation, any advice?
Hi Valentina, thanks for the question. I hope I can be of some help with your weight-loss journey. It’s definitely not easy to overcome an unhealthy home environment, but it sounds like you may need to take your health into your own hands.
Even if your family is not into ‘healthy meals’ you can still at least portion your meals to meet a certain calorie goal. I’d recommend doing some quick calculations of how many calories are in your most frequent meals, and try to hit a certain number of calories per day.
Exercise is healthy, but it’s not absolutely necessary for weight loss – all you need is a caloric deficit. I’d recommend checking out the MySwimPro Facebook group to get some tips and motivation for swimming if that’s what you’re into.
Also, check out the subreddit reddit.com/r/loseit for discussions from people going through the same process you are.
As far as quick tips for fighting temptation – sometimes when we feel hungry, we’re actually thirsty – so grab a glass of water instead and see if that helps. Also, sometimes we eat when we’re bored, so try to fill your time with other fun things.
Really inspiring story.
I just started a 6 weeks program at a local gym, but I would like to drop weight trough swimming.
If this story is true you did not lose just weight; you look so much younger than in your initial weight!
Thanks for sharing. I’ll check the app.
Thank you for your support! Mike is a great motivator!
Dear, I have started swimming recently a month ago and dilemma is that with portion control, walk and swimming, instead of losing weight, I have gained weight. I am more mascular and broad now.. I m really dishearted. Moreover I got so many breakouts on my face with swimming… What to do now.
Hi Maryum, Swimming can definitely make you hungry! It may help to work with a Registered Dietitian for assistance determining how many calories you should be eating per day to encourage healthy weight loss. It does make sense that you’ve built more muscle — swimming makes you strong! As for breakouts, it may help to hop in the shower to wash your face immediately after your swim. Make sure to have a good moisturizer on hand to keep your skin hydrated and healthy!
I started my swimming plan a week ago and I want to loose 20 kilos, I am not that much fat but after getting ill I put on weight because of steroids but now I am good and I can do work out. I am 75kg and I want to become 55 kg with 162 cm height. I do swimming 5 times a week every session 45 minutes. I try to gave a healthy diet as well. Can you please help me that how long possibly would take to loose 20kg with this program?
Hi Shirin, swimming is a great way to lose weight! You’ll want to pair your exercise with a diet plan that works for you. It all comes down to creating a caloric deficit – meaning you need to eat less calories than you expend. You can calculate your average calorie burn per day (TDEE) here https://tdeecalculator.net/. Then add in your calories from swimming and the amount of calories you eat. For example:
TDEE = 1750
Daily Exercise = 500
Calories Eaten = 1500
Deficit = 1500 – 1750 – 500 = -750
So if you burn 500 calories per day from swimming or other exercise, and consume 1500 calories in food, then with that TDEE you’d have a deficit of 750 calories per day, or 5,250 per week. To lose 1 lbs you need to have roughly a 3500 calorie deficit – so with this plan you’d be losing about 1.5 lbs per week.
It states that this is a free app but it is not a free app….or am i missing something?
Hi Felicia! You can download the MySwimPro app for free, with limited features. To unlock all our workouts and training content, you can pay for an ELITE Subscription 🙂 learn more at http://www.myswimpro.com/elite
The free version has very few features, very disappointing
Hi Tracey, did you know there is a free Training Plan available in the free version? Plus, you can keep a log of all your swims to track your progress. Learn more about how swimmers use the free version here: https://support.myswimpro.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038419353-MySwimPro-Free-Version
Great motivating article though! your transformation is really mind blowing!! kudos!! 🙂 🙂
Have started my swim workout a week back and swimming for 3 weeks a day. I really feel difference every day, however I was not very clear about my diet plan.. what kind of food habit would help us to loss extra pounds while in swim workout..?
Hi Banuchandar, I’m glad the article helps motivate you! As far as weight loss goes, it’s really all about calories in vs. calories out. Swimming 3 times per week is excellent exercise and, when paired with proper diet will help you get fit and lose weight.
I’d say that sticking to a diet or meal plan is the most important part of weight loss – even more than exercise. Many people do calorie counting with apps like MyFitnessPal, but I did meal-prep instead – you can do whatever feels more appropriate for you.
Give yourself a calorie budget every day and do your best to stick to that. I pre-made meals every week and simply ate exactly what I prepared each day. check out the CICO equation referenced in the article to figure out what your calorie budget should be.
A few other tips would be to drink lots of water – many times when you feel hungry you’re actually thirsty. And stay away from too much sugar or any type of food that gives you cravings as this could sabotage your consistency.
This was a very meaningful post, so informative and encouraging information, Thank you for this post.
Exercise to gain weight
Great article!! I’ve been swimming between 3,500 and 4,000 yards 3 times a week for a little over a month. I swam in high school but that was a VERY LONG time ago. I tried to sign up for the elite plan and use the swimwithmike20 code that you provided but it said that the code was no longer valid. Is there a new code that we can use?
Thank you so much for your comment, Dr. Matt! That’s awesome that you’re getting back into swimming, way to go! Can you please try again and make sure you enter in the coupon code in all-caps? Try this link: https://myswimpro.com/elite/?coupon=SWIMWITHMIKE20
Coupon code: SWIMWITHMIKE20
If you have any other issues, please email us at email@example.com
Started C25K yesterday and I am just hearing up to head to the pool for my first swim. Going to see how I like swimming and if today goes well I’ll invest in a watch for the pool to use myswimpro more effectively. Congrats on the great results
Awesome! Send us an email if you have any questions! firstname.lastname@example.org
I lost 80lbs doing CICO last year, once you get into it it is easy, after 30 years of being over weight.
I swam 6 times week / hit the gym twice and limited my intake to around 1800 calories, used a spreadsheet to work it all out i am an accountant i have graph showing the weight lose each week.
Stunning how well it worked! 🙂
That’s amazing Iain! Are you training with the MySwimPro app? If so, send us an email, we’d love to learn about your story more and feature you in a blog post! email@example.com
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Hi Michael, I’m a woman trying to lose 40 pounds, and also am turning to exercise as a way to cope with grief (I lost my husband very unexpectedly 7 months ago–he was 48). Reading about swimming and weight loss on the Internet, it seems like everyone feels they need to have a workout where they change what they’re doing every few laps. Why? Can’t I just swim laps and still see results? I’ve so far been swimming 30 minutes (initially a slow breast stroke, but I find I’m getting faster) every other day or so, and often walking 30 minutes on the in between days (my plan is to swim every day, but I’m still sorting out where to fit that into my schedule). I’m not sure if I’m seeing results yet or not, in terms of weight, but I DO feel better physically and mentally. Thanks for your post! This is encouraging.
Hi Bonnie, thanks for your comment. I am truly sorry about the loss of your husband. I am thinking of you, and I hope you are finding the strength you need to heal.
As for your health, I am very happy to hear that you are enjoying swimming! We always recommend using Interval Training to improve your technique and strength in the water. You’ll get faster, too! Plus, it’s important to learn more strokes and mix your workouts up with variety. I recommend you read these two blogs for more info:
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions! – Paige
Hi Bonnie, I’m very sorry to hear about your husband. I’m glad this post is encouraging for you! You can just swim back and forth and still lose weight, but it’s not the best way to improve your swimming technique – not to mention it can get a bit boring. Following a training plan will help you improve as well as make things more fun and interesting. As far as your weight loss goals go – it can take some time to see results, just keep it up. Persistence is the key. Keep in mind that a lot of weight loss is about the food we eat, not just the exercise we do. I’m glad you’re feeling better already – please keep us updated on your progress or if you have any questions!
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I have a question, does the size of the pool matter? I have a small pool in my apartment complex -that I’m planning on using, or does it need to be a professional size pool to complete the training?
The size of your pool doesn’t matter! It will just take you a more laps to complete the workouts if your pool is smaller. If you have an Apple Watch, you can set the pool distance and the app will adjust for you!
Enjoyed looking through this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “Golf isn’t a game, it’s a choice that one makes with one’s life.” by Charles Rosin.
I am in high school and I have been struggling with being overweight for about 4years. I am on my High School swim team and I struggle with comparing myself to other people. I always look at them and think wow they are so skinny. I feel so embarrassed and I don’t want to be. Do you have any tips on how to be happy with my body and to not be embarrassed?
Hey Claire! It helps to think about all the amazing things your body does for you! It swims tough practices, gets you through races — it’s so strong! Your body is incredible, and you are no less worthy to be in the water than anyone else.
I loved it, thanks for this healthy information
How big of a pool do you need to have an effective workout? Because of COVID I won’t want to use a public pool and my backyard pool is about 20 feet (6 meters) long
Hi there! Your pool might be good for tethered swimming! Check out our video about how to structure a tethered swimming workout: https://myswimpro.com/blog/2020/09/09/9-tethered-swimming-tips/
Hi! Will this app work for ocean swimming, or do you need to have a set in place “lap” distance?
Hi Mandy, You can track open water swimming in MySwimPro! Using your smartwatch, start an open water swim in the MySwimPro app and it will track your total time, distance, heart rate, pace and calories.