We all know swimming is a great form of exercise… but just how many calories can you burn while swimming? A TON!

Learn what’s really going in your body while you swim in our new Whiteboard Wednesday episode!

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What Is a Calorie?

According to Merriam-Webster, a calorie is the amount of heat required at a pressure of one atmosphere to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius that is equal to about 4.19 joules.

Before we dive into the exact number of calories that you can burn by swimming, we need to understand the variables that impact how many calories you burn.

Related: What Happens To Your Body When You Swim

Related: How to Lose Weight Swimming


Some say that swimming burns the most calories out of every sport. Now whether that is true or not, it definitely is a great workout.

Every person has unique variables that directly correlate to how many calories they burn while swimming.


  • Age
  • Sex
  • Weight
  • Body type


  • Intensity of your workout
  • Stroke type
  • Duration
  • Water temperature

Related: How To Swim In a Hot Pool

Watch Patty’s inspiring swimming transformation story!

How To Burn More Calories When You Swim:

1 – Incorporate high intensity workouts

To burn more calories in your swim workout, we recommend swimming a shorter duration at a higher intensity. You can do this by using interval training in your workouts.

Try not to just swim back and forth continuously for 60 minutes. Instead, break up your workout with sets that focus on different energy zones.

2 – Swim all of the strokes

When you mix up your workout with different strokes, you engage more muscle groups, which burns more calories. Try to break up your workout in sections swimming freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, kick, and pull drills. You can learn more here.

3 – Use training equipment

If you are comfortable in the water, we recommend using training equipment in your swimming. Bring a pair of fins, paddles, a snorkel, or a parachute to increase your resistance and burn more calories in the water.

All of these examples of training equipment add resistance in the water, causing you to work harder, engage different muscles, and burn more calories. It also adds variety to your workout, which makes it more fun!

Related: How Karen Lost 110 lbs From Swimming

Example Workout:

Calorie-Torching Workout

  • Distance: 2,800 Meters
  • Duration: 60 Minutes
  • Focus: Increase your heart rate to burn more calories


  • 1 x 300 Freestyle
  • 6 x 50 Kick (with fins)
  • 3 x 100 Individual Medley (I.M.)

Main Set: (4 times)

  • 1 x 200 Pull (with paddles)
  • 4 x 50 Freestyle (with fins) (descend #1-4)

Cool Down:

  • 3 x 100 FRIM

Related: Beginner Weight Loss Training Plan

For more tips like this, follow MySwimPro on YouTube!

Looking for swim or dryland workouts? Download the #1 app for swimmers – MySwimPro. Available on iPhone, Android and most smartwatches. 

Start a MySwimPro Coach subscription to unlock personalized Training Plans, unlimited Workouts, Analytics and more!


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