In 1,000 days, I swam more than 1,243 miles. That’s like swimming from New York City to Miami. It’s more than the width of the Mediterranean Sea. And it’s the equivalent of swimming the English Channel more than 50 times.
But this challenge resulted in a whole lot more than millions of yards logged. In the process, I lost weight, gained weight, put on muscle, improved my technique and most importantly, I worked on my mindset.
Here’s a look at how I pushed through when I wasn’t motivated and what happened to my body after 1,000 swim workouts.
Swimming in a Pandemic
It’s been a little over 1,000 days since the global pandemic shut down the world.
Every pool was closed. We were stuck inside, and even though I stayed in shape doing dryland exercises at home, I missed the water. It was the longest break I had taken from swimming in over 10 years.
When the weather finally warmed up where I live, the pools were still closed so I started open water swimming. Even though I loved the feeling of being in the water, my stroke felt terrible.
I felt out of shape, I had completely lost my feel of the water, and there was no timeline for any of the pools around me to open up. I thought to myself, “What’s the point? If I feel slow, out of breath, and I don’t have a routine anymore, why should I even try to start back up again?”
Fast forward 1,000 days and I can confidently say that I’m happy I stuck with it. I found a routine, and I’ve made huge gains in my physical and mental health.
My Previous Swimming Challenges
Over the years, I’ve shared a few different challenges I’ve taken on in the pool.
I attempted to swim 100,000 meters in 30 days and failed. I tried the challenge again one year later and not only succeeded with your support and encouragement, but we also raised thousands of dollars for the Movember Foundation.
Then I swam one mile every day for 100 days straight. And let me tell you, doing anything for 100 days will have a transformative impact on your life.
I can’t think of any other time in my life where I committed to doing something for 100 days without stopping.
They say it takes 21 days to build a habit, and I can confidently tell you that I succeeded in building a habit of going to the pool every day during this chapter of my journey.
Swim. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. I was so into my routine, I even published my first book titled Swim Like A Pro: A Holistic Training Guide on How to Swim Faster.
When I finished the 100 day swim challenge, I was proud of what I had accomplished, but was more so grateful for the opportunity. I’m thankful to be in a position where I can swim every day, I’m healthy and more connected to the water.
But it wasn’t as perfect as it seemed to be. About a year ago, I hurt my lower back and was out of the water for about two months. It took me nearly a full year to swim without any pain.
I couldn’t work out at all, and because I was barely moving, I lost 20 pounds in just a few months. I went from weighing 180 lbs to 160 lbs in the blink of an eye. I lost muscle, I lost motivation and again, I didn’t see the point in getting back to a routine when my performance, my physique, and my feel of the water were not where I wanted them to be.
I’m so fortunate that during tough times like this, I could lean on a community of other swimmers. We all go through challenging times, and it’s so important to surround yourself with other people who have the same goals, ambitions and dreams.
Today I’m back over 170 lbs. I’m leaner, more fit, and can swim pain free! I am so grateful to the MySwimPro community on social media and inside our VIP Facebook Group for the inspirational stories and encouraging words.
And since returning to the pool after that back injury and getting back into the groove of swimming almost every day, I’ve made huge improvements both in and out of the water.
This year, I swam every single day during the month of Ramadan, and published a video highlighting what that journey was like. I didn’t eat or drink anything for nearly 20 hours every day, and still consistently swam at least one kilometer each day.
I maintained my routine out of the water by lifting weights, and even hit new PRs several times over the last few months.
In April 2023 I went to U.S. Masters Nationals for the first time in four years, and went under a minute in the 100 breaststroke. I almost hit my best times from when I competed in college over 10 years ago!
It was so amazing to connect with so many of you on the pool deck in Irvine, and I’m so happy I attended that competition!
Reflecting back, I accomplished a lot in 1,000 days:
- I swam 87,000 laps, took over 1.3 million strokes and went through five swimsuits.
- I competed in my first swim race after the pandemic. I got to race an Olympian (and lost)!
- I swam with someone who has no arms.
- I swam 14 kilometers around Mackinac island, the most I’ve ever swam without stopping.
- I swam in seven different states and five countries.
The Impact of 1,000 Swim Workouts
After 1000 days of swimming, my accessible lung capacity improved, my average resting heart rate dropped and I also got faster! My feel of the water has become so strong. I’m able to swim faster with less energy just by improving this feel of the water and developing a more robust aerobic capacity.
The endorphins are an added bonus and I always leave the pool with a smile on my face!
If you haven’t experienced the joy of swimming every day, I highly recommend it. Even if it’s just for a week. The beauty of swimming is that you can do it at any age. It’s low impact and works every single muscle group. It’s refreshing and fun, and you can do it every single day for the rest of your life!
When you do something a thousand times, your brain goes on autopilot which allows you to focus on the details. I don’t have to think about doing a flip turn, it just happens. I don’t think to myself, NOW I should breathe. I just breathe.
Instead of asking myself, “when should I swim next?” I just swim.
The Power of Routine
When something becomes a part of your daily routine, it’s just one less thing to think about. That’s the power of building a habit. You won’t worry about if or when you’ll do something. You just do it.
When I was on a swim team, this routine came way easier. You have a set practice time, the coach is on the deck telling you what to do, and the workout is already planned for you.
When you swim by yourself, you’re pretty much on your own!
And that’s why I developed the MySwimPro app. To help swimmers of all levels stick to a routine, follow a workout plan, and have that feeling of accountability that you can only get when you work with a coach on a team. MySwimPro is just like a coach on your wrist, guiding you every step of the way through a swim workout.
As of today, almost 2 million people have downloaded the MySwimPro app for iPhone and Android and tens of millions of workouts have been logged.
Swimmers in our community have lost weight, swam personal best times, and improved their mental health thanks to our structured workouts and educational content.
I have swum over 1,500 workouts with the MySwimPro app on my Apple Watch and I can confidently say that I’m in the best shape of my life because of it.
I’m still doing what I love, but it means so much more to me that I get to share my swimming journey with you.
I’ve had so many unforgettable experiences and I have swimming to thank.
Through all the ups and downs, I’ve learned about myself and I continue to learn from our incredible community. We can do anything with the right mindset, consistent effort and the right support!
I know I’ll keep swimming as long as I can. As far as where my next adventure will be, you’ll just have to follow along to find out.