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.
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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.
Up until this January, 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 for not swimming regularly. I was now determined to figure out how I could stick to a plan and not bail.
I set a goal to swim 4 times a week. I committed to the 6-Week 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 4 days a week with my iPhone and Apple Watch. Having a coach telling me what to do each day made it really easy!
If you’re not familiar with MySwimPro Workouts, I’ll break it down for you. The app is free to download and has a library of Swim Workouts (20-50 mins long), Technique Videos and 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, it’s really helpful for learning stroke technique and learning how to structure a swim workout.
I have the ELITE Subscription which unlocks all the Workouts and recommends a personalized Training Plan that’s tailored to my speed and goals.
After 6 weeks I was able to swim 1 mile continuously. After that, I progressed to the 8-Week Enhance Speed Training Plan.
Seems like a lot, right? Wrong. These workouts were challenging, but really simple to do. 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 1 lbs 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 mis-information 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 by 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!”
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 find so many other aspects in your life improving.
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 Facebook, 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!
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