JbetleyJbetley UKMember
edited June 2013 in General Discussion
I thought I would start a new thread about calorie consumption while swimming. There is at least one thread about weight gain, and more on calorie consumption during swims, but I am interested in learning truly how many calories I am actually using while swimming. For instance, my swim watch tells me I burnt up 2,360 calories in 1 hour 50 minutes his morning, in a swimming pool at 82 degrees. This seems a little far fetched if I am honest, as I wasn't going especially fast, just a nice relaxing 4 miles.

What is the wisdom of the community on calories burned per hour at channel pace, and what effect does OW and the cold have on that consumption? Is there any published research that anyone is aware of on this?

Cheers - J


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandAdmin
    edited June 2013
    I stopped believing my Swimovate calories burned estimate pretty quickly. I don't have much real idea what I'm burning in the pool though.

    The usual estimate for an EC is about 800 calories per hour (+/-). That's based on the cool water. I doubt Catalina would be much different since water temps will only be a couple of degrees higher. Which may feel more comfortable, but won't have a huge effect on calories burned.

    One of the big effects those who swim cold water all the time (Ireland & UK) will say is that you spend a significant amount of calories rewarming afterwards.

    Edit: BTW, I don't know of any publication on actual calorie burn during a solo. Not saying there aren't and it's a couple of years since I last looked. I do seem to recall there are studies of shorter duration events and comparison studies. The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • JonMLJonML Member
    Endless Pools has an online swimming calculator ( By their calculations, I burned a little over 800 calories for my one hour, 3250 yards continuous SCY swim this morning. I'm skeptical, but it is national donut day, so for today I'll believe.
  • I have heard 2.93 calories/lb/mile. I have heard other forumulas as well,but don't know if these factor your BMR in or not.
  • JbetleyJbetley UKMember
    I went to the endless pools calculator (thanks JonML), and got about 2400 calories burned for that same session, so maybe they are using the same formula. 2.93 per lb per mile (thanks Azotter) gives a similar number. The question in my mind is around the link to weight. If I put on 20 lbs, would I really be burning 10% more calories per mile? Do I become that much 'less streamlined'? Also, there is no factor in the calculation for speed the distance is covered in, or indeed the efficiency of the swimmer, or the temperature of the water. I feel a grand formula coming on, or maybe I should just get up, have some breakfast, and go for a swim.......
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    I can't believe anywhere near those figures. I would think you could look at how many calories a person needs to eat a day (say 2500) and how many calories you need to burn to lose 1 lb. (without looking it up I believe it's about 3000.) so most of us stay about static with weight gain or loss as we burn off the same as we eat.

    If we burn off close to one pound of calories per hour and sw the EC in 14 hours we would lose a stone in weight. But then add in the calories we eat during the swim, ( a few bananas, chocolate, drinks), I don't see anyone losing so much weight, maybe 3 or 4 lbs.

    I have done many swims of around 3 or 4 hours with no food intake at all, just plain water and don't lose a couple pounds.

    Even if assuming I drank one litre ( and don't pee) I would of course expect to gain a couple pounds, but I expect we all pee about the same amount in weight of fluid we drink In anything longer than a two hour swim.

    Maybe we should add portable scales to our swim kit and weigh ourselves every swim. Maybe such rapid weight loss is why we feel so odd after a long swim, if the sums are true , and it has little to do with the muscular or mental efforts of swimming.

    I just don't think we lose that much weight at all.
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    I reckon its closer to 400 calories burnt per hour and a similar calories intake. Which is why we don't all become skinny during a long swim by losing half a stone per session.
Sign In or Register to comment.