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Wait… This Is How Many Calories You Can Burn Swimming?!

Michael Phelps said that he ate between 8,000 and 10,000 calories per day at his peak. It’s not a crazy thing to wonder how someone can eat thousands of calories and stay in shape.

How many calories does swimming burn, anyway?

If you train like an Olympic swimmer, spending hours in the pool swimming at a vigorous effort in addition to other training, you’re going to burn a lot of calories.

So much, that Phelps was able to eat that many calories a day and still walk away with a six — er — eight-pack.

But for the average person who simply wants a good, low-impact workout from their swimming routine, chances are you rarely have more than an hour to stay in the pool.

Still, that can burn a good number of calories, even if you’re only in the water for a half-hour.

That’s largely due to the fact that swimming is a killer cardio workout that challenges your whole body and builds cardiorespiratory endurance.

Below we calculated the number of calories burned swimming laps with a freestyle stroke at both a vigorous and moderate effort for 30 minutes.

(The calculations come from the Compendium of Physical Activities and Cornell University Ergonomics Web METS to Calories Calculator.)

How Many Calories Does Swimming Burn?

Check out the charts to learn approximately how many calories you’ll burn in a half-hour workout based on your weight, then dive in!

Remember, though, that these are just estimates. Actual calorie burn depends on a lot more than just weight.

Your body composition, age, gender, genetics, and fitness level will also affect your total energy expenditure during exercise.

Calories Burned Swimming at a Vigorous Effort

Weight (lbs.)
Calories Burned (30 mins.)
130
290
140
312
150
334
160
356
170
379
180
401
190
423
200
446

Calorie Burned Swimming at a Moderate Effort

Weight (lbs.)
Calories Burned (30 mins.)
130
171
140
185
150
198
160
211
170
224
180
237
190
251
200
264

Swimming Tips and Workouts

Now that you know how many calories you can burn swimming, it’s time to get to work!

Need some guidance? We’ve got you:

Here are four excellent swim workouts for any level to help you get started.
If you’re looking to brush up on your freestyle stroke to increase your speed and efficiency, check out these tips to improve your stroke.

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