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One Week Down – ActiveAugust

Last week I posted my kickoff of my ActiveAugust (Twitter Search) routine and a weigh in in “And So It Begins…”. I said I would come back and post weekly throughout ActiveAugust. I also think I will continue posting at least monthly just to keep this in my mind.

How did week 1 go?

The Good

  • At least 30 minutes of activity? Good. Some examples below:
    • Walked during the beginning of the week each day
    • Alternated doing routines for the 100 pushup or 200 squat challenges (not at 100/200 yet, first week) sat-tuesday
    • Weds, Thur and Fri I actually used my gym membership that I have been paying for and hit the lap pool for the first time in 6 months + Did between 40-60 minutes of swimming. Out of breath most of the time, heart pumping away. Drained me but it felt good. The most laps I did was on Thursday, about 1350 yards (54 lengths or 27 laps)
  • I lost weight… Not much. Today’s weigh in? 208 lbs That is only 0.5 lbs lost. Have a lot of ground to make up. While I have an ideal weight (180/185), I also am more concerned with a healthier life so with the working out and other good list items, I feel good about progress.
  • Water –> I drank plenty of it
  • No Coke –> I had some Coke Zero a few times since we have it but I stayed away from the high test. Once the CZ is gone, it will be water and milk only with maybe some juice occasionally.
  • Healthy Eating –> The bad has more but I was cognizant of what I was eating and even though it was not a great week it was not as bad as it would have been.

The Bad

  • This was a vacation week so my schedule on workout time didn’t allow me to get both pool and some of the strength work done, didn’t touch free weights.
  • Still too much junk food out of convenience with us travelling all around on long day trips with the kids. (again much less than I would have on vacation but still too much)

Swimming Thoughts

Tom LaRock (twitter, blog) blogged about swimming when he posted his Active August Tips and I have to say I agree with his tips whole heartedly about swimming. It is a great workout. The best shape I have been in in my married adult life (which has practically been my whole adult life being 30 now and celebrating our 7th anniversary in a couple weeks) was about 1.5 years ago when I was swimming practically daily an doing some free weight work as well but mainly swimming. My weight was on the fast track down, I had to switch out my wardrobe to sized 34 pants (and even some of them were too big) and I felt good. Last fall I fell off the wagon for some reason and missed some pool days (my shoulders were a bit sore from not resting and overdoing it) and let it go on and on until finally I stopped hitting the gym altogether. I stopped eating the healthy lunches when I got a new job with more stress (work politics stress more than job difficulty stress) and poof, before I knew it I had put on the 15-20 pounds I lost and I am back in the 36s and even 38s in some dress pants.

When I swam I would always do a variety. Some crawl stroke, some back and breast. I would also spend a lot of time doing kicks (with a board doing crawl kicks, the dolphin kicks from the butterfly stroke, underwater butterfly kicks, back flutter kicks and dolphin kicks on the side and on the back). Those workouts transformed my body. The kick workouts improved my core strength and posture and were great abdominal and back workouts. The net effect was not just weight loss but a reduction in body fat and especially the spare tire around my waist.

If you haven’t tried adding swimming to your plan, give it a shot. You get really hungry afterwards so if you can handle that temptation with healthy snacks or nothing I really think swimming could do wonders for you. I am looking forward to trying to keep 3-5 days of swimming a week. Just need to get a schedule that will protect my shoulders and maximize effects.

Mike Walsh
Article by Mike Walsh
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client. He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. He’s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isn’t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!

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5 thoughts on “One Week Down – ActiveAugust”

  1. swimming actually will not help with weight loss, but it will help with cardio and some resistance training. some light weight and breaking a sweat work wonders as well as nutrition when it comes to weight loss.

    know how a restaurant will keep it cold inside because it makes people eat more? same if you swim, especially in cold water. something about that makes people want to eat more. and you also absorb water through your skin so you could actually gain weight, especially if you were dehydrated at the start of your swim. weird, huh?

    swimming is great exercise, but should not be used to help promote weight loss, just for some cross training.

  2. Thanks for the comment Tom, I can just say that when I was swimming I had lost weight. Yes it made me hungry but I just ignored it until the next meal and tried to stay well hydrated before during and after the swimming. I also swam pretty vigorously doing interval training quite a bit with most workouts (basically bang out some sprint 25s/50s all out, then moderate 100s and back/etc).

    Of course when I started swimming I was also doing some strength training and doing some dry land cardio (though not as often or long duration as the swimming).

    I have heard the arguments and experiments about swimming from the swimming will not promote weight loss camp but I look at it in terms of what makes up calorie math. Just like finance… If you want to save money you need to spend less than you earn. If you want to lose money, spend more than you earn.

    If I sit on my butt all week and go to the office, play with the kids, etc. I burn my basal metabolic rate in calories plus those few actions. If I add 45-60 mins of a moderate/vigorous swim workout to the above, I burn at least 300-500 (even more potentially) more calories a day. If my eating stays the same or improves then that is 500 calories * 5 weekdays or 2,000 calories burned that weren’t burned before. That is more than 1/2 of the calories needed to "burn" a pound of fat (3,500 calories is the rough calculation widely accepted for the energy in a pound of fat). If I am eating/drinking 214 less calories a day through cutting out coke and excess garbage that should provide a calorie deficit and my simplistic view of the issue says that means the weight will go down.

    Now if I were swimming and then going out and grabbing 4 protein shakes and a block of cheese or 2 chicken breasts after every swim than sure I would maintain or even gain weight. 🙂

    I agree dry land exercises like good heart pumping cardio combined with a strength routine that builds lean muslce mass (the more of which you have the more calories you burn just sitting here reading this blabber) will probably mean a faster and maybe more significant loss but I suspect I’ll see a loss once I get into the 4-5 days of swimming even if I wait to start the weights and dry land cardio.

  3. yep, it sounds to me like you have all the right knowledge and you will do fine.

    i always caution people about using only swimming, and that’s why i wanted to leave a comment: just to make certain people are aware. in the end, calorie math can do wonders for people, especially if they do not deprive themselves (i.e., diet).

  4. Yeah great points. Dieting has never worked well for me. I am enjoying what I eat, just eating a bit less by paying attention to eating (like you are doing) and skipping some of the stuff that I had with no real benefit. Just asking a question before I snack: is there something good in this for me? If it has nutritional benefit and it is mostly good then I’ll go for it. If it is just an empty filler (Coke, Chips, Cookies) I’ll think twice and say no more than yes 🙂


    I always thought if you did any exercise with intensity you could burn 100’s of calories per hour doing it, but there are upper limits for the non-Olympians among us.

    I used to like the rowing machine. It gave you feedback on a LED display to show how much effort you’d expend with every pull ( great for those of us who like instant feedback ) and summarize your (virtual ) speed and distance as you go. This exercise is kind on your back and shoulders as you’re seated and just sliding back and forth on a rail, pumping and extending a little with your legs. No jarring from jogging — no fumes or crazy New England drivers to contend with. No special clothing and you can jump out at any time!

    Like computer systems that we watch over, the balance of ( caloric ) input and ( energy ) output will determine the effects on your system.


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