My goal is to lose 8-pds. I currently weigh 172-pds. Using the following workout and a protein diet, I've lost 10-pds so far starting from Aug-1. Ultimately, I want to do long-distance running, and so need to be lighter. anyway...

my main work-out (4-times / week):
(-) free-style with breathing every 3rd stroke.
(-) swim non-stop, breathing every 3rd stroke, for 15-min.
(-) get out of the pool, drink some gatorade, rest for 5-min.
(-) swim non-stop, breathing every 3rd stroke, for 15-min.
(-) done.

I breath to put oxygen into my blood. My body then creates energy by combining that oxygen with hydrocarbons that I ate and stored as fat. The process of oxidation releases carbon-dioxide in my breath and heat energy. The hydrocarbon "burn" is inefficient, leaving some "un-burned" hydrocarbons behind as solid waste. (I think that's correct?)

I can breath each 3rd stroke indefinitely, and I prefer that style just because it's a fun challenge. But I'll obviously have more oxygen in my blood if I breath every 2nd stroke. More oxygen will surely help the oxidation process. Therefore, would breathing more frequently allow me to more efficiently burn fat while I am swimming?

(1) Would breathing every 2nd stroke accelerate weight loss?
(2) Might breathing every 2nd stroke help muscle strengthening? why?

2 Answers 2


My first thought was no, but I looked on google scholar, and surprisingly (at least to me) there is at least one study that seems to support the theory that training in low oxygen (hypoxic) conditions can promote higher fat burn.

Low Intensity exercise with hypoxia - Summary: The hypoxic group lost a little over a kilogram (2.2 pounds), where the normobaric group lost very little at all.

There are a few others that relate hypoxia to healing in burn patients, and a couple that suggest other complications, so I would suggest reading further before completely diving in to extreme hypoxic training.

  • My hypothesis is the opposite. I'd think that more oxygen increases fat burn. A flame burns brighter and the amount of carbon dioxide released increases when oxygen is applied. It's just like releasing the energy in natural gas, kerosene, wood, etc. by oxidizing it? I at least like to pretend my body is a furnace that generates carbon dioxide and heat as I oxidize my rolls of fat. More oxygen will allow my "furnace" to burn more efficiently?
    – davewp
    Nov 7, 2013 at 12:44
  • @kinyo - I did misread the question, but I can't find any studies suggesting that hyperoxia increases fat oxidation. I only found the one suggesting the opposite.
    – JohnP
    Nov 7, 2013 at 14:43
  • I very much appreciated your response because it could easily be correct. Mine is just an intuitive (to me) guess.
    – davewp
    Nov 7, 2013 at 15:25

By breathing more, your heart rate will increase more, meaning you are likely to leave the aerobic zone of exercise, which allows you to burn fat, and enter the anaerobic zone. The anaerobic zone is where you are exercising too hard, and are no longer burning fat, so I'd suggest breathing every 3rd stroke, not 2nd :)

  • Any supporting references? I doubt this, not challenging but just doubtful
    – Freakyuser
    Dec 1, 2013 at 17:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.