Bioprene / gaining weight for a channel swim
edited February 2018 in General Discussion
Split from Bodyweight fluctuations and swim speed.
Then at 185, I'm good, yes?
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
-Do it early and often
-Target H2O temps that are colder than you are likely to encounter during your channel attempt.
This will give you an idea of how adding weight will affect things like comfort and speed.
My advice is to start adding a little at a time so you have the opportunity to get used to it.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
It all depends on how much cold water exposure you have; if you swim in 55-60-degree ocean all the time, then you can easily judge this. If you don't have cold water (or at least during the summer months) then you should add a good bit. I would recommend AT LEAST 10 pounds, and more towards 20 pounds; then again, that is my advice, as we are all made differently.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
I'm neither very fast, 5'4 nor religious. But I do have second thoughts! Then again, there's Dave's motto: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Thanks for all the help.
Started open water 2009 at 155lb. Got the cold water distance bug 2010. Started proper training 1-1.5million meters per year, which built me up to 165lb.
Aiming for 180lb+ for my EC attempt in July 2012.
Currently at 173lb. But I train in cold water 8-14C.
I've found counting calories for a few weeks is the way to go, if you want bulk up. Science works.
I am training for a Windermere swim later this year. The temperature will be somewhere in the 60-65 degree range I guess, and the swim might take in the region of 6 hours at my speed.
The problem I have is that with the current 25 km/week training I am doing right now in preparation, I am continuing to lose weight. I am trying to eat (and drink!) as much as I can, but the weight stubbornly keeps falling. I am currently 217 lbs and a 'big-boned' 6 ft 2, but not what anyone would call overweight. I can almost feel my layer of cold protection fall away!
Does anyone have their favourite foods that they have been successful with in terms of popping on the pounds?
Try going on prednisone almost non stop for 6 months. 15-20 lbs later and I'm willing to donate it to anyone. Way too much
Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska
Continue to train after the event as much as you did before the event and leave out ice cream, peanut butter, donuts, fried foods, cookies, cake, pie, and candy. Did I miss anything?
When I was training for half ironman distance tris my weight dropped to 168. I did a couple of OW at 60° but I was in great overall shape, swam hard and didn't get cold until I got out. Serious shivers. I did Catalina at 200 and I didn't even notice the water temp and I was swimming slow. When training for MIMS my weight was dropping and when it got to 181 I got worried and pushed it back to 185. As it turns out I could have done it at my natural weight of 178. For the EC this year I'll be 200, but I'll probably be 5 to 10 lb lighter for Santa Barbara Channel a month later. How do I do it? Being bipolar has it's advantages.
...usually hire an expensive personal trainer and workout 5 hours a day.
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
In 2003, sales of pork rinds experienced rapid growth, but they have dropped "by $31 million since 2004, when they reached $134 million, and now make up barely more than 1 percent of the salty snack market."[Wikipedia]
An ideal food - very salty so aiding in the replacement of salt lost through sweat in overheated swimming pools; rich in fat and calories, PLUS providing valuable dietary fibre (fiber) into the bargain.....enjoy.
Having not been able to lose the 12 to 15 pounds gained over the holidays, I am now wondering if I should keep it for a while longer I have seen a few posts debating the effect that extra weight gain has on speed, and the tradeoff between finishing the race faster or staying in longer at a slower pace due to the extra pounds. My question for now is just about the extra fat as protection against the cold.
I am attempting Ederle in October, but need to do a 4 hour test swim in 62 degree water some time in June. For the test swim, the distance does not seem to matter and I just have to stay in for four hours and whatever pace I can manage. Unfortunately, I will only have a few weeks to acclimatize to the cold before the test swim. If I make it, it will have three months to lose the fat and I expect to lose weight as the training increases anyway. Does having a extra fat really help for cold water?
I'm around 150 lbs and I struggle with the cold. Haven't managed to get out of the wetsuit in the 13 degree water
Acclimatisation or fat. Or both. There's nothing else.
@DavidW Do you have access to an endless pool or swim spa? I keep mine set at 60 degrees all year. I only use it on weekends when but it keeps me comfortable in cooler water throughout the year. It tends to run warmer than the setting especially during summer months but it is a good way to keep acclimatized to cooler water. It gives me a nice head start so when I get in the spring water in the low 50's, I don't feel it as much. It may be a good option for you if you can find one locally.
Does anyone here try to lose weight before doing your marathon swim? I'm 174 cm and 69 kg now which remained relatively stable in the past few months but I want to drop to 62 kg before my next cold water season comes. I want to establish a baseline to see what's my optimum weight before I swim the channel next year.
I've watched a video from a world traveller who showed how him gained or lost weight fast:
I will try to learn his method to lose weight and hope that I can make myself lighter in order to make me swim / bike / run faster.
Found a nice read on the topic...
I am one of the less experienced here expecially about cold but to give you my example, I am 170cm and weight 72kg ~10%body fat. July 2019 I did my last triathlon (I quit running now) . My weight was 67 and had ~7% body fat. This year I have 5Kg more, including 2.5Kg of fat but I can ride 2Km/h faster on the same course and swim ~2-3"/100m faster on long distances... I have got more power! and maybe a bit more buoyancy.
Yes, for sure running will be better when lighter, but on the bike weight is mostly relevant on the climbs as in the flat (triathlon usually have little elevation) absolute power and aerodynamic position is more important then weighted power ... And for swimming the advantage of weight loss is minimal compared to other sports.
Especially knowing you want to swim the channel... loosing the weight looks like a very very bad idea to me and a secure road to failure. In any case, before taking any action, you should check/monitor your body-fat percentage if you want to understand your optimal weight. If you are already quite lean, loosing weight will most likely result in a muscles loss and you don't really want that...However if you can reduce your weight without reducing your power/strength then it can probably give you some advantage for speed, but again, for a channel cross gaining 1 ore 2 sec per 100m is less relevant then increasing your cold tolerance and your stamina.
Didn't you ask this same question a few months ago?
What method do you use to check your body fat percentage? I estimate myself at about 14% but not really sure.
My main limiter in long distance swimming is my speed - I need to take hours off my expected time to get a decent chance of getting across it (especially the notorious part getting towards France). Now even the slightest bad current can get me into trouble simply because I can't get out of it, as demonstrated in one of my races last year. It is much more important than my cold tolerance because my attempt is in September.
I have a "smart" scale. It measures the body fat and other parameters by sending a small current trough your body and measuring impedance. I don't know how much is accurate but you can track changes in body composition over time.
If you ever gain any speed by loosing weight it would be very small gain. It will not take hours off your expected time.. minutes in the best case.. otherwise I bet everyone here will be on diet 😁
question - who is the skinniest/lightest swimmer to do the channel....that could take the record from the fastest
I have two such scales. One tells me I'm at 9% and another tells me I'm at 18%. Therefore I no longer trust these. It's better for me to get into a swimming pool to estimate the number.
The other reason I want to reduce weight is because I also want to run a marathon in the coming season. I planned to do one in March this year but due to COVID the race was cancelled, so all my progress has been lost and I have to train from the beginning again in the next season.
I put on a stone and a half to swim EC. I don't think I really needed it but it was fine and I was happy. I'm 6ft tall. At my usual weight, 11st 7lb, which I happen to be right now, I can still swim comfortably for a 6 hour qualifier. I can put on the weight easily, if and when I want to.
When I took off my channel weight I happened to get flu and was quite ill. (It's the only time I've ever had it and it was totally debilitating.) I lost a further 8lb and felt cold in the water most of that summer.
That just made me think I'm fine as I am, but dropping below what I'm used to wasn't wise. I couldn't get beyond 50 minutes in 11c at the start of distance week in Cork that year. I was just lucky that that year's swim was Zurich and the water was a toasty 22c.
There's no way I'd consciously lose weight to swim EC. It's only my opinion and what works for me. I'd stay the same and spend a lot of time in the water or put a bit on if I was doing a longer swim than EC but I wouldn't lose it.
What really matters is to track the difference over time.. Mine seams to work quite well, also tested with other people and numbers seems to make sense to me, but yes from 9% to 18% is really a lot of difference
You are preparing one of the most challenging and iconic swim that require lots of effort and years of preparation and also difficulties in organizing it. Why are you mixing two goals very different from each other? This sounds a very naive. If and when I will ever attempt the channel or something similar it would be a such important event in my life that I would put all my effort towards it...
@miklcct you seem to be applying assumptions from land-based sports to swimming. Losing weight is not going to take "hours" off your Channel time, even if you're severely obese (which you're clearly not). This strategy is more likely to backfire and lead to a failed swim and lots of wasted money.
Losing 10 lbs (4.5 kg) might shave 15 minutes over 20 miles, assuming the water is warm enough and your fitness good enough to maintain body temp. You may think the Channel is "warm" in September but it's not that warm and you will definitely feel it after 15-16-18 hours, or whatever it takes you.
Even a little bit of mild hypothermia will affect your stroke efficiency and you'll lose whatever negligible hydrodynamic advantage you gained by dieting -- and more. The only way to improve your Channel time by "hours" is dedicated, long-term work on your stroke technique and efficiency.
@miklcct Michael, please listen to Evan. Why not set the run aside for another year and concentrate on training wisely for your swim? You've been given excellent advice on this forum by some hugely accomplished and experienced marathon swimmers. Please don't dismiss it. Why ask the questions if you constantly argue with the answers? People here want to help you to get it right. Nobody is going to just tell you what you want to hear.
With a September slot, you're also going to have a much shorter period of daylight and the air temperature can really drop at night. It's not just the water temperature you need to consider for all those hours. Don't lose any weight.
Let Michael do his marathon and EC swim at the same time...Michael I think you should do Arc to Arch and back yourself to do this so you can add a nice bike ride in as well
Maybe I have misled everyone in my previous comment. I want to reduce weight because it is so hot for me that proper swim training is basically impossible. The university pool I use is 32 - 33°C. Also I currently have some skin problems which is triggered if I get hot. Furthermore the hot weather is seriously affecting my race performance as well.
In 2016 - 2017 I lacked physical exercise combined with stressful commute which led to 12 kg weight gain from 62 kg to 74 kg over a year and consistently feeling unwell, with race performance deteriorated a lot in 2017 compared to 2016. I made myself out of the situation in October 2017 but my weight has never returned to the original level, and stayed at around 68 kg since then. Now I'm finding myself in the same situation in that year again. I got skin problem from my previous home and moved back to my family, this has made my commute bad and the hot weather has made swim (and run) training impossible. I'm now seriously lacking physical exercise when compared to last December when I was training 20 km swimming + 20 km running / week. I'm really worried if my health will get bad like in 2016 - 2017 as this time I can only get out of the situation 4 months later.
I believe weight loss may be the solution to all of the above. If I can get 7 - 10 kg off my weight, I may be able to resume my swim training earlier in autumn and do long distance swimming before the water temperature drops, effectively extending my training season which helps my speed as well.
Live your life at a weight that you feel comfortable and healthy.
That is all.
...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
@miklcct, so your not swimming (or running)at all right now?
-Just social media?
I haven't run a single km since March when the marathon I signed up was cancelled due to COVID. I still kept swimming open water a lot until May, but since June I'm reducing it as well because it is too hot. Now I only swim about 5 km / week (down from 15 - 20 in winter months) and I have no other exercise. I feel so bad now.
Get back out there hot or cold start moving...if it is not challenging and hard then everyone would do it
Reviving this thread.
So, how much weight to gain for a channel swim in proportion to height and considering gender? I'm 5'6" and 142 lb, mostly muscle (or so I'd like to think.) I'm planning on a qualifier next fall and don't particularly want to gain weight. I'm fairly comfortable at this point swimming two hours at 59/60 F. The hard part is that our rivers (ocean is 2 hours away) don't stay in 50-60 range for long. We get 70+ in the summer and 40-48 for most of the winter with a few weeks in the mid 50s-low 60s in the spring and fall. Last Monday it was 65, today (the following Wednesday) it was 59.
Can you provide more detail on what duration of swim you are preparing for, at what temperature?
Definitely depends on the channel you’re considering. Also depends what month you’re booked for. For example, in August, the EC is often 64F/18C, but it can be cooler or warmer (like this year). July and September are usually cooler than that and a couple degrees makes a difference over the course of many hours. For the EC, you also won’t know until the day of or the day before whether or not you’ll be swimming at night and/or in the wind.
Channel swims are expensive and it’s hard to know how cold it truly will be in whichever channel swim you’re considering. Wind and swimming at night can also contribute to the chill. So be ready for the worst case scenario so you control what you can. For me, on the EC, controlling what I could included gaining 5-10 pounds. I got lucky, it was 68F, I was warm during and after the swim and now my clothes are tight. But it could’ve just as easily have been 61-62 in mid-august and I would’ve appreciated the extra fat. It felt good to know I’d done everything I could think to do going into it.
But for the question about gaining weight for the qualifier: why not try it at a weight you’re comfortable with (like current weight), and if you have trouble, then see if you can add 5 pounds or so and see if it helps. There’s water out here in to the east of you that’s 58-60 in the spring and early summer. It gets hard to find in August, but comes back in September and we’re only a few hours away! Come swim with me anytime
Can i ask u something ?
For u opinions?
I wana do swim in water 12-14C for 2.30 or 3h( nevernow)
Big problem for me is that I will swim only in pool and water is 27-28C!
Give me advice is realistic to hope on success?
Thk in advance and all the best to all!
Be health and on good mood
You have to train in the cold water to prepare yourself mentally. I’m from South Florida where cold water was at a premium.
When I did find cold water I spent lots of time acclimatizing myself to it by doing progressively longer swims. One drill I did to train my brain was to not allow myself to shiver after I got out. I got good at suppressing the urge to shake. My body was fine in the cold. It was all about training my mind.
Sometimes I’d do the same drill and get into a cold shower or ice bath. You have to fight the cold.
Your brain will always quit well before your body will. This is all about training what’s between your ears.
Regarding whether or not to purposely gaining weight for a swim, I use to fret over this and found it only limited me and my perception of what I could do with the body I had. I’ve been lean and swam “warmer” than when I carried an extra 10-15 lbs - meaning I tolerated the cold better. Why? Probably, most likely mindset and confidence, but definitely training / acclimating for colder swims played a huge role. I purposely picked events with colder options - 20B June 1st for example. I travelled to waters that fit my target temps. I hiked and biked cold as well. I didn’t rely on that extra weight to provide me with cold tolerance - I earned it with hard work.