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  #1  
Old 07-20-2013
Rupertdacat Rupertdacat is offline
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Default Body weight and relative efficiency?

.



Have been doing TI 3+ years and am not quite sure where my next breakthrough might come. I am 5'7", a decidedly muscular 175 pounds, with a (fairly tight) one-pack (abdomen). With a swim snorkel on, I swim 500 yards (at moderate perceived exertion) in about 12'. All else being equal, to what degree do you think losing 10 pounds might allow for improvement (in speed/effort ratio)?

Thank you,

Rupe
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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From the little I have read on the subject it seems the answer is very little. There appears to be almost no correlation between body fat percentage and swimming speed, at least in men. However, no doubt the favourite signing off sentence of scientific papers is appropriate:

Probably more research is necessary.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8412052
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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Hmmm that study was comparing individuals with an already established performance for their particular physique.

I'd say if you have 10lbs of fat to lose you will get faster even if its just from the fact of being healthier overall... You will feel better, recover faster between training sessions by not having to carry the extra weight, etc etc...
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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I'm all in favour of losing the extra weight, which is bound to be of benefit in many ways, but having seen almost spherical swimmers speed past me, I'm not sure that the swimming speed will benefit. Mind you, little skinny swimmers speed past me, too. I'm inclined to think that the situation is the way it was held to be in my youth about sprinting in running. "Sprinters are born, not made."

Of course the same may be true of distance runners and distance swimmers, but the training probably has a greater effect. You can't do distance running or swimming without the training, and of course at a very high level you can't do sprinting without training either.

I have often wondered whether the lean, streamlined cyclists I see whizzing past on the road were born that shape or did they develop it from cycling. A sort of chicken and egg conundrum.

I remember the track cyclists I used to watch in my youth who had huge thighs and appeared almost unable to walk when they were not on their bikes. That must have been largely due to their training.
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2013
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Actually, I do believe that weight matters a great deal - and not only for distance runners, cyclists and the other endurance sportsmen and women who have to fight gravity; but also for swimmers.
It is not just the negative effect on the metabolic systems of carting bags of weight around although that aspect may not bother swimmers. The excess weight is bad enough but add to that the fact that our all too human wobbly bits are in the form of flab through which our bodies have to form capillaries and pass blood to keep the flab alive. Even if the blood flow is reduced or shut down for short periods to cope with the demands of the sporting activity, the blood passing through these capillaries in the flab is by definition not doing the more useful job of carrying oxygen efficiently to the working muscles. So we, as swimmers, lose once whilst the gravity endurance athletes lose twice. You seldom see a great marathon or ultra-runner, or great mountain climbing road racing cyclist with more than about 5% body fat? Sprinters using the Krebs cycle and anaerobic system don't have the same problem because they don't use the same oxygen uptake system
as the endurance athletes and so can afford to carry a higher fat content (But not as high as some of the rest of us, obviously . . !).
Just my opinion, of course.

Martin T.
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2013
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Parrot View Post
Actually, I do believe that weight matters a great deal - and not only for distance runners, cyclists and the other endurance sportsmen and women who have to fight gravity; but also for swimmers.
It is not just the negative effect on the metabolic systems of carting bags of weight around although that aspect may not bother swimmers. The excess weight is bad enough but add to that the fact that our all too human wobbly bits are in the form of flab through which our bodies have to form capillaries and pass blood to keep the flab alive. Even if the blood flow is reduced or shut down for short periods to cope with the demands of the sporting activity, the blood passing through these capillaries in the flab is by definition not doing the more useful job of carrying oxygen efficiently to the working muscles. So we, as swimmers, lose once whilst the gravity endurance athletes lose twice. You seldom see a great marathon or ultra-runner, or great mountain climbing road racing cyclist with more than about 5% body fat? Sprinters using the Krebs cycle and anaerobic system don't have the same problem because they don't use the same oxygen uptake system
as the endurance athletes and so can afford to carry a higher fat content (But not as high as some of the rest of us, obviously . . !).
Just my opinion, of course.

Martin T.
to more specific and maybe we need more info from the thread starter - it's deceptive to talk purely about weight. a lot of things go into the computation of someone's weight: muscle, fat, bones, water, etc. etc.

if we're talking about guys with a bit more fat content, i have been cleanly dusted by many swimmers who looked like they were overweight, but clearly this was no issue for them swimming fast. fat also seems to make the body float more, as i've seen super skinny people tend to sink more readily.

and what we like to talk about in TI is getting you to have the correct balance, streamline, and propulsion generation before we start optimizing on other elements like your body composition.

so for the thread starter - before we get into weight, have you mastered somewhat balance, streamline, and propulsion? these will matter far more in your mastery of swimming than tweaking body composition.

one last point - the body adapts to whatever situation you put it into. if you are swimming well, the body will eventually take on the proper shape to support the movement and effort you put into it.
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2013
Rincewind Rincewind is offline
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More of an empirical evidence here, I am also 5'7 and muscular built and anytime I go over 155 lbs I start feeling a general drop in athletic performance, very mild at first, but enough to tell the difference, so for someone at 5'7 175 lbs, I would
definitely recommend losing some of that 'marbling'.
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  #8  
Old 07-22-2013
Rupertdacat Rupertdacat is offline
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Default Where's the beef?

.

I have come to understand/believe that runners and cyclists take it as a given that, all else remaining the same, shedding (fat) weight leads to improved performance. My hunch is that the same is true for swimming performance, but I am looking for anything that might back up (or refute) such a guess.

Rincewind directly addressed my question. Perhaps there are others with personal or coaching experience that bears on the matter?

I am too heavy (though no one who knows what I weigh can quite believe it because I look rather fit and compact). A weight loss of 10 pounds is a personal goal. If it should be accompanied by improved swimming efficiency, so much the better. If by some chance my swimming should get worse... (Nah, that won't happen.)

Rupe

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  #9  
Old 07-22-2013
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Rupert

When I first started swimming on a daily basis about seven years ago, at first I lost weight without even trying and in the space of a few months lost over twenty pounds without making any changes to diet. Since then I have remained more or less stable but would still like to lose the extra abdominal fat that lingers stubbornly on. Perhaps a serious cycling program would help. I do some walking but not enough. At the moment I am taking it easy on walking because I am having trouble with the tendons in my left leg.

I think diet is the only answer at this stage and since my diet is a healthy one probably a reduction in calories is the way to go. As a much younger man I lost a lot of weight on a high protein low carbohydrate diet and it would probably work again but as the main family cook this presents problems, although not insuperable ones. A friend's wife has just lost about fourteen pounds on the South Bach diet, so obviously it can be done.

More swimming may be the answer, or more vigorous swimming. I remember reading an interview with Michael Jamieson, the Scot who took the silver medal in the 200m Breast at the London Olympics in 2012, in which he said that he found it difficult to eat enough to maintain his body weight because of the volume of training he did.

My current program of all butterfly or butterfly related drills should help. ;-)

I often see a young man at the pool where I swim who could definitely do with losing a large amount of weight - probably forty or fifty pounds or more - but he whizzes past me with ease.
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  #10  
Old 07-22-2013
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Rupert,

Richard's message rings a lot of bells.We all see people swimming past us at a rate that belies their apparent physical shape and condition. But as TI people we should not be surprised as they may well have better balance and streamlining even if not great fitness for propulsion?

With no background in swimming before trying to follow Terry's great TI system I am not qualified to speak about swimming but I do know hearts and lungs can't tell and don't care if we are swimming, running or riding a bike so the physiological demands are theoretically constant.

With distance running there is a direct correlation between weight and performance. Whilst I agree with Coach David that the effect is worse if the excess is fat rather than bone mass and connective tissue, I do not believe that continuing to run lots will eventually give you the body of an Ethiopian peasant or a Kenyan from the rift Valley that will enable you to run as well as them. But what it might do is make you the best you can be.

If I may just give you an example? I was running 80 to100 miles a week and trying to run a business and occasionally see my family and I found that increasing mileage or quality simply led to injuries - which is why my legs were like a pathological museum. Along with many others, I found that although I was already considered lean, losing just 5lbs weight took as much as 2 minutes off my marathon time with no extra mileage, I felt better during races and I recovered more quickly. I think I became somewhat obsessive about this and at age 42 I was running two and a half hours for the marathon but looked like an anorectic - 70 inches tall and just under 140lbs. That was great for running but I certainly don't look like that now as there are only so many years one wants to live like a jockey, trying to keep one's bodyweight below that which is more appropriate. Like all these things, there is a happy medium unless one is a professional athlete when extra sacrifices may have to be made.

For swimming, unless one is in the top echelons, technique is hugely more important than weight and shape, but if you want to be in that top class, eventually weight will matter.

I write this only to give you an example, it would be interesting to hear what conclusions you draw from all this.

Martin T.
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