When to gain weight for a channel swim?

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited April 2012 in General Discussion
New topic = New thread.
(Split from Bodyweight fluctuations and swim speed).
[Deleted User]


  • It seems the consensus is to add a few pounds. I think 20 is nuts (at least for me). With a channel swim 5 months away, is there a 'best' time to start packing it on? My weight has always been a stable 145, even with late night ice cream digs. I'm looking at a Catalina try in late September. Does anybody have a good idea as to when a good time is to put the fat on in relation to the training and taper? BTW, is it fair to estimate low 60s air and water temps for the duration? To me, I think a 10 pound gain over time concurrent with is a plan, but all comments and suggestions are welcomed. Thanks friends.
    [Deleted User]
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited April 2012
    Re: Catalina water temp. Here's the maximum/minimum/average for each day between June 1 & November 1, averaged over the past 14 years:


    And here's an interactive chart.

    As for average air temps, these are readily available from weather-related websites (weather.com, etc.). Search for Avalon or San Pedro, CA. (But your estimate sounds about right.)
    [Deleted User]
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    At 145 lb you won't need the fat. You'll be floating on the surface. On the serious side, you had better be able to swim very fast or be 5' 4". Otherwise you had better pray for an El Nino current.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    bobswims said:

    At 145 lb you won't need the fat. You'll be floating on the surface. On the serious side, you had better be able to swim very fast or be 5' 4". Otherwise you had better pray for an El Nino current.

    Then at 185, I'm good, yes?
    [Deleted User]
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    There has been much said about the benefits of the "6 hour qualifying swim".
    -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.

  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    @david_barra - I agree, adding a little over the period of a few months is the key!
    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.

    www.darren-miller.com Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • bobswims said:

    At 145 lb you won't need the fat. You'll be floating on the surface. On the serious side, you had better be able to swim very fast or be 5' 4". Otherwise you had better pray for an El Nino current.

    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.

  • CraigMozCraigMoz Member
    edited April 2012
    I was 140lb in my triathlon days, 15 yrs ago.
    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.
  • JbetleyJbetley UKMember
    Was going to start a thread but opted to revive an old one!

    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?
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    You all have to be kidding.....
    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
  • molly1205molly1205 Senior Member
    @ChickenOSea - that's a no-fun way to gain weight, but, you should be prepared for anything now, right? I can see Alaska in your future ;-)

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • The question is 'how do you lose the weight after the swim' We all have seen actors gain weight then like magic lose it. And what is the best way to gain the weight and why is it needed and how much? Yes meds can cause weight gain no fun at all with that gain as said. Ithink a plan of getting used to cold water and some weight may be best. Cold water showers, a month from the swim ,swimming in cold water in winter , spring , summer best you can. .
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    edited March 2013
    OWSmile said:

    The question is 'how do you lose the weight after the swim' We all have seen actors gain weight then like magic lose it.

    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.
  • KarenTKarenT Charter Member
    When actors lose weight after gaining for a role they very commonly engage in practices that in any other context would be seen as a dangerous eating disorder (very high levels of restriction of entire food groups; extremely low calorie intake etc). Not a good model to follow.
  • Yes crazy up and down weight loss gains are not good. So with bobswims you gained about .12 more weight a bit more then 10 percent of your natural weight about 22 pounds. All with good things to eat sounds like fun . OW swimming may "gain" more followers but I am scared to chance it. lol Gaining is just fine loosing oh well but I could give up the items as well no problem.
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    One thing I have working for me in the gain/lose game is that I have been at all of those weights a number of times before in my life. I figured a couple of extra times wouldn't kill me . . . .
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    KarenT said:

    When actors lose weight after gaining for a role they...

    ...usually hire an expensive personal trainer and workout 5 hours a day.
  • Yes the weight loss secrets are revealed! Personal trainer , 5 hrs a day workout ,and dining on tasty low fat meals specially prepared by top chefs in chic eateries! That would work for me!

    From the anwers it looks like a 10-15 percent weight gain over a period before a channel swim is recommended. $-)
  • JbetleyJbetley UKMember
    I think I might have a secret weapon for weight gain. A British speciality called the pork scratching. I gather that they are available in other territories, such as in the US where they are called pork rinds. Sadly their popularity in the US appears to be on the wane:

    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.
  • HaydnHaydn Member
    I already gained my weight for my ice mile. I reckon I will lose 20 lbs by the time I do my channel swim and therefore get faster. I hope the acclimatising and maybe an hour shorter swim time will be my weapon against the cold, not the extra blubber.
  • Don't! is the simple answer- I listened to that advice, put on weight and just sat lower in the water. I swam right through the english winter without wetsuit and the channel didn;t feel cold at all come the end of july. By all means, calorie up the 6 weeks before but if you haven't acclimated the weight will not keep you warm. Be your own healthy weight and train for the cold.
  • JbetleyJbetley UKMember
    Interesting! I guess I am not skinny (217 lbs and 6 ft 2) so should be OK, but I don't want to get skinny, and it was happening. The weight was falling off, and I am swimming 'only' 25 km a week. The high fat snacks and regular curry are helping... I have managed to halt the fall.
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