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Lean mean fighting machine

January 29, 2008

Following my Channel swim I made a decision.  It was time to lean down.  I needed to get rid of the accumulated insulation that I acquired when working and not working out.  After 7 years those fat cells have had their fun and it was time to go.  Now I know that cold water swimmers need their insulation and I fully agree with this.  However, what I wanted was more control over those fat cells.  I wanted to lean down and then add bulk when I really needed it.  This way I was in control and I could add the weight in a healthy manner.

So I signed up for some critical tests to get a baseline of where I was.  I did a VO2Max test to determine how in shape I really was and how effective I was at using oxygen. (Note: this is the number that they always give out for the cyclists of the Tour de France to tell who is expending the most energy.  And yes I realize that I may be the only one that watches the Tour de France every day.)  I also did a Hydrostatic weighing and Resting Energy Expenditure (REE) test.  Hydrostatic weighing is where you get into a tub of water, drown yourself and then see how much you float.  Yes you practically drown yourself as you have to release all your air and then submerge underwater for a few seconds.  The REE is how many calories your body burns at rest in a state of wakefulness (to be precise).

The first baseline tests were conducted in October and drumroll please….here are the results:

REE – 2077 calories

VO2Max/Fitness test:

  • Resting Heartrate = Excellent
  • Direct VO2/Gas Exchange = Above Average (Amazing since the test makes you run on a treadmill with this space age contraption strapped onto your head to measure the results.  Think mouth guard with hoses attached and a nose plug)
  • Sit-ups = Excellent (I crushed this test!)
  • Push-ups = Excellent
  • Flexibility = Average (Can’t believe I hit average with this as I’m very unflexible)

Hydrostatic Weighing – 27.6% bodyfat

Every 3 months we do a reassessment of the REE and Hydrostatic Weighing, so here are the results for January.

REE – 1971 calories

Hydrostatic Weighing – 26.7%  Which means that I’m winning the battle against the fat.  Overall my weight remained the same so I put on more muscle while losing fat weight within the 3 months. 

FYI – for a woman my age (sometimes I really hate that phrase) the typical bodyfat is between 18-23%.  Lynn Cox the famous fabulous fantastic cold water swimmer had a bodyfat composition of 35%.  (Charlie – Quite right I used the wrong word to describe the wonderful Lynne Cox.  My sincerest apologies.)

So overall a very good result.  I’m not adding to much muscle bulk, as that would put too much strain on my shoulders over long distances and I’m slowly saying good-bye to the fat weight.  Next results are scheduled for March.


One Response to “Lean mean fighting machine”

  1. MARK says:

    HIYA M,
    fantastic that you are accepted for the Manhatton swim
    I will be watching that with great interest, hope training is going well skinny girl and that you are looking forward to 2009 too! this year is flying by cant believe its already february

    we are going to cork to swim with neds lot in may brrrrrr

    speak soon
    great website

    Mark x

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