jim thornton

February 5th, 2013, 01:11 PM

I'm working on a piece about obesity and the biological factors that can make sustaining significant wt loss so hard for so many people. The benefits of exercise, however, are not limited to the lean and abdominally chiseled! Even if swimming only helps you shed a couple pounds, or none at all, getting in shape can make a huge difference in life quality.

I have been playing around with a motivational strategy to encourage more people to compete regardless of their weight. To wit, my still-in-the-works concept, Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 SCY Free. This is likely to require substantial refinement (suggestions welcome!)

But as of now, my new metric is the soul of simplicity.

Just take your current season's best 50 SCY freestyle time and and divide this by your BMI, or body mass index. I am using the 50 SCY free because almost all of us can come up with this. You can also easily calculate your BMI by feeding your current height and weight in here (no cheating, please!): http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm

Clearly there are flaws in my metric. The first to jump out at me is that women's times, on average, tend to be a bit slower, especially on sprints, so we need to correct for this.

The current SCM world record (no world records for yards) for the 50 free is about 3 seconds faster for men than women. For purposes of my poll, women who agree to participate should subtract 3 seconds from their current season best 50!

I am, also arbitrarily, designating 1.0 as "par"--and your goal is to get your number as low as you can.

The Weight-Weighted Metric Exemplified

For example: take four men--

A) one with a BMI of 22, which places him or her squarely in the ranks of the lean

B) one with a BMI of 25, which puts him or her right on the cusp of an overweight categorization

C) one with a BMI of 30 (beginning of obesity )

D) one with a BMI of 33 (beginning of morbid obesity)

Now assume all four of these men can swim a 50 SCY freestyle in exactly 30 seconds.

Person A's "Jim's Weight-Weighted 50" would be 30/22 or 1.36

Person B earns a better 1.2

Person C achieves an even better 1.0

and Person D wins the day with a magnificent .91

If you recalculate these values for women, i.e., same BMIs but subtracting 3 seconds from their in season 50 SCY times, you get:

A: time of 27/ BMI of 22 = 1.23

B: 1.08

C: .9

D: .82

For what it's worth, I am a man, and my (admittedly lackluster) best 50 SCY free so far this year is 25.55.

I currently weigh 178 lb. and my height is 6' 1", which gives me a BMI is 23.5.

Thus my Jim's Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 is 25.55/23.5, or 1.087

There are two ways for me to get closer to par: swim faster, or gain weight.

Given the tremendous stigma on weight in our country, I don't think very many folks are likely to opt for the latter, or, for that matter, use my new metric as an incentive to eat more.

What I do think it could conceivably do is allow quite a few people now struggling with their weight to lay some legitimate claim to being--pound for pound--among the elite ranks in USMS swimming!

Give it a try!

I have been playing around with a motivational strategy to encourage more people to compete regardless of their weight. To wit, my still-in-the-works concept, Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 SCY Free. This is likely to require substantial refinement (suggestions welcome!)

But as of now, my new metric is the soul of simplicity.

Just take your current season's best 50 SCY freestyle time and and divide this by your BMI, or body mass index. I am using the 50 SCY free because almost all of us can come up with this. You can also easily calculate your BMI by feeding your current height and weight in here (no cheating, please!): http://nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bminojs.htm

Clearly there are flaws in my metric. The first to jump out at me is that women's times, on average, tend to be a bit slower, especially on sprints, so we need to correct for this.

The current SCM world record (no world records for yards) for the 50 free is about 3 seconds faster for men than women. For purposes of my poll, women who agree to participate should subtract 3 seconds from their current season best 50!

I am, also arbitrarily, designating 1.0 as "par"--and your goal is to get your number as low as you can.

The Weight-Weighted Metric Exemplified

For example: take four men--

A) one with a BMI of 22, which places him or her squarely in the ranks of the lean

B) one with a BMI of 25, which puts him or her right on the cusp of an overweight categorization

C) one with a BMI of 30 (beginning of obesity )

D) one with a BMI of 33 (beginning of morbid obesity)

Now assume all four of these men can swim a 50 SCY freestyle in exactly 30 seconds.

Person A's "Jim's Weight-Weighted 50" would be 30/22 or 1.36

Person B earns a better 1.2

Person C achieves an even better 1.0

and Person D wins the day with a magnificent .91

If you recalculate these values for women, i.e., same BMIs but subtracting 3 seconds from their in season 50 SCY times, you get:

A: time of 27/ BMI of 22 = 1.23

B: 1.08

C: .9

D: .82

For what it's worth, I am a man, and my (admittedly lackluster) best 50 SCY free so far this year is 25.55.

I currently weigh 178 lb. and my height is 6' 1", which gives me a BMI is 23.5.

Thus my Jim's Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 is 25.55/23.5, or 1.087

There are two ways for me to get closer to par: swim faster, or gain weight.

Given the tremendous stigma on weight in our country, I don't think very many folks are likely to opt for the latter, or, for that matter, use my new metric as an incentive to eat more.

What I do think it could conceivably do is allow quite a few people now struggling with their weight to lay some legitimate claim to being--pound for pound--among the elite ranks in USMS swimming!

Give it a try!