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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!

Karl_S
February 5th, 2013, 01:14 PM
fmracing is going to love this, me, not so much. It makes my already also-ran status fall to, well,... should I select the cyanide tablets of the handgun?

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 01:25 PM
fmracing is going to love this, me, not so much. It makes my already also-ran status fall to, well,... should I select the cyanide tablets of the handgun?

Karl, are you trying to say you are both slow and skinny? Do the calculations anyway! I need more than one poll result to validate the concept!

sok454
February 5th, 2013, 01:35 PM
WOO HOO... I'm obese! 6'1 and 250. So at 33 bmi, me swimming a 50 at 36 secs is equivalent to you going about 25.55... wow. I like this. Or you doing about a 21.4 50 equivalent... dang.... Maybe I don't want to lose weight! HA!

I will say i've lost 5 lbs in the last week and do feel quicker...

Fresnoid
February 5th, 2013, 01:51 PM
Not a fan of BMI. At 25.8, I'm Overweight, yet 8% body fat the last time I was checked.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 02:09 PM
Not a fan of BMI. At 25.8, I'm Overweight, yet 8% body fat the last time I was checked.

BMI is a crude measurement, and it's particularly unreliable for very muscular, large-boned people. The problem is that there aren't that many true Pro Athlete style mesomorphs out there (Herschel Walker's body fat percentage was measured at a negative 1 percent because he was so muscular, and no one would accuse him of being overweight or obese, at least in his glory days.) Alas, there are more than a few of us who believe we still have an Inner Herschel Walker living within an admitted, but presumably tiny, veneer of adiposity! PS, for what it's worth, it looks like there is a huge health benefit to losing as little as 5 lb. even though this doesn't put much of a dent into a person's obesity--it improves a host of physiological measures nonetheless.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 02:14 PM
WOO HOO... I'm obese! 6'1 and 250. So at 33 bmi, me swimming a 50 at 36 secs is equivalent to you going about 25.55... wow. I like this. Or you doing about a 21.4 50 equivalent... dang.... Maybe I don't want to lose weight! HA!

I will say i've lost 5 lbs in the last week and do feel quicker...

I do know there's some guys out there no taller than me and well over 200 lb. who can still bust a 22.x 50 free. Somebody who can swim a 22 with a BMI of 28 would make it into the .70- .79 range, which I personally consider pretty remarkable. Ditto for someone who can swim a 26 who has a BMI of 33. Either way, I think it would be very impressive.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 02:16 PM
Please note: I checked the box allowing people to take my poll anonymously, so please consider doing it even if you are feeling modest! No one will be the wiser unless you opt to discuss your scoring in the discussion section!

knelson
February 5th, 2013, 02:16 PM
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!

Probably better would be a multiplication factor for women. For example, if women tend to be around 10% slower than males in a 50 free, women could simply multiply their time by 0.9. I think this make more sense that adding an arbitrary 3 seconds.

Likewise, those with 50 meter times (short course) could multiply by 0.91 to get an equivalent 50 yard time.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 02:20 PM
Probably better would be a multiplication factor for women. For example, if women tend to be around 10% slower than males in a 50 free, women could simply multiply their time by 0.9. I think this make more sense that adding an arbitrary 3 seconds.

Likewise, those with 50 meter times (short course) could multiply by 0.91 to get an equivalent 50 yard time.

I think you are onto something here. Probably to make it as accurate as possible, I could look at the TT in the men's and women's age groups and see what the percent differential is. Because there are always freakish outliers like Rich A. and Leslie L., maybe I should take the 3rd place times?

I'd also like to figure out a way to adapt this to events other than the 50 free.

Still cogitating...

Thanks for the excellent suggestion!

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 02:23 PM
Speaking of freakish outliers, I have a sneaking suspicion that one of our favorite's has just taken full advantage of her 3 second subtraction figure and set a new record for this poll! Would you like to comment, mystery .70 - .79 outstanding achiever? And if you are who I think you are, do you think the 3 second subtraction is too generous for women given that you can beat me without any subtraction whatsoever???

Britt03
February 5th, 2013, 02:34 PM
I took my 50 free LCM best time from last season and converted it to SCY. I don't swim 50 free SCY...
Does this alter my result?
My BMI is 23.3. I'm way too muscular for this calculation! My 50 free LCM converts to a 23.8 SCY.

__steve__
February 5th, 2013, 02:42 PM
My SCM converts to 25.55 as SCY, and my BMI per chart is 21.5%;

25.55 21.5 = 1.19

Easiest way to improve will be from eating more but that gets expensive.

I bet fmr is in the 0.8's, he is super fast

Fresnoid
February 5th, 2013, 02:44 PM
I do know there's some guys out there no taller than me and well over 200 lb. who can still bust a 22.x 50 free. Somebody who can swim a 22 with a BMI of 28 would make it into the .70- .79 range, which I personally consider pretty remarkable. Ditto for someone who can swim a 26 who has a BMI of 33. Either way, I think it would be very impressive.

Using a 50 free as a standard of health may not be particularly appropriate. I've seen guys at my college's alumni relays who were hugely overweight and well on their way to a host of health problems, but could still rip off a 22+ 50 free. However, using 500 free times instead would create a self-selecting sample group.

ande
February 5th, 2013, 02:52 PM
my guess for my 50 FR is 22.3
6'4" 208
BMI = 25

22.3 / 25 = 0.892

SuperChloe
February 5th, 2013, 03:18 PM
My score is 1.14. If I swam my absolute all-time best time, I'd just barely hit par of 1. Then again, I weighed less when I swam that time, so I still didn't make par at that time. If I swam more than 3x/week, I might actually get closer, but I'd probably also lose a couple of pounds. It's like a paradox!

Karl_S
February 5th, 2013, 03:35 PM
Karl, are you trying to say you are both slow and skinny?
Yup. That's me.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 03:36 PM
Using a 50 free as a standard of health may not be particularly appropriate. I've seen guys at my college's alumni relays who were hugely overweight and well on their way to a host of health problems, but could still rip off a 22+ 50 free. However, using 500 free times instead would create a self-selecting sample group.

You make an excellent point. But for purposes of testing out the concept here, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for as many people to do the calculation.

Probably the 100 free would be a bit better than the 50. It's long enough so that your really out of shape friends probably couldn't get by on yesteryear's talent alone, but it's short enough that most people who swim even borderline competitively should be able to complete it.

Ideally, I suppose, there would be some way to let people figure out their metric, however it turns out to be, on different races--so that sprinters would get their best scores in sprints, and distance swimmers in distance events. Not sure at this point how to do that. As I suggested, just trying to come up with a rough measure that could be refined!

As for declaring 1.0 "par", I concede this is really arbitrary and not necessarily something that one should aspire to. My main goal, and I hope it works for at least some people out there, is to give credit to those who despite their weight, are nevertheless swimming quite fast relative to it, and in some cases, much faster than more constitutionally lean competitors are (despite their lighter and more streamlined "boats.")

At some point, I would love to do another metric based on foot size. This, I suspect, would give tiny-footed me a huge advantage over the Ian Thorpes and others born with freakishly outsize flippers.

sunruh
February 5th, 2013, 03:42 PM
according to that bmi chart i'm 26.6 (overweight...i blame it on bluebell ice cream!!!)

22.10 / 26.6 = 0.830

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 03:50 PM
I took my 50 free LCM best time from last season and converted it to SCY. I don't swim 50 free SCY...
Does this alter my result?
My BMI is 23.3. I'm way too muscular for this calculation! My 50 free LCM converts to a 23.8 SCY.

Britt, not sure if you are a man or woman, but if the former, you get a 1.02 and if the latter you get a .89. I suspect you are a man. And if so, you may be as close to my arbitrary par as they come!

Actually, it is interesting to note that this poll, like all things human, seems to be following a bell-shaped distribution. Right now, the 1.0-1.09 range seems to be the middle.

If you took the top 100 freestyle sprinters in the world, I bet you their scores would also range a bit, though probably more tightly than masters swimmers across the age spectrum.

I also suspect you'd find similar distribution patterns in other sports like, for instance, track, but that BMI would exert a larger impact, especially as distances increase. Another reason to love swimming: it is literally a level playing field (you can't get more level than water), and the impact of being constitutionally heavy is arguably much less than for most sports outside of football.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 04:09 PM
My score is 1.14. If I swam my absolute all-time best time, I'd just barely hit par of 1. Then again, I weighed less when I swam that time, so I still didn't make par at that time. If I swam more than 3x/week, I might actually get closer, but I'd probably also lose a couple of pounds. It's like a paradox!

SuperChloe, I suppose all ratios are paradoxical when ideally you want to change the numerator and the denominator in the same direction (in this case, down). If you succeed on both counts, you see no change to your score at all!

You could design other metrics where ideally the numerator and denominator head in opposite directions. Consider, for instance, my just-invented-for-sake-of-illustration Jim's Idle Rich Score.

It's the ratio of Net Worth divided by Weekly Work Hours, or $/T

Let us compare two individuals.

Person A, a top-rated "idea man" who labors at least 60 hours per week cogitating armchair science and the like and has a net worth of negative $231,000.00 in debt.

Person B, a failed presidential candidate, who doesn't work at all and is worth $250,000,000.00

Person A's Jim's Idle Rich Score is -231,000/60, or minus 3850.

Person B, on the other hand, comes in at a much more impressive 250,000,000/0, or Infinity.

Person A could improve his score by becoming solvent and working less.

Person B could hurt his score by losing some money and working at all.

Wait a second...

Maybe all ratios are paradoxical!

slow
February 5th, 2013, 04:25 PM
Ah yes, we all like to play with numbers.

I came in right at 0.893. So...uh, yeah. It is more about my obesity and less about being a sprinter.

I think we lose muscle mass as we get old, so maybe there should be an age component in your metric?

Britt03
February 5th, 2013, 04:31 PM
Britt, not sure if you are a man or woman, but if the former, you get a 1.02 and if the latter you get a .89. I suspect you are a man. And if so, you may be as close to my arbitrary par as they come!



a man?? :afraid: you guessed wrong :)

ElaineK
February 5th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Karl, are you trying to say you are both slow and skinny? Do the calculations anyway! I need more than one poll result to validate the concept!

:bighug: Karl, you have my sympathy; I am the only one who voted "over 1.40" so far, due to my 19 BMI (:banana:) and slow 50 free. :sad:

ElaineK
February 5th, 2013, 04:50 PM
Britt, not sure if you are a man or woman, but if the former, you get a 1.02 and if the latter you get a .89. I suspect you are a man. And if so, you may be as close to my arbitrary par as they come!


I just swam at a meet with Britt this last Saturday. SHE is definitely not a man and she is lightning :bolt:fast! (She is also thin like me and close to half my :cane:age.)

ekw
February 5th, 2013, 05:01 PM
I too have bones to pick with BMI because of the crudeness of the measure for folks who are very muscular/large-boned and even moreso the over-reliance on the BMI as a measure of general health.

:soapbox:
As you mentioned in your original post, there are various biological reasons people may have trouble sustaining weight loss. I have a chronic illness and at times have had to take medications that made it very easy to gain weight and extremely hard to it, increasing my BMI - but they also stabilized my illness, which was at times almost completely disabling. It is absolutely infuriating to be told, "You're not healthy because your BMI is too high," when other factors of your health are not being considered at all. It sounds like your article is about benefits of exercise other than just losing weight. Refreshing!

ekw
February 5th, 2013, 05:14 PM
according to that bmi chart i'm 26.6 (overweight...i blame it on bluebell ice cream!!!)

22.10 / 26.6 = 0.830

I'm a transplant to the Deep South. When I get homesick I make a list of all the good things about living here. Blue Bell Ice Cream is invariably at the top. Sometimes it's a short list, but delicious!

That Guy
February 5th, 2013, 06:04 PM
1.11 here. Funny how multiple people questioned BMI but no one questioned the 50 free, which was more arbitrarily chosen.

__steve__
February 5th, 2013, 06:07 PM
I am the only one who voted "over 1.40" so far, due to my 19 BMI (:banana:) and slow 50 free. :sad:An open turn 50 free can be very costly. Add being skinny to the mix and your JW-W 50 score will go sky high

Mike137
February 5th, 2013, 06:20 PM
I am the only one who voted "over 1.40" so far, due to my 19 BMI and slow 50 free. :sad:

Elaine,

Due to my glacial 50y time you are no longer alone in the over 1.4 group. I would need to add 50 pounds of fat to change my BMI to 30 from 23 to move to the 1.3-1.39 column.

orca1946
February 5th, 2013, 06:35 PM
I think we need wt divisions in swimming like wrestling . Maybe add wt , to light swimmers to even the race !!!

jaadams1
February 5th, 2013, 08:08 PM
0.85 for my "score"

23.8 50 Free / 28 BMI (5'10, 195 lbs.)

I did the math wrong the first time and already put my score in the vote as 1.17, but I can't change it now...USMS thing only allows one vote and no changing.

Allen Stark
February 5th, 2013, 08:21 PM
the impact of being constitutionally heavy is arguably much less than for most sports outside of football.

Sumo.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 08:21 PM
I too have bones to pick with BMI because of the crudeness of the measure for folks who are very muscular/large-boned and even moreso the over-reliance on the BMI as a measure of general health.

:soapbox:
As you mentioned in your original post, there are various biological reasons people may have trouble sustaining weight loss. I have a chronic illness and at times have had to take medications that made it very easy to gain weight and extremely hard to it, increasing my BMI - but they also stabilized my illness, which was at times almost completely disabling. It is absolutely infuriating to be told, "You're not healthy because your BMI is too high," when other factors of your health are not being considered at all. It sounds like your article is about benefits of exercise other than just losing weight. Refreshing!

You are absolutely correct. Actually, there are multiple medications that significantly contribute to weight gain, sometimes quite substantially so, but if the person goes off them, their condition can worsen. It's really a tough problem.

I don't know if you have read much about the so-called Obesity Paradox, but there are a number of conditions where, for reasons not yet well-understood, obese people actually have a survival advantage over "normal" weight individuals.

Dr. Stephen Blair has done a lot of excellent research on this as well as that when you factor in fitness, there is no excess disease/early death in the obese than other weight categories. If you're fit and fat, in other words, it doesn't negatively impact your health, and in some cases, it actually benefits it. The problem is that the percentage of fit people goes down as weight increases, perhaps in part because it can be difficult on the joints to do strenuous weight bearing exercise.

Hence another reason why swimming is such a great sport.

Dr. Blair, by the way, was one of the authors on several papers that came out a year or two ago comparing longevity differences between runners, walkers, swimmers, and sedentary people. His hypothesis was that swimming would be good for you, definitely better than staying sedentary and maybe even walking. What they found was that swimmers had a lower over all rate of death for any reason compared even to runners.

So, EKW, fight the good fight, which--I think a growing number of enlightened researchers are beginning to agree--is less about the battle of the bulge than the battle to stay fit regardless of your weight.

jim thornton
February 5th, 2013, 08:25 PM
Sumo.

cum laude?

ElaineK
February 5th, 2013, 08:30 PM
An open turn 50 free can be very costly. Add being skinny to the mix and your JW-W 50 score will go sky high

Hey, you try doing flip turns with Meniere's! :eek: Thankfully, my strongest stroke is breaststroke, where I can do open turns without getting seasick. As for being skinny, the doc says I'm just fine at 5-71/2 and 123 lbs. :thhbbb: :D

ElaineK
February 5th, 2013, 08:35 PM
Elaine,

Due to my glacial 50y time you are no longer alone in the over 1.4 group. I would need to add 50 pounds of fat to change my BMI to 30 from 23 to move to the 1.3-1.39 column.

:smooch: Misery loves company! Welcome! :wave:

Eelbilly
February 6th, 2013, 04:05 AM
Karl, are you trying to say you are both slow and skinny?

Story of my life. After a lot of converting, my Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 score seems to be 1.14. I tried three online swim time converters and settled for 24.2 as a SCY conversion of my 26.87 SCM time. I'm 191 cm (6'3"), 77,5 kg (171 pounds). To reach a score of 1.00 I'd have to 1) gain nearly 25 pounds or 2) drop 3.3 seconds (there's the third way, involving invasive surgery and dropping only 0.3 sec, but there's more to life than a perfect Jim's Weight-Weighted 50 score, I feel). So, we're stuck on the familiar sliding scale from the obtainable (1) to the attractive (2) option.

fmracing
February 6th, 2013, 10:51 AM
fmracing is going to love this, me, not so much. It makes my already also-ran status fall to, well,... should I select the cyanide tablets of the handgun?

Its good to know I am immediately (read: 2nd post worthiness) thought of when it comes to fast heavyweights :D

Here's where I break Jim's "scale":

Two years ago... 260lbs, BMI 33.4, top time of the season 22.39 = .670
Last year... 250lbs, BMI 32.1, top time of season 22.30 = .695
(these are weights at the time of those races)

Nows where I disappoint the heavyweight community...

This year 225lbs, BMI 28.9, top time this season (no taper yet) 23.2 = .803
I am aiming for sub 22 this year shaved and tapered at nats. So lets say I can do it at 21.99, it'd be a .761

To match my "jim measure" from two years ago at .670, I'd have to go 19.36 this year. LOL

The funny thing is, people probably think I was some elite top ten collegiate swimmer, much to the contrary. My PB is 21.7... and only 6 tenths off that when 70lbs higher. I think I have a legit shot at a PB this year. As someone said before to me, i shouldn't be that fast now.

Obviously not really any good form of measure other than food for discussion here BUT it might be a good way to finally calculate "worlds fastest fat man" which I may've just been as little as two years ago. However the world is a large place, so I will lay claim to having been "thread's fastest fat man" last year and the year before until someone posts results otherwise. Recent weight loss has made it tough to keep this up however.

Lastly, I am wholeheartedly in favor of weight classes in races. I feel like i'd fare well with that. :)

aquageek
February 6th, 2013, 11:19 AM
This is blatant discrimination against distance swimmers. You've been hanging around Leslie for too long.

KatieK
February 6th, 2013, 11:40 AM
This is crazy on the lean/slow end of the spectrum. To get to 1.4 (the highest number in the poll), I would have to get my 50 down to 32s. As it now stands, I'm over 1.7: (39s-3s)/20.7.

I'm in the B/BB range for anything >= 500 on the Masters Motivational Times chart. (A huge and very recent accomplishment, BTW :))

sok454
February 6th, 2013, 11:41 AM
Its good to know I am immediately (read: 2nd post worthiness) thought of when it comes to fast heavyweights :D

Here's where I break Jim's "scale":

Two years ago... 260lbs, BMI 33.4, top time of the season 22.39 = .670
Last year... 250lbs, BMI 32.1, top time of season 22.30 = .695
(these are weights at the time of those races)

Nows where I disappoint the heavyweight community...

This year 225lbs, BMI 28.9, top time this season (no taper yet) 23.2 = .803
I am aiming for sub 22 this year shaved and tapered at nats. So lets say I can do it at 21.99, it'd be a .761

To match my "jim measure" from two years ago at .670, I'd have to go 19.36 this year. LOL

The funny thing is, people probably think I was some elite top ten collegiate swimmer, much to the contrary. My PB is 21.7... and only 6 tenths off that when 70lbs higher. I think I have a legit shot at a PB this year. As someone said before to me, i shouldn't be that fast now.

Obviously not really any good form of measure other than food for discussion here BUT it might be a good way to finally calculate "worlds fastest fat man" which I may've just been as little as two years ago. However the world is a large place, so I will lay claim to having been "thread's fastest fat man" last year and the year before until someone posts results otherwise. Recent weight loss has made it tough to keep this up however.

Lastly, I am wholeheartedly in favor of weight classes in races. I feel like i'd fare well with that. :)

Have you lost any strength with the 35 lb weight loss (congrats by the way, I'm in a similar boat being 6'1 250 and more of a linebacker build!)? I know when I lose weight my lifts tend to drop even if I have worked out more.

jim thornton
February 6th, 2013, 12:05 PM
Its good to know I am immediately (read: 2nd post worthiness) thought of when it comes to fast heavyweights :D

Here's where I break Jim's "scale":

Two years ago... 260lbs, BMI 33.4, top time of the season 22.39 = .670
Last year... 250lbs, BMI 32.1, top time of season 22.30 = .695
(these are weights at the time of those races)

Nows where I disappoint the heavyweight community...

This year 225lbs, BMI 28.9, top time this season (no taper yet) 23.2 = .803
I am aiming for sub 22 this year shaved and tapered at nats. So lets say I can do it at 21.99, it'd be a .761

To match my "jim measure" from two years ago at .670, I'd have to go 19.36 this year. LOL

The funny thing is, people probably think I was some elite top ten collegiate swimmer, much to the contrary. My PB is 21.7... and only 6 tenths off that when 70lbs higher. I think I have a legit shot at a PB this year. As someone said before to me, i shouldn't be that fast now.

Obviously not really any good form of measure other than food for discussion here BUT it might be a good way to finally calculate "worlds fastest fat man" which I may've just been as little as two years ago. However the world is a large place, so I will lay claim to having been "thread's fastest fat man" last year and the year before until someone posts results otherwise. Recent weight loss has made it tough to keep this up however.

Lastly, I am wholeheartedly in favor of weight classes in races. I feel like i'd fare well with that. :)

Superb!

You definitely have my full and unmitigated admiration for being (so far, at least) the Undisputed Thread's Fastest Big Man Title. You have even more of my admiration for not allowing yourself to feel stigmatized by your girth!

Perhaps we should all chip in and buy one of those Boxing Style Belts (the ones that look like Dinner Platters with a leather cinch) to bestow upon the Fastest Big Man and Fastest Big Lady, respectively, at this year's Nationals!

But I agree with Michele, too--we need to have a separate category for the Big Man and Big Lady Greatest Endurance Swimmers (I suggest the 500 free because this will allow middle distance freestylers to give it a shot, too, but if there is an outcry from distance purists, I'd be fine with using the 1650), and possibly another one for the Big Man and Big Lady Greatest Versatility Swimmer (for which the 200 IM might be a good proxy?)

To make the competition fair, we would have to incorporate some kind of age-grading feature, too. The Finnish formula http://n3times.com/swimtimes/ might be too generous to us geezers. Maybe Chris Stevenson's brilliant and much more detailed age-grading calculator would be fairer? http://www.vaswim.org/cgi-bin/rcalc.cgi

I will ask my twin brother to begin designing the belts!

fmracing
February 6th, 2013, 12:12 PM
Have you lost any strength with the 35 lb weight loss (congrats by the way, I'm in a similar boat being 6'1 250 and more of a linebacker build!)? I know when I lose weight my lifts tend to drop even if I have worked out more.

I don't feel so, in fact I feel I've gained a lot of strength, and thats why the weight hasn't gone even lower. To date I am down about 8 waist sizes since beginning my swimming comeback at 281lbs in dec 2009 :) The past may I was 252 when I started on, 6 days a week pool, 3 in the weight room each week plus watching calories (2000-2500/day). So far good progress. My goal was 219 by nats. I think that is a perfect weight for me. Dunno if I'll hit it though, it seems I drop waist size still, but the actual weight stays about the same because of the weight room.

jim thornton
February 6th, 2013, 12:28 PM
I don't feel so, in fact I feel I've gained a lot of strength, and thats why the weight hasn't gone even lower. To date I am down about 8 waist sizes since beginning my swimming comeback at 281lbs in dec 2009 :) The past may I was 252 when I started on, 6 days a week pool, 3 in the weight room each week plus watching calories (2000-2500/day). So far good progress. My goal was 219 by nats. I think that is a perfect weight for me. Dunno if I'll hit it though, it seems I drop waist size still, but the actual weight stays about the same because of the weight room.

Again, congratulations, FMRACING! The one thing I'd like to add is this: as impressive as your own weight change has been, some classic twin studies by obesity researcher Claude Bouchard have shown that there are strong genetic influences on how much different individuals respond to diet and exercise.

He took a bunch of identical twin volunteers, assessed each one for how many calories they had been consuming to maintain their current weight, then provided them with exactly those many calories per day while also have them expend 1000 Kcal per day during twice daily sessions on an exercise bike. He had them do this 9 out of every 10 days for a total 93 days.

If you believe the old chestnut that says l lb. of body weight equals 3200 or so calories, then you would figure each person would shed about a lb. every three or so days, or somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-30 lb. by the experiment's conclusion.

This isn't what happened.

Some men lost much more weight than predicted.

Others lost very little.

The one thing that was consistent: if your identical twin lost a lot in response to exercise, chances were extremely high you, would too. If your twin lost practically nothing, you, too, would lose practically nothing.

The bottom line was that genes and other factors beyond our conscious control do strongly influence exercise-response to body weight. Bouchard showed the same applies to diet response.

You are very fortunate that swimming has helped you shed so many pounds, but I don't want other people to look at your example and feel like failures if their own commitment to the sport has not resulted in similar changes to their own weight.

We all have different puppetmasters calling some, if not all, of the shots when it comes to weight. The important thing to focus on is the increased fitness that regular swimming brings, whether or not it has any major impact on weight per se.

Sorry if I sound preachy!

sok454
February 6th, 2013, 01:20 PM
Dang dude... that is awesome! 8 waist sizes??? Holy Cow! Right now at about 250-260 I wear about a 36-8 depending if its dress paints or jeans... I can't imagine getting down to a size 30-32 again! My goal for the beginning of March for my first meet in 25 years is to be about 240... then in June be down to 225.

ekw
February 6th, 2013, 01:47 PM
Tangential, but possibly of interest since there was mention of swimming speed pound per pound:

"Pound for pound, the strongest girl in the world may be Naomi Kutin, a ten-year-old from Fair Lawn, New Jersey, who weighs only ninety-nine pounds but can squat and deadlift more than twice that much."

From a New Yorker article on strength competitions
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/07/23/120723fa_fact_bilger?currentPage=all

fmracing
February 6th, 2013, 01:50 PM
Dang dude... that is awesome! 8 waist sizes??? Holy Cow! Right now at about 250-260 I wear about a 36-8 depending if its dress paints or jeans... I can't imagine getting down to a size 30-32 again! My goal for the beginning of March for my first meet in 25 years is to be about 240... then in June be down to 225.

Good luck on your goals. If I learned anything its all about taking a little at a time with regards to lifestyle changes.

I was wearing 42 pants, now I can easily get into 34 's, but I normally wear 36's just for "crotch clearance" because I like being comfortable, lol. Had to buy all new clothes.

Jim,

Trust me I know how that goes, I don't really talk about my weight loss to that many people in my circle of friends, mainly because I don't want people to get discouraged with how "easy" I appear to drop it. In all reality I've busted my ass for 3 years (moreso the last 9 months) to get where i'm at... not that I wanted to turn this topic into a "look how much i lost" discussion either :)

I wanna see someone drop a JW-W score lower than me so I can set up a race :)

sok454
February 6th, 2013, 02:46 PM
Well give me a few months and we can have that race! Of course I didn't swim in college and didn't swim after I was 10. But I can give you a run for your money once I get in swim shape! J/k... kinda.

Still impressed man with your dedication over the last 3 years. Sounds like you are about the same size as me height wise 6-1- 6-2. Its funny on the weightlifting boards I used to go to all the guys were 5'8-5'10... with the occasional 6'6 guy. Here its like everyone is 6'1+. Obviously there are shorter people but being tall does lend itself to swimming.

Sportygeek
February 7th, 2013, 08:14 AM
Lastly, I am wholeheartedly in favor of weight classes in races. I feel like i'd fare well with that. :)

You could always become a triathlete. :bolt:

(In triathlon, weight divisions are a thing. You heavier men are called 'Clydesdales', for what it's worth.)

fmracing
February 7th, 2013, 08:37 AM
You could always become a triathlete.


Thats about as likely as me having a BMI that isn't "overweight" lol. I don't run, and I bike ultra rarely. Its also my contention that you only need to be an average or novice swimmer to be a pretty outstanding triathlete and it doesn't really matter if you are an elite swimmer. The swimming leg just isn't long enough to make a difference.

sok454
February 7th, 2013, 09:18 AM
Town I lived in obviously had a running club and they considered anyone over like 200 to be in the "big man" group. I always laughed at BMI as when I finished my college track career and started gaining weight and went from 175 to 190-195 I started to get in the "overweight" category.... yet I looked a lot healthier than when I was 175.

jim thornton
February 7th, 2013, 10:00 AM
You could always become a triathlete. :bolt:

(In triathlon, weight divisions are a thing. You heavier men are called 'Clydesdales', for what it's worth.)

What are heavier women triathletes called in Australia? If there is no term yet, might I suggest Xena's?

http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/24700000/Xena-Warrior-Princess-xena-warrior-princess-24708839-475-604.jpg

jim thornton
February 7th, 2013, 10:04 AM
Okay, so far 39 people have replied to this poll, and it seems to be stuck on this number.

In the interests of pseudo-scientific validity, I would love to get a minimum of 100 poll results. Might I ask my swimming comrades to each recruit a couple of teammates of any size to do the calculations and post on the poll?

If each of the 39 who have done so already recruits two friends to contribute, we will have 117 responses, enough to see where the crest of the bell falls!

ekw
February 7th, 2013, 10:39 AM
What are heavier women triathletes called in Australia? If there is no term yet, might I suggest Xena's?

http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/24700000/Xena-Warrior-Princess-xena-warrior-princess-24708839-475-604.jpg

I don't know about Australia, but in the US I've seen the category for women listed as Athenas.

ETA: I've seen the Athena category have a weight as low as 145 pounds. :bitching:

Sojerz
February 7th, 2013, 01:28 PM
Hmmm. My weight went down and 50 scy time went up slightly due to injury last year. I used my best recent 50 scy time of 32.3 and current BMI of 27.8 (5'-8" and 183lbs). By 9/2012 i was down to low 170s and swam a 33.1 with a badly pulled calf and no warmup. At any rate i wind up in the 1.1 to 1.19 range, which seems average.

It does seem to me that there is a large variance in weight and speed amongst masters swimmers at all levels i.e., there are some guys that appear overwieght but are still pretty fast, probably cause they were fast before they got overwieght and have stayed reasonably conditioned. Although, you don't see that in elite swimmers. I think we tend to continue those old eating habits from HS and college, but metabolism takes a nose dive in our late 40s and 50s. Some may have been "big" shaped to begin with.

While height seems to provide a clear competitive advantage due to wing-span, overweight doesn't seem to have a similar negative impact. Weight is reduced in the water, and although drag increases with size/shape, swimming velocities are all pretty low (even for elite swimmers), so size/shape don't seem to have the kind of impact that one associates with weight in running and to some degree in cycling where it really matters, hence Clydesdales and Athenas in tri's.

That said, what about bigger body = bigger muscle mass, which i think is clearly the reason that women's times are slower (generally women have or can develop less muscle mass from the same amount of conditioning as compared with a man-unless they are taking male hormones, as with the east germans in the '80s). I read somewhere the typical differences in muscle mass between men and women, and the disparity is far larger for the upper body than lower body. For swimming, im wondering if the relationship between height and muscle mass may better correlate to 50 scy times than height and weight (BMI) with 50 scy times. I guess muscle mass it harder to determine and not generally known by most people. Then there's variables like genetics, age, work ethic, training, years of experience, technique, the pool, swim suits, and a host of others TNTC (too numerous to count) that impact times. My $0.02

sok454
February 7th, 2013, 02:38 PM
Okay, so far 39 people have replied to this poll, and it seems to be stuck on this number.

In the interests of pseudo-scientific validity, I would love to get a minimum of 100 poll results. Might I ask my swimming comrades to each recruit a couple of teammates of any size to do the calculations and post on the poll?

If each of the 39 who have done so already recruits two friends to contribute, we will have 117 responses, enough to see where the crest of the bell falls!

Sounds like Herbal Life or Amway....

habu987
February 7th, 2013, 05:04 PM
My 50 free is a 24.9. I swim it maybe twice a season (not counting relays), so I can't really say how indicative it is of my swimming performance. Who knows, I might be able to get that down to a 23 something if I trained for sprint freestyle, but that's a whole 'nother matter (I'm a backstroker/butterflyer/IMer).
I'm 5'9" and ~180 pounds, with a BMI of 26.6. That gives me a .94 score on the poll. By Nats I should be stable around 170. With that 24.9 50 time and resulting BMI of 25.1, that would give me a .99 score.

Going off on the tangent that others have, I also disagree with the BMI method. I'm built like a tank, and while I currently have about 10-15 pounds of excess weight I'm trying to lose, even at 170, that gives me a BMI in the overweight category.

I was incredibly scrawny while swimming in high school and only weighed about 130. That gave me a BMI of 19.2. Once I got to college and stopped swimming/started lifting, I put on muscle crazy fast. Peaked at around 165 sophomore year (due to the hellacious nature of freshman year at the military college I went to, I only put on about 5 pounds the entire first year), got injured halfway through junior year and stopped working out at ~170, and started putting on excess weight. Now that I'm working out in addition to swimming, the weight is coming off much slower, even though I can see the fat coming off on a weekly basis, due to how easily I'm packing on the muscle again.

On a side note, we've got a guy who's pretty much been out of the water for about 5 years--he's maybe 5'8", about 260 pounds (admittedly, a fairly sizeable portion of that is muscle), and busted out a 23 flat on a 200 free relay a couple months ago.

sok454
February 7th, 2013, 05:14 PM
Talk about a rocket thru the pool! dang! My wife mentioned to me that she can already see my belly going down even though i've only lost about 5 lbs. This week was the first week I started to watch what I eat... ie not eat a king size snicker and 44 oz coke when i get to work first thnig... Instead I've been having a shake and no soda (except for one 16 oz I had 2 days ago over lunch). I think my goal of getting to 240 by March 3 will be attained. If I somehow decided to do nationals I'd try to get down to 220-215... where I haven't been since July 2009 and before I had knee cartliage replacement done.

jim thornton
February 7th, 2013, 05:49 PM
That said, what about bigger body = bigger muscle mass, which i think is clearly the reason that women's times are slower (generally women have or can develop less muscle mass from the same amount of conditioning as compared with a man-unless they are taking male hormones, as with the east germans in the '80s). I read somewhere the typical differences in muscle mass between men and women, and the disparity is far larger for the upper body than lower body.

I, too, have heard that testosterone has a much greater effect at building muscle mass in the upper body than the lower body, and that the average discrepancy between men and women is much, much less in leg strength than arm and shoulder strength.

I wonder where core muscle figures into this. I would like to think that it is closer to leg strength than arm strength vis a vis its response to testosterone.

The combination of leg and core strength are the key to SDKs, and Leslie Livingston, who is not terribly tall (5' 6", give or take), and does a lot of kick and SDK training in practice and relatively less pulling compared to many swimmers, is an absolutely phenomenal sprinter. Her SDK-ing ability is remarkable.

She told me she just did a 26.8 50 fly in a little local meet. Lordy!

I am hoping that the reason she can beat me, a so-called man, so badly is that she is using muscles for which gender is neither a tremendous handicap (for women) or advantage (for men.)

Anyhow, that's what I plan to tell myself from here on in.

Sportygeek
February 9th, 2013, 06:01 PM
ETA: I've seen the Athena category have a weight as low as 145 pounds. :bitching:

The official USA Triathlon weight cut-off for Athena is currently 165 pounds (recently increased from 150 pounds) (http://www.swimbikemom.com/2012/04/athena-goddess-of-too-fat.html). There are plenty of non-USAT races, where race directors can make up whatever weight cut-offs they want.

Triathlon Australia doesn't have an official Athena weight cut-off AFAIK. In practice, I've seen between 70kg (154lb) and 80kg (176lb). 70kg or 75kg are most common.

ekw
February 9th, 2013, 06:17 PM
The official USA Triathlon weight cut-off for Athena is currently 165 pounds (recently increased from 150 pounds) (http://www.swimbikemom.com/2012/04/athena-goddess-of-too-fat.html). There are plenty of non-USAT races, where race directors can make up whatever weight cut-offs they want.

Triathlon Australia doesn't have an official Athena weight cut-off AFAIK. In practice, I've seen between 70kg (154lb) and 80kg (176lb). 70kg or 75kg are most common.

The 145lb one was on a road race, not a triathlon, that a friend was trying to convince me to do. When I saw that, I balled up the entry form, threw it across the room, and ordered a pizza. :D

jim thornton
February 9th, 2013, 07:55 PM
It looks like we have more extremely skinny and/or extremely slow and/or skinny-and-slow 50 SCY swimmers than we have very fast and/or very high BMI and/or plump-and-fast swimmers.

In conjunction with the research of Stephen Blair, Ph.D. and his colleagues, an argument might be made that the former are at a survival disadvantage compared to the latter. Fat and fit folks, especially those falling into the "overweight" and "low grade obesity" BMI categories (i.e., over 25 and under 35) live longer, on average, than normal weight and underweight people.

Anyhow, this might be a further consolation to the Clydesdales and Athenas out there.

Interesting that there are 0 people in that one category (1.3-1.39) towards the skinnier and/or slower and/or skinnier-and-slower end of the spectrum, though this one category is flanked by 4 and 6 respondents, respectively. A statistical fluke, I suppose, is common when the overall response rate is relatively small.

More reason to recruit more voters for the poll!