Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

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rvillar79
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:02 am

Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby rvillar79 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:26 am

Hi

I was just wondering what is the ideal fat percentage range for a) an athlete swimmer and b) a fitness swimmer?

I weighed myself this morning and the scale showed me that I am 79kg in weight with a body fat percentage of 22.5% and I was wondering, if I reduce my fat% somewhat, would it help me swim any faster? On the other hand, because fat is less dense than water and should therefore help you float in the water, would it not be an advantage to have a relatively high fat percentage as it would mean that you need to spend less energy in keeping yourself afloat leaving you with more for propulsion? I suppose that it the real world there will be a trade-off between too much body fat and too little and was just wondering where the balance lies. BTW I swim for fitness and my 400m time is roughly 7:30mins

Cheers!

Raul

Pete NZ
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jun 20, 2010 11:52 pm

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby Pete NZ » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:58 am

Hey Raul,

I'm trying to slim down for Ironman so I have been doing a lot of reading about this. I would recommend you read 'Racing Weight' by Matt Fitzgerald, which has a really good section about the differences in body shape and composition between professional-standard cross country skiers, cyclists, rowers, runners, swimmers and triathletes. Fitzgerald reckons that elite level swimmers typically carry more fat than other endurance athletes, with elite males around 10-12% body fat and elite females around 19-21% body fat. By comparison, professional male triathletes carry 6-10%, male cyclists 6-11%. Pro females in both sports carry between 12-16%. Hope that helps.

rvillar79
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:02 am

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby rvillar79 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:25 pm

Hi Pete

Thanks for your reply, I'll check out the book that you recommend. I kind of guessed that pro swimmers would have a relatively higher body fat% compared to land athletes, such as runners or cylclists, as the extra fat would actually increase your buoyancy in the water helping you to conserve energy to an extent. I've come across some proof of this in my local swimming pool where I've seen some bulky swimmers that swim pretty danm fast! This puzzled me a bit in the beginning but now I think I know why this is. I've also read somwhere in the forum about people putting on weight on purpose before long swims e.g. cross-channel swimming, although I believe this is more to do with keeping in your body heat as opposed to helping with buoyancy. I wonder how loosing some body fat will affect my swimming times. I plan to test this over the next few months if I manage to loose the weight that is as I enjoy eating way too much!

Cheers
Raul

dave147
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:21 am

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby dave147 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:27 am

rvillar79 wrote:Hi

I was just wondering what is the ideal fat percentage range for a) an athlete swimmer and b) a fitness swimmer?

I weighed myself this morning and the scale showed me that I am 79kg in weight with a body fat scale accuracy percentage of 22.5% and I was wondering, if I reduce my fat% somewhat, would it help me swim any faster? On the other hand, because fat is less dense than water and should therefore help you float in the water, would it not be an advantage to have a relatively high fat percentage as it would mean that you need to spend less energy in keeping yourself afloat leaving you with more for propulsion? I suppose that it the real world there will be a trade-off between too much body fat and too little and was just wondering where the balance lies. BTW I swim for fitness and my 400m time is roughly 7:30mins

Cheers!

Raul


In my opinion 14% to 25% is the best body fat percentage for an Athlete and swimmer.

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Tom65
Posts: 357
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:59 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby Tom65 » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:15 pm

rvillar79 wrote:Hi

I was just wondering what is the ideal fat percentage range for a) an athlete swimmer and b) a fitness swimmer?

I weighed myself this morning and the scale showed me that I am 79kg in weight with a body fat percentage of 22.5% and I was wondering, if I reduce my fat% somewhat, would it help me swim any faster? On the other hand, because fat is less dense than water and should therefore help you float in the water, would it not be an advantage to have a relatively high fat percentage as it would mean that you need to spend less energy in keeping yourself afloat leaving you with more for propulsion? I suppose that it the real world there will be a trade-off between too much body fat and too little and was just wondering where the balance lies. BTW I swim for fitness and my 400m time is roughly 7:30mins

Cheers!

Raul


Nothing in it unless you're in Guðlaugur Friðþórssons situation.
Forum locked, might go to TI's forum, looked at SS's facebook page, too many photos...ewww...for me.
New Forum http://swim.palstani.com/

mike121
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:40 am

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby mike121 » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:56 am

rvillar79 wrote:Hi

I was just wondering what is the ideal fat percentage range for a) an athlete swimmer and b) a fitness swimmer?

I weighed myself this morning and the fat scale showed me that I am 79kg in weight with a body fat percentage of 22.5% and I was wondering, if I reduce my fat% somewhat, would it help me swim any faster? On the other hand, because fat is less dense than water and should therefore help you float in the water, would it not be an advantage to have a relatively high fat percentage as it would mean that you need to spend less energy in keeping yourself afloat leaving you with more for propulsion? I suppose that it the real world there will be a trade-off between too much body fat and too little and was just wondering where the balance lies. BTW I swim for fitness and my 400m time is roughly 7:30mins

Cheers!

Raul


hello
May i know that you have done any workout to reduce your weight???

Adivio
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Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby Adivio » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:14 pm

It's "easy": eat less, exercise more to create caloric deficit.
Also on http://swim.palstani.com/ forum.

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nightcrawler
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Location: Istanbul / Turkey
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Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby nightcrawler » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:46 pm

Once something goes into motion, it stays in motion, the process itself feeds the fire!
Ref: http://self-inspiration.com/video/uncomfortable-vs-exhaustion

Adivio
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Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby Adivio » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:52 pm


Even easier than my method :)
Also on http://swim.palstani.com/ forum.

The Dodo
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Ideal body fat percentage for a swimmer

Postby The Dodo » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:48 am

That drink seems a nice idea! However, do you bods realize that with the passage of years, your skin elasticity is reduced - so when young, you can get rid of a bit of tummy flab (it always seems to go there -"A moment in the mouth and a lifetime round the middle!") and look passably decent - for a while! But later in life, although you can still loose the underlying flab - you are left with an unsightly saggy/baggy/wrinkly fold of flesh on the outside. Seem to vaguely remember the tale about how the rhinocerous got his wrinkly skin - was it in "Jungle Tales"?

My wife keeps putting little choc/nut/cake/biscuit style "nibbles" on a plate for me to have after a meal. Like a fool, I fall for it so often ("choco-holic" that I am!), until the pointer on the bathroom scales creeps beyond my 70kg target (height was 5'8" in my prime, but have shrunk to 5'4" now due to cartilage shrinkage etc). Then it's back to "Yo-Yo dieting" (aka an austerity diet) again - for a while - but leaving that "after flab" wrinkly fold of flesh around the tum! ;)

As regards buoyancy,/body fat - all I know is that when I first started swimming (at late age of 21, eased off swimming due to other absorbing interests about 30'ish) I don't remember having any issues over poor buoyancy or sinky legs. Those problems only became apparent when I returned, after a long gap, to serious swimming at 60 - just for a bit of exercise, augmenting calories burnt in walking dogs. Now I always need to wear buoyancy shorts over my "Speedos" for swimming - (my old B.S. have developed a hole in the crotch area - poor manufacture - so I need to preserve a bit of decency :lol: ), otherwise am just dragging the legs through the water at a low angle. "smootharnie" did a "buoyancy poll" on the forum a long time ago, to see how we managed in a "do nothing vertical float with arms at sides" in deep water - and think I was definitely in the minority (head a few inches beneath the surface when I looked upwards - sans the B.S. of course).

I suppose it's all relative! A short while ago, in the gym/swim pool changing room a comfortably well-padded chap heard me moaning about being on an austerity diet at the time - and commented "What? - but there's nothing to you!". :roll:


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