I am still trying to put together the best nutrition before, during and after the long swim. My two cold water swims to date are the best example I have of proper feeding. This knowledge/information was handed down from my spiritual advisor Mr Hobbs and don’t forget…what ever Brent does or eats I do too! After all, he did swim the channel.
I have been successful with a high carbohydrate powder mixed with warm water. This is the quickest and easiest way to feed. It is of utmost importance that you get used to these feeds well in advance as they can take some time for your body to get used to. The quantity of mix is also critical as to much can overload and upset your system. The best thing to do is follow the manufactures recommended dosage levels. Right now I am using the Hammergel products for longer swims (Perpetuem, Recoverite, Hammer gel and Endurolytes).
For the channel I plan to feed every 20-30 minutes, depending on how I feel and my caloric needs. My support crew will throw a water bottle ahead of me; at the same time I will tread water, drink the mix, and start swimming as soon as possible. I really don’t want to feed longer than 15-20 seconds because the longer I take to feed the faster my core temperature will drop and the more susceptible to hyperthermia I will become. Feeding will be a mental break as well as physical; swimming from feed to feed is a pattern that can be something to look forward to.
I thought I would share my health wows with you. Before my first cold water attempt I had gained about 15 pounds, this was the good times of peanut butter, muffins, fast food and other great stuff, until I made the mistake of having my cholesterol checked and low and behold it was somewhat high. What a bummer for a future channel swimmer! I thought I could be large and in charge, eat until I could eat no more, pack on the pounds with no repercussions! Wrong… I will have to gain weight thru healthy eating. Brown rice, soya milk and other whole foods. My doctor was a bit shocked as he considered me one of his fitter clients, but cholesterol can be a genetic thing and sometimes this is the luck of the draw.
The above photos were taken on a cruise ship to Alaska. This was the Mecca for gaining weight…ow ya. I was on such a roll (no pun intended). I boarded the vessel and ate for two days straight, approximately ten meals, the third day I woke up at 4:00 am with what I thought was sea sickness, but it turned out to be Norwalk! That next two days were very intense. I was the only one of our group to actually lose weight. This never stopped me thou, I remember swimming in the ocean last summer and as I was into a 2 hour training swim and I looked over and saw this cruise ship, I was kind of bonking and remember muttering the words ”food boat”. I could have easily swam over and climbed aboard for lunch! So for now I will try to eat as healthy as I can, but will truly regret not being able to gain weight the easy way.