Fitness and Diving on the Technical Side

By: Joshua Norris

Everyone knows that we should get in better shape. America as a country has gained a reputation for healthy consumption. This idea is beaten into our heads day in and day out. From television commercials to magazines, to internet memes, and pretty much anywhere else we look we know that we should get in better shape. The most ironic part of this might be that the more physically fit one becomes, the more they feel the need to improve. In some instances, this can lead to some serious health problems. This is no excuse to avoid a proper diet or hitting the gym a little bit harder. Just like every single guy on the face of the planet wants another inch, deep down inside of us all there is a mini Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Dana Linn Bailey trying to get out. The excuses as to why a person cannot get in shape are endless. With that, we ran a little experiment here at our shop to start proving some people wrong.

The beginning of the, “Get Up and Be Better” weight loss and fitness plan was pretty fun.

Thomas Powell and myself, Josh Norris, decided that we were going to show just how easy it is to lose some weight. I knew that I had two minor surgeries coming up that were going to put me out of the gym for a while (stupid carpal tunnel), so we decided to go ahead and start on the same level. I went from 220ish lbs. all the way up to 265ish lbs. so that Thomas and I would be the same weight. From there, we underwent medical checks, planned out our diets with the doctor, and started our diet plans at the same time. There was only one difference between the two of us. Thomas was going to hit the gym as hard as he could while I got to sit back and relax while only changing my diet. So basically, modern medicine gave me a reason to not go to the gym. Sweet, sweet, science.

How does this relate back to diving?

There will be far more to come on the results of our journey, but how does this relate back to diving? The bigger question is how does this relate back to technical diving? Like any great mind in the year 2017, I started googling some stuff to find out if any information was already out there. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of information but nothing conclusive. To begin, you must realize that Technical Diving is still mostly theory. We have a decent understanding of physics and physiology, but the effects on the body under pressure are very difficult to test in extreme situations without risking human life. Sometimes there is no way to prove or disprove improvement while conducting this sport. While the internet is always right about everything at all times, just check out all of the diving related forums and you will see what I mean.

The Fat Times

There is some very basic knowledge that relates to diving as a whole and fitness. Starting out big and fat at 265 meant that I not only had to drag my dive gear around with me, but I also had to carry an extra 45ish pounds everywhere I went. It is literally like grabbing a 45lb plate from the gym, stealing it for a while, and taking it everywhere with you. This is not an activity that I would recommend to anyone. My flexibility was gone, and I could not walk up and down steps wearing gear without wanting to huff some O2 for a while. Aside from all of that, my blood pressure went from just fine to borderline high. My sleeping habits were drastically impacted by the extra weight as well. This was mainly due to an added trait known as snoring. This was not something I did before the weight gain. While the snoring did not wake me up, my significant other certainly did. I got to know the couch pretty well during what I now call, “The Fat Times.” With my blood pressure out of whack and my overall cardiovascular health going down, it was concerning to learn that I would not be able to get rid of excess CO2 as efficiently as before. The added fat and stress related to doing everything also meant that my heart was working overtime compared to how it had behaved prior to the weight gain. The risk of having an actual heart attack became a very real thing for me. Most still say that I am a young man being only 33 years old. If I were in my 40s or 50s, I would not be able to safely gain a bunch of weight on a whim, so you have to take what you can. Luckily, some say anyway, I did not have a heart attack and made it through all of our diving during “The Fat Times” just fine. I could tell a drastic difference in the diving itself. Buoyancy was different and much harder to control with ease. I felt different during and after the dives. Exhaustion was a common threshold that could easily be reached. I was essentially always more tired afterwards and the list goes on and on.

So what have we learned from this so far?

Basically that some fat guys in North Carolina got really tired of hearing the reasons why our students just could not lose any weight and get into shape. We diced to make a personal change that could prove there was no excuse to avoid making yourself physically healthier. For some students was as if weight loss of any kind just was not an option. We had found the busiest people on the planet that only had time to eat fast food and three bags of sugar each day. Proving to them that losing weight is not that bad and everyone is capable of doing it was our goal. I would say that overall we accomplished this in such a way that no one should have an excuse anymore. This is a multi-part article, so check out the next one and see where I landed after a few weeks of diet change, and where Thomas found himself with diet and exercise. One a side note, I can now see everything again when I look down and I see that as positive progress.

Owner/Instructor Trainer

Air Hogs Scuba, Clayton, NC

Cave Excursions, Live Oak, FL

Orlando Scuba Partner, Orlando, FL

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