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  • Writer's pictureKim Hanlon

The Diving Diet

Sounds better than cabbage soup, doesn't it?

That's every ounce of joy leaving your body

How many times have you googled how many calories are burned in a dive?

Maybe it's just me, but personally, I reckon the number is roughly around 4867 times, and every time I hit the return button I am very skeptical of the results.

Answers vary depending on what website and fitness app you ask, but the general consensus seems to be around 400- 700 calories an hour, depending on various factors.

It's hard to fathom how, when at the end of your dive you feel completely relaxed and not sweaty and out of breath, but most of the calorie burning is due to loss of heat in your body while submerged. As we learned in our open water course, water dissipates heat away from the body 20 times faster than air. And even for those of us lucky enough to dive in the tropics, the water is still significantly cooler than the human body. You might grumble at the 79°F water in the "winter" months, but you can thank the water temp for speeding up your metabolism in order to generate heat to replace the heat that is dissipated away by the water.

The process of keeping warm and generating heat requires the human body to burn an enormous amount of calories, but obviously there are other factors at play too, like skelping tanks and gear, fighting current, leisurely surface swimming, and all that fun stuff.

Ask some recreational divers that have spent a week on a liveaboard. Despite the fact that they are fed 5 times a day with snacks in between, and it's all washed down in the evening with copious amounts of complimentary carb-filled booze, their weight doesn't seem to gain like you would expect it to in the "real world" with so many excess calories. I would assume this has something to do with the 5 dives a day that are done to balance it out.

Is butter a carb?

Or just ask one of the many dive instructors that have found themselves practically landlocked for the guts of a year just how that has affected their, well, gut.

I didn't create the formula, so don't blame me if I'm wrong. But a simple math equation I found to work with is that an average scuba diver burns .053 calories per minute per pound (.1166 calories per minute per kilogram). By comparison, the average person burns .009 min/lb (.0198 min/kg) sitting still and .048 min/lb (.1058 min/kg) walking fast.

So a 200lb man on a 60-minute dive in average conditions should theoretically burn around 600calories. Do 3 or 4 dives a day and that works off a few slices of excess pizza and after-dive drinks.

Now, all you have to do is figure out how to get back in the water..

Finally! Some good news in the second round of the roarin' 20s.

Nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels. Apart from this mud.


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