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Body Fat

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Jason Billows

New Member
Sep 17, 2002
Does anyone know if there is a direct link between body fat percentage and breath hold times?

I know that a lower body fat % will usually correspond with better physical fitness and will be more hydrodynamic during constant and dynamic, but what (if any) are the actual physical affects of having more or less body fat when doing breath hold? Does it hinder, help, or neither?

Just curious.

Jason Billows
Ottawa, Canada
Body fat and breath hold times


Fat tissue will store CO2 and nitrogen longer, therefore requiring longer breathups to purge these gasses. Not to mention added bouyancy to overcome with more weight. But if well distributed, extra body fat can take the place of excess neoprene. Either way, you probably need a certain amount of neoprene or fat covering your heat-losing lean mass. I have never heard of O2 being stored in body fat, so you are probably better off for many more reasons to try to dive with less fat if you can. I'm looking forward to reading more informed replies to your question.

sorry this is not a very informed reply. i'v been of the opposit opinion. i was curious that performance freediver websight listed stepaneks <1% boddy fat as a competitive advantage or however they phrased it. short of looking like the michelan man, i cant see a few extra kg's effecting hydrodynamicism very much. i suffer from cold more than most and find with marginal water temperatures i often have to wear a thicker suit than most. a few extra kilos of fat however and i can hold my own. my theory is that is extra fat is better than extra neoprine cause it's less compressable and so need less weight to ofset it. didnt know about it storing CO2. would also like some expert imput here. cheers

If your looking at added fat as an insulator then yes it would be an advantage. So in statics where you are not expending energy it would keep you warmer etc etc..

The fat being less compressible is a valid point, however fat deposits all around the body and can surround the heart. By looking at fat as a good substitute for neoprene you are possibly overlooking more serious physiological (& health) issues. Concerning depth swims, I would suggest that when physical performance is involved, the leaner you are the more likely you are you to be able to withstand the pressure effects and use energy more efficiently to move through he water....

…..for what it’s worth, the aerobic training that most freedivers do tends to burn up the fat anyway. So it might be a little harder than you think to add a kilo of fat!
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