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Drinking Too much Water?

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

Well-Known Member
Sep 26, 2001
I came across a Scandanavian freediving website that had an article on the Performance Freediving course. Apparently Kirk recomends drinking no more than 3 liters of water the day before a dive(though this varies with climate) because drinking too much water washes away valuble minerals in the body and bloodstream.
This is the first I have heard of this theory, does anyone have any more info? Can these vitamins and minerals be somehow replaced so that one can safely drink more than 3 liters of water? I've aways drunk more than this in the belief that might increase blood volume blood and shift and thereby lessen the chance of lung squeeze.

Another new fact to me mentioned on this site was that saturated fats lower the oxygen carrying ability of hemoglobin. What are the implications of this? That one should avoid saturated fats before a dive, or that one should cut them out of ones diet entirely? or aim for a lower body fat index?
i don't think drinking fluids on the day before a dive will make much difference to your dives on the following day (unless you're drinking alcoholic fluids!). it will just come straight out at the other end!

i would say that drinking fluids in the 1-2 hours before your dive is really important, especially if you dive in the morning, because you tend to be dehydrated in the morning after sleeping. it's probably a good idea to drink water along with a little salt and/or sugar. i drink a diluted sports drink or some weak cordial before diving - usually about 1.5 - 2.0 litres max - that's plenty. as i said it mostly comes out the other end. also immersion diuresis gets rid a lot of it too.

i think the main way to prevent lung squeeze is to increase the flexibility of your diaphrgam and rib cage. uddiyana bandhas help and gradual increase in the exposure to pressure, along with regular exposure. the body can adapt to a lot, providing it is given enough time.
I want my Hb curve to be R-shifted so I guess I should eat lots of saturated fat before diving - come to think of it maybe that's why coconut works so well... I also often drink 8L of water the day before diving and did so before one of the best days ever. Just take cal/mag, salty foods and potassium rich foods...

Thanks for replies.
Is there no one thats done one of Kirks courses that can defend/explain his saturated fat theory?
Also, can anyone explain how saturated fats shift the hemoglobin saturation curve to the right? cheers

p.s regarding electrolite balance and the minerls Eric mentioned, I have up till now taken calcium before a dive, but this last weekend I was trying to dive as acidic as possible, and so I gave the calcium supliment a miss, as i believe they are alkalizing. to what extent is this true? who supliments in Ca and who doesnt?
i really wouldn't worry too much about all this stuff. you could spend your whole life trying to find the ideal combination of diet and supplements. even if there was such a thing, the effect it would have on performance would never compare with the gains to be had from improving technique.

here is what i would recommend: just eat a balanced diet - no whacky diets - take in plenty of iron - keep well hydrated. that's it...
Alun's body is a temple....


I wish mine was.....


It's more of a large barn at the moment....
Actually, my experience is that balance your diet/minerals etc., and the juggling of the various situational variables, has a far greater effect than any training. That's why I spend less time time training and more time analyzing my journals from the days that I had 'good' diving days, and comparing those days to the days I had 'bad' diving days.

This effect is easily seen when the same person can have dramatically opposite (good or bad) days within a matter of days or weeks, a period so short that training can't be responsible for the good and bad days. The day I did my static pb, looking at the day before and the day after, there was nearly a 1.5 minute difference in my static time; such a difference over a 3-day period could never be explained by training, and it will take a huge amount of training to improve by 1.5 minutes (if it is even possible at this level).

The way I see it, there are some well trained divers who refuse to take care of juggling the variables, and they just go out and 'do it.' However, they lack consistency for that very reason. They can be defeated by a lesser trained diver who is more consistent because of careful logging and analysis of good and bad days. The more meticulous diver goes into the day knowing exactly that it will be a 'good day' just like the best days ever, while the 'just do it' diver will most likely end up with an average day.

I think Bevan is on the right track with the hangs at 45m -- although I think this depth is a bit risky for deco sickness. In the summer of 2002 I did hangs at 20m every weekend, juggling the variables each time, and there were good days and bad days. By careful analysis of the good days, I was able to eventually pinpoint what was good & bad and then add together all the bits from the good days and the result was some very long dives.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
freediving experimunts

improving technique - note that i didn't say training.

i think there is a real danger here of over-analyzing this stuff. i've begun to notice this (almost worrying!) tendency in other threads on DB...

we'd all love to discover a magic formula of diet, supplements and precise breathing patterns that gives us optimal freediving performance. if there were such a thing then it would probably take many years of research to discover, with extensive studies of hundreds of subjects taken over months or years. it's impossible to draw meangingful conclusions from isolated events where the observer is also the subject of the experiment. it's even worse if the observer actually *wants* to see effects!

i'm also very keen on 'logging' dives, but i only record the important things that are likely to have an observable effect on my diving performance - like environmental conditions, technique and dive profile etc. i don't bother recording anything that wouldn't have a clearly observable and significant effect, because it's a waste of time.

the bottom line is that the best way to improve performance is through technique training and mental and physical training.
I believe that a huge amount of real breakthroughs can be made by simply experimenting with one subject -- yourself. I have recorded everything I've felt, eaten & done since 1994. I quickly learned never to omit things from my journal, no matter how irrelevant they seemed. What seems irrelevant today is a key factor tomorrow. To be able to claim that a certain thing is irrelevant is to claim all-knowingness. I often change things up and juggle variables, often unconsciously. Good days seem to happen by accident. I often can't decode what happened for years. When I had my series of depth pb's in 2001, all I knew was that I could go deeper and deeper without running out of air, although it was 2 years before I understood what was happening.

Some of the things you can discover by this method may only work for you (which is useful in itself), but often you will discover things which work on others as well. By analyzing my journals I discovered the dramatic effect of food stuffs and phytochemicals such as garlic, potassium, thiocyanate, germanium, essential fatty acids, and so on. Later, I read in Mayol's book that garlic had been used by the polynesians for hundreds of years. Coincidence?

I had seen trends in my journals that after weeks of eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables, I would always be cold, and have huge statics and dives, even a week after stopping the diet. I later discovered that uncooked cruciferous vegetables cause thiocyanate to be formed during digestion, inhibiting thyroid activity, and lowering your heat production & metabolic rate, basically making you temporarily hypothyroid, an effect which can last for weeks even after the thiocyanate is removed from the diet. My training partners experimented with this effect and confirmed my results, even though my 'experiment' was only done on myself.

Later, during my long hangs at 20m in 2002, I noticed very mysterious effects the day after eating sushi, and the same effect could be found the day after eating flax seed oil. The common ingredient is omega-3 (in flax) or EPA/DHA (in the salmon sashimi), where omega-3 will be metabolized into EPA/DHA. By loading distilled fish oil and/or flax oil, I was able to magnify the effect. Later, by searching on medline, I discovered that the omega-3 chain acids are vital for non-shivering thermogenesis and oxygen utilization. This discovery suddenly explained some long dives done by my buddy Tyler while on a high sushi/flax diet.

Several times, I tried to superhydrate with glycerol (like long distance athletes). After a few months, I realized that glycerol was having a very strange effect, having nothing to do with its superhydrating effect. It seemed to prevent me from shivering -- I still don't fully understand what it does, but many glycerol compounds such as triacylglycerols are involved in thermogenesis, and I have also learned that glycerol is often injected into organisms for cryogenic purposes. Glycerol's method of action remains a mystery.

When reading one of my thermogenesis books, I learned that the body's temperature sensors are primarily along the spinal cord. I theorized that if I put a heat pack along my spinal cord, my body would think that I was still warm, even though the rest of my body was freezing, resulting in a lowered temperature without thermogenesis (thus dramatically dropping O2 consumption). I tried this on my 20m hangs and it resulted in one pb after another--that is one case of a deliberate experiment which had positive effects. Some time later, I was unable to repeat the long hangs -- it was then that I realized I had forgotten to load omega-3 and use the heat pack along the spine -- after which I was able to repeat the long hangs.

By analyzing my journals, I discovered that I would perform good statics two days after a hard workout. I never pulled off a big one soon after or the day after a workout, or even the day after a dive. Also, when I hadn't exercised for a long time, good statics would be rare.

By September 2003, I had concluded that juggling of variables had such a huge effect that I decided that for the Sept-2003 CAFA regionals, I would do no training at all, and just juggle the variables. In the days leading up to the competition, while my opponents were training, I was reading past journals. I ended up with a pb in wet static and somehow managed to win both in static & constant! I couldn't help but chuckle during the competition wrap up, because I knew that most of the people in the competition had been training their butts off, and I hadn't done a wet static (or any static) for about half a year! Further, several of the competitors had pb's much bigger than mine. I would guess that their inconsistency was due to lack of logging.

So, let's just say that I believe a lot can be found by recording irrelevant things, and analyzing them later.

Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
it seems all the world's pharmaceutical companies and medical research establishments have been wasting billions of dollars all these years, when all they needed was one subject for their experiments the whole time! ;)
Eric, your post on your personal experience with diet and oils is truly enlightening. I've always been mystified by the seemingly random nature of peak days vs. off-days. Your study in this area gives me new food for thought. (And new thoughts for food.)

But here's a wrinkle to consider... many years ago I spent a year camped alone on the outer coast of Southeast Alaska. Kayak was my only transportation, most food (all proteins and vegetables) was hunted or gathered. Saw people seldom, at the longest going for 3 months entirely alone.

One of the surprises was that I noticed my mood and general sense of physical well-being fluctuated on about a two week cycle. The variables in my life were unchanging. I always attributed it to some kind of hormonal cycle.

As an aside, I'll mention that I was in extraordinarily good health the entire year. I wasn't diving then, so I can't offer any insight as to dive performance.

Any thoughts on biorythm/hormonal cycles as a key factor in peak days vs off-days?

Very interesting observation. When it's so easy to see that the moon affects the sea, the land and all the animals, it's impossible not to believe that it affects humans too. Tomorrow it'll be easy to check if that flock of turkeys comes by 40 minutes later.
Very very interesting. I can't imagine the effort and disipline it must take to record all those variables, however I cannot help but believe that this had a very positive effect on your diving!

I don't even record training sessions at this point, but Pete S. was just telling me about the value of this info this week. He mentioned that he got the idea from watching you pour over huge amounts of personal info to find common threads.

I'll start keeping track of at least all of my practice sessions dry and wet. In awhile I may start to see some patterns.

Thanks once again!