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Fitness & Health

04th Jun 2018

Athlete bids to become first man to swim around the whole of the UK

Ross Edgley is bidding to become the first person in history to swim around the entire coastline of Great Britain.

Alex Roberts

Athlete and adventurer Ross Edgley wants to achieve something nobody has before

Extreme pursuits are nothing out of the ordinary for Edgley. He once ran a marathon towing a Mini, climbed the height of Mount Everest on a rope and completed a triathlon whilst hauling a 45kg log on his back.

However, The Great British Swim is set to be his most gruelling physical and mental test to date.

In his most daring challenge yet, Ross is bidding to become the first person in history to swim around the entire coastline of Great Britain.

If he successfully completes the challenge it will mean he holds the record for the longest circumnavigation island swim in the world.

Speaking to JOE, Ross shared the training and diet protocols that are fuelling such a feat.

“I will be swimming for 100 days non-stop, 12 hours each day”, he said.

If 1200 hours of swimming didn’t sound tough enough, Edgley won’t be touching land.

He will instead be eating and sleeping on a support boat which will follow him on his epic journey.

“The tide changes every six hours, so I’ll be swimming in six hour spells in line with that.

“My recovery, eating and sleeping, will fall in between the six hour swimming windows.

“This swim will be won and lost on the boat where I recover.”

Of course, Ross needs to take on board a substantial amount of food and calories to fuel this swim, but not resting on land further complicates matters. He has to:

  • Consume 10,000 to 15,000 calories per day for 100 days
  • Consume over 1.5 million calories in total: +230,000 grams of carbohydrates, +45,000 grams of fats and +41,000 grams of protein

There is no room for a three-course meal or a kitchen full of cooking appliances, but that doesn’t mean he can miss a meal.

“My food has to fit on boat, so we are talking liquid ice creams, smoothies, whey shakes, with added protein and nut butter.

“Nut butters in particular are important as they are nine calories per gram.

“This is opposed to carbohydrates which are four calories per gram, this gives me the energy I need to sustain my swimming.”

Ross gave a breakdown of the daily diet he will be consuming onboard the support boat.

“You need to give your body the fuel it needs to perform.

“I’ll be eating a lot of granola, porridge oats, peanut butter and whey protein.”

These foods provide sufficient calories for fuelling Ross’ swim, while also hitting protein and carbohydrate targets.

In addition to this, Ross will be paying careful attention to micronutrients.

“I’ll also have many super green shakes rich in ingredients such as spirulina”, he said.

“Extreme endurance athletes need to look at micronutrients and phytochemical. These fight fatigue and are crucial for the full 100 days.”

Ross also plans to make use of some supplements, particularly as his diet may miss out on vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

“I will probably need to take on multivitamins and Vitamin D.”

Muscle mass and resistance training are often viewed as incompatible with this kind of endurance activity, but Ross’ exploits demand great strength and conditioning.

“With this swim, I’m not trying to be a fast swimmer as such.

“It’s about being a robust swimmer. That will be the difference between succeeding or not.”

With the physical demands so clear, a specific training plan is required to boost Ross’ work capacity.

“Whatever your goal or style of training – hard work and a consistent training stimulus are crucial.

“Of course, due to the task at hand 90% of my training has been swimming-specific, but there has still been a lot of in-gym work.”

With regards to in-gym training, Ross’ plan places a firm emphasis on functionality.

“At the gym, I’ve been including a lot of supplementary strength work.

“Rotator cuff exercises are hugely important in strengthening my tendons and ligaments that will be placed under a lot of stress while swimming.”

Traditional bodybuilding splits are useful if you plan on competing in bodybuilding, but with a task as tough as this, a different plan of iron-pumping activity is needed.

“I need to work on all the smaller, protective muscles that also help the body to generate force.

“All the bicep curls in the world won’t help you.”

Although Ross has his sights set on smashing world records, his lessons on optimal performance are not limited to swimming.

“Use your body and learn to perform for your chosen activity.

“It’s about making the most of your genetic potential. Training can be the manifestation of this.”

He has wise words for anyone looking to get the most out of their training.

“Don’t be an ornament, be an instrument.”

Watch how Ross gets on during The Great British Swim.