By Mat Cotton, Manager, Emperor El Gouna
It comes to that time of the year after Christmas, New Year and Easter eggs, following an over-indulgence of too much booze and rich food, that I’ve noticed that I may have gained a pound or two. The only reason I actually noticed this was because my drysuit no longer fits me. We all know that drysuits will shrink after being left for an extended period without use (don’t they?) but mine has ‘shrunk’ to an extent that I can’t even get it on, never mind zip it up!
So, rather than spend loads of hard-earned (!) cash on a new one, I’ve decided that I need to lose some weight. As I used to have the body of a diamond-cut Adonis (my wife is laughing over my shoulder as I write this, it must have been before we met!), I’ve finally realised that it’s time I got back down to a size 32 waist. I headed down to my local gym to see what they can offer but it turns out the best thing I could do to lose weight at the gym was to lighten my pockets by a few hundred quid. Being from up t’north, and therefore rather ‘careful’ with money, this was immediately kyboshed in favour of me exercising at home – which is free.
After a bit of research on the web, and some distractions of rather fitter bodies than mine, it turns out that one of the best ways to burn calories is to do something that we all love – diving! Great, that’ll save me money on having to buy some new trainers as well then.
According to glamour.com – which I was looking at as research, honest – diving is one of the best sports to keep fit whilst having fun at the same time. Looking back on it, I can’t see why this has never occurred to me before. I have always put on a bit of weight over Christmas (my ‘winter stores’ as I call it) when I am not in the water as much, then always lost this over summer when I diving daily, with no change in diet, or importantly, drinking habits. It turns out that during an average hour-long dive, you can burn up to 650 calories! 650 calories! That’s the same as using a cycling machine in the gym for an hour!
Of course, in order to lose weight, it means I also have to cut out the post-pub Burger King on a Saturday evening but after some quick calculations, I can lose weight by eating a little more healthily and just diving! Whilst this remains to be seen, it is a fact that diving is a great workout for your body. It won’t help you build body mass, but to tone and trim, diving is ideal. Diving helps you tone the muscles in your thighs and calves (as anyone who has had to swim against anything other than a mild current will attest to) as well as your gluteus maximus (that’s your bottom). Diving is also a great cardiovascular workout and studies have shown that divers in general have a larger lung volume and vital capacity than non-divers.
And it’s not just me. It’s a new fitness trend that our celebrity friends are doing too. Jessica Alba, Katie Holmes, Sandra Bullock, that woman from ‘The Vampire Diaries’, Martin Clunes; they’re all doing it. "Scuba diving provides a full body workout that combines cardio and strength training to burn calories, tone muscles and even improve breathing," says Theresa Kaplan, director of communications for The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). "Although your body is buoyant underwater and you feel virtually weightless while scuba diving, manoeuvring through water requires constant motion by your entire body, thus toning and strengthening muscles in your thighs, shoulders and your core.
" Just remember though, like any sport, it’s important to warm up, stretch and stay hydrated, especially if you come out to dive with Emperor in the Egyptian heat. "Although you may not feel it underwater, you are actually sweating and exerting energy while scuba diving, so it’s important to stay hydrated during your diving excursion," Kaplan says. "Getting plenty of rest and stretching beforehand will also help prevent any cramping underwater and will allow you to swim through the waters with ease."
So, next time you’re out diving in the Red Sea and you see some idiot swimming against the current during your drift dive, don’t worry, that’s probably just me burning off those extra Sakaras. All I have to do now is convince Jessica Alba to join me.
Of course, if you would care to join me then please do so. There's more about diving El Gouna right here...