Last year, ESPN rated what it felt were the 60 most demanding sports, based on 10 skill categories that go into athleticism: endurance, strength, power, speed, agility, flexibility, nerve, durability, hand-eye coordination, and analytic aptitude.

Golf was ranked #51. Curling -- chucking that big ol' rock down an icy court while teammates whisk-broom the area -- was ranked 56th. Even billiards made the list, at #59.

And where did sailing rank? Nowhere to be found! Not on the list at all!

As a sailor who's also a fitness aficionado, I think a recount is in order. Here's how Sail magazine sized up the demanding job of an America's Cup grinder, those beefy guys spinning double-handled winches to raise and trim sails.

Workouts (4-5 days per week, up to as many as 9 workouts weekly): Workouts include weightlifting, running, cycling, and kayaking. Many boats also require crew members to compete in local fitness events and races, including triathlons. During a typical gym session, a grinder may lift a total of more than 220,000 pounds. (That’s over 110 tons, boys and girls!)

Calories in: Grinders, who typically weigh around the same as a decent-sized middle linebacker (220-250 pounds), usually eat 6 meals a day along with 3-4 protein drinks. Dietary breakdown is usually around 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates, and 30 percent vegetables.

Calories out: During an average 7-hour day on the boat (racing or training), grinders will burn about 4,000 calories.

Workload: The heaviest headsail load that a grinder is required to handle is more than 8,800 pounds. The highest handle speed required while grinding is roughly 200 rpm’s. (Just try that next time you take a spinning class!)

And yet somehow, this doesn’t measure up to the fitness of golfers, curlers and pool players.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go lift a few 12-ounce weights.

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1 KG eh?? Jeezus ...i'd never get off the bar stool with that in tow....i'm gonna have to side with Pete on this one ....maybe we could even work our way up to 16's ...but alas, at least we would be getting a little workout running back and forth to the ole' cooler ! As for Beckam ...I dont think Soccer is whats keeping him ship-shape sir-ree thinks it might have a little something to do with that high maintenance lass that he's married to ...*SMILE*
I've found that getting into better shape was one of the side benefits of cruising.

Instead of carrying laundry from the hamper to the washer its now load it all in the dink, take it to shore. Get it up on the dock, shoulder the load to the nearest laundromat. Do the wash and then reverse the process.

When we first got on the boat full time our bodies were sore from pretty much nothing. It seems that you're getting a tiny isometric workout as your body constantly moves itself to stay balanced.

Food shopping used to end with us calling the kids out to the garage to help carry all the crap into the kitchen. Now we'll fill a shopping cart, stuff everything into canvas bags and hump it all back to the boat . I've carried enough crap to put a Sherpa into a coma.

We walk or bike everywhere, I've been in a car twice in the last year. Its amazing how your body tries to make itself better if you just allow it the opportunity.

In 4 months in the Bahamas this year I ate and drank like Henry the Eighth and still lost 13 pounds because we swam and walked so much.

I've met more people that were in such good "natural" condition that I couldn't begin to guess their age. Cruising does a body good.

Well don't forget Geprge Carlin said, "swimmings not a sport, it's a activity to keep you from drowning" Lets also not forget that ESPN covers the National Spelling BEE, so the credibility with their lists goes out the window.



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