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Hearts pounding

Body monitors on Swindle and Martens give glimpse into anglers’ athleticism

By Sam Eifling
ESPNOutdoors.com Features Editor

inbox-2LAY LAKE, Ala. — Gerald Swindle boating a big bass is medically comparable to an average man suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

As the Warrior, Ala., angler prepared to embark on Day 2 of the Bassmaster Classic, he took a second to show off a heart monitor that on Friday registered a high of 218 beats per minute as he caught a 5-pound bass.

“That’s about like an event, like suffering a stroke,” Swindle said.

He and angler Aaron Martens have been allowing their vitals to be tracked, in order to determine how best to eat and to train. The numbers that emerge would give pause to anyone contending that elite pro anglers don’t resemble athletes.

Martens, as mellow a customer as you could care to encounter, jacked up to 221 beats per minute at his high Friday. And Swindle said he burned more than 4,100 calories over the course of a day of fishing that he described as only moderately strenuous.

He became concerned last year when he lost 14 pounds during the course of the Elite Series. Turns out he simply wasn’t eating enough, nor was he getting the most of his training. By monitoring his heart rate and eating more protein throughout his days, he trimmed his body fat from 13 percent last year to 9 percent this year.

The 37-year-old angler learned that he burns 750 calories an hour. His training consists usually of 20 minutes of cardio followed by 45 minutes of weight training. He favors a high number of reps for relatively modest weights — 300 reps of 115 pounds on the bench press, say.

“We may not be running up the middle and getting my helmet knocked off, but I’m riding 50 mph, standing 13 hours a day, not eating,” Swindle said. “I challenge any athlete to do my workout and fish for three days a week, and I’ll come do yours, and we’ll see how we both do.”

Martens, one of the last anglers to launch Saturday morning, strapped his monitor to his torso in the final moments before he took off. His wife, Lesley, handed it to him from the bank just before take-off.

His workouts, she said, consist mostly of walking. He’d like to do more weight training, she said, “but he can’t find the time.”

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