The trouble began for Helen Ness and Marie Ronningen when the rules for what equipment was allowed on sailboats changed in 2021.
Until then, the equipment on the duo’s sailboat, a two-person 49er FX canoe, allowed for lighter weight. But then carbon fiber sails were introduced – a very stiff sail that generated more force, and therefore required more weight to be able to accelerate.
– We didn’t have much to deal with, Mary Ronningen explains.
The solution was obvious: They had to gain weight.
Almost too much food
To gain weight, Næss and Rønningen trained a lot with weights. And he eats. a lot.
– We are probably 13 kilos heavier now, as Ness explains and confirms that it is mainly the muscles that they put on.
“It’s also a little greasy,” Ronningen adds with a laugh.
The former European champions were helped by the Olympiatoppen dietitian in order to gain weight in a healthy and safe way. The focus was on eating the same food as before, only more.
“We didn’t want to start counting calories or weighing our food,” says Ness. They totally agree that it wouldn’t be a healthy approach.
Simple things have been done, the duo explains, like adding two extra slices of cheese on a slice of bread, eating nuts between meals, and swapping soft products for wholemeal versions, which are higher in fat.
– And then we can eat ice cream or sweets every day, because they provide extra calories. Ness says there was a great deal of candy in the evening.
He will fight for the medal
The result was not long in coming. The opponents were surprised.
– They are just like “what happened to you?”
He tells Ronningen of a drastic change. Now shoot the speed boat.
– It is very nice to be rewarded for the work we have done, and we have received many compliments.
Were there any downsides to gaining weight?
“It’s not cool when you wear the pants you normally wear and then they stretch and fit differently,” says Ronning.
However, she was clearly gaining weight with a purpose, and so he deserves it.
– It was much easier to sit after the Olympics and say something like: “Oh my God, if we only gained those kilograms, we would fight for medals.”
They ended up gaining weight. But they are not sure if the weight will be maintained, adjusted or reduced after the Olympics.
– The goal now is to stay where we are, still a little trial and error. This situation may mean that, for example, we have to lose a few kilos again towards the Olympics, if you see that it bears fruit, explains Ness.
—but the weight gain is supposed to be permanent, she adds.
The duo’s trainer, Thomas Guttormsen, is also very pleased with the results the weight gainer has achieved.
– Last year they were among the teams with the lowest weight. This meant that they fought for medals when the winds were weak, but were among the worst when the winds were high. This year the stadium is the best in every way.
– Was the weight gain by your suggestion?
– After the toilet, we all realized that it was necessary, in order to perform better, Guttormsen says and adds:
– The weight in the boat must be of such kilograms that they can bear it, and a lot of strength and movement training is needed so that the technique can match the increase in weight. They succeeded, and now they can really aim for the Olympic Games in 2024.
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