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Swimming Fit Friday: A Swimmer’s Self Care

This week’s Swimming Fit Friday we’re going to discuss a swimmers self care. What that means is we’re going to discuss ways to enhance your swims so that your body, mind, and swimwear are well taken care of. Because a happy swimmer is a great swimmer!


BODY TIP 1:

Swimming is wonderful because it is a full body activity. All the muscle groups can be focused on while being active in the water. To keep the swimmer’s body happy, warm up and cool down are important. When a swimmer does a warm up, it should be at a low intensity. If we start with sprints we can easily injure ourselves because the body is still stiff. As a warm up, we may do a few lengths of a stroke such as freestyle, or you can do drills which challenge the legs and arms independently. You can even walk or jog up and down the pool (but never on deck).

Similarly, lack of a cool down can leave the muscles tight from exercises done prior. The cool down should be low intensity like the warm up, during which the swimmer is stretching the legs, arms, and neck muscles. To stretch we want to mix in dynamic and static movements to keep the body temperature up. If the swimmer cools down very quickly, the body can become stiff and lead to injury.


BODY TIP 2:

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday Tip: Use Triswim Shampoo and Body wash to deal with chlorine after swims.

Why is my skin itchy? Why does my hair feel like hay? Chlorine can be a harsh chemical on skin and hair. To alleviate the itch and rejuvenate hair there is a beautiful line of products by Triswim designed to remove chlorine from the skin and hair. They have a body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Ideally you want to use all 4 products but if you want a great introduction to the Triswim family, I recommend getting the body wash and shampoo for starters. Link is below:

TriSwim skin care by SwimCo


THE MIND:

Learning new skills can be challenging, and it is important to understand where we need to improve as well as recognize what we have mastered. Leaving with both constructive and positive feedback is important for instructors to give their swimmers.

As an independent swimmer one can use the warm down to do meditative practice. What I mean by that is focus on your breathing as you stretch, counting to 3 or 4 as you inhale and exhale. I find that by focusing on something as simple as breathing it will declutter the mind for a bit, allowing us to feel refreshed after a workout.


SWIMWEAR:

Why are my bathing suits falling apart after a month of swimming? Why is the bottom of my suit see-through? Why does my suit feel loose everywhere? There are many steps we can take as swimmers to improve the life and quality of our swimsuit.

1) Buy 100% polyester
Reason: polyester is a more durable material that holds up better in chemicals like chlorine and bromine. Spandex and Lycra break down faster, so avoid fashion suits when applicable.

2) Don’t machine wash or dry.
Reason: The spinning motion from the machine will stretch the material in the suit. When you next wear it in the water, the water continues to pull on the suit when it gets into the loose material and exacerbate the problem.
Fun Fact: Although swim trunks usually say they can be machine washed, the chlorine will affect the longevity of those suits too. It is best to hand wash.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday Tip: use swimwear cleaner to increase the longevity of your suit.

3) Hand wash with Swimwear cleaner not detergent
Reason: Regular detergents will mostly mask the smell of chlorine and pull out dirt. However chlorine acts like a corrosive and will continue to eat at the swimsuit material if left active. Unfortunately no amount of rinsing your suit will remove all the chlorine. Swimwear cleaner however is designed to stabilize chlorine so it can’t corrode away at the swimsuit.

You can purchase Swimwear cleaner from Swimco, locations are: London, Hamilton, Mississauga, and there will soon be a new location in Barrie! Or purchase online from their website:

Swimco Swimwear Cleaner

Well those are all my tips for today! See you next Swimming Fit Friday!

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Swimming Fit Friday: Meal Prep

For this week’s Swimming Fit Friday I would like to share with you a personal fitness tip based on my life as a swimmer.

Swimming has been a significant part of my life for many years. Swimming has been many things for me, I have swum for recreation, I have swum to earn a living, and I have swum to stay physically active. Swimming has given me an opportunity to grow myself as a leader through various leadership courses, such as Bronze Cross, Bronze Star and many other lifesaving courses. It has challenged me to break down my craft and re-master it over and over.

My Fit Friday Tip for you is to: remember to fuel your body with good foods to maintain your energy throughout the day.

I think many of us, myself included, have had some painfully early mornings. Not enough time to eat, much less thinking of eating. We justify a drastic lack of preparation by equating it with simply not having enough time. Having no time before school, before work, before swim practice. For a while I accepted this as my truth. “I don’t have the time,” I would say. Until it dawned on me: it wasn’t a lack of time, it was a lack of preparation! My priorities were mixed up. You can’t be on the top of your game if your body doesn’t have the right tools to get it done. By skipping breakfast or that pre-workout meal, we have deprived our brain and body of nutrients; of energy! As a result, our practice routines get sloppy, we can’t kick faster to make that distance, to beat that time swim, to tread water for one more moment.

Meal preparation has become a big part of my life. It’s a priority in order to keep my life functional, because you do have enough time in the day. It’s just recognizing when that is for you. To help with your own journey, I’ve included some recipes I’ve used to make getting the right fuel for my body easier. Now this list isn’t the end all, be all of what YOU should eat. Everyone is different, and requires different things for their body. That being said, most people will agree that reducing junk food in your life is always a plus.

Leftovers for lunch. I tend to over cook for dinner to save on food labor. My favourite leftovers are lasagna, one pot chicken with potatoes, and…


Dad’s Sheppard pie:

  • Potatoes
  • Ground chicken, beef, or turkey
  • Veggies of choice
  • Cheese

After mashing the potatoes and cooking the meat of choice, layer the potatoes, meat, veggies, cheese, potatoes into a medium sized pan and bake until potatoes turn a golden brown. Add cheese on top if wanted.


I also like to have Stuffed Bell Peppers:

  • Cut a bell pepper in half
  • Stuffed with ground beef, chicken, or turkey
  • Add some egg whites to hold it all together.

As well as Egg muffins:

1 Cut up peppers (or whatever veggie you like!)

1 Cut up Mushrooms (optional)

1 cup of Shredded Cheese

6 eggs – you may use egg white, or the whole egg yolk included.

Butter of Margarine

Mix in a bowl pepper, mushrooms, shredded cheese and eggs into a bowl

Grease muffin pan with Butter or Margarine

Then pour into muffin pan

Let sit in oven for 15mins

Eat what you like and freeze the rest. Warm up in the microwave for an easy breakfast!


These are my quick picks, but nothing compared to the infinite options available to you out there. A quick Google search will get your meal prep plans going pretty quickly.

Until our next Swimming Fit Friday – Happy Eating!

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Swimming Fit Friday: The Meaning of Health

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we’re going to talk about something a little different from my typical fit tips. This Swimming Fit Friday, I want to talk about common misconceptions of health and fitness, and how those play out.

To start this conversation we’re going to look at a general societal idea around body image. The idea of what a “healthy” body looks like has changed over the years. Prior to the industrial era, the wealthy elites of the era could afford an abundance of food, and could also afford to do little physical labor. As a result a more heavy-set body type was the ideal and thus health was attributed to this body type. As society has changed this same body type has been re-attributed to being unhealthy. As society continues to change the ideal model of health has turned in a lean, fit physique.

I recall a conversation with a friend of mine in the field in regards to being taken seriously. We had come to the conclusion that you needed to look like society’s idea of health. We as the experts needed to look toned and muscular. Otherwise, our clients and a wider audience would be less receptive of our information regarding health. This comes with consequences, as it sets the foundation for fat shaming for devaluing individuals due to presumptions around health that are in all honesty far from accurate.

The concept of an ideal body type is incredibly detrimental to the health of society as a whole. It is the misplacement of what we as a society value, we prioritize fitness and thinness over health. There seems to be no room for fat in our idealized vision of health, and it is this exclusion of fat that has created an obsession with food and weight and self worth. It is this exclusion and rejection that creates illness like anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive exercise disorder. When we prioritize fitness and thinness over health, we continue to perpetuate fat shaming that deteriorate the quality of life for those who do not fit into the mold.

For those who come back every week, or for those of you who stumble to this page by chance I would like you to take away that health is much more than weight. Weight is not the singular indicator of whether or not someone is healthy. Health is more complicated then weight, health is more complicated than body size, and health is something that is influenced by a multitude of factors.Swimming Fit Friday

Health is about improving our life condition through our environment, the quality of air and water, and the food we have. Health includes what our work life provides and if it allows us to have the basics, food, and shelter. Our interpersonal relationships with others influence health. We humans are social creatures and interaction is a fundamental need. Health is also comprised of our mental wellbeing and the resources we use to help maintain it. Is self-care something we have time for? Or does our quality of life deny us the opportunity to properly take care of ourselves? In regards to health, exercise should not be a punishment for eating a donut, or for eating at all. It should be a celebration of movement for the sake of movement! Our enjoyment of exercise should be a form of self-care, not weight loss. Every body is different and my center of health may look vastly different to yours. We should exercise for the enjoyment and what that activity does for you, the individual on a basic level.

It is important to know that you the individual do not owe society anything. I may have mentioned this before, but you do not owe society health, thinness, or fitness. You just need to be you. A person is valuable because they are a person.

If you’ve stuck with me till the end of this post, thank you! You have value, you are human and I hope you enjoy exercise because it makes you feel good.

That’s all for this weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday!

Learn more about our Health and Wellness programs here: https://www.aquafunacademy.ca/health-fitness/.

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Swimming Fit Friday: Expanding Routines

Hello Everyone! On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday we’re going to continue our conversation around forming habits and also talk about expanding our exercise routine.

The KISS principle, also known as “Keep it simple, silly!” is our key component to making this work! It is easy to get discouraged when we add too much onto our plate. Though we have good intentions, our ability to stay committed can wain when we simply have too much. My dear readers, our magic number is 3!

I want you to pick 3 simple exercises! I assume some of you are showing skeptical faces, hold on I know what you’re thinking! What is a simple exercise,

Maintaining form is crucial.

walking, squats, bicep curls? A simple exercise is one you can do by yourself, and that you can perform with proper form. I highlight that it should be an exercise that you can perform with proper form, because most injuries come about from doing various moves wrong. Injuries are not welcome on our exercise expansion journey!

Have you picked your 3 exercises? EXCELLENT! Now that you’ve chosen your 3 exercises we’re going to factor in that we want to keep our intensity low to start off. If you remember when we were working towards forming the habit last time, we want to increase the intensity in increments. This is to help us maintain the challenge and keep us away from burn out.

Let’s look at different forms of measuring intensity for different activities and exercises:

  • Walking or dancing – we can gauge that through the length of a song, or the pace at which we choose to move at.
  • Lifting weights – can be measured in reps, or through the duration of a song like “Flower by: Moby.”

The idea is not to take on more than we can chew. Keep it super simple, and really easy. As we get into our groove, we can make adjustments and expand our repertoire of exercises as we go. Making use of our calendar method, mark off when you complete your routine for a week, making note of your intensity. Remember to change up the intensity to keep your routine effective!

Hope that helps give you a strong foundation to beginning the expansion of your exercise routine. Until our next Swimming Fit Friday!

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Swimming Fit Friday: Exercise and Self Esteem

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we are going to discuss exercise. as well as how it can have a positive effects on our self-esteem. With ads and social media influencing our self-perception of shaping what is and is not of value. It can be increasingly difficult for people of all backgrounds, sizes, shapes, and abilities to hold onto what makes them amazing.

I would like to say that as a person you do not owe anyone health, fitness, or beauty. Exercise can provide a space to discover one’s passions, capacity for learning new skills, and overall growth.

Swimmimg Fit FridayTaking up an exercise can provide us with an out, it can take us outdoors, exercising can get us unplugged from ads and social media momentarily.

We can find excitement in our new abilities; from lifting your first weight, to running your first ½ marathon, to swimming in your first competition. Overcoming challenges has a positive effect on our mental state. The endorphins released into the body are responsible for feelings such as happiness.

I have also noticed that the confidence that comes with knowing you’re good at a skill has a way of translating intoSwimming Fit Friday other avenues of your life. It can become its own well in which we draw from to actively discover new passions.

Engaging in exercise can also give us new friends, or even and entire community. Joining a sports team, or league, having a weekly swim buddy, or a network of people at your pool. Being surrounded by amazing people makes us better.

Excelling at our exercise / sport of choice builds our perseverance, our character, and our self-esteem. Exercise provides us with a template for learning, it demonstrates to the individual that time and effort are fundamental in achieving our goals.

I challenge all of you to go out there and find an exercise, sport, or activity that feels good to you!

Until next Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: Performance & Fatigue

On this week’s Swimming Tip Tuesday, we’re going to discuss performance curves in regards to practicing our strokes and ways in which we can combat fatigue.

What is a performance curve? A performance curve measures how effectively we practice over a period of time. This varies from person to person, though there are some general rules. For example if one is reading a long article in preparation for an exam it takes approximately thirty minutes of reading for the mind to optimally focus on the material. In regards to physical activity, our level of fatigue is one of the factors determining optimal performance.

There are ways to work around fatigue when practicing. One of those ways is to mix up which muscle groups we use throughout our practice session. If you feel your stroke technique dropping for one stroke, change to another stroke. Different muscle groups are used in different strokes. Due to this swimmers can provide an opportunity for your other muscles to recover from some fatigue.

Another way to combat fatigue is to incorporate stroke alternatives. These alternatives can come from our shallow or deep-water aquatic fitness programs. Below are some alternatives that assist in overall muscle development.

Swimming Tip Tuesday

Swimming Tip Tuesday: A person performing water running with assistance of a buoyancy belt.

  • Water running/jogging
  • Cross Country ski
  • Pendulum
  • V or L sit
  • Jax / oppositional Jax

Bolded exercises are to be done with the aid of a buoyancy belt!!

The eventual onset of fatigue is unavoidable, to help with swimmer recovery remember to also include light exercise or rest period throughout your programs.

To keep your swimming stamina high prior to practice check out the following tips below:

  • 30-45 minutes before your physical activity have Quick Carbs: a fruit (banana, apple, orange) of your choice helps boost energy levels prior to physical activity.
  • Hydrate regularly throughout practice, a good opportunity for this is during rest periods
  • Warm up & warm down to keep muscles loose and prevent the occurrence of muscle cramps
  • Communicate with your coach, they can adjust workouts to better suit your progress

Until Next Swimming Tip Tuesday!Swimming Tip Tuesday

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Swimming Fit Friday: Presence & Exercise

Today’s Swimming Fit Friday of the week:

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Presence and Exercise

Very often we are distracted by the daily buzzing of our thoughts and day to day activities. Did I grab the mail today? What time is that appointment on Thursday? We are out of tune with the present moment. Through exercise and mindfulness practices we can come back to the present moment. We can accomplish this by paying attention to our breathing. We carry our breath with us everywhere, and due to this, one can always be aware of the present moment!

Start by following your breath in, either through the mouth or nose, paying attention as your lungs fill up, causing the chest and abdominals to expand, and follow the breath out as your abdominals and chest relax and the air flows upwards into the throat and out of your mouth and nose. This practice can be done for as short as 30 seconds or as long as 1 hour, and as often as necessary to help ourselves return to the present. Drifting is completely normal, and for as many times as we go astray we shall bring ourselves back. That is why it is called a practice as we will remember to bring ourselves back more and more. Following your breath is also important during exercise, it allows us to set a pace and recognize how hard our cardiovascular system is working!

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: exhaling from the mouth, the breathe is everywhere.

When exercising, we want to push ourselves into a moderate workload. Remember a moderate workload is personal to the individual and everyone can work at different intensities dependent on their personal fitness, age, and ability. Holding your breath is counter-productive, it puts extra stress on your cardiovascular system. Thus, when we are exercising we want to exhale on the effort of a movement and inhale during the recovery phase, in preparation for the next movement. This awareness helps to provide an overall rhythm to our workout.

Remember to always be smart, be safe, and work slow, and have fun!

 

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Swimming Fit Friday: Visualization

On this week’s Swimming Fit Friday, we will explore the uses of visualization in relation to exercise. As a bonus we will also explain how this tool promotes success in activities unrelated to athletics.

Imagine if you will, a world in which you have control over your body. Oh wait, for many of us this is a reality! Our motor functions and our thoughts are programed and executed through the pink squishy matter sitting in our heads. The brain has the power to practice and solve problems using only our subconscious mind. Athletes and businessmen alike have taken advantage of this function and turned it into a tool for success.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Jennifer Abel from Canada’s Olympic diving team performing a tuck.

Through visualization we can activate motor functions and practice sequences without actively doing them. When you imagine diving into a pool in great detail the brain will fire low-level signals to the muscle groups involved in diving. From our toes curling over the edge of the pool, our arms swinging to the sides of our head, to our fingers breaking the surface of the water upon entry. But why do this?

The simple answer is fatigue. Physical fatigue will inhibit us from practicing. Mental fatigue takes more time to develop, and as a result of that we can leverage our ability to visualize when we cannot physically practice.

How do you apply visualization properly? If you are struggling to do a skill, rehearsing the wrong way will not benefit you.

  1. Find a video of someone executing the skill properly then watch it repeatedly and think about doing the exact same movement.
  2. You want to focus your mind in the positive “you can” and “you will” execute this move perfectly.
  3. Find a quiet room and sit eyes closed for 30 minutes and imagine you are the individual you just watched and visualize yourself performing that movement.

Studies show that visualization in conjunction with practice increases your rate of improvement by 10-15 percent.

How does this apply to the world of business, or other less athletic activities? Visualization can help us build desirable habits. By spending 10 to 30 minutes everyday visualizing a desired behavior we can slowly change how we operate on a day to day basis.

Whether you want to change your behaviors, or tackle a new skill, remember to start slow and use your smart goals and milestones to help evaluate if you’re making progress with your skills. Until next Swimming Fit Friday!

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This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday – Goal Setting

This weeks’ Swimming Fit Friday we are going to talk Goal Setting and getting started.

Well into our second month of 2018, congratulations you made it! For those us of who were quick to make up new years resolutions, maybe some of us have fallen off the horse. On the other hand some of us may be late to making major changes. If this is you, there’s no time like the present. A good friend of mine said it’s good to start things on a Monday, keeping that in mind we’ll spark a fire to get active on a Fit Friday, prep over the weekend and hit the ground running on Motivation Monday!

SMART, that’s the acronym those of us working to be successful follow. Take the time to read these questions provided by the SMART acronym when that light bulb goes off.

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday:
Alex and Eamon going over SMART goals with their swimmers.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific: What do you want to achieve?
  • Measurable: Is this goal something you can measure?
  • Attainable: Can you accomplish this goal?
  • Relevant: Does this goal add value?
  • Time: What is the time frame we are going to do this in, and is it reasonable?

It is through this method we filter our ideas and get specific, and start to make real progress. Take this tool and share your SMART goal with someone you care about, hold yourself accountable to your goals. Through sharing we are now accountable to ourselves and those we shared it with.

 

 

Swimming Fit Friday

Swimming Fit Friday: Swimmer practicing Front Crawl.

Let’s look at an example:

S – Swim Freestyle 100m in under 2:00m

M – Yes, because we can use a timer to verify success

A – Yes, because I know how to perform basic Freestyle

R – I am training for ASAC

T – The ASAC meet is in 4 months

Understanding that this is where we want to be in 4 months time, we can add milestones throughout our journey. This can be checked at the end of each practice, or at the end of each month. Having Milestones in addition to our SMART allow us to re-evaluate our plans to attain this goal.

We’ll that’s all for this weeks Swimming Fit Friday. All the best!

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Swimming Fit Friday: Progressive Overload

Todays’ Swimming Fit Friday, will discuss progressive overload. This builds off of our last Swimming Fit Friday post, in which we discussed the use of the F.I.T.T Principle. Playing around with its various components and understanding how they work.

Below we have highlighted the key points of the F.I.T.T Principle.

F.I.T.T stands for:Swimming Fit Friday

  • Frequency: the number of repetitions, or times a week.
  • Intensity: The speed or resistance used to perform an exercise
  • Time: The duration one spends performing an exercise
  • Type of Exercise: How does it challenge the muscle group

Lastly:

  • When performing our exercises it is KEY to maintain ones form, bad form is an opportunity for injury! Continual posture checks throughout ones workout help to keep one in good form.

For a full review of the article click this link: https://www.aquafunacademy.ca/swimming-fit-friday-f-t-t-principles/

What is progressive overload?

Without change one cannot grow. This is especially true in regards to working out. To perform the same routine and expect our body to grow and develop continuously is very misguided.

In order to challenge the body to develop, the use progressive overload is employed by all trainers. Lets look at it in the form of an example:

If one decided to swim 50 lengths once a week, the body will eventually find this easy to do.

What are ways in which we can keep these 50 lengths difficult?

Below we have listed 4 ways in which you can employ the use of progressive overload.Swimming Fit Friday

  • We can swim 50 lengths twice a week.
  • We can swim 50 lengths arms only or legs only
  • We can swim 50 lengths in 20mins
  • We can do a more difficult stroke or less practiced stroke for 50 lengths.

Those are some ways in which we can employ the use of progressive overload. Eventually these adjustments will become easy and we will have to alter them to allow the body to continue to progress in strength speed, and efficiency. Try on your own to employ the use of progressive overload into your routines and enjoy the benefits of exercise, until next time!