They say that variety is the spice of life. And let’s face it, without options our world would be pretty darn boring. The same applies to our workouts!
Over the past decade, I have been teaching aquatic fitness classes in New York City, one of the most eclectic and diverse places on earth. What it’s taught me is that every day is unique – different students show up with different needs, all from varied skill levels and ages, and with a range of fitness goals. As their instructor, it is my responsibility to make sure each and every participant feels safe and leaves satisfied with his or her workout. It’s not always easy, I’ll admit, but it’s a skill you can master with both practice and patience.
I have had the incredible fortune of learning from and training with some of the best and brightest mentors in this business, most of whom you’ll find at IAFC 2016 this year! Conferences like IAFC remind us all that interest in the aquatic industry is always rising and water workouts are making serious waves in gyms and studios across the globe. [For more information on this conference, click the photo below.]
The perception of water aerobics is changing – and changing fast. Young, old, female and male, participants are all realizing the benefits and fun that can be had. This is one of the main reasons I developed S’WET Boot Camp. If aqua fitness came in flavors, S’WET would be Sriracha. It’s intense. It’s high-energy. And yes, it does leave you sweating, just like the hot sauce. It’s also one of my most popular classes in New York.
Why? “Because it’s different,” says Christopher LaCour, one of my students and trainers. (And yes, for purposes of full-disclosure, he’s also my fiancé!) “Every class is different. There’s different music, different equipment, new circuits, new moves,” he says. “I’m never bored and I’m always fully engaged.”
"If aqua fitness came in flavors,
S’WET would be Sriracha."
Very quickly, what started as a single class grew in both attendance and demand. I began noticing a younger generation of water enthusiasts taking interest in getting a high-intensity, low-impact workout, all without the injuries and long lines at the gym. In fact, there were times when my pool began looking like a frat house with more men than women. Young athletic men in their twenties and thirties, eager to push themselves to train hard. No complaints here. (Sorry Chris!)
Their energy fueled mine, and I found myself adjusting moves accordingly. I added on new equipment, tried out new music. I went back to the drawing board with the basic maneuvers and built in options.
And that’s what you’ll see if you attend S’WET Boot Camp at this year’s conference. But rest assured, you do not need to be a triathlete to join in on the fun! Remember, what makes aquatic fitness so wonderful is the ability to adjust almost everything with modifications. A straightforward Wall-Tap, for example, can be done a multitude of ways, using various levels of resistance, with or without the use of equipment. The same goes with Rock-n-Rolls and Push-Offs.
The only thing you should know ahead of time is no matter how hard you try to avoid it, your hair will get WET when you S’WET!
Need some simple ideas on how to kick things up a notch in your classes? Try these:
• Switch out your music tracks for something new. • Add a piece of equipment to intensify the experience. • Challenge yourself to add new moves to your routines.
That last one is my favorite. If you show up to class with the same old plan in place and repeat it week after week, your students will plateau, both physically and passionately. What I plan to demonstrate with S’WET Boot Camp is a freestyle-based class that expands and explodes the basic moves of aquatics while incorporating today’s latest equipment to take water workouts to another level.
And what I hope participants and observers walk away with is some of the added spice to include in their own routines at home.
Reprinted with permission from the Aquatic Exercise Association (AEA) www.aeawave.com
Original article appeared in the February/March 2016 Akwa magazine [Vol. 29 No.5 Pg. 14]