My name is Colette Crabbe and I am your new Fitness Chair. My background is in pool swimming. I consider myself an individual medley swimmer, which really means I am constantly working on my technique in all four strokes. I am also getting older so I am definitively starting to understand what adjustments are needed to your fitness regimen as you age. But my major goal as Fitness Director is to motivate and guide our large base of non-competitive swimmers in their quest to swimming for fitness.
As the year turned to 2017, you might have committed to some crazy huge resolutions, and by now you might already have forgotten about them or you are barely keeping them. Studies show that only 8% of the population can keep their New Year resolutions for more than about 3 weeks. So, what went wrong and why? Most of the time, the resolutions are too vague such as, I want to be a better swimmer, or unrealistic such as, I will swim seven days a week. You are not considering your personality such as, I will go to the morning practice, but you are not a morning person or you are not taking into account your other life obligations such as, I will go right after work but you have to pick up your kids by 6 PM and make dinner.
I think it is now time to turn your resolutions into step by step, measurable, and enjoyable goals.
First, I would recommend that you take a step by step approach instead of an all-out approach, although I am aware that your personality might dictate that decision. It is my experience that if you want to stay in the sport for a long time, it is better to ease into it. Of course, your age, your swimming background, your career, your family obligations will play a role. You might also want to see your doctor before starting a new sport regimen. If you are completely new to the sport of swimming, I would strongly recommend joining a Masters team or group swim lesson to improve your technique as well as for the social support and motivation. Two or three times a week might just be enough, maybe go on a walk or do another gentle activity such as pilates or yoga the other days.
Second, your goals need to be measurable. Within your first week, you need to assess your current level of fitness. Although you might not be competitive, the pace clock is your best ally. To be able to track your improvement, you need to know where you stand now. If you are a brand-new swimmer, just see how far you can go in 15 and/or 30 minutes in any stroke you can swim and with as little rest as possible. Retest yourself in about 3 months and see the improvement. If you have a little bit of swimming background, you need to widen your assessment, it will open your possibilities for improvement and motivation. I would recommend 3 tests: 1) a distance test: how far can you go in 30 and/or 60 minutes; 2) a pace set such as 12 x 100 (or 50) at a set interval (about 10 sec over the time of your 1st 100 or 50), can you hold that interval for 12 and is it easy?; 3) a sprint and stroke test: how fast can you go in a 100, 50 or 25 of each stroke you currently can swim. And remember it is not about being the best, it is about being better than you were yesterday.
Third, it needs to be enjoyable. Choose activities you like, mix and match activities, your hike, the tennis match with your friends, your yoga and/or aerobics class, your bicycling, your kayaking, your jogging, your kick boxing or playing with your kids in the park will all improve your fitness level and you will feel better than you did yesterday. Just keep moving. And mostly do not sweat it if you miss a workout, enjoy your time and your family. You will be more healthy.
As a fitness chair, I am also here for you, I would like to design a challenge to track improvement and motivate you. If you have any ideas about it, or about articles you would enjoy reading, or about what would motivate you, please let know. Feel free to contact me with any suggestions, questions, concerns or comments and I will try to answer them to the best of my ability.
Collette – thank you so much for stepping up into this position! You are the best person to motivate me (and hold me accountable), and your workouts are always challenging as well as enjoyable.