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WETPTARMIGAN's Recent Blog Entries

Further Along on the Tour de Splash

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I made two visits to another private health club venue, and experienced two more instructors whom we will call C and D. Both of these were closer to on time (hurray!); both taught the entire class from the water; both were adequate. Though music was playing in both instances, neither made much use of it. Neither displayed much enthusiasm or energy or, come to that, a sense of humor. It was a bit like being led by Eyore.

Both of these ladies are certified instructors, which says that although your chances of injury are less than with the uncertified, it doesn't necessarily guarantee a great workout or a good time. I also should add that both C and D were substituting, so perhaps they are livelier with their regular classes than with strangers.

Still--an exercise class should be better than this, shouldn't it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JINLYNN 9/8/2011 8:30PM

    I have this image of Eyore in a speedo splashing around the pool! Not a pretty sight, but funny! I am glad you have not lost your sense of humour.

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 9/7/2011 7:59PM

    Love the background to your page!
Thanks for another great review... " like working out with Eeyore". Doesn't sound like it's too lively.
Not being a morning person, if this class was at 6:00 AM or so, Eeyore would be like me too.

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DAISYLADY 9/7/2011 7:52PM

    I agree- they are there to help out and should be enthusiastic.

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Water Aerobics Tourist

Thursday, September 01, 2011

BOTH of my health club's pools are closed for two weeks of repair and renovation. Apparently the contractor's desire to get it all done at once in both locations trumped the members' desire for the water, so we are left high and dry for about two weeks.

After a bit of a grumble and some teeth-gnashing, I decided that this time would free me to check out other water exercise venues and instructors around town. So I have become a water aerobics tourist here in my own back yard, and will report to you what I've found. I'll leave the names anonymous; they won't mean much to most of you anyway. If you live here in Anchorage and can use names and locations, SparkMail me and I'll share.

My first venture was to a private health club downtown. It was Posh with a capital P. Big fluffy towels, fancy soap and shampoo, carpeted locker rooms, beautiful clear water in the pool, immaculate and varied equipment. Lovely. But. (You knew there was going to be a But, didn't you.) Lacking a great deal where the rubber meets the road, i.e. instructors. Instructor A was 10 minutes late to class. As the only newbie, I was the only one who showed up on time. A's workout scheme was rather strange. 15 minutes of warmup and low level activity, including a lot of arms in the air, which I have been taught is OK only in small doses. It tends to raise the blood pressure, and anyway, why not push that resist-y water around? But I digress. There followed about 15 minutes of stretching and slow movement, then sped up a little, and on to core work, mostly crunches. I have nothing against a good crunch, but many people, including A, mistake flexing at the hips for working abdominal muscles. There were other positions and movements that were ineffective at best, and injury potential at worst. The class ran 10 minutes late to make up for the late start.

Instructor B was very energetic, and gave a good cardio workout. But we were encouraged to use buoyant barbells for almost all of the class. If you're truly using them to intensify your effort, you're constantly pushing them down to keep them under the water, which can be harmful to shoulder joints in constant lengthy bouts, as we were coached to do. And did I mention? B was 20, that's TWENTY minutes late to class. But quit on time.

This experience emphasized to me the difference that certified water aerobics instructors make. They have learned exercise science; they have learned how to best use water movement; they have learned what to avoid to prevent injury in the general population, and a lot more besides. A and B both had many many years of experience in recreation, swimming, and exercise. But that's not all it takes to effectively teach water aerobics. And a professional attitude helps--like showing up on time!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BCARSON11 9/4/2011 11:29AM

    Great review; sounds frustrating. I bet it really makes you miss your own classes even more!

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JINLYNN 9/2/2011 2:41AM

    Very frustrating - let's hope the next two weeks fly by and you can be back at your usually pool soon.

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CAROLYN1ALASKA 9/2/2011 1:10AM

While I haven't done water aerobics yet, I do lap swim, and I'm missing the pool(s) too.

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Exploring Uncharted Waters

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For the past couple of weeks I have been on a family visit "outside", as we in Alaska call the rest of the country beyond our state. Determined not to take a vacation from my healthy life, I made sure I exercised every single day. I tried to eat mindfully while enjoying reunions and celebrations, and the result was on the scale when I got home: three pounds lost in two weeks!

Some days I took my exercise in water aerobics classes at a local commercial gym, and the experience was an eye-opener. Only one of the 4 different instructors I experienced had formal training and certification for water exercise. The others seemed to be land aerobics instructors who were shown the pool and told to go lead a water class. The result was that class members seemed to tune out most of what the instructor was doing and use the time for a floating social hour. Some were actually displeased by one (yours truly) who splashed and caused turbulence by following the music and the instruction.

I now understand better the folks who think water aerobics isn't "real" exercise. It doesn't do much for you if you scarcely move or if your instructor doesn't have the knowledge or training to help you work the water without causing injury.

If this is your situation, urge your facility to seek certified water professionals or train their staff to help people use the water safely and well. If you love your water workouts, consider getting certified yourself. Even if you never get up in front of a class, you will make your own time in the water safer and more effective. Sparkmail me if you want names of organizations to contact, and keep on splashing!!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSMLBJ 5/21/2011 2:37AM

    When I started leading our class I was not certified, but the quickly got me in classes to do so. I learned a lot. I have the American Arthritis Certification where they don't like to use the barbells and resistance other than hands. But my girls want more. So I give them what they want.

Great job on the three pound loss.

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LUVMYBEAGLE1980 4/26/2011 8:25PM

  WOW! I had this experience, too! The Monday-Wednesday-Saturday class I go to is splashing, hard core working, kick your own butt class... AND I LOVE IT! In the Tuesday-Thursday class I occasionally go to (I usually just do my own work out), they give you dirty looks when you splash. OH, well! I splash anyway! I want to get something out of my workout!

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LMMIMI 3/16/2011 5:20PM

    Because I spent many years taking water exercises at Courage Center (a facility that works with all disabilities as well as a live in facility) here in Minnesota. We had excellent instructors and as a result I now do my own thing when I go to the pool. I know what I can do and found that in a class I end up doing things I should not be doing. I usually spend 90 minutes doing a combination of things and end up jogging and treading water for at least 60 minutes.

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WCATAP 3/16/2011 10:00AM

    Wow three pounds away!!!!You go girl. I amgoing to look into water aerobics, too!

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Plateau Shattered!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Two years ago (has it been two years already?) when I joined this site, I lost 6 pounds and tracked my exercise. Then the weight loss plateaued and after a brief further effort, I concentrated on the exercise. I continued to eat pretty healthily, but got my kicks from piling up points and streaks and trophies from working out. My weight was incredibly stable, probably more so than any previous time in my life, fluctuating only about a pound up or down. But no more than that.

Then this past holiday season I began to realize that in order to get any further with the fitness, I really needed to get rid of the excess baggage. It would continue to compromise my joints and agility more and more over time. Reluctantly, I evaluated my eating habits and got acquainted with the food tracker. In previous weight loss attempts, the thing I hated the most was the food journal. I felt like there was a taxi meter on my mouth, and every calorie that went in made a little click. That's almost the only thing that was tracked--calories. But a little experience with the Spark tracker showed me what a better system could do. By counting not only calories, but fat, carbs, and protein, and by doing it live on line with a huge data base, you can check the balance of your meals, and see it as a day progresses or over a longer time. I'm still not one of the "every bite that goes in my mouth" trackers--not yet, anyway--but I have found that I don't mind using this form of food diary nearly so much, and I love being able to go to the data base and finding out the answers to questions like "which is a better protein-per-calorie bargain today--hummus or peanut butter?" That, and a resolve to eat less, mindfully, has resulted in a downward trend on the scale.

There's still a long way to go, and I'm sure there will be other plateaus on the way, but I feel like I have found a system that really works for me, one with infinite patience and massive information, and a supportive community. I am excited to find out where I can go with it.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GWENAEL 1/30/2011 12:04AM

  Congratulations! emoticon

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FLORIDAGHOST 1/29/2011 2:39PM

    WTG! I love this site, too.

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THINAGIN2 1/29/2011 2:32PM

    Congratulations on your weight loss! All of these tools really do help, don't they? Keep on keeping on!!

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Arctic Mermaid

Monday, January 24, 2011

Being a water exerciser in the far north gives a person some special experiences in the winter.

One of them is frozen hair, which I actually enjoy once in a while. When you come out of the pool building with wet hair into single-digit weather, the water in your hair freezes. When you shake your head it doesn't clink like icicles in cartoons, but it does kind of rattle. Don't worry--I don't walk or bike home in this condition! My hair "melts" right away when I get in the car.

Then there's riding around doing errands before you hit the pool. Your (dry) gym gear has been in the trunk of the car for a couple of hours, you take it inside, pull on your bathing suit and------WAHOOOO!!!!!------cheap thrill! I even know a lady who takes a hair dryer to her suit to warm it up before she puts it on.

Then there's the day you forget you've left your bag in the trunk of the car and you realize that you have a frozen balled-up swim suit to wear. You either have to resort to the hair dryer, or fill a sink with warm water, dip it in, melt it, and then slither into a cold, wet suit. Brrrrrrr!

One time, I laid my wet suit out flat in the trunk, and by the time I got home I had a stiff, frozen suitcicle that had to melt before I could hang it up to dry indoors. And on another occasion I forgot about the suit in the back for several days and by the time I got it out it had freeze-dried--stiff when I picked it up, but once I crushed it it was dry and ready to go!

How about it, fellow northerners, what happens to you in the winter? Is anybody a polar bear plunger that jumps into frozen lakes or seas for fun or charity?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/27/2011 4:55PM


I went on a kayak camping trip last May and we were hit with an unseasonably cold blizzard. We actually had to build a fire to warm up all the neoprene so we could put it on - it was frozen stiff!


I kind of like the clinking sound my frozen hair makes - although I recently got it cut so short it doesn't do that anymore...

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MADABOUTCATS 1/27/2011 4:44PM

    When I was still living in the US, I worked as a travel nurse for 4 years. One of my assignments was Madison, Wisconsin. I had been there for 3 months and was meant to go to an assignment in Orlando, Florida for the winter. The assignment fell through and I ended up staying in Wisconsin for the winter. For a born and bred Georgia Peach, I was in for quite a shock! I was gobsmacked the first time snot froze in my nose!!!!

You have my deepest admiration! I'm not sure if I'd be able to face up to frozen hair, swimsuits, etc, on a regular basis! emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/27/2011 4:47:44 PM

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ADAMST3 1/27/2011 7:54AM

    OMGoodness! I'm a Southern Swimmer who had not even considered these chilly challenges. Thank you for the visuals...and dedication!

Gives new meaning to chillaxin'!

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/26/2011 1:17PM

    I cannot stand cold water. I guess it was too many times of thwarted swimming lessons when I was a kid in the northern Adirondacks. My gym has a suit dryer (basically a spin cycle machine) which really helps avoid the frozen suits. However, I know all too well what happens when the bag is in the car for even a short while. One person at my gym puts her suit in the sauna to warm it up. I just bite the bullet and neutralize it while I take the pre-swim shower. Of course, I then put on my liner jacket and neoprene jacket to exercise. I am a cold-water hater. No polar bear dips for me.

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