Friday, February 26, 2010

Class # 20 Water Aerobics Friday 9:00 a.m. (Anna)

As predicted, I woke up this morning with a few sore muscles. I thought it would be my hamstrings (back side of upper leg) but instead it was my glutes (rear end) and traps (upper back). In Sculpt yesterday we did a lot of walking lunges, which really work the glutes. Boy howdy.

Other muscles are feeling it too but the glutes and traps are the most noticeable. None of this soreness is extreme by any means; it’s just there. In general, a little muscle soreness is a good thing; it means the muscle has been subjected to some stress. Give it time and nutrition to recover and the muscle will increase in capacity (i.e. grow, tone, strengthen, etc.). Extreme soreness is not so good - it feels awful and may keep you from going back to exercise cause it’s no fun.

Moving the body in water is a great way to recover from low-level muscle soreness. So, water aerobics is just what the doctor ordered.

This morning’s class is my second one on the quest and also my second one lifetime. I don’t quite feel like an “old pro” but I’m a little more confident than the first class. As a former college swimmer, I’m pretty comfortable in the water and enjoy that medium too. Still, water aerobics is different than swimming laps and like anything that’s new, there’s a learning curve.

Our instructor this morning was Anna Swallow. (aka anna, banana from montana – so she tells me). She is extremely high energy and has a big, fun personality. She’s encouraging to everyone from the get go and that’s important in this class.

A brief aside here to help set the scene – I swam competitively for 14 years – practicing twice a day for most of that time. Over my career, I attended somewhere close to 8,000 swim team practices. In all that time, I never liked the part where I had to first get in the pool (unfortunately, getting in is pretty much a prerequisite to swimming). I’m a little skinny you see, always have been, and so I get cold easily. The iconic image of me as a kid, which all my swimming buddies remember, is a waif shivering next to a pool. The water is cooler than our body temperature so there’s always a little shock getting in.

I find that my aversion to cool water is shared by all of today's class members. In fact, water temperature is a common topic of conversation, I gather, in every class. We (I’m speaking as Club management now) try to keep the temp between 83-84 degrees – this is not an accident. We’ve found that precise threshold is (barely) tolerable both to “serious” lap swimmers and water aerobicizers. Actually both groups would like us to move the temperature a few degrees “their way” but the compromise has forged a fragile d├ętente.

So, back to today’s class. Anna, knowing that water temperature is an issue, strikes preemptively – “get in and start doing my warm up and I guarantee you, you’ll get warm”. She’s right of course, once we start moving around sufficiently the body temp rises and next thing you know the water feels fine, maybe even a little warm. Such is the plight of a water aerobics instructor.

Anna teaches most of the class from the pool deck. The advantage is it’s much easier to see what she’s doing and somewhat easier to hear her than if she leads from the water. The disadvantage is she has to work really hard because the exercises are high impact from shore but low impact for us.

She makes the class fun by continually changing up what we’re doing and sequencing it in such a way that it’s necessary to really pay attention. Today’s routine is a new one for Anna and the class so it’s even tougher for everyone (including Anna) to remember what comes next. I like the fact that we all had to keep thinking the whole way through.

Anna also makes it topical by throwing in lots of techniques named and patterned after events at the Winter Olympics. For instance, we do cross country skiing, downhill, moguls even bobsledding and aerials (you had to be there). Mix in ‘dancing frogs’, ‘chubby checkers’, ‘jumping jack plus sign’ and a hip rotation thingy where we all said “booty booty” in unison and you’ve got quite the class.

Anna was subbing today for Mary Lu Pabian who normally teaches the Friday class. For that reason I don’t have her bio info or photo yet but I’ll give you more background on Anna the next time I take a class with her. From today’s class, I can report that she loves the number 13, she jumps out of airplanes on occasion (presumably with a parachute) and she dressed up as Carmen Miranda for Halloween. After only a one-hour class with her, none of this surprises me.

Guess how many we had in class today? Yep – thirteen. Twelve women and the odd man out. The whole class was sweet to me, thanked me for coming and invited me back, soon. No worries, I’ve got six more water aerobics classes to go and frankly, I’m pretty happy about that.

Today’s lucky winner of the gift certificate is Angela Finney.

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