Sunday, March 6, 2011

I've missed you!

Hey everyone,

I know I haven't posted in a while.  You know how it is when life gets crazy.  But I'm back and focused and will be posting new articles and videos soon.  Hang in there with me!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentines Day Choreography - "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love"

Here's a fun love song you can incorporate into your Valentines Day water aerobics classes.

The Principle of Specificity

If I want to get bigger biceps should I do squats?  Will jumping rope help me to be able to touch my toes without bending my knees.  Common sense says no.  But some people's approach to fitness can be just as confusing if they don't understand the principle of specificity and if they don't recognize the different components of fitness.

The principle of specificity states that each type of exercise yields its own certain and specific fitness benefits.  Just as exercises for a specific body part only yield results for that body part, a physical activity that promotes benefits in one component of fitness does not necessarily promote benefits for another component.

So what are the different fitness components?  There are two types of fitness components:  health-related and skill-related. Health-related fitness components help you improve over-all health, while skill-related fitness components help you perform well in sports and recreational activities that require certain skills.  Below are definitions of each fitness component.

1. Cardio-Respiratory Endurance is the ability to exercise the entire body for long periods of time without stopping.  It requires a strong heart and healthy lungs.
2. Muscular Strength is the amount of force your muscles can produce and is often measured by how much weight you can lift.
3. Muscular Endurance is the ability to use your muscles many times without tiring.
4. Flexibility is the ability to move your joints through a full range of motion and is often thought of as how far you can stretch.
5. Body Composition is the percentage of your body weight from fat compared to the percentage from other body tissues such as muscles and bones.

1. Agility is the ability to change your body position quickly in a controlled manor.
2. Balance refers to the ability to keep an upright posture while standing still or moving.
3. Coordination is the ability to use two or more body parts together and also the ability to use your body senses together with your body parts.
4. Power is the ability to use strength quickly.  It requires both strength and speed.
5. Reaction Time is the amount of time it takes to move once you recognize the need to.
6. Speed is the ability to perform a movement or cover a distance in a short period of time.

As fitness instructors we have a good grasp on the different fitness components and which exercises work which muscle groups.  Our class participants may not, so as you are taking your classes through routines be sure to point out which muscles you are focusing on.  They'll probably know because they will be feeling it, but it's always good to reinforce what they are doing.  It's also a great way to check that the participants are doing the exercise the proper way.  Also, point out which fitness component is being focused on. Again, our clients may know that they want to improve their flexibility or agility but they may not know exactly how.  When you point out which exercises will help them reach their specific fitness goals it will empower and motivate them.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Deep Water Team Equipment Challenge

Here is an activity that I like to do during my deep water aerobics classes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Principle of Progression

The dreaded plateau... that point in your weeks of exercising when the normal exercise routine just isn't enough anymore.  Why does this happen?  Why was pounding the pavement for 20 minutes a day enough to take off the first 10 pounds but now it's suddenly not enough to melt away those stubborn last five?  Why, you ask?  Because your body adapts to the stresses put on it, so after a while your old exercise routine becomes too easy and is only enough to maintain your current fitness level.  As your body adapts, so should your exercise routine, or you will be doomed to stay on that pesky plateau.

Many of our class participants are coming because they want to lose weight and/or improve their fitness level.  In order to reach their goals, they must understand the principle of progression which states that, "the amount and intensity of your exercise should be increased gradually."1  As fitness instructors, we must teach our participants about the principle of progression.

Each person has his own threshold of training.  This is the minimum amount of exercise intensity needed to improve physical fitness.  When a person first starts exercising his threshold of training might be rather low.  After several weeks of exercising his threshold of training will increase and so should his exercise intensity.

On the other hand each person has his own target ceiling, or upper limit of safe exercise.  The principle of progression states that exercise intensity should be increased gradually because doing too much too quickly can lead to exercise-related injuries.  Ideally a person should exercise at a level higher than the threshold of training, but lower than the target ceiling.  This is the target fitness zone.

For water aerobics classes a person's target fitness zone is his target heart rate zone (in beats per minute or bpm).  The target heart rate zone is simply 60% - 80% of his maximum heart rate.  As fitness instructors we should be sure that our class participants know their target heart rate zone and help them monitor their heart rate during class.  Most fitness facilities have target heart rate charts posted and if yours does, use it when teaching your class about the principle of progression and target heart rate.  If not, you can teach your  class how to calculate their own target heart rate zone in a few simple steps:
          (1) Determine your maximum heart rate (bpm) by subtracting your age from 220.
          (2) Calculate 60% of the maximum heart rate.  This is the lower end of the target heart rate zone.
          (3) Calculate 80% of the maximum heart rate.  This is the upper end of the target heart rate zone.
Be sure to check out the clip of the week for a more detailed explanation of how to calculate the target heart rate zone and also how to monitor your heart rate during class.

Teaching the principle of progression will help motivate our class participants to increase their workout intensity as their bodies adapt.  As they do this they will start to make positive, healthy changes to their bodies.  What could be better to a fitness instructor than that?

1 Corbin, Charles B. and Lindsey, Ruth. Fitness for Life. Fifth Edition. Champaign, IL; Human Kinetics,
  2005, p.61.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Clients - Let's Retain Them!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  This time of year is always exciting with the opportunities and possibilities that it has in store.  Now is the time when so many people resolve to develop healthy habits, get fit, and lose weight.  Inevitably, these new year resolutions bring new people into our classes and old clients back that might have gotten off track.  This is a wonderful opportunity for fitness professionals to help these people and along the way increase their client base.

Here are two simple ideas you can use to keep all of them coming back for more:

1) Go the extra mile by taking extra time with new & returning class participants.  Grab them for a few minutes before or after class to get to know why they chose water aerobics and what they hope to get out of it.  Encourage them, let them know you want to help them reach their goals.  If they ask for advice, give it to them- reminding them that your advice never takes the place of their doctor's advice.

2) If you are a certified personal trainer, now is a great time to offer your extended services and help design a workout program that includes water aerobics.  If you are not a certified personal trainer, then get together with the ones at your facility.  Develop a good working relationship with them.  Educate them about all of the awesome benefits of water aerobics.  Offer to collaborate with them:  hold a special water aerobics class for the personal trainers and their clients, give them outlines of your favorite water workouts and exercises, make a commitment to refer clients to one another.

So with that, get out there and make 2011 a successful and prosperous year!  

Do you have some more ideas for retaining all of our new year clients?  Post a comment below or email me at:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hydro-Jack Sequence

The hydro-jack is a staple exercise in water aerobics and this video will show you how to do it along with 3 different variations. Enjoy the video and have fun incorporating it into your classes.

If you have other variations of the hydro-jack that you love to do please share by posting a comment or email it to me at: