My Thursday workouts with my partner in crime, under the direction of our trainer, Jen continued yesterday.  I am very stiff and rather sore today.  I even treated myself to a 15 minute chair massage and my back is still bothering me.  I think it was the 150 kettlebell swings.

I’m really starting to enjoy the workouts.  They are challenging and Jen does a great job of mixing everything up.  Yesterday’s workout included several exercises that were new to me.

I still feel like an hour is a long time.  But, I’m so glad to be getting good strength training workouts.  I can really tell the difference.

Here’s the workout:

3 sets of the following:

  • Sled Leg Press 5 positions x 12each
  • Kettlebell Swings 15lb x 50
  • Shoulder Goal Posts 8lb x 20
  • Shoulder Overhead Press 8lb x 15
  • Standing Sidebends 25lb x 20ea side

2 sets of the following:

  • Single Leg Deadlift 10lb x 15ea leg
  • Tbar Row 3 postions x 12each
  • Step-Step-Kick band x 1-2minutes
  • Scull Crushers + Chest Press 15lb bar x 12 each
  • Cable Torso Rotation 30lb x 20ea side

I can’t wait to see what’s in store next week!

 Posted by at 8:25 PM

Today, I had another lesson with Tabitha.  After Sunday’s lifeguarding class, my main concern was being able to do the head splint with a submerged victim skill properly.

My biggest problem with this skill is that I float.  In many applications, it’s good to float.  When I need to tread water, I can do so with very little effort.  I don’t have any trouble staying afloat for long periods of time.

So, when I try to go down under water for any period of time, I literally have to fight the water to stay down.  Even with some of my best dives, I have a short amount of time for the rescue.  Feet first dives don’t seem to work for me.  I can sort of do them and I can get both feet to the bottom.  But, it seems that successful rescues will involve a head first dive.

Tabitha and I spent most of the lesson working on dives and rescues.  I was able to rescue her several times.  The test will be if I can rescue the instructor.  He sinks.

So far, I am glad that we don’t have a really deep pool.  I’d probably be struggling if we had to rescue victims in nine feet water.

After a few successful rescues, we went back to working on the breaststroke.  My kick has improved and my feet stay in the water more.  But, I still need lots of practice.

Maybe next week we’ll tackle the butterfly.

 Posted by at 7:52 PM

Today, I attended my second lifeguarding class.  We started out in the classroom with a few videos reviewing surveillance from last week.  We also watched videos about escapes, in-line stabilization, and recues with backboarding.  After about an hour, we took a short break and meet up in the pool.  We added a person this week, so our class now has 7 students.

At the pool we practiced skills including things like:

  • submerged victims in deep water
  • manual in-line stabilizations
  • backboarding – shallow and deep rescues
  • escapes (how to get away when a save doesn’t go as planned)

I’m a floater.  It’s good to be a floater when you are swimming.  However, I don’t make a great victim.  It’s hard for me to play a submersed victim.  I also have a hard time going under long and deep enough to rescue a submerged victim.  On Wednesday, we’ll be practicing during my swim lesson.

I thought the backboarding skills were particularly interesting.  It’s really amazing how much you have to work together as a team for different types of rescues.  It was also good to be a victim and get a feel for laying on the board, getting strapped in and lifted out.  Some pools in the area hardly ever have a backboard rescue.  But, at least one local pool does about 3 a week during the summer.  All of the skills are taken quite seriously.  I have a totally new appreciation for lif guards after just two of my classes.

We concluded our class by swimming 300 yards.  All in all, we were in and out of the pool for over 3.5 hours.  It was a busy and tiring day.

Next week we are off and then on the 25th, we’ll be covering victim care.  I haven’t been current in First Aid and CPR for a few years, so it will be good to review all of the skills.


Nick is still taking swim lessons.  He usually goes once a week on Thursday.  I’m so glad that he loves the water!  I think he is the class clown.  He always seems to be goofing around.  I talked to one of the instructors today.  She said he just likes the water.  I’m glad it doesn’t seem to bother her.  From my vantage point, he is always bobbing up and down and not paying attention.  I’ll keep letting him take lessons as long as he wants to swim.  It think it’s an important skill.

He’s getting much more comfortable in the water.  He also still loves his hooded towel when he gets out.


My workout today included lots of swim practice.  I spent an hour in the pool and even had my own lane for a part of my workout.  I am mostly interested in building up my endurance at this point.  I used to need a nap after a great strength training workout or spin class.  Now, I need a nap after a long pool workout.  I’d love to have the stamina for 2-3 hours of a vigorous workout and not need a nap.  That’s a great goal for this year.

My practice today included:

  • quite a few laps of the crawl
  • a few lengths of the backstroke
  • a couple of lengths of the breaststroke kick with a kick board
  • a couple of lengths of just kicking on my back to simulate the dive brick test
  • 4 or 5 dives in the deep end to practice my hang time at the bottom for brick / victim retrieval
  • a length or two of breaststroke
  • ended with getting out of the pool without the ladder – it still isn’t pretty, but it was doable after the hour in the pool

I was having some trouble with my goggles.  I think it’s time for a new pair.  Maybe I’ll get a chance to shop this weekend.

My arms are a bit sore tonight.  I’m not sure if it’s from the swimming today or the strength workout yesterday.  It’s probably a combo.

I’m hoping for a nice day at Lake Farmpark with lots of walking tomorrow.  The second lifeguarding class is Sunday and we’ll be in the pool for a couple of hours again.


Today, my partner in crime and I had our weekly trainer workout.  Last week, my partner had requested a gym or abs/core workout.

We knew we were headed for the gym when our trainer, Jen began to gather her toys.

We headed to the gym with medicine balls, body bars, and tennis balls.  Once we got to the gym, we realized that it was already in use.  We improvised by using the long hallway.  We had a few members pass us on their way to Yoga/Pilates.  For the most part, we had the hall to ourselves.  Toward the end of the workout, we were able to use the gym for a couple of exercises.

I did a short warm up on a bike for about 5 minutes.  I was mostly experimenting with my pedometer.

For our workout, we completed the following:

2 sets:

  • Tennis Ball Suicides x 5 balls – Tennis balls were placed down the hall about 5 feet apart.  We ran up to the first ball, picked it up and ran back to the start.  We ran to the second and back, etc.  I didn’t really run, but I moved quickly.
  • Medicine Ball Throw and Chase 10lb. x length of hallway/gym
  • Walking Lunges w/ body bar on back 18lb x length of hallway
  • ‘Warrior’ Walk (body bar overhead) 18lb. x length of hallway x 2 – This was heavy!
  • Curl and Press 18lb x 20
  • T-Pushups x 20 total – I couldn’t exactly do a T, but I was impressed with how well I did on these.  Basically, you are in the pushup form and you lift one hand/arm to the side at a time.

1 set:

  • Reaction Drill (side,side,front,back) 30 delightful seconds x 3 (:15 rest between) – This was kind of like Symon Says with us moving around based on Jen’s directional gestures
  • Medicine Ball Overhead Throw to Partner 12lb x 30
  • Medicine Ball Partner Toss side-side 10lb x 20
  • Bicycles 30 seconds x 3 (:15 rest between)
  • Medicine Ball Russian Twists 10lb x 30 seconds

I was super glad that I didn’t pick today to skip a shower.  I worked hard and it was nice to have some cardio and moving mixed in with the strength training.  I can’t wait to see what we tackle next week!


Today was my 3rd swim lesson with Tabitha.  She asked me what I wanted to focus on.  I told her the breaststroke.  I really need help with this stroke.

I don’t think the breaststroke is required for lifeguarding, but it seems to be a go to stroke for so many people.  I feel like I need to learn it.  When I watch people do the stroke, it looks so effortless and comfortable.

I feel like I look like a mess when I do the stroke.  I can do the kick.  I can do the arms.  I can’t seem to put them together at the right pace.  It doesn’t seem to help that I’m a floater.  When I do the kick, my feet end up out of the water.  ARGH!  I really need more practice.

At one point, Tabitha said that I wasn’t the worst she had ever seen.  Hmmm… I’m not sure if that was comforting.  I am determined.  We spent the entire 30 minute lesson on the breaststroke.  I finished the lesson knowing that I really need to practice it more.

I should have worked on the stride jump, but the J pool really isn’t a great pool for it due to the shallower depth in the deep end.  In addition, we really didn’t have open space for it due to the lap swimmers, class and casual pool users.

I warmed up with a few surface dives and ended with getting out of the water without the use of the ladder.

I’m not sure what I will work on next.  Part of me wants to spend time practicing the breaststroke and part of me wants to work on endurance.  I know I can swim 300 yards, but a 500 yard swim will be required to work at the J.  I’m pretty sure that I can do it, but I haven’t done it in years.  Maybe if the lanes are not too crowded Friday, I’ll swim 500 yards.


I slept really well last night.  I guess 2 hours in the pool is good for me.  Despite my achiness and swollen knee from yesterday’s lifeguard training, I felt like a spin class would feel good.

I’m pretty aware of my bad knee during class.  So, I usually don’t stand quite as much as the class and I usually pass on the jumps.  Today, I knew that I was going to just spin.  The only standing that I did was when I needed a temporary change in position.

I’ve been wearing my Go Zone pedometer for about 5 weeks now.  The first couple of weeks, I didn’t get any active minutes.  I did activities like spinning, walking and the elliptical.  At some point, I read that we needed 135 steps a minute for active minutes.  Wow, that’s fast!  I have lots of endurance, but speed was never a strength.  So, the pedometer registers fast paced activities and not continuous movement.  I was a bit bummed.

I experimented on the elliptical.  Usually, I try to do intervals between 90 and 120 strides per minute.  I vary the resistance and get a good workout.  I pushed myself to do 135-140 strides per minute and was able to verify that my Go Zone pedometer in fact did measure active minutes.  Prior to that experiment, I thought it might be broken.

During one spin class, without paying much attention, I ended up with 16 active minutes.  I was glad, but it took a full hour.

Today, since I was concentrating just on spinning, I was able to get 31 active minutes on my pedometer.  It took the entire hour long class.  Since our spin bikes don’t have computers, I have no idea how many RPMs I was doing to have it register.  I was happy to get over 30, since 30 active minutes is worth more HealthMiles that 7,000 steps which is my norm.  I’m happy that it’s possible, but I am still frustrated that the pedometers and program don’t seem to be interval friendly.  Intervals are good for you!

I’m hoping to do a couple more experiments.  I’ve heard that you need to walk about 4 MPH for the pedometer to register active minutes.  I usually walk about 2.5 MPH.  I’m hoping to do some intervals where I get to 4 MPH for 2-3 minutes at a time.  I really want to know how fast I need to be walking for it to register.  This experiment will probably have to wait until my knee is back to normal.  Treadmill walking wouldn’t be good for it this week.

In our fitness center, we have a couple of fancy spin bikes.  I am going to do my next warm up workout on one of them.  I plan to ride a steady 80 RPM, 90 RPM etc. so I can figure out my spinning speed for active minutes.

I’m also wondering if it matter where on my hip that I wear the pedometer.  Being overweight, I’m not sure if the pedometer picks up steps correctly.  I’m not sure how to test that one.

As I expressed in my last post, I’m not really impressed with the program thus far.  I think it’s a lot of busy work for “up to $300”.  But, I also think that extra walking is good for me, so I’ll play along.


Today, I spent most of the day in class at the J.  We ended up with 6 students for the class.  We’ll meet a total of 4 Sundays.

For the first half of the class, we spent time in a conference room.  We covered things like:

  • introductions and schedule
  • what it means to be a professional lifeguard
  • making decisions using the FIND method (figure out the problem, identify solutions, pros and cons, decide on best and act)
  • legal things to consider
  • continuing ed
  • EAP (facility specific emergency action plans)
  • rescue equipment
  • surveillance and scanning
  • victim recognition
  • communication with patrons
  • preventing injuries
  • incident reports
  • water rescue skills

After a series of videos and discussion, we broke for a break and met back up in the pool.  Next on the agenda was our prerequisite tests and rescue skills.

As we gathered at the pool and space was available, we began to swim our 300 yards.  Our instructor Lyle asked for 1/2 crawl and 1/2 breaststroke.  This would be 6 lengths of each.  I almost panicked since the official prerequisites call for either stroke and I had only practiced the crawl.  Lyle said it was ok and I told him that I’d be working on my breaststroke.  Since I had practiced, the distance (without stopping) was no problem.  Most of the class didn’t have any trouble.  I think one person needs to work on it a bit, but he hadn’t swam since summer.

Next up was treading water.  We had to tread without using our arms for 2 minutes.  It looked easy for everyone.

Lastly, was the test where we needed to swim almost a length, dive for the brick, retrieve it and swam to back to the shallow end on our back.  It ends with getting out of the water without use of the ladder.  I really don’t know how everyone did.  Personally, I made it back to the wall in 1:35, but it took me several tries to exit the pool.  So, I need to work on getting out a little faster and a speedier swim.  All in all, it was great for me especially since we had just swam 300 yards and treaded water.

Overall, I am happy with how I did with the prerequisites.  I’m going to work on the breaststroke and building up my endurance.  To be employed at the JCC, Lyle requires a 500 yard swim.  I want to make sure it’s not a problem.

After everyone completed the prerequisites, we started working on rescue skills.  We covered things such as:

  • entries (slide-in, stride jump, compact jump)
  • assists
  • rescuing near the surface, submerged and multiple victim

The only thing that really gave me trouble was the stride jump.  With a stride jump, your head is not supposed to go under water.  The purpose is to allow you to keep a visual on the victim.  My first jump, I hit the bottom of the pool.  I really felt a lot of impact in my left (bad) knee.  Ouch!  I was more surprised at first.  I made several other attempts during the class.  None of them were great, but I did feel some improvement toward the end of class.  I definitely need to practice this one.

With 6 of us in the class, the skills part went quickly and even with a break, we were able to leave a little bit early today.  I’m glad we have a small class.

Once I arrived at home, I felt exhausted, sore and famished.  I didn’t really count how many times we got in and out of the water and swam around, but it was lots.  Next week, I need to plan my food and liquids better.  The class is physically and mentally challenging.  It’s also exactly what I need right now.

I’m nervous about my knee and hope that spinning tomorrow feels great.  I’m scheduled to practice swimming Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week.  Here’s to a great week!


My partner in crime and I had our weekly trainer workout yesterday.  We tackled the Kettlebells again.

After a 5 minute warm up on the elliptical, we met up for the following:

2 Sets each of the following:

  • Partner Kettlebell Swings 15lb x :30 twice
  • Twisting Squats 15lb x 30
  • Tactile Lunges 15lb x 15ea leg
  • Windmills 5lb x 15ea
  • Kettlebell Push Press 12lb x :30ea arm
  • Single Arm Kettlebell Swing 12lb x :30ea arm
  • Partner Standing Bosu Med. Ball Oblique Toss 8lb x 1min.
  • 1/4 Turkish Getup x 10ea side
  • Supermans x 1min.
  • Supermans alternating arm/leg x :30ea side
  • Alternate arm/leg Crunch x :30ea side twice

This was my first time on the BOSU since last May when I had my partial meniscus tear.  I really took my time getting back on that piece of equipment.  I fell when I was trying to jump from one BOSU to another.  That’s really different from balancing on one to do another exercise.  Outside of my knee being a little sore from Wednesday’s diving practice, the BOSU felt just fine.  Hopefully, we’ll slowly use it more so I can build up some confidence.

The last few items didn’t use the Kettlebells, but helped round out the workout.  My partner wants to do more abs and core work and these exercises definitely fit that bill.  I don’t usually have specific requests, but after doing the superman moves, I can tell my abs and core need work.

I swam this morning and feel pretty good, but I am definitely achy from the strength workout.  My lifeguarding prerequisite test is Sunday and I am hoping that my strength training and swim practice pays off. Tomorrow should be an off day since I’ve worked hard this week, but I’m hoping to at least sneak in an active walk.


Today, I had my second lesson with Tabitha, my swimming instructor.  Last week, we spent the session on the different strokes.  This week, I wanted to concentrate on the prerequisites for the lifeguarding course.  My class starts on Sunday.  During the first class, I’ll have to swim 300 yards continuously, tread water for 2 minutes without using hands,and complete a timed event.  The timed event includes swimming 20 yards, diving down for a brick, retrieving it, then swimming on my back with the brick on my front back to the starting end of the pool.  The timed event ends with getting out of the pool without using the ladder or ramp.

I had never tried to dive for the brick before.  I was confident that I would be able to do this task, but knew that I needed some advice and practice.  Tabitha is great and I was able to watch her get the brick several times and she guided me through it.  After trying many times, I was able to get the brick on more than one occasion.

Toward the end of the lesson, we decided to have me try the timed event.  I was able to swim down, dive and retrieve the brick and get back to the start on my back in 1 minute, 37 seconds.  We have 1 minute, 40 seconds to complete the event.  I was thrilled that I was able to retrieve the brick on the first try after swimming 20 yards.

It dawned on me that the time probably includes getting out of the pool.  I’ve never got out of the pool without using the ladder or ramp.  We practiced in the deep and shallow ends today.  At the very end of the lesson, I was able to put it together and get out of the pool!  I was psyched!

I’m hoping for a bit more practice time on Friday.  I mostly don’t want to embarrass myself on Sunday when I’m in the formal class.  I’m confident that as long as I can complete the prerequisites, my instructor will be able to teach me the other lifeguarding skills needed to get certified.

I’m excited and can’t wait for our first class!