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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Not a Workout Junkie? How About Swimming and Aqua Fitness?

Of course everyone knows that swimming is good for you. But what are the real benefits gained by jumping into the water?

Swimming Burns Tons of Calories147915512

How many, you ask? Well, here are some hard numbers:

Calories burned in 1 hour for a 155-lb. person:

  • Lap swimming, slow: 493 calories
  • Lap swimming, fast: 704 calories
  • 1 hour aqua fitness class: 281 calories
  • We Water jogging: 563 calories
  • Treading water, moderate: 281 calories
  • Treading water, fast: 704 calories

Swimming Works All Muscle Groups

Swimming uses all major muscle groups. Remember, working big muscles burns big calories! This means you are strengthening your arms, legs, shoulders, and glutes, and it gives you a good core workout at the same time.

Swimming Is Low Impact on Your Body

Because you are suspended in the water, your joints don’t take the pounding they would on the ground or treadmill, plus the movement helps increase your range of motion. More range of motion means more muscle worked through that range, and yes, more calories burned!

Swimming Is a Refreshing Workout Any Time of the Year

The water in the competition pool at the Natatorium is kept between 75 and 79 degrees, the back pool is kept at 85 to 88 degrees, and the diving well for aqua fitness classes is kept at 85 to 88 degrees.

In short, there are few exercises that can give you the workout swimming can. If you have not found a love for kettlebells, weight machines, or treadmills, take the plunge and see what swimming can do for you. You may find a whole new workout routine you enjoy and look forward to.

For additional health benefits read this article on Active.com, 9 Good Reasons Why You Should Get in the Pool.

Swim Drills Anyone Can Do

To get you started, here are some great swim drills you can try in the pool.

  • Stroke improvement drills (with pull buoy): The buoy is held above your knees and you work your arms and upper torso. You can also place the buoy at your ankles to feel your core and inner thighs work harder.
  • Kick drills (with or workout fins): Work on the leg/hip action while holding a kickboard. It may be slow without fins, but you get great singular-leg and cardiovascular work.
  • Side stroke: Lying on your side, down arm extended. Works your legs and core. Make sure you switch sides to get balanced work.
  • Intervals, fast length down the pool: Give yourself proper rest time to go fast on the successive intervals. As you improve, add to the number of intervals or go-down-and-back sprints.

If you are interested in swimming as part of triathlon training, check out NIFS' blogs on the topic here.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.


Topics: fitness workouts swimming

Shave Time Off Your Tri by Training for Triathlon Transitions

Transitioning has been called the fourth discipline in Kris-new-1triathlon. When you finished your first race and looked at the breakdown of the times for each event, you probably noticed the T1 and T2 times. T1 is the time it took you to go from swimming to the bike, and T2 is the time it took you to go from the bike to the run. Like the swimming, biking, and running training, the transitions should be trained as well. But don’t think you need to spend hours perfecting getting from one event to the next. A good transition can simply be added to the other brick training sessions.

Before the race you need to check where you will be exiting the water and follow this to your bike. You can mark your transition spot with chalk on the ground, with a balloon, or with a bright towel. The transition area looks different when everyone is out on the course. Many athletes have wandered transition areas looking for their gear. Also look at the course from where you will be headed at the end of the bike to your transition spot. You will rack your bike and put your gear down on the side of the bike you will mount from.

Practicing the Swim-to-Bike Transition (T1)

The swim-to-bike transition is often the most difficult transition to practice because of the logistic of getting to the water (pool or lake) and then keeping your bike close to make this practice possible. Instead, you could just practice getting your bike gear on after stepping your feet in water. Putting on socks is often the toughest part of this as you deal with balancing while tired and getting the sock on without getting sand on the sock. Many people will sit on the ground or bring a big bucket to sit on.78810088

During a race I try to dry my feet with the end of my transition towel (placed before the race) or have a small towel to dry the tops of my feet while standing on my transition towel. You do want to make sure not to have any rocks, sand, etc. on your feet as those may cause a blister.

You must have your helmet on and buckled before you get out of transition, so do this first or directly after getting your shoes on. This is also a good time to get a drink of water and have a gel or other nutrition so you don’t have to try to ride and eat.

Once you get off your bike, you will run your bike back into your transition area. Rack your bike as close to where you took it off as possible. This is a rule, but it also helps you be courteous to your fellow triathletes who are racking after you.

If you change your shoes, have the laces open and ready to slip your feet into quickly (baby power can help with this).

Grab hats, sunglasses, and race belts and put those on as you run out of transition. Again, you could get a drink or nutrition if you need it. The gels or chews can be pinned on your race belt to have along the course.

Practicing the Bike-to-Run Transition (T2)179659833

The bike-to-run transition is easy to set up and a nice way to do some race preps the day or two before a race. Follow these steps:

  1. Set your bike against a wall or car, WITH THE SIDE YOU WANT TO GET ON YOUR BIKE FACING OUT.
  2. Place your shoes, helmet, hat, race belts, sunglasses, etc. near the bike.
  3. Figure out in what order you will put on your bike gear and practice it. Put on your helmet, socks, shoes, etc.
  4. Grab your bike and RUN, HOLDING THE BIKE WITH THE OUTSIDE HAND (no need to run with two hands on the stem) to your marked start point
  5. Get on your bike.
  6. Ride a short distance (less than a mile).
  7. Get off your bike at your marked spot and run your bike back to your setup spot.
  8. Take off your helmet, change shoes (if necessary), grab anything you want for the run, and run a short distance, getting into a nice rhythm.
  9. Repeat as many times as you need to feel confident.

Putting in a little transition practice time during your regular workouts will help you cut your total time in your triathlon. As you are trying to beat your time from before, this will help more than you realize.

NIFS’ Tri-Training for Women triathlon training program has recently begun. Find the details here.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: running group training swimming triathlon cycling training

Top 10 Reasons to TRI a Triathlon This Year

Have you ever thought about training for and doing a triathlon? This is a great time to start getting ready for it, and here are some reasons why you should!

tri

  1. Never a boring day. You can swim one day, bike another day, and run another; then rest and do it all over again.
  2. The pool is warm (76+ degrees) when it’s cold outside.
  3. Cycling inside (in a group fitness class or on a bike trainer) is a great way to start to build your aerobic fitness base.
  4. Running outside on a warm winter day is peaceful.
  5. The outdoor training gear is awesome at keeping you dry and warm; plus it looks good, too!
  6. Gear is ON SALE NOW!
  7. The NIFS Triathlon Training Program is fun, educational, and great preparation for triathletes of all levels. NIFS runs co-ed and women’s-only training programs.
  8. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results: TRY SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR! Triathlon is the original CrossFit.
  9. Destination triathlons are a great way to get away and still work out.
  10. You can knock doing a triathlon off your bucket list. 

Ready to TRI? NIFS 11-week tri-training program is Tuesday nights starting 6/17 at 5:30p. All experience levels are welcome. This training includes race entry for the Go Girl Triathlon at Eagle Creek Park on August 23, 2014.R19XDP1

Contact Kris for more information either by email or at 317-274-3432 ext 211. Or register online:

Register_Button_Icon_for_client_website

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: running group training swimming triathlon cycling NIFS programs

Profile: NIFS Triathlon Training Program Participant Zach Smith

tri-training

The annual co-ed NIFS Triathlon Training Program is complete and participants have successfully completed the first triathlons of the season. The participants never cease to amaze all of us here at NIFS. Working hard during the six weeks of training to perfect swimming technique, practice biking on the road, decrease running time, and create smooth transitions between events pays off every year for these athletes. We love hearing from our participants and giving them the limelight, which is why we are showcasing one of our Triathlon Training participants in this blog post.

We are featuring Zach Smith, an avid runner turned triathlete who has an amazing story that is sure to inspire anyone to get out and try his or her first TRI. Take it away, Zach!

NAME: Zach Smith

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

In 2011, I was in Boulder, Colorado, for work and decided to start running to get back in shape thanks in part to my co-worker at the time (who was an avid runner) and the beautiful mountain view. Once I was back in Indy, I just never stopped running. I participated in my first Mini Marathon in 2012. I got connected with NIFS in 2013 through the Mini Training Program and decided I would commit to the six-week Triathlon Training after the Mini was over. Currently, I am a full-time employee at IUPUI, working in the Math Department as Student Services Assistant, and am a part-time graduate student pursuing my Master of Public Affairs (MPA) in Policy Analysis through the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).

NIFS PROGRAMS YOU PARTICIPATED IN: Triathlon Training Program

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM?

I think anyone who is an avid runner, swimmer, or bicyclist has thought at least once about participating in a triathlon. As a runner, I naturally was ready to take my competitive nature to the next level by conquering a triathlon. However, I had no idea where to begin or how to train for such an event. I saw the “Ready to TRI?” posters at NIFS during the 2013 Mini Training Program and knew that it was exactly what I needed to do to prepare for my first event.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED:

I really enjoyed working with Kris Simpson and Stephanie (Greer) Kaiser at NIFS during this program. Being in a smaller training group, we were able to receive more individual attention during the training and that was extremely helpful. Kris and Steph really knew lots of training and race-day tips, which helped make my first event go smoothly.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU:

I think for everyone who never swam competitively, the swimming portion of the triathlon can be the most daunting of the three parts. I consider myself an average swimmer and did not swim competitively, but I really enjoyed the swimming training we did on Tuesday nights and my own personal swim training on Fridays. Swimming is such a great exercise and I think most people discount it.

FAVORITE ASPECT OF TRAINING (BIKING, SWIMMING, RUNNING, FAVORITE MEMORY)?

I really enjoyed the biking/running training that we did at Eagle Creek Park. It is such a different feeling biking for 30 to 40 minutes and then getting off and immediately starting to run for 1 to 2 miles. Another plus to training at Eagle Creek was the fact it was where I participated in my first Sprint Triathlon, so I definitely felt more comfortable knowing how the race would be set up beforehand.

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRIATHLON TRAINING?

I think one accomplishment to note that I achieved during the training would have been giving the training participants on road bikes a run for their money on my hybrid bike. I was keeping up with them and sometimes surpassing them on our training rides through the hilly road course of Eagle Creek Park. This definitely set my mind at ease that I would do just fine on race day with my hybrid.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

In spite of all the swim training I did, swimming in the open water was way different than swimming in the pool. Kris had warned us that there is no “etiquette” out in the water during the race, so I knew people would brush into me and I would brush into others, but it was hard to simulate that in the pool (even though we all would swim next to each other in one pool lane at the same time). My biggest tip is to try and do some open-water swimming prior to your event so you are used to not seeing the bottom and feel comfortable racing in it. I know I had to get my bearings at first during the event and managed just fine in the end, but I know more experience with open-water swimming would have helped me.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

I am like most people (very busy), so it is very easy to allow working out to fall lower on the priority list. However, I have found that having personal goals and something to prepare or strive toward really helps me stay on track. I just signed up for my first full marathon in November (the Indy Monumental), so that is driving me to keep my fitness in tip-top shape throughout the summer and into fall!

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE: 

I truly recommend NIFS Triathlon Training to anyone who wants to learn how to train the right way and be ready come race day. I know I am glad I did!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS running group training swimming triathlon cycling

Training for My First Triathlon—and How NIFS Can Help You, Too

The thought of completing a triathlon had been on my mind for many years before I completed my first last summer. Being a competitive distance runner for many years and having no issues riding a bicycle, this seemed like the next natural race for me to try.

triathlon

The problem was that I was (arguably still am) not a swimmer! Don’t get me wrong. I could be in a pool and splash around and not drown, but swimming continuous laps using various swim strokes and drills is not my strong point athletically speaking. I should also mention that I was the only kid in my cabin at summer camp in middle school that had to wear the yellow wristband for the pool, which indicated that I could not go into the deep end based on the performance in the swim test.

Nevertheless, this was something that was on my personal bucket list and a friend finally convinced me to sign up for my first race, telling me that the swim was not that bad and that I would be fine. With some practice and a lot of help from Kris Simpson, I was able to get through my first triathlon and overcome my fear of not being able to complete the swim portion of the race.

Lessons Learned from the First Triathlon

As for the race itself, I learned a lot from it! The most important thing that I learned is to bring two water bottles. Obviously, I knew the importance of staying hydrated during the race. I just didn’t consider losing the water bottle along the way. I dropped mine after only a few miles on the bike, which caused me to have no fluid for the ride. When I came back to the transition area, I realized I didn’t have any extra there, either. Needless to say, I was pretty dehydrated going into the run.

I also learned that swimming in open water is way different than swimming in the pool. Kris told me this would be the case, and even took me out to some open water before the race to prepare me, but it took the race itself to give me a real understanding of open-water swimming. I now feel very confident about my ability to complete the swim portion of the race and know what I need to work on in the pool to help me improve with that.

Overall, I didn’t treat the triathlon any differently than any other race that I have run in the past, with the exception of having no expectations as far as time goes, which took off a lot of pressure and allowed me to enjoy the experience. I ate my typical pre-race dinner and felt the same pre-race butterflies that I always have had before a race. I would suggest to anyone holding back on completing a triathlon to give it a try and put your hesitations aside.

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Your Turn to Try a Triathlon!

Now that I have completed my first triathlon and learned a lot from my experience, I am excited to help other women on the journey to complete their first triathlon. At NIFS, we offer a women-only triathlon training program geared toward women completing the Go Girl Triathlon at Eagle Creek Park. This program will give you the confidence and the tools that you need to complete the race! Sign up for the 6th Annual Go Girl Training Program! Reach out to Kris Simpson at ksimpson@nifs.org or Stephanie Kaiser at sgreer@nifs.org with any questions. Training starts June 18th but you can still get registered!

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our bloggers.

Topics: NIFS running group training swimming triathlon cycling

Triathlon Training: It’s Your Time to TRI!

Why do people fear the triathlon, or the TRI, as triathletes call it? Most of us grew up swimming, we ran around all the time, and most of us remember our first bike and the joy of having freedom. As we have grown older, we may be less active, but we surely remember these activities. A triathlon may seem intimidating, but it’s just as simple as having fun with those childhood activities.

triathlon training

NIFS Triathlon Training Programs

Swim one day of the week, bike on another, and run on a third is the best way to describe the simplicity of triathlon training. Of course, there is a little bit more to training than that, but that is why NIFS offers triathlon training programs. Each program will get you ready for your first TRI!

  • Ready to Tri? is a co-ed, six-week triathlon training program beginning May 7. We meet Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30 to 6:30pm.
  • The Go Girl Triathlon Training program is the oldest triathlon training program in Indianapolis, and it was started to help participants prepare for the the first Go Girl Triathlon in 2007. This is an all-female, 11-week training program beginning June 18 that meets on Tuesday evenings.

Both NIFS triathlon training programs are geared to new triathletes. We cover it all! All sessions are led by a USA Triathlon Certified Coach. We go over the do’s the don’ts, and the how’s and why’s. You will get to the starting line prepared and will have the smile of great accomplishment at the finish.

Triathlon Training Equipment

Training requirements are the following:

  • A good pair of swim goggles
  • Bathing suit
  • Bike
  • Helmet
  • Good running shoes
  • Most importantly, the spirit to TRI

Be sure to join Kris and Stephanie for triathlon training this summer! Click here to find out more  and get registered!

This blog was written by Kris Simpson, USA Triathlon Certified Coach; ACSM Certified NIFS Personal Trainer with a B.S. in Nutrition Sciences.

Topics: NIFS running swimming triathlon cycling race