Swimming for Fitness

43 Days Until Dragon*Con 2012!!!

That is about 6 weeks. I can math.

Today I wanted to post something about fitnessing, which I have not done in awhile.

In particular, swimming. A very summertime activity enjoyed by millions who are not connected at the short hairs to Skyrim or World of Warcraft.

Swimming is also an activity that is fun, for most people. At least, I think it is supposed to be.

Growing up, I was forced to learn to swim. There was a lake across the street, a river at the end of my road, and depending on which one you wanted to go to, a beach within 30 minutes or an hour.

Swimming was a necessity for survival. Alligators are not going to outrun themselves.

I learned to swim early, but it was all underwater swimming. I am under the impression that kids who learned to swim at a country club (instead of in the river, competing with cottonmouths) learned to swim “above” the water, like true mini-olympians.

I have never been good at this sort of swimming.

While the other kids looked like graceful like Michael Phelps, I looked gangly and awkward like Mr. Toad. In fact, my full-body natural state of swimming is very toadlike, which is amusing now that I am old and could probably pass for a fat Michigan J. Frog. If Michigan were far less dapper. And talented.

It is a sad day when you realize that you are probably less desirable than a cartoon frog.

In the films, when you see the rich folk swimming laps in their pools, they are backstroking, or some other nimble bourgeois swim method, lazily and calmly back and forth in their marble-lined outdoor bathtub. If someone were to stumble upon me “swimming laps” in my backyard cement pond, they would probably infer that some great beast had somehow stumbled out of the mesozoic era and into a backyard pool in the suburbs. Perhaps a wooly mammoth… who can’t swim. Like Snuffleupagus.

To that end (so you don’t get the two confused):

For instructional and educational purposes, for my Brethren, I have made a moving picture demonstrating what it looks like to swim in a pool. Because I know none of you have ever seen it.

Observe my toadlike form in action:

Spoiler Alert: I have spared you any glimpses of my nearly-naked, hirsute, form blithely and gracefully gliding through the waves like a mermaid’s wet (dry?) dream.


Total chaos, right? That’s why it is called exercise.

And nevermind the leaves in the pool. They clearly do not bother this mastodon. Our pool is outside, under a tree, and we don’t have a pool boy. We’re not Scrooge McDuck or Richie Rich or anything.

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8 Responses to Swimming for Fitness

  1. Brandon says:

    What the hell was that video? But there was a Ween song!

    I am far from graceful in my swimming as well.

    Checking in for the first time in a while. Hope your fitness progression is going better than mine.

    • My fitness progression is not good. If I could think of a better metaphor for it, I would use it, but basically it is in the toilet. And by toilet, I mean the pool. In fact, the reason I have swam laps yesterday and today is because I have to work out to work out. I’m trying to get in good enough shape to go to the gym, because despite the JFZ’s moniker, I feel stupid going in there and not being able to work out for more than 20 mins.

      For this masterpiece of arthouse cinema, I turned my camera on and swam a lap, keeping the camera in my right hand. Then I put a Ween song over it that is, vaguely, about swimming.

      Good to see you back!

  2. Donkajin Bubbles says:

    Demetri Martin summed up swimming as a unique activity. It can be something we do for pleasure, or it can be something we do so that we don’t die. How are we to know the difference? It all boils down to what we’re wearing?

    Swim trunks? Cool!

    Street clothes? Uh-oh…

    Naked? We’ll see…

    • Street clothes in the pool? I’m wondering what the “uh-oh” is there.

      I pretty much wear swim trunks in the pool, whether exercising or just using the pool as a hangout place to drink beers. I’d never make it as a pro swimmer, despite my physical condition, simply because I couldn’t stomach the outfit and shaving.

      I can’t stand swim fashion.

  3. Donkajin Bubbles says:

    While it may seem counterintuitive, if it’s pure workout bang-fer-yer-buck you’re after, it’s actually more beneficial to have a rudimentary versus refined swimming technique. This is one of those activities that once you’re good enough at, your overall fitness levels off (if it’s the only method of training you engage in). Once your technique is polished to the most efficient strokes possible, your body isn’t taxed like it was while you were still learning. While a boon for our survival skill set, it’s a roadblock for whipping ourselves into shape.

    (I tend to think of my pool time as “active recovery” and not much else these days.)

    • While I grew up swimming, my technique could be called anything but “refined”. My swimming technique is the Jimi Hendrix to the Country Club Set’s Stevie Ray Vaughan.

  4. Juggernaut says:

    Just so you know, you’re getting a stern look and a wag of the finger from me, not for falling off the wagon since that’s just a thing that inevitably happens, but for failing to get back on it. Believe me, I know how it can be. Hell, after my trip to Thailand in March, I fell off for a month and a half and gained 30 pounds back. But now it’s crunch time and you can do so much more in the next 36 days than you think. I do hereby set forth these holy commandments.

    Do 100 pushups and 100 situps every single day. Separate them into as many sets as you need to, and take as many breaks as you have to at first, but don’t let yourself go to bed until they are done. After day 7 it will already have started getting easy and you’ll already be seeing results.

    Map out a 3 mile circuit near your home using your car’s odometer, then run-walk it 3 times a week. Push yourself to run a little more each time until you can run the whole thing. It burns more calories and builds more muscle to run outside than on a treadmill.

    Doing this will make up for much of your lack of progress recently and come Con, you’ll be freaking out at the results in just a month.

    • Finger wag duly noted. Thank you for that!

      100 sit-em-ups: no problem. I can do those in, probably, 3 sets.
      The 100 push-em-ups will definitely be more of a cause of consternation. I have never been great at push-ups. Even when I was a kid and skinny as a rail, the push-up portion of the Presidential Fitness Test was always my weak spot. This will take some looking into. By that I mean, “doing my best to achieve this goal.”

      The 3-mile round trip around the homestead may need to be just several trips around the neighborhood, as the surrounding area is so pedestrian-unfriendly that it would curl a Californian’s hair. However, the ‘hood has a sidewalk, which is nice. And a ton of hills, which is not so nice.

      Regardless, I have taken your recommendations under serious consideration and will attempt them. Promise.

      Good to see you ’round here again!

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