Swimming has always been something that I’ve enjoyed. Being in or around the water brings me a sense of calmness and relaxation that I can’t really explain. It’s truly my happy place.

I’ve always loved the water – I remember a story my parents would tell me from when I was around 1.5 years old and my grandparents had a pool at that time. We headed to the pool where I immediately ran and jumped straight into the deep end before my Dad could get my water wings on, causing my mom to scream and my Dad to hop in after me, who then picked me up from the bottom and I came up laughing and shrieking with joy.

From there, I was enrolled in swimming lessons when I was about three years old, managed to skip several levels at once at various times, and then was forced to wait until I turned 12 before I could take any of the beginning lifeguarding/lifesaving courses.

From the time I was 5, I was enrolled in the Alberta Summer Swim Association (ASSA) swim club in the town I grew up in. I trained 5 days a week during the summer months, and competed nearly every weekend. I continued this until I was about 13, when the competition between the girls in the same club took the joy of the sport away from me. At 13, bullying and teasing kind of bring a girl down more than it ever would at this point today.

Once I completed high school, I obtained my Water Safety Instructor certificate which allowed me to teach lessons to every age level; infants to adults, and that summer was, and still is, one of my favorite jobs I ever had.  I was a seasonal employee at this time, so I only did this for 4 months, moved away, and worked full-time elsewhere while working on my university degree. I decided to move back home a couple of years later to complete the degree faster, and took my National Lifeguard course, recertified my WSI certificate, and completed all the First Aid courses necessary. I then spent one full year lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons – during the summer months I would spend 6 hours a day in the pool teaching! Needless to say, I caught bronchitis a couple of times, but aside from that, I absolutely loved it. There is nothing better than watching a child’s face light up with delight when they realize they are able to float/glide/swim for the first time. I miss teaching lessons every day. I left this role once I completed university and moved away in 2010.

From then, I didn’t get in the pool very often – maybe once a year, or I would go swim laps a couple of times in the same month and then give up on it. Last year for my birthday, my boyfriend bought me a swim pass, as I had been mentioning how much I would like to get back in the water. I used it a few times that winter, but stopped going again.

With this round of BBG (round 4!) I am incorporating at minimum two lane swims per week into my schedule. While I enjoy the BBG resistance workouts and the classes I take, swimming doesn’t feel like exercising to me. It’s the one and only time I am really, truly, able to shut off my mind. I just SWIM. This is so important for me – I tend to be the person whose brain goes a mile a minute at all times. I can’t even stop thinking during savasana in yoga.

My friend Meghan gave me a pair of waterproof headphones and iPod from Audioflood as a thank you/ early birthday gift a month ago, and I have been utilizing this every single swim since! With the addition of music pumping through my head during my 45-minute swim, I can really let go and just swim. I’ve stopped counting laps, it’s just me, my music, and my Garmin (I log all my workouts with my Garmin Vivosmart HR to track my heart rate and calories burnt).

I also tend to do at least one of my two weekly HIIT’s in the pool. I do use flippers, but I swim 20:20 sprints – 20 second 25m sprint, 20 second rest. I do this 10-15 times and my heart rate gets right up there, but it is SUCH a great way to get this in without being too hard on any of my joints, and really, I’ve never been a runner so 30:30 sprints on the treadmill are by far not my favorite thing.

It’s so important to find something you LOVE and to incorporate it into your routine. Swimming does counts as LISS – I’ve tracked it enough times now to ensure that my heart rate is in that perfect LISS zone (other than when I do my HIIT part of course). So while I add it on top of my walking LISS, I really could count it there.

When you find something that you’re passionate about, you enjoy, and you can shut your brain off, you are so much more likely to actually go do it.So whether it be swimming, running, walking, skipping, etc., find your passion, find your happy place, and get out and sweat.