Summer is in full swing, and whether you like to head to the pool or to the beach, it’s time to suit up. What better way to get in shape and feel great in your bathing suit than to work out in it? Read on as our blogger takes on Aqua Tone – and discovers how fun a pool workout can be.For more than a decade, gyms and facilities with pools have offered traditional water aerobics. More recently, an expanded range of water classes such as Aqua Zumba, water yoga, and even water jogging have gained popularity. Celebrity trainer and fitness instructor Sandy Campanella a/k/a Sandy Campy, pictured, now adds Aqua Tone to the mix, an innovative water workout that brings a new dimensions of underwater weight training to the H2O exercise enthusiast.
Despite being in her 50s and a mother of three, Sandy has the body of a fit 20-year-old. Certified to teach many forms of group fitness and with 20 years in the business, it’s easy to see why celebrities like Jennifer Love Hewitt turn to Sandy for their physical conditioning. During Aqua Tone, 90% of your body weight is supported, so this workout is easy on your joints while providing twice the resistance of land-based exercises.
I recently headed to Sandy’s private pool in Los Angeles to dip my toe in the world of Aqua Tone, and after one class, I was hooked. Sandy’s positive energy is contagious, and I found her gentle, warm spirit to be reassuring as we students plunged into a challenging hour of non-stop motion in the pool. The whole class is choreographed to an upbeat soundtrack of fun, popular music to keep the energy up.
Sandy employs weights for the first half of class. Each student needs a set of floating barbells, specially made for us in the water and easily purchased from a company called Sporti. After a brief warm up of traditional dance and aerobic moves in the water, we picked up our barbells and got to work on strength training. I was surprised at how difficult it was just to press and hold the barbells down in the water. The weights seem to want to pop up and float so the challenge of keeping them submerged immediately engages your arms, shoulders, chest, back and abs.
Simultaneously doing a variety of arm exercises with the weights in the water, we kept our feet moving constantly, skiing, lunging, or doing jumping jacks, scissor kicks, jumps, and squats. We then moved on to core work, with exercises such as keeping your arms straight, pushing down the barbells, and pulling your legs up straight toward the surface of the water. We then did sets of jogging in the water, pumping the weights.
Finally we put down the weights and picked up a noodle. We embarked on a series of laps, each lap focusing on toning different muscle groups while emphasizing cardiovascular endurance. Finally, the cool down and stretch used the noodle to elongate those muscle groups that we worked so hard during class. As an added bonus, during the warm-up and first few exercises, you aren’t breathing too hard to chat, and students often discuss nutrition tips and advice for healthy living. Last week Sandy described a breakfast recipe for a delicious almond milk chia pudding.
There are similar classes to Aqua Tone appearing on the fitness scene all over the country. Sandy explains that working out in the water has a natural detox effect in addition to burning calories and reshaping your body. This workout is safe for pregnant women or anyone with an injury looking for an intense workout without joint pressure. So grab some water weights, and cool down in the pool while you turn up the heat on your workout. And when you’ve completed your workout, as Sandy says to close each of her sessions, “bow down to your fabulous self!”
Want the skinny on more unique fitness class options? Check out our features on Skyrobics and Piloxing.