Growing up I was scrawny and weak, and didn't know how to really exercise. Even other kids my age at least knew how to pick up a weight or something. Eventually I learned to doggy paddle, and then I took a swimming for fitness class in high school. That lead to me learning for the first time really the physical discipline.
The grit to push yourself past breaking points, and getting to the other side of the pool. For the most part it isn't about going from point A to point B, but rather HOW you get there.
At the end of that school year we all got told about the lifeguard opportunity with the city. I procrastinated as most teenagers do, and I also thought it was too late at one point. My grandmother insisted we call and check, and luckily we got me signed up for the training the day of!
A Jack of All Pool Trades
I started out as a lifeguard, and would guard the pool during swim lessons or other times. I would see these people interact with the kids, teaching them, and getting them all excited to swim. I thought to myself I want to do that, and the swim lesson boss at the time didn't think I had it in me. Probably because I was sort of a rule nazi when it came to guarding, as safety truly does come first.
One day he needed to cover for someone else, and so he had me take over a small class for a lesson. I did well and he kept me on to do it more. I taught all of the public lessons I could, and eventually started private lessons as well. Getting really good at both over time.
As a guard I would watch people swim, as an instructor I would teach others, and over that time it all compounded to a deeper knowledge in me too.
My third year in the pool, mind you it is a seasonal job and I stayed even in the winter, I asked my bosses to do more. I had a meeting with them in the office, and directly stated I wanted to become a pool manager and water aerobics instructor.
Pool managing came a little while later, and lasted for about a year or so due to a lack of communication from above. However water aerobics lasted for around six and half years at this point in time. I have just quit last November, 2021, as I was starting to burn out quite a bit! That will happen when you teach 5-13 classes a week for better half of a decade without breaks!
During that time I taught water boot camp, a harder version of aerobics, and Move Your Joints which was a more light weight movement/stretch class. My best memories were that of my students over the years, and sure they would change yearly. However many students would stay, and I was able to retain a lot too, and they became a part of my life.
I actually only stayed from 2020 to 2022 because of my boss and my students especially. I knew that after the quarantine most people were going to struggle to get back on track, so I came in to try and help them along.
Side note: I think it is funny that one of my lower bosses was the "aquatics specialist" which was someone who was above the rest of the staff to help coordinate, and could technically do any of the jobs. Yet by definition that would ACTUALLY be an Aquatics Generalist, which is what I became by the time I left the pool lol.
Dry as the Sun
I don't mean it as the work is dry, but rather now we are leaving the pool. I spent some time my 3rd/4th years being a fitness attendant in the gym as I wanted more hours. It didn't quite work like that, but at least it got me into another department. That same one that I would later work my way into thanks to the boss trusting my skills, and I would become a personal trainer. Something I have been doing for a few years now.
Not much to say on that beyond just continuing my education in exercise, as we can never stop learning! I have been teaching myself exercise for over a decade now, and I don't intend on stopping.
A New Phase of Content
I approach my online life, PolyInnovator, in the view of phases. Where I change the micro-focus over the time of my life. First came the self-education phase, and as that one is wrapping up I started Phase 2. The 2nd one is centered around what I call, Polymath Exercise, which is based on a cross-disciplinary model of exercising. At the start I am focusing on my biggest skill to offer the world, which is obviously swimming. I started a newsletter to build up an audience, and that series will lead up to the release of my How to Swim book (will continue after too)!
So depending on which platform you prefer, as you may already be a member here on the home site, or have a substack profile already.
Please I encourage you to sign up and start learning to swim, even if you know a lot already I am completely confident you'll learn something new eventually.
I distill the best parts of my book, my years of experience, and overall just things I believe would interesting into each newsletter update!