Getting Swim Fit

Have you been itching to get back in the water after years of dry feet? Are you new to swimming and just don’t know where to start? Have you signed up for a triathlon and need to get back into the pool for those fun squad sessions?

The most incredible thing about swimming is that it is for every walk of life. It doesn’t matter what you look like, how old you are, how fit you are, or how big you are, swimming covers everyone’s wants and needs. Regardless of your ability, technique or experience, everyone can swim. Swimming is a low impact, aerobic exercise that everyone benefits from.

Element Swimming’s Head Coach, Ben Geard, has given us a few helpful tips below on how to get back into the pool and incorporate swimming into you fitness routine.


  1. Grab some gear. It may sound a little silly, but before you get ready to take your first dive, ensure you have the correct equipment to help you along. Ideally you will have swimwear that fits correctly so you aren’t needing to pull everything back into place after your first dive. Once you have that covered, invest in some goggles and a swim cap (especially for those with lots of hair). Then you have the option of handy equipment for your swim that can help mix your laps up a bit, such as fins, a kick board and a pull-buoy.
  2. Start slow. If you haven’t been swimming for a while, be sure to start out slow and steady. Swim fitness is easy to gain, but also easy to lose. If it’s been a good chunk of time since your last swim, be sure you take it easy so you don’t scare yourself out of your next swim before you’re even out of the pool the first time round. Start off by swimming some easy laps with plenty of rest in between. Don’t forget about your fins, kickboard and pull-buoy. These will help give you a bit of variety throughout each swim while working on different parts of your body. Don’t forget about breaststroke, backstroke and the all-time favourite butterfly to keep things interesting.
  3. Build your routine. Don’t overdo it by setting your expectations of swim training for every day of the week. Start with just once or twice times a week, and if you feel you need more, then gradually add the extra days in over time.
  4. Swimming Fitness South BrisbaneSet realistic goals. Don’t discourage yourself by setting unrealistic goals. There are plenty of different targets to set in swimming that don’t just include how fast you can go. Think about mastering your technique and efficiency, or how many laps you can do without taking a break. Make sure you avoid increasing your weekly distance by more than 10%. This will not only give you a good indication of your improvement, but it will also help avoid injury.
  5. Join a Squad. Now this is what makes swimming fun and social. Find a swim pool with a great coach, fun group of like-minded people and times that suit your schedule. This can truly help with your motivation and personal accountability. This is a great way to further improve your technique, fitness and meet some new people.

Don’t forget to stretch and release. Before and after each session make sure you prioritise stretching, and be sure to do regular releases in between your sessions. This is great recovery and will help in preventing you getting tight, especially in the neck, shoulders and back.

Barefooter Aidan has his ABC’s down pat – Ambos, Bikes and Coffee

Healthy Lifestyle PhysiotherapyAidan Jeffes is a true Barefooter. He leans in to all areas of his life; be it his passion for motorbike riding, perfecting latte art or becoming a paramedic. Not to mention he spends almost as much time at the Red Brick House as we do! He is always early to his appointments to allow lots of chill out time in the Lounge Room. Aidan is continually improving his bike, his life and the lives of those around him. We sat down with him, to learn more about what makes this Barefooter tick.

  1. You have spent time as part of the St John’s Ambulance service and have also just been accepted into Paramedics and Nursing course. Tell us more about your adventures with St John’s and what you are most looking forward to in your new degree?
    I’ve been part of the volunteer first aid side of St. John since about the middle of 2013. At the time I didn’t really have an interest in the health field, and my friend convinced me it would be a fun, fulfilling, and interesting hobby. She was 110% correct.Aidan Jeffes 4On one occasion, I was doing first aid with St. John at the annual army cadet camp up in Tin Can Bay. While they were shooting, they asked us to be there just in case something happened. As my colleague and I were sitting there watching we were debating if we should ask to have a go, at that exact point the detachment commander came up and asked if we wanted to shoot. So we did. I scored pretty high, 93/100, and my colleague scored 78/100 from memory.After about the first year with St Johns, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the health field, particularly Paramedicine and Emergency Nursing. In December 2016 I finally received an offer to study the dual degree. I think I am most looking forward to the challenge that can be presented by this field, especially because every patient I will see will be different. I also look forward to meeting so many new people and hearing about what drew them into the health field.
  2. Most weekends you can be found motorbike riding all over Queensland. Tell us about some of your favourite rides and what it is you love about getting out on the bike?Aidan Jeffes 2Just about every weekend I can be found out in the Gold Coast Hinterland riding with my neighbour. Our usual Sunday route is up Tambourine Mountain, then along Beechmont, then out towards Natural Bridge. The final part towards Natural Bridge is my favourite riding road that I’ve come across so far. I think my other favourite ride is a big day long adventure I had with my friend a few months ago, it was basically all off road all through D’Aguilar National Park, it was hard work, but so much fun exploring, and the scenery was just incredible too. The thing that draws me to motorcycling is the freedom. There is nothing between you and the outside world and you get to experience everything about every journey (Even if it means getting wet in the rain… NOT FUN!), and I also find it a really good stress relief because it focuses your mind on one thing, riding.
  3. You currently work at Starbucks- what is your favourite order to make and your favourite order to drink and why?I actually really enjoy making lattes, there is just something about getting the perfect milk texture combined with really well poured shots that is just so satisfying. Plus then you get to do some fancy latte art, which in my case is usually just a heart because I don’t know how to do anything else yet. My personal favourite drink to have myself is super specific, it is a Iced Quad Ristretto half Single Origin roast, half Normal Espresso, Hazelnut Latte. Needless to say I usually just make it myself.Aidan Jeffes 3

Race day ready!

Running Race Ready Most people put a lot of time and effort into preparing their body for a goal race. This is great, however not having a plan for race day can mean you don’t run to your full potential and may end up feeling disappointed. That’s where these ‘top tips’ come in handy! As an eight-time Australian representative runner, I have done my fair share of ‘race-day’ preparation and have compiled my thoughts on how to have your best race possible. These are written from my perspective as a 400m runner, however they are applicable from shorter track races up to marathon.

  • TaperYou need to ‘taper’. This means that the week leading into your race, your training should be lighter than normal. Depending on how much running you normally do and how far your goal race is, will determine how many days out you start your taper and how much you run during your taperDon’t do too little though. Just as a taper is important, doing nothing for a few days leading upto your race can make your legs feel ‘heavy’. It is often best to head out 1-2 days before your race and do a short, easy run (about 5 minutes if doing a 5km race), some gentle stretching and 3-5 x 50-100m runs just a bit faster than your intended racing pace
  • NutritionWhile we have all heard of ‘carb loading’, it is often not necessary for races shorter than a half marathon, so no need to binge on pasta. If you think a carb loading is necessary for your race, it is best to consult a sport dietician to establish a protocol that is appropriate for you.What is more important, is eating healthy balanced meals for the week leading into your race. This continual input of nutrients will help your body be at its best come race day, and also minimise any negative effects if you are too nervous to eat on the day of competing. Most road races start early in the morning, so it is ideal to eat a good balanced meal the night before, with slightly more carbohydrates than usual. It is also a good idea to steer clear of any particularly strong flavours (eg garlic, chilli, curry) as these can upset the stomach with the added nerves of racing or be on your breathe the next morning which is not very pleasant!

    On race day morning it is best to have a light meal that is predominantly carbohydrates as this is more quickly digested by the body and less likely to upset your stomach. Some suggestions are cereal with milk, toast with jam or honey or fruit with a small amount of yoghurt. If you are doing a half marathon or longer, it is likely you will need to take some fuel on board during your race. It is best to consult a sports dietician a few months beforehand regarding this.

    Most of my races are in the afternoon or evening, so I generally have a chicken and salad sandwich on wholemeal bread 4 hours before racing and then a small serve of yoghurt and berries 2 hours before go-time.

  • Race Ready 3Hydration
    As with nutrition, it is important to be consciously hydrating for the week leading into your race as this will optimise your body’s function come race day and also avoid ‘over-hydrating’ the day before and spending all night in the bathroom. For 5km runs, it is often not necessary to take on fluid during your race. If you think you will need to drink during your race, it is a good idea to practice this in the lead up to ensure your stomach is comfortable with it
  • Sleep
    Most people can get nervous in the lead up to a race and it is very normal not to sleep well the night before. There is a lot of evidence that a few nights of poor sleep does not negatively impact on performance, so long as you don’t get stressed about it! Trying to sleep well for the week leading up to your race will also help limit any negative effects of a poor night sleepRunning Race Ready
  • Getting ready!
    I usually find it is best to set out my race outfit, race number with safety pins and pre-packed bag (towel, music, warm clothes etc) the night before racing. This helps me stay calm as I am confident everything is already prepared. Then it is a matter of working my time backwards. Know what time your race starts and decide how much before it you want to get there, how long will it take to get there (including any road closures occurring for the course), how long will it take you to get ready and how long beforehand do you want to eat. This helps create an easy timeline for when you need to wake up, eat and leave to minimise stress.I suggest arriving at the race start at least half an hour before. Allow extra time if it is unfamiliar environment, you need to park or you are dropping your bag off to the baggage tent (check beforehand that your race has this option!)
  • Warm up
    I recommend doing a warm up similar to the light session a few days before racing. A short, easy jog (only 1-2 minutes if doing a 5km), some gentle dynamic stretches and a few 50m runs at a faster pace. Give yourself time to do this (10-15 minutes), then 5 minutes to get to the start line ready to race!
  • Racing!
    Racing should be fun! Even if your goal is just to finish- know that you have worked hard to get to that point and deserve to enjoy the experience. Smile and appreciate all the other people around you who are also working hard to accomplish their goals. Be proud of yourself, regardless of the outcome

If you would like my help or have specific race day preparation questions, feel free to book a session or send me an email