Erica E. Wilson, Triple Delight Instructor
Tell us why you started your fitness journey?
At age 27 I weighed over 200 pounds after the birth of my beautiful second daughter. Realizing it was time to make a change, I began exercising at a fitness club in Maryland with my sister. It was lots of fun; the choreographed executed moves that were great – urban style! During that time, my job, Department of the Navy-civilian, advocated active duty military and civilians should stay healthy and fit! I became an aggressive member of the fitness program by taking advantage of FREE gym usage and group exercise classes! Instructors were needed to keep the lunchtime group exercise classes going on a regular basis, so I volunteered. At about the same time, my church began it’s first Fitness Ministry, and I served as the Fitness Director. While teaching land group exercise classes (step and hi/low aerobics) at work and in the evenings at church, I was burning more calories than I was consuming and began to lose weight. Later, I passed the exams and earning my group exercise certifications in Step and Primary Aerobics. That was the beginning.
Aqua classes seems to be your choice of exercise. Why?
Over the years, I became a multi-talented group exercise instructor, certified in Kickboxing, Interval and Circuit Training, Yoga, Pilates, Strength Training and Stretch/Relaxation. As time moved on, I began experiencing pain in my knee due to deterioration of the cartilage surrounding my knee (Chondromalacia). My sports medicine doctor highly recommended aquatic fitness to prolong the life of my knee. The rest is history. I’ve been heavily involved in aquatic fitness for 15 years now.
Aqua is really refreshing whether drinking or for exercising. Does water really benefit our mind, body and soul?
Absolutely! Whether teaching a “power” water aerobics class or participating aggressively on your own in a hydrodynamic environment, water brings about a calm within. Other aquatic programming such as Yoqua and Aqualaties aids in providing a soothing balm for the body. Basic stretches, while fully submerged, aids in total wellness. Having the right kind of music adds even more relaxation for the mind, body and soul!
Is intensity, speed or control most important in an aqua classes?
While these are important, ensuring form is correct when executing the moves in the water is crucial. I want to also be sure my own body is in alignment when I’m teaching from the deck. In an effort to maximize your work out whether participating in speed drills, vigorous cardiovascular hydro activity or pumping the spa bells in slower concentrated movements, you must always be sure your form is correct to prevent injury.
There are so many different aqua classes now days. What do you think about hydrospin, aqua pole, aqua tabata, deep water and of course regular water aerobics?
I have taught all these formats except pole. However, I have been a participant in a pole class and loved it! They are all great variations of exercises that can be executed in the water and provide a solid cross training experience! In comparison, it is the same as taking a land kickboxing class and cross training by taking a land Zumba class, only aqua cross training is better because there is very little stress on the joints in shallow water and zero stress on the joints in deep water!
Did I leave out any other types of aquatic programming?
Well, there is Aqua Kickboxing, Aquatic Drills & Skills, Abs & Glutes, Strength & Toning, Aqua Pilates, Aqua Tai Chi, Aqua Circuit Training and Aqua Zumba.
I love the water. What in your opinion is the best type of water class to take?
I can’t express enough just how much I enjoy working out in deep! I get a fantastic core workout! The core must always be engaged because there is no pool bottom to push off from. My abdominals are being strengthened the entire time! Total suspension excites me, and I kick it in deep! Using my entire body, creating inertia while using drag equipment is the ultimate challenge!
What advice can you give someone about taking a water class in the wintertime?
Good question! I would recommend starting an aquatic program during the summer months. By the time winter sets in, you will be used to your schedule and hopefully continue aquatic fitness through the winter months. Do not use the cold weather as an excuse to discontinue your health and wellness program. Simply bundle up after showering, and you will be good to go! Your body will thank you when the Spring and Summer months emerge as you begin peeling off the winter layers! My advice….never stop your aquatic workout, not even in the winter time. Be true to yourself!
How would you encourage someone who would like to take a water class but says they are afraid of the water?
This has actually happened to me on more than one occasion. Initially, I would not recommend taking a deep water class if a person is afraid of water. Although you do not need to know how to swim to be a participant in a shallow or deep water class, not being afraid of water is certainly an advantage. I would see where the students’ comfort level is in the water, whether they feel a need to hold on to the side of the pool (in deep) or if there is a little hesitation. With time, perhaps they will have the courage to move away from the wall (in shallow or deep) and try to work out farther in the water to execute the moves. Hopefully, they will begin to relax and start moving with confidence. Eventually they will increase their intensity while maintaining form and really reap the dividends of a challenging aquatic workout!
While you are passionate about water classes, do you have other type of classes you plan to in the future?
Yes, my goal is to obtain an American Council on Sports Medicine (ACSM) certification. Right now, I am undecided as to which discipline.
Where can we take classes that you instruct?
I teach a high energy cardiovascular shallow water aerobics class! I mix it with sculpting/toning using spa bells and noodles to add more “flavor” to the work out! Come and join me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the William H. Rumsey Aquatic Center, 635 North Capitol Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, 20003! firstname.lastname@example.org
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