One month ago, I switched from swimming to Laurie Denomme’s WECOACH Workouts. It was a small change, but it made all the difference in my fitness.

At the end of April, I assigned myself this simple task: to follow the WECOACH Workouts Everyday Cardio 1.0 28 day calendar of water exercises that coach Laurie Denomme rolled out with this latest in the WECOACH Workouts subscription series. Each 50-minute class of jogging, skiing, jumping jacks, and arm and leg sweeps engages the entire body for pain relief, heart health, stronger bones, and better balance.

To be honest, it didn’t feel like a big commitment: I was already in the pool three days a week, doing WECOACH Workouts once and swimming twice, and walking, running, biking, and stretching on non-pool days. My intent was to model what subscribers to Laurie’s programs are advised to do, and, as a result, spend more time with my head out of the pool and talking and laughing with my water exercise buddies. We call ourselves The Mermaids. We’ve been following WECOACH Workouts for nearly a year, and we keep showing up because it’s fun.

So, for the past thirty days, I did WECOACH Workouts three days a week without missing a workout.

But I wasn’t expecting a result. To do so would have been greedy.

Four years ago, I emerged from an Amsterdam ICU having survived a ruptured aneurysm but robbed of all my muscle. It took me six more weeks to be able to stand up and walk onto the airplane home. 

By the end of 2019, I was climbing stairs unassisted and able to do freestyle strokes the pool. Just when I felt ready to resume life, the pandemic hit, but our rescue Lab, Kumba, and I walked, then hiked, then trotted. My husband and I biked. I swam and did High Intensity Interval Training in the pool. I celebrated my anniversary of being alive.

Then, I reconnected with Laurie, a mentor during my fitness teaching career, and became a WECOACH Workouts subscriber, interspersing the classes in between swimming laps. Neighbors joined me at the pool—evolving into a lovely group we’ve named The Mermaids—and I shared Laurie’s classes with them, swimming while they followed Laurie on my poolside iPad. A month ago, I swapped out Laurie’s workouts for my laps. 

I wasn’t expecting results. But then, during a recent bike ride, I realized that my body was humming with a new fitness. As if, four years into this long rehabilitation, I had taken a giant step forward in my physical health. 

It felt like my body was experiencing what psychologist Bruce W. Tuckman called the fourth, and most productive, stage of group development: performing. After the chaos of illness (“forming”), then early recovery (“forming”), and settling into a routine (“norming”), I was stepping out onto the stage completely ready for anything. Leaner. Stronger. Ready to perform.

Maybe it would have happened without Laurie’s coaching, eventually. Maybe WECOACH Workouts’ patented seven foot positions and six directional movements—along with intensity, focus on the “feel good” range, and continuous focus on form—got me over this last hurdle. Maybe it was the collective goodwill of The Mermaids.

All I know is that I changed one thing a month ago, and I am standing taller and fitter, ready for what life has in store for me. And so, choreographer as I once was, I decided to create a dance using my old walker as a ballet barre. It is the most meaningful performance of my life. 

My celebration dance.

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