After three years, I finally decided to check out UTM’s pool. I heard some good things about the new hydrorider class, so I thought that might be a good place to start.
The hydrorider class is like a spinning class in the pool. The participant pedals underwater, while the upper part of the body stays above the surface. The intensity depends on how hard the participant is willing to push; the tension of the bike can be changed to increase the difficulty.
I had done a few different drop-in classes at the RAWC before, but this one was different—I didn’t feel sore or experience muscle pain after such a high-intensity workout. The class instructor, recent U of T graduate Andrew Griffith (who is also a DJ and a personal trainer at the RAWC), told me about the benefits of exercise in the pool as opposed to a casual workout in the gym. Going to the pool helps combat boredom. “It’s good to change things up,” he says. As well, the hydrorider class has a lower impact on the joints, and is particularly good for rehabilitating the knees, ankles, hips, and more, and hydroriding allows exercises that can’t be done in a regular spinning class, such as simultaneously working the legs and arms by pedalling on the bike and doing arm exercises in the water. The hydrorider class instructors include off-bike exercises using the water for buoyancy and resistance.
After the workout, Andrew usually stretches with class participants in the hot tub, which is good for the muscles since they are already warmed up and more elastic. The jets also massage certain areas of the body and relieve tension.
So what held me back from going to the pool for so long? Probably the fact that I didn’t want to take the time to change into a bathing suit—nor did I want anybody to see me in one. Boy, what a pleasant surprise when I saw that the trainer and other class participants were wearing t-shirts with their bathing suits! Many people are shy about using the pool because they are a little self-conscious, and Andrew is well aware of this. “I lead by example—and I wear a t-shirt,” he said. “It’s not a beach bod competition. I want everyone to feel comfortable in the class.”
The pool has allotted times for certain aquatic activities; hydrorider classes are held on Mondays (5 to 6 p.m.) and Wednesdays (12 to 1 p.m.).
For more information on hydrorider classes and other pool activities, visit the RAWC website: utm.utoronto.ca/athletics.