Updated: Jan 11
Most persons who reach out to me for details about Pool Aerobics want to know if participating in classes will make them lose weight.
My answer is always the same. Pool Aerobics is a great exercise option to help you to achieve your goals, however you won’t achieve your desired results if you don’t make changes to your food intake.
The key for healthy, long-term weight loss, muscle gain and overall weight management is to use BOTH diet & exercise. No one enjoys hearing this.
Let's start with the fun; EXERCISE
Pool Aerobics is a cardiovascular exercise option which incorporates resistance training as the muscles have to work against the water, improving muscular endurance and strength.
Cardiovascular workouts elevate your heart rate and the greater your heartbeat, the more fat you’ll burn.
Exciting studies by Horowitz and Klein (2000) indicate physiological and metabolic adaptations occur with cardiovascular exercise that distinctively enhance fat metabolism!
1. An increase in cardiovascular exercise increases oxygen delivery (via blood flow) and extraction system (via capilarization*) which helps cells burn fat more efficiently.
2. An increase in cardiovascular exercise enhances sensitivity of muscle and fat cells to adrenaline, which leads to an improved release of fatty acids (disassembled triglycerides from their glycerol backbone structure) into the blood and within the muscle (where fat is in its triglyceride storage form).
3. An increase in cardiovascular exercise augments circulatory blood flow system which aids in the delivery of fatty acids to the muscle to be used as fuel.
4. An increase in cardiovascular exercise improves the specialized protein transporters that move the fatty acids into the muscle cell, making the fat more readily available for fuel.
5. An increase in cardiovascular exercise increases in the amount of fatty acids allowed to enter the muscle, making more fat available for fuel.
6. An increase in cardiovascular exercise results in a meaningful increase in the number & size of mitochondria. The mitochondrion is the only place in a cell where fat is oxidized. It is the cell's "fat burning furnace."
7. An increase in cardiovascular exercise increases the oxidative enzymes that "speed up" the break down of fatty acids molecules to be used during aerobic exercise.
*Capilarization is the formation of an increase in capillaries surrounding muscles. This formation is due to aerobic exercise.
That is, consistent, progressively challenging aerobic exercise will truly develop our body's to be much better "fat burners" over time.
Resistance training fires up your metabolism and builds lean muscle mass, which results in burning more calories, not only during exercise, but also at rest. Many persons on low-calorie or fasting programmes complain of plateauing, which scientists have recognised to be a fall in their resting metabolism. Research by Bryner and colleagues (1999) has demonstrated that one of the most important benefits of resistance exercise in a weight loss program is the preservation of muscle mass, even on very low-calorie diets. Resistance training is one of the best protective interventions to maintain, or even increase, your resting metabolic rate.
Now let’s get into what no one wants to talk about...
As someone who has battled with my body image and had 25 years of various weight-loss-muscle-gain journeys, I have found than any scientifically proven healthy diet plan you stick to WILL work. Many of us need restrictive diets & strict programmes to kick-start our journey to our new lifestyle. However, I believe that over the long term the best thing is to focus on nourishing your body instead of restricting it. Persons who do this tend to sustain results for their lifetime.
There are many scientifically proven healthy diet plans out there. The most popular, easy diets that seem to work effectively for majority of persons are low-carb programmes. A low-carb, whole-food diet is perfect for people who need to lose weight, optimize health, and lower their risk of disease.
It’s flexible, allowing you to fine-tune your carbohydrate intake depending on your goals. These diets are generally high in vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, fruits, nuts, and fats but low in starches, sugars, and processed foods.
Benefits of a low-carb diet
- Reduced appetite
Eating more fibre, protein and fat makes us feel more satisfied after
eating. This reduces our appetite, calorie intake & the likelihood of
- Lower belly fat
Visceral fat tends to lodge around your organs. Excess visceral fat is
associated with inflammation and insulin resistance. As per studies by Jeff S.
Volek, PhD., RD., F.A.C.N. low-carb diets are very effective at reducing
harmful abdominal fat. A greater proportion of the fat people lose on low-
carb diets comes from the abdominal cavity. Over time, this should lead to a
drastically reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels
Studies prove that cutting carbs lowers both blood sugar and insulin levels
drastically. Some people with diabetes who begin a low-carb diet need to
reduce their insulin dosage by 50% almost immediately.
In studies done by Dr William Samuel Yancy Jr., MHS, in people with type 2
diabetes, 95% had reduced or eliminated their glucose-lowering medication
within six months.
If you take blood sugar medication, talk to your doctor before making
changes to your carb intake, as your dosage may need to be adjusted to
- Reduced risk of heart disease
Triglycerides are fat molecules that circulate in your bloodstream. As per findings by Dr. Yamil Wady Aude, FACC when people cut carbs, they tend to experience a very dramatic reduction in blood triglycerides. Another interesting finding is that low-fat diets often cause triglycerides to increase, which leads into our discussion on the Keto diet!
In 2020, “keto” was the most Googled food-related topic in the world with 25.4 million searches. Keto remained popular throughout 2021
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally carbohydrates in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is important in fueling brain function. But if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies, the latter passing into the brain and replacing glucose as an energy source.
How Raquel lost 77lbs!
Raquel Collins called me for information about Pool Aerobics on January 15th, 2020 & attended her first Pool Aerobics with Kim session the next day. She's been a regular participant ever since! It has been an absolute pleasure watching her weight-loss journey & I was extremely excited to interview her about it.
Q When did your weight-loss journey start?
A It started with my first Pool Aerobics class
Q What made you embark on this journey?
A On my 40th birthday, October 2019, a friend of mine said to me "Raquel,
40 is a bitch! Most of your health problems start in your 40s!".
With that I decided to combat that by focusing on my health. With the new year as the starting point I decided I was going to become a healthier me!
Q Did you have a specific goal in mind?
A At that point, just to be healthy. I consulted my doctor and had an
executive profile done to ensure all was well, then I started Pool Aerobics
By Easter 2020 I had noticed changes in my body. In November 2020 I set
myself a target goal weight of 185lbs. I dropped processed sugar and
carbohydrates, but I still enjoyed low-carb fruits. I was a BIG sugar fan and
I always knew it isn't healthy for you overall. Cutting processed sugar was
just a step further on my journey.
During August of this year I decided to give the Keto diet a try. A friend of
mine was actually on keto & I saw where it worked for her. She
recommended it to me, and I thought, why not?
Q What was the hardest part?
A Being disciplined with the exercise was so hard! Getting started with
exercising was truly the hardest part, but once I got into it I was hooked.
Now if I miss a class, I feel bad. I feel a way.
Q Was there anything easier than you expected?
A I'm a strong-willed person person. I made up my mind. Once I make up my
mind to do something it's easy. Coming to the decision was the hardest
part. Once I did that, the rest was easy.
Q What kept you motivated?
A My waist beads! Initially I didn't use a scale. How my waist beads would fit
and needed to be adjusted would allow me to gauge my progress. Also
trying on clothes I hadn't worn in a long time and seeing how they fit was
Q What are "waist beads"?
A Waist beads are a traditional West African accessory that consist of small
glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips. The beads
fall lower on your waist as you shed inches and pounds and roll higher on
your waist when as you gain weight. So when my waist beads were falling
off and I had to tighten them again, and again I know I was progressing in
the right direction consistently.
Q What has been your greatest achievement so far?
A Surpassing my target goal weight of 185lbs. I'm now 179lbs!
Q Were there any setbacks?
A Yes! During April 2020 the Prime Minister imposed a 17 day lockdown on
St. Catherine in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. I couldn't come to
Kingston to do Pool Aerobics during this time. However I did find it quite
easy to stick to eating well.
Q What do you love most about exercising?
A Initially it was just exercise.
Now it's MY ME-TIME that I really look forward to!
Q What do you least enjoy about exercise?
A I can tell you what type of class I don't like! I'm NOT a weights person so I
don't like when you give us a dumbbell workout. I love the cardio-focused
classes. This summer I also added spinning twice a week to my exercise
schedule. I'm really enjoying that as well.
Q Knowing what you know now and having achieved the success you have, is
there anything you would have done differently, or any advice you would
have given yourself?
A I realise that once I made up my mind to do it, I did it. I should have
started sooner, but nothing before its time.
Q Are you happier with yourself now?
A No! I was never unhappy with myself! I was me and I am me! I haven't
Q Is there any advice you'd give to others with similar goals who are facing
obstacles, struggles, and not getting any support from friends or family?
A Be true to yourself. Other people will always try to tell you what to do. Find
what works for YOU and stick to it!
Q You have a husband and three kids right? How did you manage to alter
your eating patterns and accommodate the rest of your family?
A Can I tell you how hard that was! Oh my gosh! That was REALLY a
challenge! Some things I would cook and everyone would eat. Other
things... "Lawd mummy! No mummy!" is all I heard.
So, I had to cook different meals for myself separate from for my family.
Honestly, you'd think it would, but it didn't make cooking harder. But I
definitely had to plan!
Q Favourite exercise?
A Pool aerobics wall classes!
Q Favourite health food?
A Ooo! I'm between yogurt with chia seeds & berries... or...
lasagna with broccoli or cauliflower replacing the lasagne.
Q Favourite cheat food?
A JELLY BEANS!!!!!
Q Will you be continuing this lifestyle into 2022?
A I'll NEVER stop exercising! In terms of diet, Keto is not something I plan to
stay on forever. I've already slowly started to ease in some carbohydrates
such as sweet potato & yam. I will try to stick to avoiding processed sugar;
processed carbohydrates on a whole.
Q On the heels of Christmas, is there any advice you would like to give
persons on their health-gain or weight-loss journey about surviving special
A December is a double-whammy for me, as my anniversary is just two days
after Christmas. During this time, if I want cake, I'm gonna have cake! If I
want a sugary cocktail, I'm drinking it! Whatever it is when the year is
done, it is what it is. I'll be back on track with the start of the new year!
Also, for special occasions during the year, I plan for them. So if I know I'm
going to dinner with friends, I have a salad for lunch. That gives me more
leeway at dinner.
A very big thank you to Mrs Raquel Collins for taking the time to share her story with us.
The New Year is always a great time to embark on a new diet and exercise programme because it is inherently a time of great hope and optimism. This positive view of the future, in turn, tends to motivate action. Be honest with yourself and set achievable targets. Happy New Year! All the best for 2022!