Getting fit on my own doesn’t work for me. I can paddle heaps because I am usually paddling with another 5 people and have a commitment to my crew. However, some forms of waka ama, like sprints, require a greater cardio fitness.
I’ve done it before (at 65)
Before going to Outwards Bound 2 years ago I attended Boot Camp (at Primal Fit) 2 nights a week for 10 weeks. Jace, who runs Primal Fit, is a waka ama paddler so I felt in really good hands with someone who knows what I need in my sport. I kept it up after I got back, lost heaps of weight, but at the end of the year I felt burnt out. I hurt my back and never went back to Boot Camp. Over the next 12 months I steadily gained weight. I was paddling regularly, but I was not all that cardio fit.
Stepping up to sprints
Then came a call to join a Golden Masters Womens’ Sprint crew with the Wakatipu Waka Ama club. I tried doing exercises at home, going for walks, but I couldn’t seem to get the regularity happening. I was paddling 4 to 6 times a week with one of these paddles being a long distance paddle (25 to 44km). However, it wasn’t enough because I wasn’t training with my sprint crew (who are scattered between Invercargill, Queenstown, Nelson, Whangarei and the very Far North). Something had to change.
Let’s try Boxing
I decided to take up Jace’s boxing class on a Monday night. Boy, did that lift the cardio! And I survived, and felt quite good afterwards. I started to notice a difference on my long distance paddles. Suddenly I was feeling a lot stronger in the waka. So I started to think that perhaps, even at my age (67), I could go back to boot camp.
Back to Boot Camp
So I took the plunge. I dropped an evening paddle and went to back to boot camp for one night a week. It is working for me. I work as hard as I can. It is cardio and strength building and its fun. There are quite a few people from my club going so it turns into a social event as well. I don’t do the running up the hill anymore, but I can walk briskly and, if we go far enough, run down the track through the gum trees.
I like this. It’s working for me. I think it is the ‘social-ness’ of it that helps me stick with it, plus the structured and supervised programme. I don’t have to think “am I doing it right?”, Jace is there to supervise. I pay in advance and so I am committed to going. I am feeling fitter and more able to cope with the ‘on the water’ training we are needing to do to get up to speed for sprinting.
Grab a Buddy
My advice is to find something that you find fun, or get a social buz out of. Buddy up and keep each other on track; get a personal trainer, go to boot camp, yoga on the beach, but get out there. As Nike say “Just do it”.