Take Your Resistance Training to a New Level: The Pool

by Shelby Deal

If you’ve visited the aquatics department at the HAC, then you’ve probably met Sydney Wolfe. As HAC’s new aquatics director and swim lesson coordinator, she’s in the aquatics office, on the pool deck, or in the water almost every day. Her athletic training degrees and work experience in rehab centers focusing on pre-and-post operation therapy have helped her teach a wide variety of swim lesson participants.

Since the pandemic, Sydney has become a workout junkie and lost over 100 pounds with the help of the “FIT Fam” she has found through small group classes with Rachel Evans. These classes were a big inspiration for the new aquatic cross-training classes now offered at HAC. Sydney has recently become an ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) certified personal trainer to teach these aqua fitness classes.

How to ACT

Sydney’s new Small Group Personal Training (SGPT) courses are called ACT, or Aquatic Cross-Training, classes. Designed for both kids and adults, these SGPT courses provide an excellent opportunity for anyone to change up their routine. They are also ideal for people who have finished physical therapy and want a guided reentry to exercise.

They offer the intensity of other small-group classes while allowing participants to work at their own pace.
The adult class, ACT Strength, is intended to do just that: build strength. One of the main ways that this class builds muscle is through water resistance. The class will rotate through circuits in the water and utilize various pieces of equipment such as water weights, bands, and theraballs, to push and pull against the water. It combines variety and fun to keep participants guessing throughout their workout.

Sydney also offers youth ACT classes! These ACT classes are aimed at children ages nine and up and are held in the catch pool. They aim to increase agility, stamina, strength, and balance through a workout that utilizes all areas of the pool, including the deck. Youth ACT is an excellent cross-training option that combines in-water and on-land exercises for overall health and can develop a life-long love of fitness.

Water Works for You

If you think that these classes sound harder than you thought they’d be, don’t worry! While the exercises used in the ACT classes are modified versions of on-land workouts, the water will help you get going. Certain exercises are much easier in the water than on land, which is another thing that makes this class great for people just starting out. Many movements are made easier through the buoyancy that water provides, and water is much more forgiving on joints, sore muscles, or injuries than dry land.

The most significant benefit of these classes is that anyone can join in on the fun. Sydney said that she would have taken ACT classes if they were available to her when she started her physical fitness journey. “As much as I love the FIT classes, I hate sweating. In the water, you don’t feel it.”

More than SGPT

Ultimately, these small group classes aim to help members enjoy a new fitness routine while adding to the sense of community that the HAC provides. ACT can help people who are new to SGPT to gain confidence in their bodies as they work their way through the classes. Participants will push one another to their limits while finding a new ACT family along the way.

Anyone can take these classes. One of the goals of any small-group class is to have a good time while exercising safely, and this goes for the ACT courses, too.

Along with the group ACT classes, Sydney’s scope and credentials extend to working with individuals looking to prepare and/or recover from surgery, injured clients, youth athletes, and those looking for weight management. She is excellent with special needs individuals and would love to work with kids and adults in private settings.

“Sydney’s aquatics class was awesome! She took careful attention to choreographing the workout sequence, so it was challenging and worked all muscle groups. It was a great workout–so much fun, too. I love Sydney’s positivity and energy level, plus she gives clear motivating guidance in class. I definitely recommend her class!” -Debbie F., Adult ACT Strength

“If you’re looking to shake up your routine and challenge yourself, you should give ACT with Sydney a try! I’m not much of a swimmer, but I really enjoyed the change of scenery and the variety of exercises and equipment. It was challenging and fun. Working out in the deep end doesn’t disappoint–it really gets your heart rate up!” – Heather H., Adult ACT Strength

“The ACT class with Miss Sydney was so much fun–a perfect combination of land and water exercises. I especially loved jumping on and off the platform in the pool and balancing and running in the water. Miss Sydney was very helpful in explaining how to do the activities correctly and also played fun music, so I really enjoyed her class.” – Anna K. (9), Youth ACT

“Once Sydney informed me of her new aquatic strength class, I knew I had to try it. The class exceeded my expectations! It was a unique type of training that was surprisingly harder than it looked. Sydney made sure to explain all the moves and benefits and kept the class fun & high energy the whole time. This is a class I look forward to adding to my rotation.” – Kehinde U., Adult ACT Strength

“Ms. Sydney’s ACT youth aquatics class is very fun. I think that it’s fun because you’re exercising, but in the water, and to me that’s fun. Ms. Sydney is also a really good teacher because she has you working at your best but also has a conversation with you. Ms. Sydney’s class is very cool because you’re experiencing things in the water that you normally do out of the water. Her classes are very fun because you’re working hard to good music in the pool.” – Miranda T. (11), Youth ACT.

“I really like the class because it makes you stronger, and the teacher is really fun! – Grace G. (9), Youth ACT

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