Transforming Fitness: A Journey with Fluid Running

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Alyssa Penson, and I am a devoted mom to two awesome kids, Zac and Olivia. I have always considered myself a very active person. I worked for over 20 years as a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and then as a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative. These professions certainly kept me on my toes, yet I always made sure to leave time for a workout, no matter what my daily duties entailed. Since high school, I have joined numerous gyms (I loved working out in group classes), running clubs, reformer classes at Pilates studios, bootcamp group classes in parking lots, and the hottest yoga classes. There was never a time in my life when exercise was not a priority.

What brought you to Fluid Running, and how long have you been doing it?

I found Fluid Running after tinkering with my own pool running for many years. After numerous hamstring and lower back injuries, I learned that pool workouts were not only the easiest on my joints but therapeutic as well. In January 2019, my dad saw a segment on a local morning show featuring Jennifer demonstrating the Fluid Running program. He immediately called me, “Alyssa, you must check out the Fluid Running Program with Coach Jennifer,” he exclaimed! I was so intrigued I had to try it. This took my boring pool jogging workouts to the next level. I have been hooked since that day! Living in Florida, I am so lucky that I can use the Fluid Running program in my very own backyard.

How did you incorporate it into your fitness routine? How often do you do it?

I incorporate Fluid Running into my daily routine. Especially on days I wake up with little aches or pains, they usually disappear by the time I finish a workout in the pool. Each morning, after dropping the kids at school, my first order of business is to get in the water for Fluid Running. Rain or shine (barring any lightning), that is where you can find me.

My husband often uses the program as well, more when he has an injury (typically golf-related).

I have also recruited some friends to do it with me as I truly believe it to be the best total body workout I have ever done. Fluid Running allows me to achieve that “runner’s high” without the pain! It has changed my life in the sense that it is my go-to workout that makes me feel better than any other form of exercise.

How has it impacted your overall health?

Overall, I believe this workout has changed the way I exercise, with benefits for my mental health as well. I have gained stamina as I am continually moving in the water. I have become stronger as water resistance is “800x denser than air,” so by doing movements such as big stride cross-country and big stride runs, I can really pump up muscle recruitment.

If I feel tired, this workout gives me energy for the day. And if I have an injury, most days it’s gone by the time I pop out of the pool. Mentally, I feel charged and ready to take on the day. Rather than feel drained or achy after a long workout, I feel invigorated and ready to face the day!

What’s your favorite thing about Fluid Running and your favorite workout?

My favorite thing about Fluid Running is that I can give 100% effort and work at my highest RPE (rate of perceived effort) without worrying about injuring my body. I also love that if I have any aches or pains, they tend to feel better after I complete a workout. In fact, I actually renamed it my “hydrotherapy” because, to me, that is what Fluid Running is.

This is also a great workout for folks recovering from an injury. I recently had to go through two major surgeries (not injury-related). The hardest part of surgery for me was waiting to get clearance to go back into the water for Fluid Running. I believe that these workouts helped me get into shape after recovery. An unexpected friendship came along from within the Fluid Running community. While I was waiting to get clearance from my doctors to get back into the pool, I connected with another FR member who had just undergone the same surgeries I was recovering from. We have continued to support each other ever since. This inclusive community of friends has been amazing.

What would you say to someone who is hesitant to try Fluid Running?

If someone said they don’t like water aerobics, I would tell them this is not your typical grandma’s exercise class! I would ask them to imagine running outside, doing a core class, or participating in a bootcamp class, and then imagine combining all three, but envisioning it in water. In deep water, there is no pressure on your joints, and with this program, your hair doesn’t even get wet! (That usually seals the deal). Additionally, you can do a 30-minute class if you are short on time while reaping the benefits of being in deep water.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

This is a workout you can do at home and while traveling. It has been the most inexpensive form of exercise class as the workouts are a one-time low cost, can be downloaded, and used as many times as you like. All you need is a belt and headphones, and this can be done anywhere there is water! I personally bring my belt (I bought a travel belt that breaks down for easy packing) whenever and wherever I travel. You can do it with friends or by yourself.

I personally would love to see more gyms and community centers around the country develop a Fluid Running program for their members. I would love more workouts for my library as I try to switch up the ones I choose each day. I would love to see the Fluid Running program grow and am happy to help in any way.

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