15 Reasons to Work Hard in the Pool Today

by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. Join 10,000 other swimmers and coaches who receive his weekly motivational newsletter (for free) by clicking here.


What is with this whole “working hard” trend? Why should you bother investing yourself in this latest of fads?

Side effects include, but are not limited to: smelling like a mixture of chlorine, sweat and achieved dreams, looking better with your shirt off, and feeling moderately to exceedingly good.

(Okay, so those are three pretty decent reasons…)

But on the flip side, you can stay home, and like, watch Netflix and stuff. And that is pretty fun I guess.

Here are 15 reasons you, my soggy bottomed friend, should consider working your butt off in the pool today:

1. Tomorrow’s version of you will high five you for it. Have you ever looked back on a workout and thought to yourself, “I wish I hadn’t kicked so much butt during that practice?” (The answer is no, in case you were wondering.)

2. You’ll feel mighty fine afterwards. In the most literal way possible, you will actually be happier after a good workout. (But you already knew this, right…?) Research has consistently shown the connection between killer workouts and those feel good hormones, so let it rip.

3. You might just surprise yourself today. You never know when you will have one of those breakthroughs in training. First time breaking 30 seconds backstroke in practice? Could be today. First time kicking a sub 2:45 200? Might be today. Better go find out.

4. You won’t have to wonder “what if.” Being able to get up on the blocks, and smiling to yourself because you know you did everything you could to prepare for that moment is a massively gratifying feeling. There’s no guilt, no “coulda woulda shoulda.”

5. A killer workout pummels stress and anxiety. Even if the after glow does fade after a couple hours, for a little while you feel pretty good about life. Whether it is school, work, or relationship drama, you can always hang your hat on a great practice.

6. Thinking about a great workout will always be harder than doing it. Our brains mean well, they really do, but sometimes they blow things out of proportion. Turn your brain off and just train.

7. You’ll sleep a whole lot better tonight. Not just because you know you put in the work today, but because science! Exercise helps you actually sleep better, but you don’t need me to tell you that Mr. and Ms. Two-a-Day. (But I did anyway!)

8. Your teammates want ya to. Yes, swimming is mostly an individual sport. But at meets you come together, rally behind one another, and push each other to dizzying heights.

9. Your teammates need you to train hard. Be the teammate that promotes a culture of excellence in practice. Be the example, be the role model, be the athlete that your friends and peers look up to by showing up on putting in the work.

10. The whole shirt off thing. If swimming faster isn’t enough, appeal to your vanity. Looking great with minimal clothing is something swimmers pride themselves on. With beach season right around the corner, do you need a better excuse to give today’s workout the shellacking it deserves?

11. Cause swimming fast is a lot of fun. There are fewer things more exciting than clipping along at a furious pace in the water. For a few fleeting moments you are superhuman, a hybrid human-fish that cuts through the water like a powerful 200 pound bluefish tuna.

12. Because you’ve experienced not being able to train, and it sucks. Think back to the last time you were sick or injured. Remember how sucky that felt? Being left out of the rambunctiously awesome yardage your teammates were doing? Yeah, that time. Be grateful that you have the tools and health to hit one out of the park.

13. You’ll develop mental toughness. It’s easy not to work hard when you don’t feel like it. What separates first from eighth isn’t always talent or genetics—often it comes down to who has more grit and tenacity in the pool. No easier way to develop some of that than by showing up consistently.

14. It’ll make you smarter and more focused. After a great workout your brain is hit with an influx of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) proteins. These bad boys promote the creation of of neurons in your noodle, as well as serve to protect existing neurons. Nothing like a little rocket surgery to remind you that exercise is good for the muscles and the brain.

15. Cause you’ll get faster. And really, isn’t that the whole point?

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About Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy has been involved in competitive swimming for most of his life. Starting off at the age of 6 he was thrown in the water at the local pool for swim lessons and since then has never wanted to get out. A nationally top ranked age grouper as both a …

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