Friday, December 26, 2014

Swimming Changed my Life

Swimming has always been a part of my daily routine, and has evolved from something my parents wanted me to do as a kid, to an activity I was heavily dedicated to, to my rescue path to stay healthy and fit in heavy startup mode.

During every one of those phases, I was at a different age and I wanted different things in life; swimming was helping me get there. In college, I chose to be an engineer, and I wanted to land a top-notch job at a multinational firm. I was very competitive, and being part of the swimming team and winning competitions meant proving that I was determined and had sportsmanship and talent, and gave me an edge over my colleagues. Ironically, it is swimming that has led me to the complete opposite lifestyle I have today, and that has inspired me to create Instabeat.

With no time to train competitively anymore, I replaced my 2-hour evening training with a one hour long early morning session, and it is only then that I truly started to appreciate the magic of swimming, far beyond the physical aspect of it.

1. Meditation

I have been reading a lot of articles about people meditating every morning for 10 minutes for a better start of their day. To me, my morning swim is my meditation time. When I am in the water, I cannot hear or see anything that’s happening outside, I am locked in my own head, and this pushes me to reflect on the past, self-assess the mistakes I have done and determine how I am going to improve. I have taken some of my best decisions in the water.

More: How does swimming relieve stress exactly?

2. Planning

As an entrepreneur, you have so many things to do, and planning is one of must-have skill sets. A common tip most of the time management resources give is to check your schedule first thing in the morning and plan your day accordingly. It works well for me because with my morning swim, I am forced to do it. I am up at 5:30 AM, I check my schedule for the day and pack for the next 12 hours accordingly: I need to pick the right clothes depending on my meetings, get my prototypes and goggles if I have a presentation. I also need to make sure that all my bathing supplies are there; otherwise my (very) curly hair will look like a complete disaster :).

3. Perseverance

When I hear the alarm go on at 5:30AM, I start wishing for the world to end right at that moment. I can barely open my eyes, and all I want to do is stay put in my bed. However, there is a little voice inside my head that keeps telling me to get up or I will regret it later. And as a matter of fact, the few times where I end up sleeping in, I feel really bad about it the entire day. This mentality has helped me a lot in the startup world: there are so many things that I really dread doing (hello accounting and legal), but if I don’t do them today, things will pile up and I will regret it later.

4. Energy boost

Swimming is one of the only two complete sports that work out every single muscle in your body. Beyond burning more calories than most other sports, and having a low injury rate, it stretches and flexes every joint in your body and you feel absolutely amazing once you are out. Think about it this way: You need to warm up your car engine before driving. Swimming warms up my inner engine, it gives me a tremendous energy boost as I feel really good about myself after my workout and I am overly excited to get to the office and start my day.

5. Cleanliness

I swim in a chlorine pool, and unfortunately when I get to the locker room my skin is all dried up and I smell, well not so good let’s say. So I purposely pick odorized shower gels and clean twice as hard my hair and skin. So this makes my team extra happy J Well this is kind of a joke but if someone in your office smells bad, I suggest you offer them swimming classes using as an excuse the 4 points above.