Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 23 - Debbie Booth - WATER IS THE NEW GYM - Part 3 of 3

Well, it seems I mean, just like if you're watching on YouTube, you can see Debbie how much she's smiling when she's talking about all these people. Obviously, you love what you do and it seems like I mean, I was curious I think you kind of touched on this they like your own personal struggle kind of led you down this path.

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JESSE: Well, it seems I mean, just like if you're watching on YouTube, you can see Debbie how much she's smiling when she's talking about all these people. Obviously, you love what you do and it seems like I mean, I was curious I think you kind of touched on this they like your own personal struggle kind of led you down this path. But I was curious about like now it's easy to see okay all these people are very positively affected by what you do and it's like you can see the joy and kind of share in that. But was your own personal struggle the entire reason that you decided to go like I'll say medically based training like helping people with issues versus just working with say athletes or people that just want to get fit, but don't have any kind of medical limitations?

DEBBIE: Okay. So, I've done both, which is interesting. When I was married, my ex husband and I while we were married we started lacrosse program at Lake Orion High School. So, that was the first program that we started one and we started coaching when we lived in Maryland. We started a program in New Jersey with the PA el League, a girls program, we started the girls program in Lake Orion. So, that was the basis for my NASM personal training cert was because of my athletes, right? And I had already been working in pools for a long time. I took a little hiatus, and then went back to it. Now intentionally I work with this population 50 and up and here's why. I mean, I can work with young athletes, it doesn't really matter. It's all the same method of training, you just change it by age and goals.

It's not total rocket science, but the 50 and older population especially 60's and 70 year olds that are sandwiched. They have parents - they have grandkids, right? They want somebody older that understands what, you know arthritis in their hand is or repetitive strain injuries or shoulder pain or knee pain or [??? 2:19]. They want to know that their trainer understands. They don't want a 20 year old, 30 year old that's just going to pound them because they can't. It's not that-- They can do the exercise, but the intensity might need to come down for some, not all, and they want to stay in their life.

So, it's super rewarding to work with them because they're motivated. I'm struggling walking and I'm going to Paris that was just one of my clients that just flew off today. She went to Paris today. So, we worked together for like two months, really got her-- She's been working out but wasn't fully focused. She was in the late stages of recovering from a knee injury, couldn't do stairs. I'm like, girl, you got to do stairs to go to Paris.

JESSE: It's a lot of walking.

DEBBIE: It's a lot of walking. So, you are going to be all over those stairs. And she's gone. I can't wait till she comes back. So, it's really cool to work with them. You have to see them. Let me go back. So, in my life, my father was injured horribly as a teenager. So, he was 19 and burned severely and he was told he would never do all these things, walk, have children blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That's all a lie, he's done it all. So, I learned early on what that perseverance was I guess [???? 3:58]. And there's a huge difference in how you live your life...sitting on the couch watching...go by waiting, and you're out doing what you can do, and how you can do it.

Even if you have to do it differently. You can exercise you just might have to do it differently. I don't care if you're 150 pounds overweight. I mean, I've had that lady who is 150 pounds, but you can work out, you just do it differently that's all, and then keep going and you'll be amazed at where you end up if you just don't quit. So, my other thing I tell them all the time is you know what happens when you quit and you know what the outcome is. You never know what will happen if you just try one more time. Just get up and try. Find a buddy to drag you here when you don't feel it coming. Call me. Text me. I'll catch up. I'll text you in the morning, come on sunshine, let's go. But if you quit, we know what's gonna happen, everything's gonna fall apart.

I think now I got like, I think I mentioned I have guys with rods and Novak's and a lot of artificial joints you know is where this whole orthopedic industry is going. My question is what's going to happen to these people if they stop moving? Those joints are heavy. I see people in the water in [??? 5:36] and come back in and now in deep water with a water running belt on, they're up to their chin...adding buoyancy to some of our equipment so they're comfortable; modifying equipment to make them able to exercise. And then they go back and get another hip or another knee or I've got people with two hips, two knees and a rod in her leg.

A lady who was surfing a couple years ago, body surfing is now getting her second hip, which she's had two knees, a rod in her leg, and we've already added buoyancy. So, I'm already trying to figure out what I'm going to do with her...because she's gonna be too heavy for the belt she is in it. And she' fix it. Can you fix this? I'm not done. ...God love her, her and her pink hair. [??? 6:37] and these are some of the people I'm surrounded by and it just makes you more excited to help them. Yeah. And keep them going. I mean, she still travels independently. Lives independently, travels independently, she's not stopping.

JESSE: Yeah. Well, it seems like you got like you said a really motivated population. I saw on your Instagram you had posted this graphic about the cycle of inactivity where you start as an inactive child, you become an active adult, and it's just this kind of vicious cycle. I mean, there's only one, Debbie. So, I mean, how do we break the cycle if we can't just like clone you to come to everybody's house and motivate everybody to get up?

DEBBIE: How do we break this cycle? Like I said, peering people up. And I really have an awesome power - a girl I work with all the time. I love her to death. And she's very much like me, and I drug her into my world. And I tell her, you're coming in here for a reason. You are great. She does the same thing I do, water and land. These people are a gift and she trains a bunch of other places still like I used to, but keeps gravitating more and more and more to what we're doing. And we need more people that are willing to learn and do it differently. So, it's we have a whole gamut of people that want to be active. They're not cut out for CrossFit and are not cut out for some of these great programs. I love those programs, but they can still work and they can do their own type of CrossFit and their own strenuous-- I've worked my - my people [??? 8:35].

I push on, but they love it. I mean, they do a lot of athletic based training in the water. Example, I use the lane lines in the bottom of the pool, like you would a ladder on the ground, on that field, and they do all kinds of agility over those ley lines. And I watched them get out of the part of pool and some that are taking baby steps are now taking huge, big real strides. You know, we work on that kind of stuff, oppositional movement because they lose it when they get older and your arms when you walk, you don't think about that. But now go out into the world and watch people much older walk. And you'll see they're very step, I break that, but all kinds of stuff. And then they start bouncing up the stairs. So, when I work with other instructors this is the stuff I tell them, if you don't focus on anything else, just focus on basic rhythm. ...getting them to take bigger steps and and then they're going to keep asking for more. It's just cool, motivating them.

JESSE: So, I kind of wonder, I mean, you have a ton of certifications, you got your own thing. And you mentioned CrossFit, CrossFit has become this huge thing. So, I kind of think about a couple of things. One, we're not going to run out of older people with mobility issues or people with mobility issues. There is only one Debbie, at least right now, but you're figuring it out, [crosstalk] and you're doing your own thing, but is there any thought about expanding Water is the New Gym and trying to certify people and kind of help it spread?

DEBBIE: Yes, there is. There is. My dream, quite honestly, is to end up with like a hydroworx pool where there's a treadmill on the bottom, and I can get like my quadriplegic client walking independently, and she can see that she can do that. She can hang on the rails and walk. She's not the only one I have like that. I mean, I've got you know Parkinson's people, I'm starting with an MS lady who's been in a wheelchair for over a year. I'm like if you want to get on your feet, we got to get you going now and just start pushing those MS symptoms back - with MS. So, that's something very near and dear to me. [??? 11:21] a specific pool where I'm not always working a lot of classes and things and then have a-- We don't live in the water so you have to be able to do things on land.

So, my dream is to have a - school and then next to it a land gym with like stacked weight equipment. So, if you're in a wheelchair, you can still - and pull and pushing and you can get your exercise even if you have to be sitting and some cardio equipment. So, get them from water, to land, to water to land because you have to live here. You're going to get up, you're going to go get your breakfast, you're going to go to bed, you're going to take a shower, and everybody wants to remain independent. We can't move all those things into the pool, but we can use the pool to get you stronger so that your daily activities and beyond are easier and better. That's we get there, I don't know. [crosstalk]

JESSE: But that's a great goal. That's a great goal. Yeah, well, I always say anytime I talk to-- so I run two businesses and anytime I talk to like fellow entrepreneurs, there's this kind of saying that goes around that if you have a goal, and you know how to get there, your goal is not big enough. So, I think that's a great goal because like you said before you said yourself, if you just keep moving forward one day at a time, with that end goal in mind, you'll get there. And you don't always know how you're gonna get there, but you just keep going forward and you'll get there eventually. So, I hope you do. I hope I do.

DEBBIE: I do, I hope so too. I mean it's just incredible the people that-- it's incredible. And I teach now, I teach at a to retire-- I met a couple of retirement communities where I'm on land and they strength and balance classes. And I push them, I push them it's just interesting, I hate to see people give up. That's my thing.

Don't give up, don't go to the couch, come on, let's go. You can do a little bit. And a lady with Parkinson's who could only stand for 30 seconds, 30 seconds, shaking, just had to sit back down. We danced. Her goal was to be able to go to her grandson's wedding and walk and she did. That was her goal. We made her goal and we still keep her going. I mean she's amazing. Walk, stands, she does all kinds of things that she wasn't able to do.

JESSE: Yeah. And is that the lady you have the videos of on your Instagram?

DEBBIE: No. Maybe [??? 14:19] I'm not sure. I might have videos of her. I think I videos too of my seniors like band rowing together.

JESSE: Yeah, I saw that.

DEBBIE: ...somehow I partner them. So, funny, yeah, they're great. I do that too. You just gotta keep them safe and they love it. They don't want to be treated like they have to sit in a chair.

JESSE: Well, no, I think that's something like I'm still fairly young in the grand scheme of life. But I think as I talk to more people and kind of get a broader perspective of things, I think sympathize with older people I see and try to envision them as like my age or younger and remember that we see them in this this like, photograph of time, this moment of time where they're this age but it's like, they had to have lived a number of years before that. They're not just who they are now, they are, who they were before and all those experiences. So, it's like, clearly, they don't want to be like, patronized. They do you want to be patronized now? No. Why would you then?

DEBBIE: Right. Well, what's amazing is their stories are incredible and I love hearing your stories. So, I asked them, that's the first thing I do when I'm working with them is what's your history? Where did you grow up? Where did you come from? Were you in the military? Did you go to college? What kind of job did you have? I ask them a million questions. And it's interesting because one of my clients was on the beaches of [??? 16:02], one of my clients was...the one that was on the beaches, he just died a year ago. But another one, still alive, he on was a medic...boat.

He still [??? 16:22] still stands military. Another one flew bombers in World War Two. He dropped bombs on Hiroshima. Crazy, then went on to become a principal, in two of the school systems in Detroit, he became a big shot and still counsel people and he's 99 years old, and he's still counseling people. Amazing. My lady I was talking about who can only stand for 30 seconds, she was a speech language pathologist. So, talking to her and what she used to do, and I use some of her techniques that she use on her.

JESSE: Kinda turn it around.

DEBBIE: Yeah, well it's just because of the state of-- with Parkinson's comes dementia in the last part of the brain that goes rhythmic, and she's not that far gone. But she has moments where she's not real clear. So, I'll use rhythm and song and different things to bring her back around, and then move forward. So, that's why I say I have to zig and zag sometimes with what I'm doing to keep them moving and motivated. But their stories are incredible. But one lady told me, I don't see that lady in the year. When I look in the mirror, that's not what I see. Maybe she was in her late 70s, 80s, she didn't see an 80 year old person, not what she saw. She's telling me, I don't see what other people see when they look at me. I see somebody much younger [??? 18:05] simple lady. And that always stuck with me. They don't want to be obsolete and they don't want to be old.

And they fear they're obsolete because technology, things like that. If you watch somebody that's on 70s or 80s or has any kind of dementia, Alzheimer, lot of things we're seeing now, if you watch them watch TV, they will turn away. I watch people a lot and they turn away because TV is so fast, it just zips all night. Now, if you turn on a old black and white show and see how slow that moves. Turn on TV now, zip, zip, zip, quick, quick, quick, quick, and it's overwhelming, and they fear they're obsolete. So, if you take away the fear, and the fear of being obsolete and get them, I found, this is my amo, I get them to share with me their life and the things that they find exciting and kind of build on that, then they're ready to go. And then I find people that have similar interests. Oh, [??? 19:21] it's kind of cool.

JESSE: Yeah, no sounds it sounds really cool. And we are running out of time-- [crosstalk] I want to give you an opportunity even though we both professed to being terrible at social media, if people want to find you, see what you're doing, kind of figure out more about Water's the New Gym, where can they find you?

DEBBIE: Well, on my Facebook Water's the New Gym, but probably really at more my personal one, Debbie - Booth. You can find they're both linked together. My Instagram, Debbie Booth, Debbie_Booth Water is the New Gym. And my website WaterisTheNewGym. So, all of them have links to the other. So, if you just even just go to my website, you'll find the rest. And yes, I need to update. Gosh, you put the pressure on me to--

JESSE: It's okay. It's okay.

DEBBIE: It's my least favorite thing in the world.

JESSE: Hey, you just keep focusing on what you do. Get somebody else to do the website.

DEBBIE: I know, right? I do. I've got to find somebody to start doing that for me but-- This has been great.

JESSE: Yeah. Thanks for coming on today, Debbie.

DEBBIE: Thank you very much.

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