You’re sitting on the edge of the pool, taking in the chlorine smells that bring you back to the days of your childhood summers at the pool filled with games of pretend underwater creatures.
The instructors fit you for the perfect fin, made by the AquaMermaid School itself, and you pull its vibrant colored fabric all the way up to the middle of your torso. You breathe deep, strap on your goggles, and waddle off the edge to join the class and those creatures of your childhood.
Marielle Chartier Henault, the founder of the AquaMermaid, calls this the “moment of mermaid transformation,” because once you are in the pool, there is an immediate awareness of the changes to your relationship with the water.
The trust in your own body develops as the dependence on what muscle groups that are your support system shifts over to middle and upper body. At first, it’s like re-learning how to swim, but the trained instructors are encouraging you all the while to embrace that inner mermaid or merman.
With just a flick of your new lively extremity, the real fun begins. If you had gills you’d be the real deal, but the hour class is close enough — and it’s quite the workout. In fact, it’s this unique blend of exercise and imagination that Jill Moore is bringing with the AquaMermaid franchise in Austin.
After recovering from being hospitalized for pneumonia in January 2018, Moore was determined to find a way to get just as fit and healthy as she had been prior to getting sick.
With a background in gymnastics, competitive cheerleading, waterskiing and dance, Moore knew she wanted something just as exciting and consistent.
“My daughter has always worn a mermaid tail while swimming and is obsessed with mermaid swimming,” Moore recalls. “One day during recovery, I did something crazy — I decided to slip on her mermaid fin and I did a 30-minute workout in the pool!”
Moore says right then she knew she was onto something, the workout was so intensive and a total body conditioning. She then found Henault’s AquaMermaid Schools and reached out immediately.
“I knew I had to bring this fun mermaid fitness program to Austin,” Moore explains, “I am so excited to share my new passion with everyone I meet!”
As with other aquatics-based exercise classes, the water provides not only a challenge of mastering your breathing but allows a low impact aspect to the class. The buoyancy of the water lets you focus in on the muscle groups that otherwise might get fatigued by joint pains, keeping you attentive — and having the time of your life — throughout the class.
The addition of the tail creates an extra challenge by forcing you to keep your legs together and straight, meaning your core is engaged at all times. The glutes and thighs are actively toning as they propel you through the water and your arms are employed to act as your steering fins, creating a total body experience.
All of this cardiovascular and muscle toning gets lost amongst the excitement of the diving, handstands, tail poses and dolphin kicks that the instructors challenge you with. It’s no wonder that mermaids and mermen are always depicted as fit, their tails keep them in a perpetual state of peak fitness.