Say hello to Brandy Wismer, a 65-year-old MySwimPro community member from Hedgesville, West Virginia. Brandy started out as a novice swimmer but, thanks to MySwimPro, she is now swimming 2,000-yard+ workouts and multiple strokes.
We chatted with Brandy to learn about her swimming goals and how swimming, combined with a vegan diet, helps her stay fit, healthy and engaged.
Tell us about yourself!
At 65, working on my health and fitness is my biggest personal priority because it is the greatest gift I can give to my family and myself. Twelve years ago I was 60 pounds heavier, had serious arthritis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, double knee and foot surgeries and was facing knee replacements. Just walking up the stairs to our bedroom was a daily challenge, so much so that my husband and I moved to a one-story house with grab bars in the showers. I made changes step by step, starting with yoga, then adding cycling and changing to a whole food, plant based (vegan) diet.
At 65, working on my health and fitness is my biggest personal priority because it is the greatest gift I can give to my family and myself.
Last year, after 40 years in Texas, we moved to the mountains of West Virginia to be closer to family. The change from flat to hilly terrain made cycling really, really challenging for me. In the last few years, my fitness has fallen off during the winter months. Starting in October 2019 I made a commitment to not let that happen this year, so I decided to add swimming to my routine since I have access to a small (13-yard) indoor pool.
My husband Phil is the love of my life and is my inspiration to stay healthy and active. We have two sons, Ben and Ryan, who have two beautiful daughters, Gaia and Evelyn. They respectively live in Hawaii and Alexandria, Virginia with their wives Sky and Emily. I want my granddaughters to think of their “Nana” as a woman who wasn’t afraid to get out there and do it, not just sit back and watch life fade away.
What is your background in swimming?
As a kid, I loved playing in the pool. In my adult life, I would start swimming some laps and then quit. I have had no training and didn’t swim regularly. Before I found MySwimPro, I didn’t know how to structure a workout. During the summer I would sometimes swim a few laps in the outdoor pool.
Related: How to Write a Swim Workout
What made you decide to start swimming again?
I decided a significant physical fitness challenge would be a fun way to celebrate my 65th year. My husband swears if I put things on a chart and have a plan and make a public commitment I achieve them.
I signed up for an Olympic AquaBike event on May 31, 2020. It is a 1500-meter lake swim and a 25-mile bike with 1200 feet of elevation gain.
Now I just needed to train!
My first swim I was over 4 minutes for 100 yards, would struggle not to choke during the drills, and only knew a weak freestyle and breaststroke. I’m now doing a better freestyle, breaststroke and recently added backstroke (haven’t tried butterfly yet). Two days ago, my time was 1:50/100 yards for a 2,132 yard workout. Since January 1, 2020, I have swum more than 89,000 yards. That’s more than I have swum in my entire life!
In December 2019, I bought a Series 3 Apple Watch and discovered the MySwimPro app. Before that, I had used my Series 1 Apple Watch and iPhone with Strava to track my fitness activities since 2016, but didn’t have anything to help me with swimming.
Since January 1, 2020, I have swum more than 89,000 yards. That’s more than I have swum in my entire life!
I started at first manually entering my swims and tracking my laps in the MySwimPro app. I didn’t know any of the swimming terminology or how to set up a workout or what a drill, rep or set was…very novice. I watched training videos and Whiteboard Wednesdays to learn. I upgraded to ELITE and signed up for the 8-week Endurance Training Plan.
How is your training helping you reach your goals?
Having a structured workout has made a huge difference. I’m getting the hang of how the workouts are set up and have started seeing progress. I’m really new, but I’m already feeling stronger and more confident in the water. For the first time, I’ve kept up with my fitness activities through the winter. In fact, after just a few months adding MySwimPro and swimming regularly my “Fit and Freshness” score in Strava is the highest it has ever been!
What tips do you have for new swimmers?
- Break your goals into little bites so you can feel the progress along the way.
- Write down your goals and make them measurable, realistic and achievable.
- Communicate your goals with your support community and make them public.
- Evaluate how you fuel your body with food and determine if your eating habits are helping or hindering your fitness goals.
- Feel gratitude for the opportunity to build a healthy body, peaceful mind and loving heart.
- I’d like to share my favorite quote, from The Music Man. “You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to make today worth remembering.”
Related: How to set SMART Goals