When was the last time you copied someone?

I know in school, we are taught NOT to copy people. In the USA, we celebrate original and authentic professionals. Yet, when we are learning as babies and children, we copy our caretakers. I was reminded of this fundamental learning trait while reading Austin Kleon’s fabulous book, Steal Like An Artist.

Why do I bring this up. Well, let’s start with a story.

When I first started consistently swimming, I followed a training plan to prepare me for an olympic distance triathlon. When I retired from triathlons and returned to just exercising swimming, I did not have a training plan to follow anymore. So, I just swam for a set amount of time. 20 minutes, here, 30 minutes there, 45 minutes there. Whatever time I could sneak in.

While swimming consistently, I noticed the other swimmers who would swim around the same time. Some faster, some slower. I was right in the upper to middle speed of the pool pack. Even though, I am not competing, I still wanted to get faster.

There was a particular swimmer who was one of the fastest in the pool. When you swim the same time every day and others do the same. It’s relatively easy to see what everyone is swimming. This faster swimmer had a consistent rhythm to his workouts. Warm-up, Main Set, Cool down. With main sets of Kickboard, Pull Buoy, Paddles, IM, sprints, some longer swims depending on the day. He always swam faster than me.

I am guessing you figure out what I started to do. As I increased my endurance, I started to emulate his workouts. I did not do them exactly, but I was similar. Soon, I saw my speeds increase. I now am one of the faster swimmers in the pool. Only the college kids and professional triathletes are faster than I am. I stole like an artist from the others. It’s okay to copy in life.

So, if you see someone more physically fit exercising regularly, mentally take note of their routine, adapt it and copy it. You will be amazed at the results.

Today’s workout


  • 60 seconds jogging
  • Weights: 4 sets
    • Shoulders 12 lb lateral raises 12x
    • Abs: 12 crunches
  • Extended Ab work:
    • Upper: 15 crunches
    • Lower: 12 leg ups
    • Lower: 12 knee ups
    • Side: 60 second side plank (each side)
    • Back: 12 reverse crunches exercise ball
    • Side: 12 Russian twists with 12 lb kettle ball
    • Transverse: 60 second plank

3250 Yard Pool workout

Before Swimming, Dynamically stretch: Arms out to your side as if you were making a t symbol. Rotate the arms in small circles forward. Gradually increasing the circles in size and speed. Reverse: small circles backward. Next: swing one leg out to the right then to the left a few times. Switch legs. Hop in the pool and actively bring knees to chest. Reminder: We want active stretch. this is not static stretching were you hold. I am warming up the muscles for the big workout.

Today’s workout is a High Intensity Day. So, I’m going out quick even during my warmup. That is one reason to be extra dynamic in the pre-swim warmup.

500 yard Warm-up:

  • 150 Yard Freestyle no flip-turns
  • 150 yard freestyle with flip-turns
  • 100 yard back stroke with flips
  • 100 yard breast stroke.

Main Sets:

500 Kickboard:

  • 100 yard freestyle kick
  • 100 yard dolphin kick on face down in water.
  • 100 yard back stroke kick (no kickboard)
  • 100 yard breast stroke kick with kickboard
  • 100 yard freestyle kick

500 Yard Pull Buoy & Paddles freestyle, 5 X the following with no rest:

  • 75 yard fast
  • 25 yard all out sprint

500 Yard Freestyle, 5x following with minimal rest (20 seconds for me to let my heart rate fall a tad)

  • 75 yard fast
  • 25 yard all out sprint

500 yard flippers 2 x the following:

  • 150 yard freestyle kick with flippers
  • 100 yard dolphin kick with flippers face up (back stroke style)

750 yard cool down

  • 350 yard freestyle with pull buoy and paddles. This is at quick pace, but try to breathe ever 5 strokes.
  • 300 yard freestyle with no tools. Slightly slower. Count your strokes and breaths. focus on breathing every 3 strokes.
  • 100 yard freestyle slow.

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