Carol Smith gains the YMCA, but loses the weight: 100 lbs
by WILLIAM WRIGHT, Lifestyles Editor
Apr 22, 2013 | 1890 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Personality Profile
BEFORE— Carol Smith, a five-year Cleveland resident, is becoming the epitome of good health by losing more than 100 pounds through YMCA workouts.
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When Carol Smith and her family moved to Cleveland five years ago, she knew it was time for a few changes in her life. Those changes started with a new attitude about weight loss and a membership with the Cleveland Family YMCA.

In the last year, Smith, who is now the Cleveland Family YMCA aquatics instructor, has lost more than 100 pounds and is not only stronger and more confident, but has come to epitomize the meaning of change, learning, goal-setting and accomplishment.

After an injury drew her to the pool, Smith, admitted, “I really enjoyed the water workouts at the YMCA and after doing them for a couple of years I was approached to substitute teach a class.”

The class was just the beginning of some major changes for Smith. Soon, she was certified in Aquacise and later in hydro-jog.

“The more I exercised at the YMCA the more weight and inches fell off — now that’s a motivator!” Smith said. “And with my classmates compliments, well, they made it easier to keep going. I also love to hear them say how motivated they are to lose weight and get healthy. This is what keeps me going. I now attend muscle-conditioning class and enjoy spinning — something I would never have been able to before!”

According to, there are excellent reasons to lose weight by water aerobics. The top five listed were: 1. You feel like you weigh less. The effects of gravity are reduced in the water. Water pushes you upward and supports some of your body weight. In general, the water will support 50 percent of your body weight when you are submerged up to your waist. It will support 65 to 75 percent of your body weight when you are submerged up to your chest and 90 percent of your body weight when you are submerged up to your neck.

2. You reduce the risk of injury. Because the water supports some of your body weight, it takes some of the stress off your legs and joints. This can reduce your risk of joint and impact-related injuries.

3. Water also provides natural resistance. It is like a piece of strength training equipment. It provides a natural resistance for your body to move against. The faster you move in the water, the more resistance you will feel.

4. You can do almost anything in the water that you can do on land, such as water aerobics, water walking/jogging, water yoga and Pilates classes. You may even find that you can do more exercises in the water than on land.

5. You can burn calories. The website said you can burn 285 to 765 calories in 30 minutes of water jogging, and 145 to 380 calories in 30 minutes of water aerobics.

In 2012, Smith started teaching three classes a week. She said, “I also try to keep classes fun for everyone. We all jump and laugh every day! You know, you have to be able to laugh at yourself! I love teaching. But I was embarrassed by my size. It is hard to stand on the pool deck in a bathing suit and teach when you know you need to lose weight.”

That’s when Smith began her journey, setting goals that changed her life for the better.

“I started losing weight with water classes. Then I added a spin class. I was using the aerobic part of teaching for my workouts, and then I added in weight work. After losing about 25 pounds through sheer determination, I joined Weight Watchers, because I needed the discipline with food,” she said.

Although Smith has reached several of her goals, she said she is not done. Next she will begin ActivTrax, a new online program at the Cleveland Family YMCA. ActivTrax generates individualized, personal workouts.

“I am ready to start using ActivTrax,” Smith said. “It creates great workouts and keeps you moving forward. I couldn’t have done this without ‘The Y.’ I am so glad that I said yes when asked to substitute a class. It was the beginning. I credit the YMCA for my success!”

Smith and her husband, Bruce, have two grown sons. One lives in Virginia with his family and one lives in the Czech Republic with his family.

Adding to her motivation to stay healthy and fit, Smith said, “We have six wonderful grandchildren, which are our hearts and souls. Their ages are from 2 to 20 — three boys and three girls. Now I feel 62 years young!”

To learn more about Cleveland Family YMCA classes or ActivTrax, call 423-476-5573 or email