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By Sporty Afros
Although, most of you all know Sporty Afros by the nutrition post, we also have a variety of information for the girl who wants to work out or is currently working out but doesn't know what to do with their hair. We are two triathletes who started Sporty Afros and are dedicated to solving the "I can't work out because of my hair" excuses. Oh and if you didn't know, triathletes means we swim, bike and run. Ha! Yes! We do it all. :-) Since it is summer time and so many questions are surrounding swimming and black hair, I figured I would pass along our information, video and tips on everything you need regarding swimming and taking care of your hair. We have even included some great swimming workouts.
Swim CapsBefore you hit the pool, you must learn about the basics types of swim caps. Latex Swim Caps As you can imagine, a Latex cap is like a pair of latex gloves. They are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors and designs. I purchase these for a $1 or less at D&J sports swim store. Warning, they tear very easy! Latex swim caps are designed to keep the most water out of your hair. They dry very quickly. It’s not recommended to leave in extreme heat (sauna room or your car) as they can melt. Note: Latex caps can cause major damage to your hairline if used by itself. Silicone Swim Caps The inside is of a silicone swim cap is very soft and rubbery. These caps include a built in anti-slip edge that keeps the cap in place while you swim. They outlast latex caps because of their thickness and they do not tear easy. They are also much easier to put on than latex swim caps and are not as harsh on your hairline. Note: For extremely long and/or thicker hair, silicone caps can easily slide off if too much hair product is applied on to the hair. Lyrca Swim Caps Lyrcra caps are often overlooked. Lyrca swimming caps do not protect the hair from water. The cap protects hair from tangling, harsh UV rays, large dirt participles and server as a base under other swim caps such as Latex. Lyrcra caps are typically the gentlest on the hairline in comparison to the other caps. Think of a Lyrca swim cap as a wig cap. I like to use this cap underneath my latex swim cap in order to hold my hair down. There are other specialty swim caps such as Neoprene and long hair swim caps. Yes, there are swim caps for those who have thick and long locs!
Swimming and Protecting Your HairIf you are swimming for recreation here are some tips for you:
- It’s great to have a protective style for the pool. As a quick measure, always spray your hair with a moisturizing spray like Sporty Afros G+ Spray or add conditioner to your hair before you hit the water.
- I do not recommend micobraids. Sorry ladies, but the weight of the water on your braids is a no-no. This results in damaged hairlines in a heartbeat if you are not careful. Box braids and twists are much more forgiving and easier on the hair if braided/twisted properly.
- If you have a sew-in, simply pull your hair back after you get out of the water. You can throw on a cute headband, summer scarf or hat until you’re able to wash the choline out of your hair.
- Always rinse your hair after leaving the pool!
- Wear a swim cap. – This is a must. Choose which swim cap works best for you.
- Pre-condition your hair. – Adding conditioner before you hit the pool helps protect your hair from chlorine damage. You can use any cheap conditioner you want. The chlorine will strip the conditioner from your hair as opposed to stripping your hair.
- Always wash/rinse and condition your hair after you get out of the pool. If you’re in the pool every day, then its okay to wash and or rinse your hair daily as long as you keep it moisturized.
- I spray my hair with Sporty Afros G+ Spray and then add in some leave-in conditioner. My current leave-in conditioner for pre-swimming is Garnier pure clean or anything on sale by the line.
- I normally wear two swim caps. First, I put on a Lyrca swim cap (it’s like a stretchy doo-rag), then I put on a spandex swim cap.
- Note: If I am going for a longer swim (30+ mins) I will add a deep conditioner and my G+ Moisturizing Spray hours before I hit the pool to prevent chlorine damage and drying.
- If time permits, I do a hot oil treatment.
- I wash my hair with Amazing Botanicals Black Soap Shampoo mixed in with Malibu Swimmers Shampoo
- Add a deep conditioner to my hair. Soft n Free Intensive Hair Therapy and Beautiful Textures Deep conditioners are some of my recent favorites.
- I often leave the deep conditioner on and finish my workout or errands. I am known to throw my favorite running hat on. J
- After rinsing the deep conditioner, I apply Whitney’s Shealoe Butter Mousse Recipe or Cantu Leave in conditioner
- I seal in my ends with Sporty Afros’ Ayurvedic oil and put my hair in 4 to 6 big twist or braids.
- ½ bottle of Kinky Curly, Knot Today Conditioner
- *I usually measure by what type of bottle I put it in*
- Fill the remaining ¼ bottle with Aloe Vera Gel
- And the last ¼ bottle with Sporty Afros Ayurvedic Oil
Swim WorkoutNow that you know what to do with your hair, here are some basic workouts and rules for you! Warming Up: When you get to the pool deck and get situated (kickboard, water bottle and gear laid out), do a few quick arm rotations and dry land swimming drills. Even some elastic bands can help get your upper body prepped and ready for your swim workout. You wouldn’t think of going for a hard run without a warm-up and dynamic stretch, so why should swimming be any different? Personally, I like to do about 10 shoulder shrugs and some imitation swimming with my arms to warm-up my upper body. Then, to get my lower body geared up for the swim, I’ll do 10 knee bends and flex, stretch and loosen my ankles while wearing an ankle brace. Then I’m sufficiently warmed up and ready to swim. Your workout should start out with some type of in water warm-up that is easy. Some examples are:
- 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull, 200 swim
- 400-500 swim
- 2-4 x 150 free / 50 no-free
- 2-4 x 400s (150 free, 50 non-free – repeated twice)
- 400 swim, 300 pull, 200 kick, 100 drill choice
- 4-10 x 75s with 15 sec rest (kick, drill, swim by 25) (could also be Pull, kick, swim or Drill Swim, Drill, etc.)
- 3 x (100 pull, 50 swim)
- 2 – 4 x 150s (25 drill, 50 swim)
- 3 x (100 swim hard, 50 easy)
- 10 x 100s @ lactate threshold effort
- 2 x (5 x 100s fast @ descending effort, 100 easy)
- 4 x 300s @ moderate effort w/ :20seconds rest
- 6 x 200s
- Odds: max distance per stroke – focus on good technique
- Evens: moderate effort
- 4 x 400s