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Q&A Achy Jim Colbert enlists in an aqua-aerobics boot camp

April 01, 2002
April 01, 2002

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April 1, 2002

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Q&A Achy Jim Colbert enlists in an aqua-aerobics boot camp

By Jim Colbert Edited By Alan Shipnuck

Six months ago Jim Colbert, 61, began training with Gregg
Alexander (above, in camouflage), a former Marine who now works
as a water fitness instructor. Alexander says he adopted the
drill sergeant shtick as "a motivational tool" for his clients,
and it certainly seems to be working for Colbert.

This is an article from the April 1, 2002 issue Original Layout

SI: So where did you find Sarge?

JC: I asked the people at the club [Bighorn, in Palm Desert,
Calif.] to find me a water-workout expert, and they came up with
this guy. The first day he comes in--I wanted to interview him
first--and right away starts barking out orders, and we went from
there.

SI: Why not opt for a perky, young female instructor?

JC: That's not what I was interested in. At my age, you have to
buy discipline. I wanted somebody who was going to be harder on
me than some teenager.

SI: You realize it's usually pregnant women who do this sort of
thing?

JC: I didn't really know about that. I knew thoroughbred trainers
swim horses all the time. I've watched them do that, to help the
horses with their injuries. I guess that's where the idea came
from.

SI: What's bothering you?

JC: My knees and my back. I've had three operations on my right
knee, and I need to get it scoped again. I can't do weights or
even ride a bike because my joints can't take the pounding.

SI: Tell us about the program.

JC: Over the winter we got together five times a week, for an
hour each time. It's a lot of sports-based movements done in a
pool--everything from boxing to punting a football--and some stuff
that comes from military obstacle courses, like running tires.

SI: And he's barking at you the whole time?

JC: There's a lot of that. When he gets me doing those knee
lifts, like I'm running tires, he's yelling, "Hup! Hup! Hup!
Hup!"

SI: This inspires you?

JC: It sure does. I have things moving that I haven't had moving
in a long time.

SI: Does he ever get in the water with you?

JC: Yep. Sometimes he faces me, and we do the same routine.

SI: How cute--synchronized swimming. Maybe you can get some jazzy
music, a little mascara and try out for the 2004 Games.

JC: Oh, I don't think we'll ever be good enough for the Olympics.

COLOR PHOTO: TODD BIGELOW/AURORA