Goodbye Coach: Fitness After College Sports

Hi Side of Kail followers,

Kaili asked her followers if they would like to be guest writers on her blog, and I’ve jumped on the opportunity. I have loved being a Side of Kail follower for the past year. Whether it’s workout suggestions, grocery store advice, or overall lifestyle discussions, this blog has been my go-to during my commute to and from work. A little background on me, I met Kaili through a mutual friend on her road trip through Denver last year. We bonded over our love for working out and eating. We’ve stayed in contact through social mediaever since, and she eventually wrote me a one-month workout plan.

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa and was a competitive swimmer most of my life. I started swimming at my local country club and eventually became a collegiate swimmer for the University of Denver. Working out was never an issue for the first 22 years of my life, but I found myself lost and unmotivated when my swimming career ended in February 2017. All I’d known my whole life was swimming. I woke up- went to swimming. I left school- went to swimming. I was always told when to workout, how to workout, and how much to workout. Never had I been responsible for maintaining my fitness level and watching my nutrition. I liked working out when it was fun and competitive,and I knew I wanted to stay in shape beyond my limits of the pool; however, I had little experience beyond the water.


I’m writing this post for anyone who is just completing their athletic career (whether high school, college, or any other level), anyone having a hard time loving working out, or anyone needing a good read! I am not a trainer nor fitness expert, but I had to learn to develop my own workout routine. Here’s what’s worked for me:

1. Find a routine

I found myself going to the gym and not doing what to do, how much to do, or when to do it. I reached out to Kaili for some help and she gave me a workout routine that I have used and loved for the past 8 months. This is not an advertisement for her (thanks Kaili), but she has provided me some much-needed structure in my routine. When I go to the gym, I know the exact workout I am going to do and leave feeling accomplished and satisfied. This routine has kept me consistent and accountable. I use her suggestions and add some twists of my own.

2. Mix it up

I find that in order to get the best results, I’ve got to have variety. Workout variation trains the entire body and keeps workouts from becoming monotonous. I’ll be honest, I am not a big fan of leg day (who is?) but incorporating exercises that work the entire body have given me the results I was looking for. I’ve added spinning, Body Pump, Pilates, and now swimming (16 months later) back to my routine and have loved the variation. And no, I don’t skip leg day.

3. Do it for you!

No one is going to carry you to the gym, make you do those workouts, and remind you to balance your nutrition and fitness routines. It’s up to you. When you get into these habits, working out will be a highlight of your day instead of a chore. Push through those first difficult weeks of finding this balance and you’ll get there before you know it.

4. Reward yourself

After working hard, you need to reward yourself. Give yourself days off, eat that deep-dish pizza (Ilive in Chicago), and treat yourself. That’s why we workout right? When you change your mindset and say, “I deserve this day off/meal” rather than thinking, “I have to workout because I ate this/skipped a day,” it will change your life.

5. Be patient

This one is hard to read and experience. I am impatient and expect results fast. Know that you are making yourself better and results will ultimately come- just trust the process. If you have been doing the same thing for awhile with disappointing results, it might be time to change your routine.

6. Be proud of yourself

Despite whatever your body type is, be proud of what you’ve got. If you’ve got a belly, own it! Got abs, own them! Confidence in a person goes so far. Every body is different and you don’t have to be skinny and have abs to be “fit.” Own the person you are and continue to work toward the person you want to be.

Working out is different for everyone- find what works for you and what you enjoy doing. Like I mentioned, I’m finally incorporating swimming back into my workout routine after a 16-month hiatus. Anyone trying to get into swimming, please see workouts below. It’s a great cardio workout and works every part of the body. Feel free to adjust based on skill level or intensity. If you want more workouts – reach out to Kaili,and she can get you connected with me. Thanks for reading!

Ben Severino @Bentuckyderby

Beginner Swim Workout

(25= one lap)

30 seconds rest in between each 25

4×25’s Warmup

4×25’s Kick with board or on back

4×25’s work on breathing

4×25’s work on kicking

2×50’s work on length of stroke

4×25’s take one less stroke each time

4×25’s FAST

Cool down

Hold onto the wall and kick till heart rate slows down

2×25’s easy swim

Intermediate Swim Workout

200 Swim

4×50’s Easy, Moderate, Hard, Build up to fast

100 Kick

100 Pull

100 Swim

4×50’s Freestyle Drill

Finger-Tip Drag (drag fingers on the surface)

Straight Arm (do not bend elbows outside the water

Catch-up (overlap arm strokes)

Tarzan (Keep head above the water)

4×50’s Backstroke Drill

Kick on back

Right arm only

Left arm only

Double Arm

8×25’s Odds Fast, Evens Easy

Main Set:


200 yards pull* freestyle
200 yards kick** freestyle
200 yards freestyle

Cool Down:

4×50’s Easy


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