“5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing” With Jennifer Conroyd of Fluid Running

Dr. William Seeds
Jan 21, 2020 · 14 min read

I follow the 80/20 rule! That means 80% of the time, I am really good about my nutrition. I focus on eating for nutrition vs. pleasure. I eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean proteins and I make a green smoothie every day! I also try to cut out any white carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes) after lunch. But, come the weekend, I let myself enjoy food more. I love pizza and wine! I think it’s important to not go too long denying yourself. By the end of the weekend, I’m ready to get back to my healthy eating. Personally, I am able to maintain a healthy weight with this structure.

a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Conroyd, the founder of Fluid Running, a deep water running fitness company. She is an Ironman and has and completed 16 marathons, qualifying for the Boston Marathon 15 times. Jennifer is an A.C.E. certified personal trainer, a USATF trained coach, has an Exercise Is Medicine credential and is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio.

Thank you so much for doing this with us Jennifer! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

hit a bit of a low spot in my early thirties and knew I needed a positive focus. I found an “intro to triathlon” training class at my local YMCA and signed up. I was a swimmer for a couple of years in high school but was not a runner or a biker. I did well in that first sprint distance triathlon and went on to do several Olympic distance triathlons, then half Ironman distances and then a full Ironman! I realized I was a pretty good runner and ended up running 16 marathons, qualifying for the Boston Marathon on 15 of them. Fitness became such a big part of my life. I went on to get several health and fitness certifications and began coaching individuals and eventually creating a leading edge, high intensity deep water running fitness program I named Fluid Running.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I went to a clinic on muscle activation in 2016. It was a relatively small group and we were all asked to tell what brought us there. A guy named Adam Kimble stood up and said he was there because he was attempting to break the Guinness World Record for running across the United States in the fastest time and he thought this technique would help him. I introduced myself and told him how much I thought Fluid Running could help him….even to “shake out” his legs at the end of the day during his cross country venture. I ended up doing a couple private one-on-one sessions with him before he left. As part of “mapping out” his course, he found deep water pools along his route and he did indeed Fluid Run several times throughout his venture. He did not break the record, but he did run from coast to coast! Adam was then a contestant and winner of The Wheel, a Discovery Channel survival show and continues to be an avid supporter of Fluid Running.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I had a really big presentation I was making to the YMCA. I had taken a new “health supplement” that morning. Well, it turned my mouth to paste! I could hardly talk by the end of the presentation. It was like someone had painted the inside of my mouth with glue. My business partner Pam was with me at the time and we still laugh about it to this day. Lesson: Don’t try anything new when you have something really important you need to accomplish!

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I have several certifications, but most fitness experts do. What most fitness experts don’t have is the in-depth knowledge and experience in the area of vertical deep water exercise for fitness and wellness. After discovering the incredible benefits of deep water running (full body, cardiovascular workout with NO impact) I dedicated the last 8 years of my life to learn all I can about it. I traveled to Canada twice to get a certification in Foundations of Vertical Water Training and a certification in Aqua Jogging. I came back and created the deep water running group class Fluid Running and eventually created an instructor certification curriculum. My license plate is WTR RUN! It’s my passion. I also think the fact that I have truly “walked the walk” having run 16 marathons and completed the Ironman speaks to my passion and commitment. To complete those kinds of endurance events you have to be conscious of all aspects of your health; nutrition, sleep, supplements, and of course exercise. My unique contribution to the world of wellness is that I have created the only deep water running program/system in the world that teaches proper technique and provides coached workouts. This has enabled thousands of people to get a phenomenal workout, even if they have chronic pain or an injury. I’ve had people tell me that Fluid Running helped them; lose 50 pounds, get off their medications, stay fit while recovering from surgery, reduce the swelling in their legs from lymphedema and helped them get a PR in a race even while training with an injury.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I wouldn’t have been able to share Fluid Running with the world if it weren’t for my partner Mike Lambert. We both work in a co-working space in the Chicago area. Every Friday, we have something called “entrepreneurial hot seat” where everyone in the office comes together and one person gets picked to share a business problem or pose a question to the group. I got picked one week and shared my frustration with trying to grow the Fluid Running group class business. About a week later, Mike came up to me and asked if I had ever thought about creating a “DIY” version of my program for individual use. He put together his thoughts into a very thorough presentation and about 6 weeks later we were testing Fluid Running H2Go, the app-based DIY version of Fluid Running. We tested the concept for about a year before launching the product in 2018. The rest is history! I’m so grateful for Mike and all the technology and marketing expertise that he brings to Fluid Running.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

  1. Comfort. It’s in line with our basic human needs of rest, warmth, safety and security (Maslow). We don’t want to be uncomfortable. But, what’s most ironic is that if we’re unwilling to be a little uncomfortable now (exercising, denying bad food choices) then we risk being really uncomfortable later when we end up with disease, chronic pain, etc. I love the quote “Eat your food as medicine, otherwise, you will need to eat your medicine as food.” So true!
  2. Time. Everyone is so busy these days. People think they must go to the gym for an hour and they don’t have an hour, so then they don’t go at all. It’s amazing what a difference a 15-minute quick (home) workout can make or interspersing little 3–5 minute “bursts” throughout the day. When I know I don’t have time to really get in a workout, I’ll run up and down the stairs several times, then drop down and do some crunches and push-ups! BAM — heart rate way high and I’ve kickstarted my metabolism.
  3. Will power. It’s hard! It takes mental toughness. It’s so easy to just “give in”. It helps to look at it as a competition and “challenge yourself” to see if you can do it! This is where positive self-talk plays a critical role. “Yes, I CAN do this”. Will power is a muscle that needs to be continually worked. It’s amazing how much stronger it will get if you keep working it!

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

  1. Sunday is “chop, shop and plan” day. A healthy lifestyle requires work and planning. I clean and chop veggies on Sunday and put them in little baggies. Then I have them to easily make a salad or grab as a healthy snack. I also plan the workouts I’m going to do for the week and plan the meals I’m going to prepare and try to do as much shopping for them as I can.
  2. I make Monday “cleanse day”. I don’t actually do a cleanse, but I start my day with warm water and lemon juice and try to eat extra fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water that day. I try to eat a completely “clean” diet on Monday. It helps “undo” the negative impact of the weekend and gets my week off to a good start. I also do yoga on Monday nights and that ends the day so nicely. I feel like a new person by the time I go to bed.
  3. I sit quietly for the first 15 minutes of each day while my coffee brews. I listen to uplifting music, breathe deeply, pray for everyone on my “prayer list” and practice gratitude. I say, “thank you for the blessing of my life”. It’s almost impossible to finish doing that and be in a bad mood.
  4. I try to think of one nice thing I can do for someone every day. Some days I’ll send a card to someone just to say I’m thinking about them or some days I’ll just shoot a text with a fun graphic/message to someone knowing it will make them smile. Give happy — get happy! That’s how it works.
  5. I have post it notes in my bathroom with empowering thoughts. There is something about seeing in writing the person who you want to be or a goal you want to accomplish. It kind of “sets” it in your mind.

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Energy! So many people think that they are too tired to work out and it will make them even more tired. That is so far from the truth. Exercise has the complete opposite effect. It gives you energy!

Sense of well-being and accomplishment. For one, exercise moves your blood, gets your heart pumping and it’s a fact that it releases endorphins or “feel good” hormones. You just feel better after you exercise. There is also that sense of accomplishment (✔ ) that makes you feel good and sets you up to accomplish more good things! It’s kind of like the “Make Your Bed” speech by Admiral William H. McRaven at the 2014 University of Texas Commencement in which he talked about the impact on your day, and even your life, of doing one small thing — like making your bed every day.

Brain health and memory! In my opinion, mental deterioration is almost scarier than physical deterioration. Studies show that regular exercise promotes positive changes in brain structure and function.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

  1. Any aerobic activity. You have to get your heart pumping. It’s hard to pick the one that is best for everyone because everyone is different, and some people have pain that limits their ability to do certain exercises. Running, elliptical, cycling, swimming, aerobics class, water running are all great options.
  2. Planks. Your core is your foundation and having a strong core is key. People often think of their core as “their belly”. It’s so much more than that. Your core includes your abdominal muscles, your back muscles, and the muscles of your hips and glutes. Your core provides stability and balance so the rest of your body can function. We use our core in everything we do. I recommend starting with 20–30 second planks and adding 5 seconds each time working up to a minute and a half.
  3. Push-ups. Ideally you do these on the floor because they work more of your body, but even doing them against the wall will strengthen your upper body — arms, chest and shoulders. When done on the floor, push-ups engage even more muscles, especially the core, and of course working against gravity makes it harder and increases muscle density.

In my experience, many people begin an exercise regimen but stop because they get too sore afterwards. What ideas would you recommend to someone who plays sports or does heavy exercise to shorten the recovery time, and to prevent short term or long term injury?

When I was doing lots of marathons, I swore by the ice bath following my long or super hard runs. They’re kind of brutal for the first minute but work miracles! 10 minutes in an ice bath and just about all inflammation is gone. Soreness is often a buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. The worst thing you can do is work out really hard, get your heart rate really high and then just stop! Active recovery is key. That means keep moving until your heart rate slows down. Then, ideally taking time for some easy stretching and foam rolling. To prevent long term injury, STOP when pain hits. If you try to work through it, it will only exacerbate the injury and make the pain worse. Of course, I have to say that if you don’t want pain in the first place, do deep water running! No impact at all!

There are so many different diets today. Can you share what kind of diet you follow? Which diet do you recommend to most of your clients?

I follow the 80/20 rule! That means 80% of the time, I am really good about my nutrition. I focus on eating for nutrition vs. pleasure. I eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and lean proteins and I make a green smoothie every day! I also try to cut out any white carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes) after lunch. But, come the weekend, I let myself enjoy food more. I love pizza and wine! I think it’s important to not go too long denying yourself. By the end of the weekend, I’m ready to get back to my healthy eating. Personally, I am able to maintain a healthy weight with this structure.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Traveler’s Gift. This book had so many life lessons that just stuck with me from “take action” to “choose happiness” which was the message from the main character’s “encounter” with Anne Frank. I use the “choose happiness” message on a daily basis. Happiness really is a choice, and I say to myself a lot “choose Jen” in situations where it’s easy to get upset or mad about something.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I’d seriously like to start the Fluid Running Revolution! I know how amazing deep water running is and I’ve seen it benefit SO many people from injured elite athletes to obese individuals with chronic pain. Most people associate any water fitness (with the exception of swimming) with grandma’s water aerobics. I want to change that stereotype and get everyone to realize that this can be a badass workout! It’s not uncommon to hit max heart rate doing these workouts. I’m talking 170 or 180 BPMs all without any impact. I want to make it cool because the benefits are so incredible! You don’t have to be a swimmer or a runner to do this workout. Anyone can do it!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails”.

This quote has applied to so many situations in my life. Fluid Running really began because of a majr “sail adjustment”. I was training for the 2010 Chicago marathon and it was such an important marathon to me because all my siblings were coming in from across the country to run it with me as a charity team in support of my nephew Ben who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. We were Team 10–10–10 for Ben! Unfortunately, six weeks before the marathon, I tore my calf muscle and my doctor told me I could not run. I was devastated but determined. I took to the internet and googled “How To Stay In Running Shape When Injured”. I came across an article about deep water running written by an elite running coach. I emailed him and asked if he could help me. He said, “trust me Jennifer, I will get you to this marathon”. I followed all of his workouts and ran solely in the deep end of the pool for the six weeks leading up to the race. I said, “so help me God, if this works, then this is what I’m going to do with the rest of my life”. Well, not only did I finish that marathon, but I qualified for the Boston Marathon! From that moment, I have dedicated my life to spreading the good word about deep water running!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

I often ask myself, “Who could really help me educate the world about deep water running?” and when I think about who is the health and wellness guru who people listen to and respect, I think of Dr. Mehmet Oz. I feel like his mission is to inform the world about how to be healthier and happier and that’s in line with my mission. I’d love to get him excited about deep water running.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Instagram: https://instagram.com/FluidRunning

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FluidRunning

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fluidrunning

You can reach me through our website: FluidRunning.com or email, jennifer@fluidrunning.com

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the author:

Dr. William Seeds is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and physician specializing in all aspects of sports medicine and total joint treatments. With over 22 years of experience, Dr. Seeds is focused on providing the most innovative results to those seeking to maximize their performance, relieve injuries, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Pop Culture, Business, Tech, Wellness, & Social Impact

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Dr. William Seeds

Written by

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon and physician, with over 22 years of experience, specializing in all aspects of sports medicine and total joint treatments

Authority Magazine

In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.