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.
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 mat'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.