Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Swim Back

Five months after having my baby, I’m finally feeling like I can swim again! I wanted to share what I did to get back into swimming after taking some time off.

Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Swim Back

This is the 1st article in a series I am writing for triathletes who have been out of the sport for whatever reason and working toward coming back.

In case you missed the other ones, here they are…

Whether it is intentional (off-season, break, hate swimming) or unintentional (injury, illness, surgery, life change), it’s tough to get back in the pool when you’ve been out for a while.

I wanted to share the steps I took in hopes that it may help somebody else who is struggling to get back in swimming shape after being out of the pool for a while.

I want to start by saying when I found out I was pregnant, I was in really good shape. As in Kona Ironman shape. I took a break from swimming after the Ironman because I got 3 new tattoos. Before I had a chance to get back in the water, I found out I was pregnant. I always heard that swimming was the best thing to do while you’re pregnant.

When I was a personal trainer my clients who were pregnant loved being in the water. They said it took the weight off their joints and their back and they loved to feel light, cool, etc.

I swam a little at the beginning of my pregnancy, but by the time my belly started getting bigger, it was actually really uncomfortable for me to swim. I continued to swimming just to keep swimming, but it was typically 1 to 2 times a week 15 to 30 minutes at a time, at a very leisurely pace, and using all the equipment I could find!!

After Coura was born, I was antsy to get back into the pool, but had to wait 6 weeks for everything to heal. Once I was cleared to get into the pool, I jumped right in, only to discover that even 100 yards at a moderate pace got my heart rate up and my arms and legs felt uncoordinated and weak. I was also having a lot of shoulder pain from the way I was holding my baby when I breastfed her, so that flared up almost immediately after trying to swim freestyle.

Here is how I progressed…

Month 1: I swam 1-2 times a week for about 20 minutes using ALL my equipment (other than paddles). A typical swim looked like this:

  • 200 streamline kick on back w fins
  • 100 backstroke w fins
  • 200 kick on side with fins
  • 200 breastroke kick w board
  • 4×50 scull/swim w buoy and snorkel
  • 100 breastroke

Month 2: I swam 1-2 times a week for about 40 minutes still using lots of equipment, still not using paddles, only because my shoulder was still super sore after a swim. A typical swim looked like this:

  • 400 swim with fins, kick on back every 4th 25
  • 8×50 kick w board free/breast
  • 4×100 w buoy and snorkel 25 scull/75 swim
  • 3×75 kick/drill/swim IM order
  • 200 dolphin kick on back w fins
  • 200 breastroke

Month 3: I swam 2-3 times a week and tried to get an hour in for one of the swims. I started doing part of my set on an interval, and added back paddles. A typical swim looked like this:

  • 4×100 swim/kick w fins
  • 4×100 kick/drill w fins IM order
  • 8×50 kick w board free/breast on 1:10
  • 3×100 pull right paddle/left paddle/both paddles
  • 200 breast
  • 4×100 free on 1:45
  • 4×50 IM/free on 1:00
  • 200 breast
  • 300 dolphin kick w fins on back

Month 4: Sometimes I get in 3 swims a week, but usually still only 2. Swam my longest swim of the year this month at 3,600 yards. Here is what it looked like:

  • 8×100 w fins swim/kick by 100
  • 8×50 kick w board on 1:10
  • 8×50 swim w paddles on :50
  • 4×75 k/d/s IM order
  • 200 breast
  • 6×100 free on 1:40
  • 100 breast
  • 6×50 fast free/easy breast on 1:00
  • 200 IM easy
  • 300 back w fins
  • 100 breast

Over the weeks I am slowly adding a little distance (usually only 200 to my longest swim every 2 weeks) and a little speed (timing one more set each month). If something isn’t fun or hurts, I stop. There is no reason to hurt myself or get sick of swimming this early in my season.

If you are newer to swimming, I would also focus the majority of your workout on drills!

If you want a list of great drills (and lots of already written out workouts), join our facebook group here…

If you want a swim workout a day emailed to you for 30 days, click here…

If you want 10 great workouts for endurance training, go here…

And remember…Just Keep Swimming!

See you soon!

Fun Holiday Fitness Challenges

Fun Holiday Fitnesses ChallengesI’m not a religious girl, so Christmas isn’t an important holiday for me. I do love that I get to see my family for a week straight, including my sis and her kids from Cali that I don’t get to see as often as I would like. I also like the parties that the holidays bring, and by parties, I mean my fun workouts I create around the holidays.

On Xmas Eve, my friend Wendy and I swim 100×100. If you aren’t a swimmer, 100 yards is 4 lengths of the pool, so we do that 100 times. Usually we do it on an interval with breaks and equipment changes every 10-20 100s, which is also how we keep track of our laps. With pee, drink, and Shakeology breaks, this usually takes about 3 hours.

I love doing this on Christmas Eve morning for 4 reasons…

1. There usually isn’t much going on in the morning for me since I don’t “do” Xmas

2. I get a little anxious around the holidays so this helps me release pent up stress

3. I burn a lot of calories so I can eat my magical sandwich (or 2 or 5) that evening

4. To inspire others to do something good for YOU before you spend a day typically catering to others or dealing with family, travel, friends, in-laws, traffic, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and other overwhelming activities that are made even more stressful when many people are doing these tasks all at once

Have I convinced you to start a tradition to do a swim (or other fitness) challenge in the future? If so, here is how to get started…

1. Pick your challenge. I would choose something where you move to burn calories AND energy (stress). I would choose something you LOVE to do so that the years you feel overwhelmed at having ANOTHER thing to do that day, you remember it’s something that you love and you will do it anyway. I would also choose something that is DOABLE (with your time frame and abilities) but is CHALLENGING (so that it excites you and gives you a feeling of accomplishment).

2. Round up at least one other friend to do it with you. The more the merrier. Not necessarily to physically do it with you, but at least to hold you accountable. This year Wendy is in Georgia and I am in Colorado, but we are still both committing to doing it “together” virtually.

3. PLAN in advance (as far as possible) and schedule it into your calendar. Check to make sure you have all the logistics far in advance. About 2 months ago I asked at the gym to make sure they were open Christmas Eve morning and for enough time for me to do my swim (and 30 minutes on the bike for my bike streak). If they weren’t, I would have checked the hours for the next closest pool. Set yourself up for success from the very beginning.

4. Commit to doing it NO MATTER WHAT! No excuses! Tell your friends and family (or whoever you will be with that day) that you aren’t avail until whatever time you are scheduled to finish.

When you take time for yourself and keep your boundaries set, you will inspire others to do the same (whether they are upset with you or not).

5. Have a blast. Make it fun! Reward yourself with something important to you! I like to get my hard work out in so that the rest of the day when I am sitting at my mom’s house just hanging out with the fam, eating, and not lifting a finger, I know I have already done enough to stave off stress and overwhelm, and I have burned enough calories to sit around and eat my insanely delicious sandwiches!

Oh…and in case you were wondering about those sandwiches…

Every year our family tradition on Christmas Eve is “sandwich bar” where we put out anything you could possibly imagine having in a sandwich and we all make our own. We pretty much eat these all eve and well into the night and next day. My special AMAZING sandwich is Dave’s Power Seed Bread (, Natural Peanut Butter (, Strawberry Just Fruit Jelly, and Kettle Brand Krinkle Cut Sea Salt Potato Chips ( #promo

Try it and let me know if I am a genius or what!!!

Happy Holidays if that’s something you do this time of year!

Join our swimming group for more fun (and shorter) swim workouts…

See you next year!

3 Reasons Triathletes Should Learn to Swim all 4 Strokes

3 Reasons Triathletes Should Learn to Swim all 4 StrokesI am a triathlete, but I started as a swimmer. Before I ever rode a bike or ran, I swam. So now I am a rare breed of triathlete who LOVES to swim, and can swim all 4 competitive strokes, butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle. Most triathletes just learn freestyle (or front crawl it is actually called) because that is what you would swim in a triathlon, because that is the fasted of all 4 strokes.

So if that is what a triathlete swims in competition, why would he need to learn the other strokes??

The “complaint” I hear most from my triathlon clients about swimming is that it is BORING!! Basically as a swimmer, you swim back and forth in a swimming pool for an allotted time or distance. Sometimes it’s slower, sometimes faster, sometimes doing drills, and sometimes doing intervals. But essentially all you are doing is swimming back and forth, which could get boring to some (I actually LOVE it, but again, I’m the minority here).

When you know all 4 strokes, it gives you 4 times as many options when completing a swim workout.

Doing different strokes in your workouts not only make it more fun, but you are also working different muscles so it’s like cross training while still becoming a faster and more skilled swimmer.

These 2 reasons alone are good enough to get out of your comfort zone and learn the other strokes, but the main reason I use all 4 strokes in triathlon training is to keep from getting injured.

As a triathlete, we bike a run…a lot! Biking and running are very similar movements and use many of the same muscles. I like to use breastroke kick to help strengthen the adductors and abductors (inner and outer thighs) and hips (these don’t get worked much with biking and running) and I like dolphin kick to stretch my hip flexors which get very tight with biking and running, and to strengthen my core.

I also use butterfly and breastroke pull to work opposing muscles to freestyle in my upper body and give my shoulders and rotator cuffs the break they deserve after lap after lap of turning over my arms.
All in all I attribute my variety of swimming strokes, drills, etc to no injuries over the past 4 years of triathlon training. When I started increasing my biking and running, I also increased my swimming.

If you want a great place to start learning to swim other strokes, we have instructional videos on all 4 strokes here…

For all your swimming equipment needs…

For daily swim workouts in your inbox…

For 10 great swims for triathletes…

Keep on Swimming! See you soon!

How To Train For A 10K Swim

How To Train For A 10K SwimNow I know it’s a small percentage of people who are even going to click on this post, since most people can’t even imaging running a 10K, much less swimming one, but since you did, you have an interest in long distance swimming.

In December, my friend Wendy and I have 2 traditions…

1. Swim a 10K in the pool on Christmas Eve (usually 100×100)

2. Swim 1,000 x the upcoming year on New Year’s Eve (so like this year will be 16,000) I also do a 10K open water swim in Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins, CO every year in August.

And I’m not opposed to joining any of my other crazy friends for a long swim challenge (this year I did 100×100 for my friend Kate’s 40th)

So how do I train for these long distance swims?

My training varies throughout the year depending on my most important races and my goals, but I will always swim at least 3 times a week. Wendy, on the other hand, is a swim freak and can pull off way faster swims than me with very little time in the pool. For example, in her last ironman triathlon, she was first placed swimmer in her age group, second overall female with maybe 2 swims a week.

Since most of us are more like me and not a swim goddess, we are going to follow my training plan, not hers.

Swimming 3 days a week is very realistic, especially if this long distance swim is important to you. You will find a way! Unfortunately, since swimming is very technique based, not many other forms of cardio will get you as prepared for the event as swimming will.

I will outline some general training guidelines and what your 3 workouts per week will look like. If you want a more specific training plan catered to you, your time constraints, your current level of swimming and fitness, with specific drills, intervals, etc designed to fit your needs, email me at and I can send you an application to get that started for you.

Here are the general steps to get you started…

1. Make sure you are healthy and cleared for exercise by a health care professional

2. Make sure you have time in your schedule to do 3 swims on most weeks. 2 between 30-45 mins and 1 between 1-3 hours depending on your goal event

3. Make sure you have the proper equipment for training

  • Swimsuit: that stays on (you will most likely need a couple throughout the course of your training)
  • Swim Cap: silicone and latex stay on best. I like latex because silicone is too slippery for me, but a lot of people like silicone because it’s easier to get on and off.
  • Goggles: very personal preference. If the ones you have hurt or give you a headache, try another pair. I use AquaSphere Eagle. I wear them for 3 hours non-stop during the open water 10K and they don’t leak, fog, or cause any discomfort.
  • Fins: another personal preference. Most hurt the bone on the top of my foot so I like a softer fin. I use Speedo Trialon and love them.
  • Pull Buoy: they are all pretty much the same. Just make sure you get an adult one to float your big old legs and booty.
  • Kickboard: I don’t like regular kickboards, I only like the super soft ones shaped like a triangle. I use the TYR Hydrofoil.
  • Paddles: if you have no shoulder issues, get medium sized and curved. Get small if you have any shoulder probs, only get big if you are giant w huge hands. I use Speedo Contoured Swim Paddles.

So already you may be overwhelmed, don’t worry!! Take a deep breath. You don’t NEED any of this equipment (except maybe the swimsuit…check your pool rules), but it will make your journey much more enjoyable to have it all.

And you can actually get it all very cheap online at Plus shipping is free! Bonus! This is where I get ALL my swim (and triathlon) equipment!!

4. Now that you have your equipment, it’s time to asses your skills. If you are already a good swimmer, you can skip this step. If you are a beginner or not sure, the very best thing to do is hire a swim coach or instructor for a session to asses your technique and give you a handful of drills to work on to help your specific stroke.

If this is 100% not an option for you, the next best step would be to have a friend who is a swimmer watch a video of proficient swimmers on YouTube and then watch you swim and share the differences.

I have videos in our I Heart Swimming facebook group

( that outline proper technique in all parts of the stroke in all four competitive strokes.

After you asses you current skill level, you can either use the list of drills your coach gave you or use the list of drills I have in our facebook group during the workouts with drills. And btw…Olympic swimmers still do at a least 25% of their workouts as drills! Since the best swimmers on the planet are doing them…so should you! And all the fun equipment you just got will make them way more tolerable! I promise!

5. Next step is to pick an event. It’s way easier to get all these workouts in when you have a distance and date you are working toward. The training plan I have outlined here is geared toward 10K (meters or yards don’t matter at the beginner/intermediate level).

6. Get off your booty and start swimming!!

In general, here are your 3 swims a week:

  1. Drills. After a warm up, your entire workout will be drills. You can use all the equipment you want but slow down and focus on FORM!!
  2. Endurance. This will be your long swim. It doesn’t have to be continuous, but I would do at some point at least 2,000 without stopping, all freestyle, no equipment. These swims (depending on your time schedule) should get up to about 6K-8K total.
  3. Variety. A variety swim is a swim that mixes strokes, intervals, kick sets, pull sets, etc all into one swim. This is shorter than your endurance swim, but more sets with intensity, like a set of 10×100 on an interval that pushes you and gives you a 5-10 second rest.

In our I Heart Swimming facebook group ( I have hundreds of workouts in all 3 categories. Join us and steal all the workouts you want! You can also find training partners, ask questions, etc in that group.

And again, if you want a specific plan written up based on your individual goals, needs, time, schedule, etc with all the workouts already built in, I can write you up a plan. Email me at and I will send you an application to get you started.

If you want workouts emailed to you weekly in my Happy Hump Day Newsletter, click here…

I can’t wait to hear all about your adventure training and completing your first (or 100th) long swim!

See you SOON!

Making Long Swims More Fun

Making Long Swims More FunI love doing long swims…like 6,000-10,000 meters…in the pool!

The question I get most often is “don’t you get bored?”

They obviously don’t know I have done 8 hour rides on my trainer and a marathon on the treadmill so I happen to have either a screw loose or killed too many brain cells growing up swimming in the most chlorinated pools on the planet.

But it got me thinking, “What keeps me from getting bored during a long set in the pool?”

The answer is I am constantly changing up what I do. I use a lot of equipment, constantly change up the intensity, cut most sets with kicking w kick board, and most of all, I am ALWAYS changing up my breathing patterns. This not only makes the sets go by super fast, but it also works my lungs, technique, balance, and strengthens my non-dominant weak side.

So I wanted to share 3 of my favorite ways to get through 1,000 (meters or yards) continuous swim. If you have longer or shorter sets, you can adjust these workouts to fit what you are swimming whether it’s a 200, 500, 2,000, or 5,000.

1. Breathing Pattern AND Strengthening Non-Dominate Breathing Side

This one is my favorite. On the 1st 25 I breath on 10s to my NON-DOM side (my left) only, on the 2nd 25 I breath on 3s, I count this as 10-1 and repeat it 4 times so my count would be 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-4, then I move onto 8s. So 25 breathing on 8s to non-dom side only and 25 breathing on 3s. I repeat that 4 times so my count would be 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4. I then move onto 6s, non-dom and am over halfway done! See how fast and FUN that is? Move on to 4s and end with 2s. BAM! Easy 1,000

2. Breathing Pattern

This is the hardest one for me, but since it’s a challenge, it keeps my mind off of the laps and all of a sudden I am DONE! By 50s I start with breathing on 10s, then 9s, 8s, etc all the way down to 1s. This is a 500, then depending how I feel I EITHER repeat that OR go back up from 1s to 10s (the 2nd option is the harder one). But suddenly…1,000 DONE!

3. Mix In A Stroke Or A Kick

I do this one more often when I am either recovering, tired, or bored because it mixes it up more.

Basically I do this 2 ways depending on how much time I have. If I am shorter on time, I will do a 25 stroke or kick every 8th 25. So 175 swim/25 stroke/kick, repeat 5 times. If I have more time, I like doing the stroke/kick every 5th 25 and repeat it 8 times. When I am feeling lazy, I always do breaststroke for my stroke because it’s the easiest for me. But it’s more fun and time flies by when I do IM order. It’s also easier to keep track of lengths that way! Fun and done!

And if you are thinking “this girl thinks 1,000 is a long swim, sheesh, I’m looking for a REAL long swim”,

then I want to share my FAVE super long swim workout…

Warm Up:

1,000 drills w fins (I mix this up but typically do 6×100 free alt kick/drill by 100 and then 4×100 IM order kick/drill by 50)

Main Set:

1,000 Pull w paddles and buoy
100 Kick
900 Pull w buoy no paddles
100 Kick
800 Pull w paddles no buoy
100 Kick
700 Swim
100 Kick
600 Pull w paddles and buoy
100 Kick
500 Pull w buoy no paddles
100 Kick
400 Pull w paddles no buoy
100 Kick
300 Swim
100 Kick
200 IM
100 Kick
100 IM
100 Kick

Cool Down:

500 Easy drills/kick w fins

Total 8,000

And if you are short on time or aren’t strong enough for the whole workout yet, you can do parts and then work up to the whole!

For more swim workouts go here…

To get my weekly newsletter with my fave swim, bike, run, strength, core, and stretch workouts…

See you next week!!

My Answers To Your Crazy Swimming Objections

My Answers To Your Crazy Swimming ObjectionsI’ve been writing a book on how to help triathletes swim easier, race faster, and enjoy it more.

In the process I have surveyed hundreds of triathletes and asked them questions to find out how I can best help them love the portion of triathlon that most people struggle to get through.

I have received so many great questions which is confirmation that the book I am writing is NEEDED!

Most who have responded tell me they don’t even like swimming and only do it because it’s part of the triathlon.

Since my book is designed to help triathletes who don’t love to swim learn to tolerate it, or better yet, even enjoy it, I probed further and asked what it is about swimming they dislike so much. Surprisingly, I got answers I was NOT expecting!!

I thought people would say it was too hard, or they were slow, it was boring, or their technique was poor, all of which I will cover in my book. But many could be grouped into the following 5 objections which I will ATTEMPT to answer.

The reason I say “attempt” is because these objections are very personal and require the swimmer to potentially make some changes in their attitude and lifestyle. So I may not be able to help with THESE specific issues…but I’m sure going to try…

1. I hate the smell of chlorine

Hmmmm! Maybe pick a different sport!!

Or…just train/race in the summer (or in a warm climate year around) so you can do all of your training in a lake or ocean. Other than that, maybe you can wear a nose plug. Or eat lots of garlic to overpower the smell of chlorine?

One great thing to look forward to is that fewer and fewer pools are using chlorine, many are moving toward salt water or other chemicals that don’t smell like the old-school chlorine pools.

2. I get too hungry when I swim so I just gain weight because I eat so much afterwards

I learned a trick back in the day from my HS Swim Coach who wanted all the girls to lose weight. I’m sure we were all super fat in High School so it was understandable (UGH!).

He said the reason we get so hungry is because the pool water (typically around 80 degrees) cools our core body temperature so our metabolism increases to get our core body temp up. So his “secret” was to sit in the hot tub, sauna, or steam room immediately following your swim. If you don’t have one available, a long hot shower will help as well. When you are 16, you have time for that.

As an adult, it’s typically ‘get in/get out’ so what I do is immediately after a swim (like IN the shower when I am rinsing off), I drink a healthy meal replacement shake to give my body some protein, carbs, fat, and nutrients which takes the edge off until my next scheduled meal. Plus…standing in the hot shower for several minutes will start to raise my body temp! BONUS!!

3. I don’t like having to take multiple showers in a day

Then don’t. No one says you have to shower after you swim. If you get itchy, do a quick rinse with a swimming soap. If it’s because you care what other people think you may smell or look like, get over it.

You can rinse off and then shower when you get home, at the end of your day, or after your other workouts for the day. For me, showering is one of my favorite calming and self-care activities so I take full advantage of the pool showers (keep in mind I live in an RV so our showers at home are not so calming) so I am more than happy to shower.

And as you read above I drink my lunch in a matter of minutes while IN the shower, so apparently I would rather spend a few extra minutes in the shower than eating a meal. Priorities!

4. It takes too long to do my hair and make-up after I swim

This is a great time to simplify your life and change up your look at the same time! I’m a little biased because I think 100% of people look better with no make-up and natural hair. If you know me, I typically toss on a hat, but I know most people can’t do that, especially if you are heading to work or a business meeting.

I find when I put my hair in a loose ponytail on top of my head and then take it down right before I get to where I need to be, I have a wavy cute hair style. There are also fun and tasteful ways to wear a low pony or bun that take only minutes to produce and look very nice and professional.

And if you MUST wear make-up, I’m sure there are 2-3 stoplights in between your pool and your office!!

5. It gets so expensive when I have to buy swimsuits constantly

Now this IS a valid excuse! I typically go through a suit every 2 months. I’ve done some experimenting with this and no matter how EXPENSIVE a suit I get, they all last about the same amount of swims for me.

So here’s my solution…I buy the cheapest possible suit I can find. I order all my suits from and I search women’s competition suits and then order them by price.

Personally I get 2 piece suits because they fit me better (I have a long torso and my top is much smaller than my bottom) and I can typically get the entire suit for around $10. Yes, they may be mismatched, yes I have had some seriously ugly designs, but for $10 I’m not complaining!!

I’m not saying you HAVE to have an ugly suit to save money, my current one is SUPER cute and was on sale last month. Top was $5, bottom was $8, pink and camo…WINNING!! I bought 2 of each!


I sincerely hope these answers help you at least CONSIDER swimming more often or help you enjoy it more.

Swimming is an amazing sport because you can do it your ENTIRE life. I used to be a lifeguard and I remember every morning, M-F at 5am, a taxi would pull up in front of the Y and a little old lady would slowly climb out. Using her walker she would make her way through the front door, into the locker room and eventually into the pool area. It would take her 30 minutes to finally get into the pool, but as soon as she did she was a machine. She would swim non-stop for 30 minutes. I was so impressed, especially when I found out she was 93 years old! AWESOME!!!

If you are looking for FUN workout ideas, join our swimming community at…


I Love a Great Bargain! Swim Outlet

I-love-swim-outletI Love a Great Bargain! Especially on things I go through quickly like food, water, soap, running shoes, and swim suits.

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I have been a competitive swimmer since age 8. My sister who was 6 at the time was on swim team and came home with a handful of ribbons after a swim meet. I signed up the next day!!

I immediately became super obsessed with swimming (who me?) and would swim every chance I got.

Now that I am an adult, I can’t imagine how expensive it was for my mom to be buying me suits, goggles (well, we didn’t really use goggles all that much back then), caps, towels (lost at least one a week), sweats, etc.

PLUS…we had to actually GO somewhere to buy all this stuff! I’m sure there were mail order catalogs, but we didn’t know anything about them. So thanks Mom for using your hard earned (she was an elementary school teacher so she worked her butt off for every penny) money to support my green hair, red eyed dreams!!

Now that I am paying for my own gear, I am super grateful that I found over 10 years ago. I order from them almost monthly which saves me hundreds of dollars each and every year.

Here is more information about is the largest online specialty shop for swimming, water polo, fashion, beach, and surf products in the US. For over 10 years, we have focused on delivering the best online shopping experience and the best value. Our success and very existence are dependent on the repeat orders and word of mouth recommendations of loyal, satisfied customers.

We are confident you’ll find to be your first choice for quality products, lowest prices,
reliable delivery and shopping convenience.

We also take pride in living up to our company’s motto to help people live healthier lives through sports and fitness, so we’re pleased to have been recognized by the American Heart Association as a Gold-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite for helping employees eat better and move more.


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Disclosure…the link included in this post is an affiliate link and I will get a stipend for recommending it to you. That said, I never recommend anything that I don’t actually use or know about and sometimes I can negotiate a lower rate for my peeps!