JAVI BENITEZ

A millennial’s take on health and fitness

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Biking is one of the physical activities that has helped the active Javi Benitez maintain a well-toned body

Biking is one of the physical activities that has helped the active Javi Benitez maintain a well-toned body

“How do you take care of your physical health?” is one question most young adults would dodge nowadays. For fear that they would be judged for their sedentary lifestyle and penchant for fast food, some millennials instead prefer to discuss how difficult the latest exercise craze is or how healthy they thought the entrees are at a newly opened restaurant.

But while the current generation has access to physical and nutritional information with a few swipes on their mobile gadgets, the information that they understood is far more challenging to incorporate in their lifestyle.

The latter is most especially true according to an International Food Information Council report.

“Millennials acknowledge the importance of eating healthfully, but all admit they do not always eat as healthfully as they would like,” the report noted in 2010.


On August 5, The Manila Times met Javier Miguel Lopez Benitez, a proud millennial who is even more proud to say that he is not included in the above study.

The former racer-turned-avid runner, television host and international studies student gamely dished out his lifestyle choices, which he developed at such an early age.

“I do watch what I eat. Right now, I am actually enrolled in a food service that prepares one’s meals according to a certain calorie count. They decide how much you can take through your routine,” the 21-year old immediately answered when asked how he takes care of himself.

Benitez then added that he has an allocation of 2,100 calories a day for he has a very active lifestyle.

Interestingly, food consciousness is not something new to Benitez as unlike most children, he already knew that sodas, chocolates and junk food are not good for his growing body.

“When I was younger, at 4 or 5, I remember mixing two types of sodas in one glass and drinking it. My stomach ached so much after that. I was so traumatized that I never drank soft drinks again,” he recalled.

Young Javi with his dad, Congressman Albee Benitez, who has influenced him to live an active lifestyle

Young Javi with his dad, Congressman Albee Benitez, who has influenced him to live an active lifestyle

Dad’s influence
Additionally food is not the only thing Benitez learned to be conscious about early on.

With his father’s prodding, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, he learned to be physically active.

“I was really into video games when I was younger: DOTA, Counter Strike, Ragnarok—I was really a kid who played a lot of that stuff,” Javi—to his friends and family—admitted.

“Then, one day, my dad took notice of my habits, and said, ‘You should spend some time out. Why don’t you do sports?’ he continued.

Since his dad is an avid badminton player, Javi naturally tried the sport first and got hooked with it. Eventually, he dabbled into other sports.

One such sport that he excelled at was racing. As a child, Javi trained and competed locally and internationally and one of his many accolades is a back-to-back “Junior Karter of the Year Awards” in 2008 and 2009 at the prestigious Golden Wheel Awards. Javi was the first to ever achieve the feat.

Eventually, his parents felt that the sport was interfering with his studies, which was a priority for the family, so he had to give it up.

But perhaps sports became so much a part of him that in high school, the Xavier alumnus both tried to join his school’s badminton and football varsity teams. He passed the try outs for both teams but decided to pursue the latter and proudly shared that he excelled football immensely.

“We even won an interschool league during my senior year,” he proudly recalled.

He stopped competitive sports again, however when the young Benitez left the country to study a dual degree in Political Science and Computer Science at Santa Clara University in California.

The passion of Javi for running has prompted him to organize his first eponymous fun run, which will benefit medically impaired children from his province

The passion of Javi for running has prompted him to organize his first eponymous fun run, which will benefit medically impaired children from his province

Lessons
Though no longer in sporting competitions for the time being, Benitez is still very much into physical activities and recreational sports.

“Sports has done so much for me—it did not only make me fit but instilled competitiveness in me. More importantly, I believe sports instills a certain level of discipline in anyone seriously involved in it,” he related to The Manila Times.

Today, Benitez considers himself a duathlon—a runner and a cyclist—and incorporates plyometrics in his routine, which lets muscles exert maximum force in a series of exercises to increase power.

“I do plyo in the morning, usually at 6:30 or 7. And then, if I am not too tired, I run and work out in the afternoon,” Benitez detailed.

These physical activities and his food consciousness has helped the active youngster maintain not a ripped but a well-toned body for his 6-foot frame.

Benitez also shared that unlike other fitness buffs his age, he does not engage in short-term exercises. He too does not double time every summer to have that “beach body” because he never slows down when it comes to his fitness regimen.

“My friend and I joke that there’s no off season, you have to be fit all the time. If one suddenly stops working out the other calls his attention. I think that’s also another secret in being fit all year round, you have to have a support buddy,” Benitez said.

Having shared all his fitness routines, Benitez added he encourages young people his age to get involved in more physical activities.

“I think with our Internet revolution nowadays, more people are stuck to their phones, stuck to social media. But I will guarantee them that there is a bigger satisfaction in working out and spending time with your friends without your phones,” he concluded enthusiastically.

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