Filipinos ‘race’ to a healthier lifestyle
With the summer coming to a close this June, your hard-earned beach body may find its way back to its sedentary ways and most probably regain the inches you lost.
You can go ahead and blame it on “bed weather,” unless you read the rest of this article and decide to join the latest fitness craze that is making more and more Filipinos healthier today.
“Filipinos have slowly become more aware of health and fitness in recent years. There has been a more conscious effort for people to make better health decisions. Supermarkets now offer a ‘health food’ section; organic food products and healthy eating restaurants have opened all over; and more running, swimming and biking events are being organized by private and public organizations,” noted Chris Evering–ham, a Filipino-Australian health and wellness advocate who also plays for the Philippine Volcanoes Rugby team.
The buffed health buff is also into racing events such as triathlons, whose popularity traces back to 2008 when the first IronMan event took place in the Philippines.
Since then, according to Triathlon Association of the Philippines head coach Rick Reyes, the “explosion” of this sporting challenge has given birth to races—mostly in running and biking—every weekend, with as many as 2,000 participants signing up for the bigger events.
He emphasized to The Manila Times that this large—and growing number—are regular Filipinos from all walks of life, who eventually realize that the “fitness craze” is both enjoyable and effective in sparking a truly healthier lifestyle.
But before you sign up for the next available race, Reyes warns that you have to build up your stamina.
“For you to really enjoy triathlon, you have to first submit yourself to regular training,” he began. “You must first have what we call ‘stock fitness’ where you build up the stamina to endure 10 to 15 kilometers of running in over an hour; swim at a continuous pace with a distance of at least 500 meters; and endure a 10 to 20 km bike ride.”
Before joining events, Reyes recommends jumpstarting your training in a gym where you can consult with trainers, coaches, and nutritionists, as well as use the best training equipment to build on your stamina and endurance.
He agrees that the Fitness First Aura Club at SM Aura in Bonifacio Global City, a multi-sports zone, is a good place to start, with its three-lane pool and transition area for running and cycling.
The fitness center also houses Power Plate machines, which incorporate a vibrating platform with conventional exercises, therefore engaging more muscles in a shorter time. Reyes noted this is ideal for busy folks who want to get fit since they can actually achieve a three-hour workout in just 25 minutes.”
“Now that more Filipinos are showing interest in joining different sporting events, we want to be able to help them in their different fitness needs, which include training,” stated Fitness First country manger Mark Ellis.
He guarantees members that besides giving them topnotch facilities and machines, they will also have the guidance of expert professional trainers at all times.
Start with a sprint
Once you feel fit and ready for your first race, Reyes advises to choose a short triathlon event, which they call “sprint.”
“This will help you determine if your physical condition can withstand the challenges of such racing events without pushing yourself too much,” he explained.
Gradually building up on longer distances, according to Reyes, is the key in sticking to these activities, and embracing it as a lifestyle rather than a fitness trend.
Besides its health benefits, Reyes also enthused on the quality time such activities can provide families, friends and officemates. Weekend activities will prove to be more exciting than just going to the mall, eating out and watching movies.
“Triathlon offers variety. If you want to see the country, joining triathlons can be fun because big events are usually organized outside of the city. It is also a chance for social interaction, meeting smart and healthy individuals who have the same interests as you,” Reyes concluded.