Each year, Fitness First holds the New You Achievements Awards (NYAA) to celebrate the exciting success stories of Fitness First members. The most outstanding achievements are recognized at the prestigious and well-attended NYAA Gala Dinner. The awards are broken into four (4) categories, namely, Health, Shape, Sport, and Strength with each having its own winner. (more…)
I switched gyms recently and I must confess that, even if the gym is like a second home for me, the first few days at the new gym had me feeling shy and uneasy. I was thrown back into grade school when I met new classmates on the first day of school, but this time, I was confronted with “classmates” with 6-pack abs or to-die-for biceps! Gaaah! After a few days of familiarizing myself with the layout of the gym and meeting some of the trainers though, it was all good.
The experience got me thinking about how much harder it must be for first-time gym goers who are just getting started on their journey to fitness. Enrolling in a gym is a big step and the challenge for beginners is how to get comfy as quickly as possible so getting fit doesn’t become a chore but a fun experience.
Here are my top 8 tips to getting comfortable while getting fit at the gym:
1- On your first day, ask for an orientation. If you have no clue what to do or where to go, then ask the front desk to have a trainer take you around the gym to introduce the facilities and the types of exercises you can do on your own. Ask them specific questions on how to use the treadmills, spinning bikes, and other machines. Don’t be shy!
2- Get to know at least one of the staff members or gym mates by name. The first few days can be unnerving if you don’t know anyone at all at the gym. However, just by casually introducing yourself to one trainer or fellow gym member and making friendly conversation, you’ll feel more comfortable in the future when you see them again. Just remember: the gym is not a place for chitchat. Keep conversations to a minimum so you give your new friend a chance to workout.
3- Workout with a friend. If you’re nervous about going out there on your own, then encourage a friend to sign up with you. Join classes together, hop on the treadmill at the same time, and just have fun.
4- Hire a personal trainer. If you really have no clue where to begin, then consider hiring a personal trainer who can assess your fitness, evaluate your goals, and assist you during the entire workout.
5- Join a class. One of the best ways to get your feet wet immediately is to sign up for one of the class sessions. This gives you a chance to feel like you’re truly part of the gym along with the other members. To add, it can allow you to meet some of the gym members who frequent the sessions.
6- Come prepared. Wear the appropriate gym out fit, bring your ipod and earphones if you want to keep to yourself, and bring your own hydration bottle. By arriving at the gym feeling ready, then you’re less likely to feel nervous and insecure.
7- Be confident. Don’t be intimidated by people who look and act like they workout 24/7. These people were once newbies too. The gym is for people of all shapes and sizes and everyone has their own goals. You don’t have to look super fit to fit in at the gym.
8- Go often. The more you go, the more you feel comfortable in the gym and, in time, it truly will feel like a second home to you.
I just arrived from a weekend of fitness and fun at Boracay with the awesome women of Women’s Health and Summit! I think all women need an annual getaway for us to focus solely on ourselves—our body, mind, and spirit—every once in a while.
We flew off to Boracay for the weekend for Women’s Health’s annual event, Beauty and the Beach, the biggest beauty and wellness event in the country. It was also a grand celebration of Women’s Health Philippines’ 5th year anniversary wherein they encouraged women to give themselves a high five for their achievements. I felt fortunate to be invited to Beauty and the Beach again having had a fantastic time there last summer of 2011. Read about it here.
So, last Friday, I hopped on my bike trainer (because I wouldn’t be able to ride that weekend), bid the hubby and kids goodbye, and flew off to Boracay for a weekend of fun and fitness!
As soon as we arrived and after checking in at Pearl of the Pacific, Women’s Health spared no time in pampering us.
Together with Solar news anchor and event host for that weekend Hilary Isaac, we were whisked off to a 90-minute massage at Mandala Spa and Villas. It was my first time there and I loved everything about it from the friendly staff, the ambiance, the clean and well-kept rooms, and, of course, the fantastic massage. I asked for a strong massage and they gave me strong…just the way I like it! We ended the massage just in time for a quick dinner before we got some rest before the real fun began on Saturday.
The following day, I got up early for Beauty and the Beach classes by the beachfront. First class: Hatha Yoga! I’m a big fan of yoga especially for runners because we need to loosen up our leg muscles, which take a pounding from all the runs. It’s also great for busy people like me who need to slow down, clear the mind, and simply recalibrate.
Second class: Piloxing. The class was taught by the only certified Piloxing instructor in the country, my good friend and roommate for the trip, and also a partner for the Weight Management Sessions we offer at TBR Dream Marathon, Mitch Felipe-Mendoza. Piloxing, as the name suggests, is a mix of Pilates, Boxing, and Dance. I thought it was going to be an easy workout, but boy was I wrong. It was a lung-busting, challenging workout that had me thinking: I would rather be running 21k right now! LOL. Still, it’s always fun to learn new things, to use muscles that are rarely used, and to challenge myself constantly with workouts that I find difficult to do.
After lunch at D’Mall, I met up with Women’s Health Editor-in-Chief and triathlete Lara Parpan. We dove into the clear, pristine waters of Boracay and proceeded to swim 1.5k. I had never done laps in Boracay and, as we swam, I couldn’t keep myself from smiling about how fantastic it felt. The water was clean and not too choppy, there was absolutely no jellyfish (we were viewing Ann Curtis’ jellyfish attack photos over lunch! Gaah!), and I felt that I could go on and on. There are times when I’m reminded of blessed I am to have the opportunity to swim, bike, and run the way I do and this was definitely one of them.
By the afternoon, we enjoyed cocktails at Women’s Health’s Chill Out Sunset Party by the beach front. It was an evening to meet other like-minded women of Summit, fashion bloggers, and fitness enthusiasts. More importantly, it was also to congratulate the Women’s Health team for all the great work the past 5 years.
The next morning, as expected, I got up early to run on the white sand of Boracay. Hey, no trip is complete without a run, right?! Running on sand is always a tricky situation; it’s unstable and soft. My light and minimalist Nike Free Run 2 was perfect for the job. It was hot and humid, but running with that beautiful scenery before me was just a delight. I just enjoyed every moment.
The next classes for Beauty and the Beach were the Flirty Girl Fitness and Pound Workout. I have two left feet so I decided to spare the rest of the women from watching me make a fool of myself. It looked like so much fun though! This is just even more proof that there are limitless ways to get fit while having fun.
Oh, aside from fitness, Women’s Health treated women to free mani/pedi and hair braiding services at their Beauty Dome by the beach. I would’ve wanted to get my nails done, but I think I was just too excited to maximize my workouts while in Boracay. I guess you could say I’m a pawis (“sweat”) over pampering kinda girl. Hah!
Before we knew it, we were bidding each other goodbye as the event came to a close. It was great to make new friends, learn new fitness workouts, swim and run in Boracay, and just have the opportunity to get away from the daily grind. Thank you so much to Women’s Health for the great weekend. High five to all of you!
How fit are you? How do you determine your fitness level anyway? Dr. Gar Eufemio of Peak Form had the same question and went a step further by developing a series of tests to determine one’s Fitness Quotient. He then launched an event called the Peak Form Fitness Challenge to give everyone the opportunity to determine their Fitness Quotient. Interesting eh? Read about the Fitness Quotient in Dr. Gar’s own words and see below for more info on participating in their event…
WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS QUOTIENT?
FAQs on the FQ
By Edgar Michael T. Eufemio
We have all heard about the intelligence quotient (IQ) and how test scores can be used as predictors of educational attainment, performance at work and income. Various classifications have been used to categorize individuals. With a median score of 100 implying average, you can be considered a genius (140 and above) all the way down to an idiot (24 and below).
In the late 1960’s, the “Stanford Marshmallow Experiment” started the trend toward the creation of the emotional quotient (EQ). Its first published use was in 1987 (Beasley).
What do these tests have in common? They serve as forecasts into life outcomes; like a crystal ball looking into the future…
Having been involved with orthopedic surgery, sports medicine and the sports sciences for the past twenty years, I have yet to encounter an examination that can prophesy who among our young ‘wannabes’ will be the next Manny Pacquiao, Paeng Nepomuceno, Caloy Loyzaga, “Bata” Reyes or Lydia de Vega.
Initially, I was merely planning to come up with an assessment that determines a person’s fitness level; to label someone as superior, above average, average, below average or poor. Then I got to think, “Why not design a trial that can assess not only one’s current condition, but actually narrow down the list of athletes who may, one day, achieve world class status?” A fitness quotient. FQ!
So, together with my partners, friends and staff, we proceeded to formulate the PEAK FORM FITNESS QUOTIENT TEST.
Where do you begin?
The first thing was to determine which components of fitness we wanted to analyze. We came up with ten:
topendsports also describes ten factors – eight are similar to ours; the other two are body composition and motor skills. We replaced body composition with recovery. Think about it, should an individual who is very fast and strong be penalized just because he has a high percentage of body fat? We wanted ALL elements to be measurable and “test”-able, and we feel a player’s ability to recuperate quickly is also important. Motor skills can actually fall under coordination so we substituted it with mental – the proficiency to plan and strategize, the capability to maintain composure and the knack of information recall under physical duress.
The next task was to come up with the stations. Since we started out with ten aspects, we decided on ten posts, each with a mean score of ten points. A total of 100 will mean a participant is average. One can score more or less than ten, depending on how they perform in each stop.
What are the characteristics of an ideal fitness test?
1) MEASURES THE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS – The various body parts as well as the multiple facets of fitness must be evaluated by the diverse situations. (“not just counting how many bicep curls you can do in one minute carrying a ten pound dumbbell”).
2) CAN BE STANDARDIZED – Most fitness assessments put the “testees” under the same conditions, regardless of height and weight. We needed to come up with something wherein the tasks are adjusted to everyone’s physical dimensions – the amount to be lifted and the distance to be covered being a fixed percentage of their mass and stature. This levels the playing field. We came up with six categories for each – from 100 to 220 pounds and from 5 feet to 6 feet 8 inches.
3) HAS A SCORING SYSTEM – Your report card does not simply state that “You are fit” or “You are not fit”; it is not a pass or fail thing. Having a numerical grade enables you to determine if you are better, equal or inferior to someone else. If two or more students are told they are the best in their batch, there must be an objective basis (a digit count) for the tie. The more diverse the criteria and the more elaborate and strict the tallying scheme, the less likely that you will have more than one class valedictorian.
4) IS REPRODUCIBLE – If the same investigation will be conducted at an alternate time or place, the methods of assigning points must remain the same. The equipment and the conduct of the trial must be constant. Every single time.
5) CAN COMPARE RESULTS – At any given moment, scores of different people can be matched up against each other. Furthermore, the same personality may be checked again at another period, and there must be an impartial and objective way of determining if conditioning has improved or deteriorated.
6) USES FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENTS – Not everybody can do a chin up. Or jump rope. Are we to say somebody in the pink of health who cannot perform these movements is not in shape? Furthermore, if we ask two contestants to do as many chin ups as they can in one minute, the first challenger tries with all his might but is unable to do one repetition while the second is a ‘couch potato’ who does not even bother to attempt, do they both deserve a zero? We limited our parameters to activities that almost anybody can do – pushing, pulling, throwing, walking, running, jumping, bending and twisting.
7) CAN BE DONE IN A SHORT PERIOD – You want your analysis to take less than an hour.
Other tests have been designed to measure overall fitness. There is the SPARQ Rating System, which stands for Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. There also is the Athletic Standard Index and the RealFit Test. Criticisms are that they either have too many stations (23), too few (3) or use arbitrary formulas to calculate the scores. More importantly, all these tests use the same conditions for everybody, whatever the height or weight. In addition, not all components are tested. We took all of these into consideration when we came up with our challenge.
What are the stations of the Peak Form FQ Test?
1) Vertical Rope Pull – pulling a weight which is a percentage of your body weight over a distance that is a percentage of your height
2) Box Jump – jumping on and going down from a box which is a percentage of your height
3) Suspension Cable Push Up – doing push ups at an angle based on the size of your shoe
4) Balance Board – keeping your balance on a board while moving medicine balls that are a percentage of your body weight alternatingly from both sides, from containers that are a percentage of your height
5) Horizontal Rope Pull – pulling a weight which is a percentage of your body weight over a distance that is a percentage of your height
6) Gang Plank – walking on a plank whose length and width are a percentage of your height while carrying kettlebells that are a percentage of your body weight
7) Sand Bag Throw – throwing sand bags that are a percentage of your body weight
8) Cone Run – placing and taking tennis balls from cones (these are positioned at distances that are a percentage of your height)
9) Sit Up Shot – while lying on a plank (elevated to a percentage of your height), you take medicine balls (that are a percentage of your body weight) from racks positioned at a percentage of your wingspan, doing a sit up and then shooting the balls in receptacles
10) Ball Up, Ball Down – taking medicine balls (that are a percentage of your body weight) up and down platforms that are positioned on the floor and at your shoulder level
We designed it to be like a move-system type examination in anatomy class; similar to speed-dating. Our subjects will occupy a place each and will move to the next location until they accomplish all ten. Each of the ten activities takes one minute. Then there will be two minutes in between – for the group to rest and the marshals to prepare the items for the next competitor and calculate the totals. So that is twenty-eight minutes for every ten contenders. We had to draw up each situation to be equally taxing so that it should not matter where one starts.
To make it trickier, the stations are laid out such that they are not beside each other. After being briefed, the participants are given time to walk through the course so they can try them out, attempt to remember the locations and to strategize how to approach the challenge and pace themselves.
What is the basis for the scoring system?
A pre-test was done and the highest and the lowest 25% of scores per station were eliminated. The mean of the remaining 50% was then obtained (we kept tabs of the top and bottom numbers of the surviving 50%). Point equivalents based on the above figures are then added or subtracted for each repetition above or below the mean.
The participant with the highest total score is crowned the fittest athlete, similar to being the valedictorian. The top marks per station AND component will also be noted, like being best in Math or English.
Once all the figures are in, we will be able to classify them into categories ranging from ay-dol (meaning elite), astig (superior), hanep (above average), puwede na (average), pasang awa (below average), lampa (poor) or buhay ka pa? (idiot, oops I mean very poor).
Why do we need to come up with an FQ test?
1) At the very least, individuals may check their fitness levels before and after starting an exercise schedule.
2) Different workout routines can now be pitted head-to-head to settle, once and for all, who can produce the best results.
Since we will be able to identify which components are tested by each station:
3) We can now start asking who scored well in explosiveness, agility, coordination or balance. Certainly, there are sports and events that have positions that need those elements highlighted.
The data can benefit the country’s sports development program. We just have to monitor as many athletes as possible to have significant results. All the high school and college students screened will be followed throughout their athletic careers. Some will reach crème de la crème status. Others will excel at certain aspects of their sport (for example – best rebounder in basketball or hardest hitter in boxing or most accurate kicker in soccer).
4) We can backtrack and find out which stations they excelled in and determine if there are any trends. They can now truly serve as prognosticators for what is yet to come.
5) Grade School and High School students who perform well in this test may now be placed in a training pool where more specialized training will be made available to them.
Too many prospects have slipped through the cracks. We may be grooming the wrong players for a particular sport. We could be missing out on the ‘next-big-thing’…
Peak Form invites everyone to join its Peak Form Fitness Challenge. Peak Form says this is not a marketing event, but a long term project. They intend to come out with a standardized FITNESS QUOTIENT (FQ) that can be used to measure the fitness level of an athlete. If you would like to determine your own FQ, you may want to participate in this:
Event: PEAK FORM FITNESS CHALLENGE
Date/ Time: 18 May 2014 Sunday, 8am to 10pm
Venue: Atrium, Upper Ground Level, Fisher Mall, Quezon Ave., Quezon City
Who can join: Open to the public!
Registration Fee: P1,500 (includes shirt, water bottle and sling bag and FQ Certificate)
Where to Register: All Chris Sports outlets
Past FQ Events: All past FQ’s were by invitation only. The past three invitationals were all held at Xavier School, Greenhills and attended by celebrity athletes, varsity students of XS, and coaches of XS. This time they are opening the opportunity to the public.
For inquiries regarding the Peak Form Fitness Challenge, please call (+632) 478-9408 or (+63) 916 353-4485. You may also get in touch with Dr. Gar at (+632) 726-1696 or (+63) 917 813-5740.
PEAK FORM CONTACT DETAILS
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/peakformmanila
Address: Unit 807, Infinity Bldg., 26th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
TBR Clean & Mean Routine is a series of nutrition and wellness tips from for people who wish to start the year right by living cleaner, healthier lives. New tips are posted every Monday from Jan. 13 to Feb. 24.
Tip 3: EXERCISE 4X A WEEK
As mentioned, our TBR Clean & Mean Routine is about eating clean food. It’s also about being MEAN. M in Mean is for meals of three and snacks of two. E is for EXERCISE at least 4x a week.
This week, focus on engaging in a physical activity at least 4x a week.
WHAT TYPE OF ACTIVITY SHOULD YOU GET INTO?
For me, these are the criteria for your ideal workout:
1) Challenges your body – While any kind of movement, like a stroll in the park, will burn calories, it just won’t be enough if you want to get fitter. Choose an activity will get your heart pumping and also toughen you up mentally.
2) Fits your lifestyle – The activity has to fit well into your daily schedule and the rest of your life. It should not interfere with your obligations in life such as family and career. It should be something you can afford. It should be something you can do regularly without being too much of an inconvenience.
3) You enjoy doing it – Go for an activity that you would do simply because you love it and not because you have to burn the calories from dinner last night or you have to look great for an upcoming wedding.
4) It is sustainable – Think long term. Start an activity that you can see yourself doing for at least 6 months. Even better if you can see yourself doing it for the rest of your life.
Having mentioned that, it doesn’t mean that you can only choose one activity for the entire week. You can have a variety of workouts throughout the week and this is actually better so that you use different muscle groups and even avoid injury. For example, triathletes will typically juggle swim, bike, and run workouts throughout the week with some strength and flexibility workouts thrown into the mix.
RUNNING: MY BIASED OPINION
Since you’re on this blog, I’m assuming that if you’re not running yet then there is at least an interest in starting. Good for you. It is my opinion (and yes I must admit I am biased) that running is the best cardiovascular activity you can get into. It is affordable (just get a good pair of shoes), convenient (just head out the door), easy (choose to go at your own pace!), and efficient (one of the activities that can get you to burn a ton of calories in just an hour.)
I’ve been running for almost 8 years now. It surprises some non-runners or beginners when I tell them that I run just 3 to 4x a week. Even when I’m training for a marathon, I run a maximum of 4x a week and cross train on other days to allow for recovery and keep injury at bay.
Most beginners still have the misconception that runners run every single day. They think: “I can’t be a runner! I don’t have time to do it!” Truth is, squeezing in an hour of running on 4 days of the week is easy. Just quit lurking of Facebook and Instagram, skip watching TV, or run before dinner. You’ll find that it’s pretty easy to get a workout into your day.
LIVING AN ACTIVE LIFE
As mentioned in the past tips, our goal isn’t to start a new diet or fitness regimen. It’s to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle.
My hope for you is that you find the workout that you’ll love. That you start engaging in this new physical activity with goals of becoming better at the sport and progressing in your skills rather than staring at the numbers on the scale. That you lace up your shoes and head out the door with enthusiasm and excitement rather than dreading the couple of hours of suffering and sweat. That, in time, you find yourself waking up to workout without giving it a thought because it’s just as regular as brushing your teeth.
And, yes, I will understand if it isn’t running. Although I will tell you that you’ll be missing out bigtime!
ARE YOU READY TO COMMIT?
If you want to join me and others on our TBR Clean and Mean Routine for 2014, just do this:
Post a comment on TBR FACEBOOK PAGE that you commit to practicing the tip for the next 7 days. If you don’t have FB, you can post your comment on this blogpost.
Watch out for our weekly TBR Clean & Mean Routine tip every Monday. I will ask you to post a comment on each of those weekly tips until February 24.
Throughout the week, feel free to chat and converse with others in the TBR FB Page who are trying to apply the weekly tips in their lives.
By the first week of March, I will ask you to submit a story on how this plan worked for you and what changes you saw in your life. The most compelling and interesting submission will win a pair of running shoes from me.
Let me know how this week goes for you! See you next Monday!