The New Normal

Thursday, 21 November 2013  |  Bullish Insights

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

When we started our Quaker Challenge in August, I was completely uncertain over how far I could take the kids with it. Sure, they were willing, even excited, to swim, bike, and run once in a while, but I didn’t know if they were ready to commit to regular training sessions for sports.

In the past, one or both of them had signed up for soccer, baseball, tennis, swimming, ice skating and more, and almost all the time they would quit in less than a month. I could’ve put up a TBR Sports Store with all our barely used equipment at home.

But, the past weeks, things have definitely changed. I fetch both kids from school on Tuesdays and Fridays and they know that they take swimming sessions after. Most of the time, I swim along with them.

– Before one of our swim sessions –

On Sundays, Anton looks forward to triathlon training sessions with Coach Norman and all the other tri kids that he’s made friends with. Last Saturday, Anton joined the BGC Cycle for kids too.  (Separate post on that in a bit!)  It’s almost normal for them to engage in some form of activity at least twice a week now. It’s a world of difference from the way they spent their time after school or on weekends. I’m not even sure if these are the same kids who used to have their eyes glued to Minecraft and Club Penguin all the time!

So, what helped to make my kids more active and healthier? This is what we did:

1) WE SET A CLEAR GOAL. Thanks to the Quaker Challenge I set a clear goal for the kids to swim, bike, and run more. It became even more measurable for Anton when we signed him up for Ironkids. Sit your kids down and agree on a target together. Discuss ways on how you will achieve it as a team. Gently remind them about this during the week since they tend to get distracted with school work and friends.

2) WE MADE NO EXCUSES. There were times, especially during exam week, when Anton would say that he had too much homework and he couldn’t train. I took it as an opportunity to teach him about proper time management. Together, we agreed on how much time he would spend on training and studying. Both had to be given their fair share of time and focus.

3) I LISTENED AND EXPLAINED. Not all days are good days. So, on days when the kids would complain, I would listen to them, yet I would explain. When Nia said she was having difficulty, I told her that all sports are hard in the start. One doesn’t learn the perfect swim stroke or running technique overnight. When she said it was a bit boring. I told her only after a few “slow” technical sessions can she join other kids and engage in the fun drills and races against each other.

4) WE CHOSE BETTER FOOD. With more activities, I needed to make sure that both kids were eating nutritiously. I have them eat a heavier breakfast to keep them fueled for the day, such as oatmeal and fruits. I give them fruit/veggie juice everyday.

5) WE HAVE FUN. My greatest fear is to have the kids engage in sports hating every single minute. I make sure that they’re having fun while they’re swimming, biking, or running. Thankfully, each and every time I’ve asked them: “Did you have fun?” They both answer “Yes!” even if it’s immediately followed by “Can we pass by McDo?” I know, I know. We still have to get rid of fastfood. That’s an entirely new goal altogether.

Ironkids, Here Comes TBR Jr.!

Monday, 23 September 2013  |  Running + Triathlon

We’ve made progress, baby! It’s only been a month since we first accepted the Quaker Challenge and it has definitely helped to get my kids moving and working for their goal.


Anton, my 12-year old, just signed up for his first triathlon: Ironkids on October 20, 2013 at Palms in Alabang. Woohoo! For Anton’s age category of 11 to 12 year old, the distance is 300m swim-10k bike-2k run.


Can I just tell you? I was more nervous registering him for this race than I was when I signed up for my first Ironman 70.3. Actually, I may even be more nervous than the participant himself! LOL

Anton also expressed worry over the 300m swim since he only took this up a couple of weeks ago, but I reminded him that all athletes feel anxiety before a race. You really just have to train hard, overcome your fear, and enjoy the entire experience. Thankfully, he seemed to have believed me, and it calmed his nerves somewhat. Sometimes, I’m just pleasantly surprised over how this not-so-little boy of mine is slowly gaining his confidence. Tissue please.

So far things are looking great. Anton’s swim has significantly improved with the guidance of Coach Norman and his assistant, Coach Jeff. We got him a new road bike 2 weeks ago so he can finally retire the P3,500 mountain bike from Cartimar I purchased last year when I scrimped on him. (Bad mom, I know!) He finally agreed to wear a trisuit, something this tween refused to do in the past. And, best of all, he is just genuinely excited about triathlon. In fact, he thanks God for it in his evening prayer! Seriously, it’s a triathlete mom’s dream come true!

– Fun drills for the kids –

– Hardcore trikids continued training despite the rain and they had a blast too!-


As for Nia aka Li’l Miss TBR, we just had to wait for her school exams to end (done last week!) and for her birthday to pass (she turns 9 on the 25th) before she takes up swimming with Coach Anthony Lozada, my swim coach. She loved swimming with Coach Ria Mackay in her Aqualogic Swim sessions last summer so this should be fun for her.

In the meantime, I’m allowing Nia to enjoy her birthday week. Secretly, I’ll be busy planning for her sports activities while she counts the days till she turns 9!

– Li’l Miss TBR can’t think of anything but her birthday wish list. Here she is taking photos of the Littlest Pet Shop toys she hopes to receive –


While I’m glad the kids are getting more active, I also had to remind them especially Anton, that this was still all for fun. The last thing I want is for them to feel pressured to perform and to dread or detest sports.

My goals as a Mom is clear to me from the onset: I want the kids to be more active so that they adopt a healthy, wholesome lifestyle as early as now. Aside from sports, I’ve also been serving them healthier meals at home—less dairy and red meat, more wholesome grains and veggies and fruits—to fuel them for their activities. (They actually don’t know that they’ve been eating healthier fare so let’s just keep this between you and me, okay?) This is really a holistic plan that I just hope they grow into naturally and eventually practice for the rest of their lives. Crossing my fingers!

This is part of a series of posts under the Quaker Challenge. It’s about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our Quaker Goal to swim, bike, and run more. Read about it HERE.

Quaker Challenge: Going for the Goal

Tuesday, 3 September 2013  |  Healthy Food + Recipes

This begins a series of posts under the Quaker Supermom Series about the quest that my kids and I have to achieve our new fitness and sports goal.

There are only three foods that I obsess over: peanut butter, salmon, and, oatmeal. If you asked me to eat just these three everyday for a month, I’d probably look you in the eye and reply: “Make it a year.” Rawr.

So, when Quaker Oats invited me to be a Quaker Supermom, I said “Yes!” like a giddy school girl. After all, how often do you get to endorse a brand that you’ve obsessed over since high school? (Yes, that’s how long this love affair with oatmeal has lasted.)

– I’m a Quaker Supermom! Kulang nalang cape –

– Couldn’t be happier to be with these other two Quaker Supermoms: my dearest sister, Janice Villanueva of the popular Mommy Mundo portal for all things mommy and Kris de Guzman of OC Mom in Manila

On top of that, Quaker Oats posed a challenge for the kids and myself. They asked me to target a goal for us and to try our best to achieve it. When they asked if I would accept, I replied with a grin: “When do we start?” Double rawr.


The Quaker Goal I came up with is this: For the kids and I to swim, bike, and run more together.

Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly. Anton, my 12 year old, trains with Coach Norman for his triathlon sessions every Sunday. He only has time to train once a week because he has Debate Club and Painting Lessons on top of schoolwork. Meanwhile, Nia, my 8 year old, has adamantly refused to join her Kuya (although she relented once) for triathlon and only chooses to swim. She took Aqualogic classes with Total Immersion Coach Ria Mackay over summer, but we have yet to sign up for regular classes during this school year. Oh, we also need to teach her how to ride a bike.

– Anton and Nia during one of Coach Norman’s trikids training sessions –

So, let me tell you, even The Bull Runner has got some serious work to do when it comes to living the active lifestyle on the home front. While I’m pretty serious with my own running and triathlon training and I always encourage my kids to be active in sports, I’m also the kind of mom who never believed in pushing my kids into sports or any other activities they aren’t interested in. Fitness should be something they want for themselves and, oh yes, it should also be loads of fun.

– Bonding with the kiddos for an easy bike and run morning at Filinvest City –

The good news is: the kids are quite excited over this goal. It’s a challenge that they’re willing to take on as well. For me, it’s an awesome opportunity to get them outdoors and away from Minecraft and a great chance to bond with them, too.


The Quaker Goal comes at the right time for me. Now that Ironman 70.3 Cebu is done and I’m on off-season mode, I’ll have more time to swim, bike, or run with the kids. The plan is to bring them out for an easy ride or run on weekends. Anton will continue his triathlon training on Sundays while Nia gets started on swim classes after school.

Can you please cheer us on and hope that we do get to accomplish this goal we’ve set for ourselves? I’ll be writing about our progression in the weeks to come! Stay tuned!