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Fitness is a choice

Balancing life and exercise with fun and creativity

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Seven months have passed: Where are you now in your fitness goals for 2016? I started out the year indoor cycling with the Adidas FitSquad and I find myself here again with a group of people changing their lifestyle through sports.

We laid our mats on the cold tiles of Uptown Mall getting ready for this month’s fit squad activity. I was not expecting a lot of people to attend especially on a weekday. A mixture of yuppies and professionals gathered for the same reason. Surf season is about to begin soon, and what better way to practice surfing at home than by having surfer Mona Lisa Neuboeck teach us the basics of surfing through yoga?2

We practiced the basic surfing stances and did a lot of core exercises. A lot of it involved focus and mindfulness. She gave us modifications just in case some poses were too hard to follow. I learned a lot that day. She did some core exercises that I have never encountered and I felt the effects. I watched people encourage each other and laugh as some of us stumbled through the poses. Adidas was able to empower this group of women to train hard and have fun at the same time.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

Being a former athlete, I grew up always pushing myself beyond my limits and at that time, I thought I was doing the best for my body and career. Several years and injuries later, I found myself unfit and unhappy. How did I let this happen to my body? Last year, I wanted a change in my life. I just didn’t expect that this would drive me to do it. On our flight home, I started limping during the layover. I thought maybe my legs were just tired from the long haul. Two days after, it didn’t improve. I went straight to my rehab doctor and found out that I had lumbar compression. That year, I focused on recovery and saw the limitations of my body. It was three months of physical therapy and no strenuous exercise even yoga was out of the question. I was trying out to compete for the world championships but I had to learn to swallow my pride and throw in the towel. Do you know the saying, “Mind over body?” It was the first time that the mind could not win over the body. As I was doing the 300 meter sprint for our tryouts, I suddenly felt my body freeze, and I experienced a tingling sensation all over my arms and legs. Halfway through that sprint, I knew I needed to stop. I felt like every time I took a step forward, I wound up two steps back. That day, I called my doctor and burst into tears. I knew that it would take a lot to go back to the fitness level that I once knew.

I chose to keep trying. I barely progressed last year and had more days going through therapy than exercise. This year, I told myself that I will work hard until I find the right blend of diet and exercise that would suit my hectic schedule and that would be something I can maintain long term.

Adidas has started a global campaign to inspire women to bring out their passion in life through creativity and fitness. It has launched a series of short videos with the tag line “Here to Create.” Athletes, yoga practitioners, dancers, women from different walks of life shared a snippet of their day to day lives and how they were able to make life fun and interesting. How can you as a mom encourage women to exercise and still be there for your family? As a student, how do you work hard and study hard? As an athlete, how do you push women to go beyond their limits?

I have a personal trainer and workout three times a week with him and train for dragon boat another three to four times a week. I noticed in the first two months that I was getting stronger but my weight was the same. Working out almost daily and having minimal process can be frustrating. I started setting smaller goals and educated myself. I observed my health patterns and also noticed how much stress caused my body to regress. I stopped when I needed to. I realized that even working out caused stress on my body. Listen to it.

I tried out Paleo with the guidance of a friend and started being creative with my meals. My fitness journey brought me back to my love for cooking. I made sure I plated my meals as if I were to serve them at a restaurant. I added color to my food and started to mix things up. I stopped being too strict and rigid when it came to dieting. I still eat out with friends and enjoy.

Since I started, I am eight kilos lighter and, more than just the shedding of pounds, I have seen my progress from barely doing a decent a push up on my knees to doing burps with pushups now. It is still a long way to go if I were to compare it to the person I knew 10 years ago but I can say that I’m moving forward.

To all of you out there who are ready to create, here’s my advice to you:

1. The best time to start is now. Don’t wait for next month or 2017 before you begin. Choose now.

2. Invest in yourself. Time and money are precious and the best person to give them to is YOU!

3. Try to find a sport or activity that can match your schedule and personality.

4. Try something you’ve never tried before. Who knows, this might be your calling.

5. Make time. There will always be something better to do but if you choose to take care of yourself, you will make time for it.

6. When you’re on a diet, find ways to avoid feeling like you torture yourself. Find one that will suit you. If you can count the number of diets I have tried, you might need another set of hands to finish counting. You’ll know when it’s right for you if you and you can modify it to your needs.

7. Be creative with your food. Experiment and enjoy the process, not just the end product.

8. Get a support group. Be around like-minded people who have the same goals as you do.

9. Make exercising fun and don’t treat it like a chore. Go for dancing or jump at the trampoline park. You’ll burn a lot of calories but still enjoy what you’re doing.

10. Lastly, don’t give up. Things can happen but you are in control and you can choose to move forward or stay where you’re at. Keep trying and never give up.