Ice skating brings out the Jessica Simpson in me

I like Jessica Simpson. But I don’t idolize her. I like her enough to get Public Affair stuck in my head once a year.

This year, Public Affair was stuck in my head while I was ice skating in SM City Davao’s pop up rink.

I went ice skating with my sisters and my cousin and we had a magical time.

Skating squad

No, we didn’t. I hate these girls. They’re annoying. Like me.

We’re so happy like we’re in a Disney movie.

I’m just joking. I hate them a little.

I taught them how to skate and stuff because I’m the pinnacle of athleticism.

Kidding again.

We sang Public Affair like we were in a Jessica Simpson music video. The difference is that we were struggling to keep upright. We shot a video but I’m like shy to post it because I sang incorrect lyrics. The only part that really gets stuck in my head is the chorus.

And I fell on my butt once. Once lang.

Barre3 everywhere! LOL

I fell on my butt a million times when I first tried ice skating in Vincom Royal City in 2013-ish.

I’m such an athlete.

(The Adventures on Ice pop up is open until January 16, 2018 in SM City Davao; it is headed to SM City General Santos next.)

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Why did a chicken follow us? And 24 other questions about a Friday hike

1. Whose idea was it to go hiking on a Friday?

Matigol Falls squad

2. Why did I say yes?

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Friday hike to Matigol Falls 🏃🏃🏃

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3. Why was I so suddenly interested in hiking?

4. Was I growing bored of spending weekends in the city?
5. Did I really want to see Matigol Falls in Arakan, North Cotabato so badly?

6. Am I really developing an unusual fondness for the outdoors?

7. Didn’t I use to be a whiny bitch when exposed to the elements?

8. Why was I pretty cool about the long ride to Arakan?
9. Why do chickens bob their heads when walking?
10. Are they secretly listening to upbeat music through internal, wireless earphones?
11. Did we eat too much Jollibee?
12. Why did this chicken follow us?

13. Is it because we fed it with lunch scraps?
14. It is because it ate some of our Chickenjoy too?
15. How many jokes did I crack the entire day?
16. How many were actually funny?
17. Why did I laugh so much throughout the hike?

18. Am I really hilarious?
19. Why didn’t I feel tired at all?

20. Why did I enjoy swimming in fresh water so much?

21. Why did I have so much fun with good old high school classmates?
22. Did I enjoy the hike?
23. Will I do it again?

24. Why is that even a question?
25. Don’t the photos have the answer?

My love-HIIT relationship

I have a love-hate relationship with HIIT workouts. For me, they’re high intensity, grueling bouts of apocalyptic suffering.

During these workouts, no matter how hard I try to crank reps as graceful as possible, I always end up looking like I’m some dysfunctional robot that’s running on a broken battery.

 

Help me I’m suffering

Needless to say, HIIT workouts aren’t pretty. At a glance, they seem intimidating. In some gyms, they appear as though they are only welcoming to the macho and athletic bunch. There’s lots of groaning and everyone doing the exercises looks like a gorilla.

But there’s magic in HIIT workouts.

I have come to appreciate them over time because they’re very practical. They don’t take up much time: less than an hour is all it takes to get a full, satisfying workout. When done properly and with good instruction, I find that they also help me get better at everyday and functional movements.

Make lunges more challenging by thinking about the country’s social problems; they add some weight and resistance.

Allow me to exemplify by saying that I’m born a wimp. I’m not strong enough to can’t open canned food (seriously), I have a weak core, and I my lower back acts up when I’m wearing bad shoes and standing for a long time.

There’s a mix of workouts that I do to make my life less miserable and my cross training adventures–from aerial acrobatics, to yoga, to Pilates, and barre–led me to HIIT.

Holiday Gym’s Fit Series was one of my earliest introduction to HIIT.

The class, which is comprised by three rounds of a circuit, warmly welcome students of all levels and introduces them to movements that target various muscle groups at the same time. Some of the common exercises that are included in Fit Series are dumbbell thrusters, battle ropes, inverse rows, renegade push-ups, kettle bell swings, dynamic planks and praying to god for strength. My favorite exercise is the last one.

Russian twist chorva para sa lechon kawali

I find that HIIT works for me and I notice this over time by observing how better I become at everyday movements: climbing a flight of stairs, carrying big laundry bags, refilling water dispensers (IKR, I’m such a Hercules), and withstanding boring conversations. Because, really, aren’t all of those exhausting?

Post HIIT GGSS photo with Ted

Ted Uy, one of the instructors in the gym, creates a fun workout environment and knows how to motivate students with some humor.

For class schedules and rates, follow Holiday Gym Davao in Facebook or call (082) 222 3041.

 

This mat Pilates class leaves me sore and smiling

Okay, pagbigyan ang hand stand kasi hindi dumikit sa wall Haha photo not entirely related to the post but yeah I squeeze in some hand stand practice after Pilates lol

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I had the same question that everybody else had before I ever tried Pilates: what’s that?

I had no clue.

I remember being encouraged to do it during one of our aerial yoga classes. I was told it was going to do wonders for my core.

And then the next thing I know: I already swear by the class.

Pilates is a fitness system invented by blah blah blah Google it.

Every class is a wonderful learning experience about my body and blah blah. I learned that it’s based on the idea that good biomechanics and movement start from the core and blah blah seriously just Google it. Workouts are primarily focused on alignment, balance, and control.

My favorite Pilates class would have to be the one that doesn’t involve all the elaborate equipment and it happens only once a week in Holiday Gym.

It’s Philip’s class every Monday at 7:30 pm.

I’ve been attending his Pilates for quite some time now and I’m enjoying it a lot as part of the mix of workouts (HIIT and yoga) that I do.

*confession: I haven’t been doing yoga diligently.

Phil, as we call him, creates a workout environment that’s anything but intimidating. During the class, the lighting is dim. This allows you to focus on yourself and nobody else.

This works for intermediate students who already know the rhythm of the class. However, this poses some challenge for newbies because low lighting may cause some difficulty to get visual cues or alignment corrections from the instructor.

Phil’s class is divided into four parts. He often shakes things up, introducing new moves every week but there is a structure that he follows: warm-up, standing exercises, core work, recovery.

Students easily fit in the class because of how it’s designed to be modified according to varying fitness levels. Mods are soo encouraged.

His warmup sets are the kind that get me in the zone: from I don’t feel like working out tonight (because I’m human and I feel that sometimes) to oh yes let’s do this!

Lately, we’ve been starting the class with cat-cow sequences that progress into bear crawl variations to fire hydrants and rear leg presses and lifts. Those immediately get me sweaty and my entire body warm.

Standing exercises are always a surprise. We usually do this with light weight dumb bells or resistance bands. Every set, which usually targets specific muscle groups, brings a satisfying fatigue. Phil also squeezes in some inchworms in between sets, inducing more core muscle work and testing endurance minus high impact movements.

He also incorporates ballet movements with his leg exercises along with single leg balance skill sets that test coordination and prioperception. Like, seriously, where is my leg in this darkness, extended to the back at five o’clock?

Core work involves a ton of crunches and teasers that fatigue the abdominals. He ends this with a three-count Pilates pushup and some plank variations.

The best part about the class is that he ends it with some foam roller “massages” for some release in tight muscles.

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Poser alert! Athlete-athleetan LOL

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I always look forward to attending this class every Monday and I’ve always wished that it’s held at least twice a week.

And guess what: just yesterday, I was told that the class will be running on Fridays too!

Yayyyyyyy!

Gym bag essential: Havaianas flip-flops

It’s no secret that I love Havaianas.

I wear my Havaianas for most hours I’m awake.

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Nakalimutan ko na anong araw today. 😂

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I wear them anywhere convenient. (Side note: I also like coconuts. Coconut water is life!!!)

Some years ago, I got so obsessed with Havaianas that I must have collected more than a dozen pairs.

I even wore Havaianas in my sleep. I wouldn’t know if that’s true or not. There’s no way to verify because I was half-asleep.

I still love Havaianas today and I don’t think my shoe rack is ever complete without a pair or two.

I also have a pair kept in my gym bag. I always bring it with me when I workout–it’s as important as my water bottle and my towel.

I have another pair at work, under my desk, for when my feet need a break from my shoes. LOL

The best thing about Havaianas–apart from its signature comfort and style that it gives me–is how it always makes me excited to customize my pair every year.

This year’s Make Your Own Havaianas is basically a time machine: pairs and pins gave nods to the best decade in history–the 90s!

This year’s commemorative pair came in black and printed with colorful pixels, drawing inspiration from video games.

I assembled my pair using pins from a selection of vintage television, casette tape, boom box, and video game icons.

Here’s my 2017 MYOH pair–a time machine I can wear.

Follow Havaianas Philippines on Facebook and @havaianasphils on Twitter and Instagram for more Havaianas love. In Davao City, Havaianas is available in All Flip Flops in SM City Davao and in SM Lanang Premier.

Strong by Zumba has great music but it’s not a dance workout

The novelty in Strong by Zumba–the music-led high intensity interval training (HIIT) brand by Zumba–lies in how sets are designed around music instead of the other way around.

Music is a primary element in the bodyweight workout–the brand refers to this kind of system as Synced Music Motivation.

“In every class, music and moves sync in a way that pushes you past your perceived limits, to reach your fitness goals faster,” the Strong website said.

But then again, not all HIIT classes have great playlists. I once went to a HIIT class playing OPM the entire time. This is where Strong comes in as an intervention. No more Roselle Nava in the gym please!

At a glance, I thought this feature of Strong may easily be dismissed. All the fancy work put in by Strong to “reverse engineer” a playlist to a workout seems unnecessary because, when I think about it, anyone can manually sync movements to whatever song is playing in the background when working out.

But then again, not all HIIT classes have great playlists. I once went to a HIIT class playing OPM the entire time. This is where Strong comes in as an intervention. No more Roselle Nava in the gym please!

Playlist and tracks in Strong are created by producers like Timbaland solely for the workout. This creates a more immersive workout environment that literally connects movements with music. Imagine moving to the beat as it moves with you: planting your hands on the floor as you do burpees or inchworms, for example, will be less boring thanks to heart thumping bass beats that literally push you to keep going. Just don’t forget to sync your breath, too!

Strong can be challenging depending on the effort you put in it. My first class had lots of squats and lunges and variations and combinations of both. Some sets involved doing explosive, high impact movements like jumping forward and landing on a squat.

It is best to have basic knowledge on proper form and execution when joining Strong because, based on my experience, the music might get too loud and instructors might not be able to correct your form or give you alignment cues.

There will be lots of leg work throughout the class so it’s important to know your leg movements by heart–and to modify accordingly when exercises become too much to handle. (Check the Strong Facebook Page for a breakdown of the staple movements.)

Some sets in the class are fast paced and might make it difficult for students to stay in their best form. Even I always have to look in the mirror to check my knee positions during my lunges, which falter often. Bad form makes a bad workout.

At some point, I felt the rigidity of Strong: once I got in the groove with the workout, it seemed disorienting to be left out and not sync movements with music. But it’s a HIIT class–naturally, there were times when I had to pause and try to catch my breath.

The good thing is that recovery in between sprints and cardio sets (curse you, jumping jacks!) are made fun: there are lateral shuffles, wide stance plies to toe taps, and Capoeira ginga. So cool.

Strong exudes minimal Zumba identity. Instructors would often be heard saying that dance comprises only one percent of the entire workout.

At another time, I joined a Strong class in Matina Town Square. Everything went well until we had to do floor work. Strong isn’t a class I’d recommend doing with a large group of people outdoors because it will be difficult to hear or see instructors when your back is on the floor or when you’re doing push-ups.

I joined Zumba moms in a Saturday afternoon workout in Matina Town Square

Strong is a welcome addition to indoor group classes in gyms in the city. I like how it instantly popularizes HIIT to the public through the already big Zumba crowd. Those doing Zumba regularly might even instantly like Strong and add strength training to their regular routines.

Watch out, with Strong by Zumba, the Zumba mom crowd might be the next beasts in the gym.

(What workout should I try next? Buzz me on Instagram or Twitter @jesiramoun)

This story is first published in the sports section of Mindanao Times.

Not another HIIT workout

HIIT classes in Holiday Gym Davao are not new to me. I regularly attend them because they’re a good way to break away from my usual routine and to workout while rebooting my brain (as in I don’t need to count while doing reps in my head).

Every so often, Holiday shakes things up and holds themed HIIT classes.

The last installation was a Mega Fit Series class with 24 workout stations instead of the usual dozen. It was fun and crazy.

This February, the gym organized a Valentine’s Day HIIT class called Paired to Fit. It was designed to be a contest where the fastest pair who finishes the workout wins in life.

I joined the workout and mercilessly dragged April that evening.

The workout stations seemed difficult but we managed to suffer out way through them: partner farmers walk, hurdles, partner ball crunches, medicine ball burpees, and bodyweight squats.

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The list isn’t extensive but if you’re racing against time, every step of the way is sufferland.

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April and I did the farmers walk slowly but really surely because we didn’t want to fall on our faces with two barbels.

Everything else was a test of endurance–as in April went through a test of enduring my friendship.

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“Why am I friends with Jesse?” she probably thought to herself. “Why am I friends with someone who likes to make me suffer?”

We finished the entire workout in under 10 minutes while everyone else finished it in under seven (amazaaaaang!!!). I got unbelievably sore the next day and I couldn’t walk and move properly. LOL

Will I do it again? Is it fun? Did I enjoy walking like a zombie the next day?

The answer is yes.