WE'RE halfway past June and midway into 2017. For students, that means that school and another year of all the hijinks that come with getting a formal education have started. It goes without saying (especially for those in college), that the excess free time will make for some interesting ways to de-stress or be productive.
One thing that often gets swept aside is the idea of fitness. Some shudder at the thought of exercise because it brings to mind images of people lying on the ground and gasping for breath. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are many “flavors” of fitness you can try without feeling like you’re in death row.
(If you have time to level-grind and dungeon MMORPGs or IG your coffee, you definitely have time for fitness.)
Increasing your strength through “progressive overload.” This means adding weight (to a barbell) or subtracting leverage (one-arm pushups over the standard one. People who strength-train focus on big, compound movements such as the squat or overhead press, where multiple muscles are involved.
Under strength training are bodybuilders and powerlifters (or lifters). Bodybuilders focus on aesthetics and incorporate “isolation” exercises (like bicep curls) to shape their physique. Lifters focus on performance goals, such as squatting or pressing the heaviest weight possible. I’m biased as my gym emphasizes strength training, but, again, do what you like.
However, strength training is the best because...I’ll keep quiet now.
Often considered the “yin” to strength training’s “yang.” Yoga is a great way to improve one’s flexibility and mobility. Aside from that, yoga’s slow, controlled pace forces people to focus, thus improving core strength (the ability to brace and be stable), especially when it comes to the advanced movements. I’m flabbergasted at yogis who can do handstands while making it look like warm-up. Some might find yoga more their flavor, especially the zen-like atmosphere, as opposed to the testosterone-filled gyms with loud and obnoxious people.
The sport of “forging elite fitness.” CrossFit is slowly growing in popularity in Cebu, and the ones who are in (most of my fitness friends) swear by it. It is constantly varying, meaning every day you walk in and expect to be surprised by the workout. Their end goal is to make people well-rounded—strong but also durable enough to run a mile and agile enough to do gymnastics—so the workouts help them assess weaknesses.
CrossFit’s camaraderie means everyone is family and cheers for one another. This is for those people easily bored with routine workouts and want a sense of belonging often lacking in most types of fitness.
Another relative newcomer, spinning is indoor cycling set to music with an instructor. Sounds easy, but this training is not for the faint of heart. It’s fast-paced, intense, and the environment makes you forget that you’re actually burning calories. The best part is you’re done in under an hour. Sounds too good to be true? A friend of mine is a spin instructor and has the body to prove it.
This is for people who are short on time and find spinning’s party-like atmosphere to be fun and motivating.
This loosely covers unconventional training such as parkour (free running), martial arts, wall climbing, and the like. These are training methods looking to shape one’s body to becoming a “weapon” or preparing it for real-life situations. These focus more on performance rather than looks—something that may be attractive to those looking for “functional” fitness.
One of the things that one can cultivate from this is the sense of discipline, especially in the martial arts. It’s a way of checking one’s ego at the door and being reminded to be a student for life.
So there you have it, boys and girls. Five flavors of fitness to fit whatever style you want. Don’t worry, your body will thank you for keeping it active, especially deep in the school year when the stress is high and the immune system is low.
Having said that, strength training is still the best. I will be silent now.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2017.
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