Aiming for health and wellness for all Cebuanos

Aiming for health and wellness for all Cebuanos

SECONDS before she was about to pose in front of the camera, a client calls out her name only to say “good job on the gym!” before proceeding to his fitness regimen. In return, she smiled shyly before tilting back to where the lens was.

Just four months in as the newly appointed program and fitness director of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino’s Citigym, Rica Angela Cinco is already off to a good start (and making a good impression, at that). She’s taking it one day at a time, setting up the gym while getting settled in the process, determining what needs to be changed or improved from the facilities down to the list of fitness programs the gym offers.

That’s some of the many things in her job description. But more than anything, she personally wants to emphasize Citigym as a go-to place for health and wellness, regardless of age and health situation. In fact, she’s eyeing one particular market to join in on the road to a healthy lifestyle: the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry.

Having been a part of that industry for almost 10 years, Rica knows the job well and everything that comes with it: the long hours; the vices one accumulates. Power sleeping was all the rage, a habit she used to do to recharge for the shift that lasts almost 14 hours, while handling a staff of 300 to 350.

A self-confessed workaholic, it only took her father pointing out a fact for her to incorporate fitness into her life: “‘How you’re working right now is how I was working before,’” she recalled the words.

“My dad got sick so early on because he was so busy always working. If he’s telling me his life was like that, I’ll eventually have a heart attack or heart failure maybe in my mid- or early-30s.”

She started jumping from one fitness activity to another until she found her bliss in yoga, an activity that helped her even more during her mild postpartum depression after giving birth to her second child. “When you’re on your mat, you totally forget that you’re a mom, you’re a wife—you’re just you.”

Eventually, this healthy mindset took over, along with the crucial need for self-care—thanks to yoga. This also meant re-adjusting her priorities: Family was second to none.

“There were some things I couldn’t do anymore. I cannot prioritize work over family. All of a sudden, I decided, I can be independent and do what I want to do by starting my own practice,” she said.

She received her certification as a yoga instructor and put up her own studio in 2016.

“I saw the transition in me. When you talk about fitness and health, it’s not just the physical aspect of it. You need to be cleansed mentally and spiritually. That’s how the body changes. I saw it and I wanted to share it to my students.”

The offer for the position of program and fitness director at Citigym could not have come at a better time, as she was intent on transitioning while gathering more people for wellness. Seeing that the gym has the platform and the reach for a bigger audience, she took on the role. From handling a team of more than 300 employees, to managing a staff of approximately 30 (personal trainers, licensed physical therapists)—it’s definitely a welcome change but an entirely different challenge. She has rules, the most important being that, the staff should be healthy and active since they work in the fitness industry.

Though she’s still dipping her toes, apart from her plan to tap the BPO companies, she also has a baby project—the internship program in Citigym. The gym is accredited in handling internships for physical therapists outside the clinical setting.

“It’s a good avenue because again, as my intention is to promote health and wellness, think how fast it’ll happen if you put it into the younger generation’s mindset already.” She went on stating that the gym is a “learning area” as students will get the opportunity to learn a person’s condition upon assessment.

More than that, she’s managing fitness programs, policy procedures, monitoring and assessing the gym and its entirety.

“Everything I do has a purpose. There’s always forward planning. I don’t simply change something without thinking of the repercussions,” she said.

Rica is living proof that switching to a healthier lifestyle is possible. It requires discipline and awareness. “It boils down to a choice. There is no shortcut to wellness.”

Rica still does her yin yoga in the morning or before she goes to sleep. (S)


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