PINAY FITNESS ™ : My Thoughts on Life

Be Fit. Be Positively Independent, Naturally Active and Youthful at any age.

Saturday, February 3, 2018


Adventure Racing. Any one of you heard about it?

I remember more than a decade ago, I have been active in the Adventure Racing Community, competing against other athletes as part of various sponsored teams (Toyota, All-Terra, Ingen, etc).  
The goal is to have fun and make sure that the team gets its "Podium Finish" for our sponsors.

Adventure Racing, had me traveling the archipelago.

It's all about experiencing mental and physical challenge amidst the wonderful backdraft of majestic mountain view, the windmills of Pagudpod, Baguio's high altitude winding roads, rappelling through mountains, buildings and walls, even biking through the busy street of the metro to go from one check point to the other.

I haven't been hearing much about Adventure Racing lately, so, imagine my surprise when Scribe, the event sponsor of the Planner Community that I am in, suddenly decided to do a Scavenger Hunt / Adventure Race in the mall we were in (SM Aura).

We were given one map per team, a yellow envelope with a clue that leads us to the first CP (checkpoint) and were instructed to bring our notebook / journal, The Hobonichi Techo.

The event was a launch for the Traveling Hobonichi PH Edition.
The team showcasing the Traveling Hobonichi PH's first entry.
The team consist of 5 people; Ira, Dea, Rhea, Vera and myself.

The Hobonichi Planner community is a closely knit group, and we interact online on our facebook group
Hobonichi Users PH. It was easy to just group together on the spot and when the hunt started, we were off to find every clue and do every task required. 

We were apprehended by SM Aura mall guards, ran through the stairs instead of using the escalator, went up the 5th level Sky Park, then down to the Tarsier sculpture then up to the 4th lever for our favorite happy place, Scribe.

Every task was written down in my A6 Hobonichi Techo. 
1) A quote about travel
2) Doddle of each members and characteristics
3) A team mantra

What a way to document the day! I also am keeping the map we used. 
It may not be The Marauder's Map, but this took us to places unexpected, challenging us to go beyond ourselves to complete the task as a team!              

First ever entry for the Traveling Hobonichi PH

This is the end product of the team that weaved through the weekend Aura crowd, and security checks as we hunted for clues

The team, was tasked to design for the first ever entry of the Traveling Hobonichi Philippines 2018

Indeed, it took a lot of courage before we "Turn the page to a new year".

Not quite Check point 1 LOL

The first challenge was to the place where we started and look for something colorful.

Initially, we all thought, it was the registration booth. 

After seconds of hunting, we realized that, we have to move on and find it elsewhere -- we were required to do a selfie in each stop -- here, was the "Colorful" Koi / Zig table attempt, still not the right one -- off to the next! 

Check point 1

CP # 1

We finally got it right!

We were required to make a team logo using ALL 5 COLORS. 

Whew! We quickly combined all our names and connected it to form a circle.. then drew a flower in the middle.. well, because, Girl Power, right? 😂 off to the next!

Check point 2

The message in the yellow envelope says that we have to look for a place that has an artist mural and it has movement but is not moving (not the exact words,since I don't have the clue with me anymore! :) )-

The team figured, it's the escalator -- we did not expect it to be the next level up, and the escalator was full.. so.. we ran up the stairs!

 First shot was a fail, since the admin was not included... but here goes.. (Yup! we ran up THOSE stairs)        

Check point 2 with Helen


For real. 🤪🤪🤪

Admin Helen for the official groufie entry.
We were tasked to create and write a quote about travel in our Hobonichi.

"Traveling is fun with friends" was quickly scribbled and off we went to the next!

Checkpoint 3 with Rej and Ellie


We were running down the stairs to look for the next checkpoint, when we realized that the "place where children play" is actually in the opposite direction! 

We had to make a turn around, hoping that the other team had not reached there first.. the stairs were a faster alternative than the escalator albeit longer.

The Skypark, the mall's rooftop garden, was the next CP. Admin Rej and Ellie.

Check point 4 with Karen

From the rooftop, the next clue was to go to a place where you can find the smallest mammal with biggest eyes. 

Scanning through my mental database, one word came to mind TARSIER. 

Vaguely remembering that there was that big tarsier sculpture at the entrance, the team ran down and headed to the main entrance, across Market Market.

Admin Karen was waiting for us.

We were tasked to create a Team Mantra, write it down in the Hobonichi and shout it out "NO HOARDING, JUST USING" , doesn't make sense? 

Well, after going up and down the stairs (instead of the escalator), evading security guards and doing all these crazy stuff, what does? 

Not quite Check point 5

Looking for CP#5.

The team initially thought that the last checkpoint was at the event grounds.

From ground floor, we ran up the stairs to Aura's 3rd Level back to the event area. 

Admin Michelle was wondering what the fuss is about, when, suddenly, a realization came. 


One more level, and we're bringing home the bacon!

After the final task, as documented here. We were tasked to deliver a box to the event grounds.

What's in the box? 
You guessed it -- The Traveling Hobonichi!
We were then tasked to design the first page as a team -- that kicked-off the launch of the first ever Traveling Hobonichi, Philippine Edition <3

The experience had most of us realize what we need to improve on for ourselves.
For me, I need to be more consistent with my workouts. For others, they realized that they need to find ways to go back. 

We all realized the importance of how teamwork can bring us together to reach a goal (Congratulations to the team!), and how important it is for us to be equipped for the role entrusted to us.

It's all all about knowing what's important to you.

If it's important to you, you'll find a way.  If it's not, you'll find excuses. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

5 Quick Beginner Workouts without Going to the Gym

It is common knowledge that after the holiday season, the gym floor usually gets full with people wanting to lose weight as their new year’s resolution.  

However, I am sharing with you some alternatives on how to start a regimen that you can easily do in the office or the comfort of your own bedroom, with little space and no equipment but your own body weight.

Be it after new year of after reading this article, these five moves are so simple that one can easily try it out.

     1.       Heel Kicks :  
             Target: Hips and Quads (nicer shaped legs)
  • Bend both elbows to a 90 degree angle.
  • Stand on your right foot as you kick your left heel back toward you butt as you bring your right arm forward.
  • Drive our right elbow backward and bring your left arm forward as you hop to your left foot and kick your right heel back to your butt.
  • Continue to alternate arms and legs.
  • Repeat for 15 times, do for 3 sets.

2.        Squats :  
         Target: Glutes (for a firmer butt)
  •  Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width, ensuring that hips are stacked over knees and knees over ankles.
  • Relax and roll shoulders back to avoid unnecessary stress on lower back and pull elbows close to the body, palms facing each other.
  • Start movement by inhaling and slightly bringing hips back. Keep moving it backward as the knees begin to bend.
  •  While the butt starts to stick out (similar to sitting on a chair), make sure that the chest and shoulders stay upright and the back, straight. 
  • Keep head facing forward to keep spine neutral (The best squats are the ones where your hips sink below the knees depending on your mobility).
  •  With bodyweight in your heels, engage your core and return to starting position driving through heels.
  •   Repeat for 15 times, do for 3 sets.  

3.       Lunges  :  
        Target: Quads and Butt  (firmer butt)
  •  Start with keeping your body straight; shoulders relaxed and chin up with your core engaged.
  •  Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90 degree angle.
  • Make sure that your front knee is directly above your ankle and not pushed out too far.
  •  Make sure that your other knee does not touch the floor.
  • Push back to starting position by keeping the weight in your heels.
  •  Repeat for 15 times
  •      Alternate with other leg, do for 3 sets.

4.       Tricep Dips  :  
        Target: Triceps (prevents Bat Wings)
  • Sit on a stable chair or secured bench, position your hands shoulder-width apart.
  • Slide your butt off the front of the chair and slowly lower straighten your arms. 
  • Keeping a little bend in your elbows, keep the tension on your triceps and off the elbow joints. 
  •  Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90 degree angle. Make sure that your back is close to the chair.
  • Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press down into the chair, using your triceps to straighten your elbows, returning to starting position.
  •  Repeat for 15 times, do for 3 sets.  

      5.       Donkey Kicks :  
           Target: Quads and Butt  (firmer butt)
  • Get on fours on the floor, with hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  •  Keeping your right knee bent at 90 degrees, flex right foot and lift knee to hip level, making it parallel to the floor.
  •  Lower knee without touching the floor.
  • Lift again for 15 times.
  • Repeat with left leg, do for 3 sets.

We all need to be take care of ourselves regardless of what stage we are in our lives.

I challenge you to consistently do these moves  for a month or two. Incorporating a habit as simple as this would definitely bring you results after a few months.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


 "Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire." - unknown.

These three women featured are my go-to inspiration of real life stories proving that it is possible to make your dreams happen.

As we get to know them, may we learn from them and embrace our own courage within.

    1.   Athena Beltran-Mendoza

Image from Athena Beltran - Mendoza's Facebook

In 2005, she was the lone female bet in the male-dominated sport of Downhill Mountain biking who represented the Philippines for pre Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and Asian Invitational.

Image from Athena Beltran - Mendoza's Facebook

Now a National Mountainbike Commissaire, her focus is to develop the sport and apply all the learnings that they have in their travels and previous races back to the Philippines.

Her current project is a Bike Playground with a pump track where riders can enjoy biking and choosing their own lines.

It also has an outdoor trail and a kid’s outdoor track where lessons and coaching are

                 The author and Athena Mendoza- Beltran

Her ultimate dream is that, this project be a good training ground for future athletes that will represent the country and that we can share the beauty of our country as a riding destination.  

I am honored to have competed and learned from her during the times when I was actively competing in the mountain biking community. 

2.   Ani Karina De Leon – Brown
Image from the net

The first Filipino (woman) to qualify and compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii (2008), Ironman Distance Triathlon Record Holder 2002 to 2011, 2014 and the only Asian in the Timex International Multi sports Team.

Her bio can be found here.

Ani and the author during a bike ride in Boracay

She paid it forward by leading and training Marie Claire Adorna, to be the first Filipino (woman) to win the Tri Gold Medal during the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Being the daughter of the chair of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Felipe M. de Leon Jr., (son of National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon Sr.), she was originally trained mostly in visual arts (drawing and painting as an artist).

However, this did not stop her from fulfilling her dream to become a world class athlete.   

And the rest is history.

3.   Carina Dayondon
Image from the net

In 2007, Carina and the Philippine Mount Everest Team successfully climbed the highest summit in the world. 

The three women in the team were recognized as the only women in the world to scale Mt Everest by taking the path less traveled – not the usual commercial up and down one side of the mountain. 

They climbed up from the North Side (Tibet) and down the South Side (Nepal).

The road to Everest was not a walk in the park since there was no funding and they have to figure out ways to train and at the same time, survive.

The preparation took three years, and due to budget constraints, they joined races to win and have funds for their training. 

The author and her husband with Carina during a get together.
Family problems almost had her giving up her dream since she needed to support them financially – however, winning an adventure race made her enough money to send back.  She also found employment in the Phil Coast Guard serving as LTJG/1stLT.

After climbing the highest summit, she then took on a personal project of climbing the rest of the seven summits with the goal of inspiring the youth to explore their own summits and find ways to go beyond their limits.

As of this writing, she has climbed Mt. McKinley in North America, Mt. Elbrus in Europe, Mt. Kosciuzsko in Australia, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and Mt. Aconcagua in South Americais  –the last mountain would be Mt. Vinson in Antartica.

These amazing Pinays never fail to motivate me and remind me that anything is possible once you put your heart and mind toward your set goal.

Go after what you want or you will be forever asking "what if"

Remember that the only limits you have are those that you impose upon yourself.

As I close, I leave you with this quote: " There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And if you ask, 'What if I fall?' Oh but my darling, what if you fly?" - Erin Hanson   

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Image from the net

This year, I turn 49. 
A year shy of 50.

One more year, and I reach another milestone.
Half a century. That sounds like a lot of years.

Back then, I was excited how it would be like when I reach that age.

Now that I’m actually nearing it, I realized that it’s only exciting if you took the time to prepare for it.

As an advocate of fitness, it has been more than a decade that I have been sharing my thoughts on the subject.   

It was during the early 2000s when a realization kicked in.  I was not happy with where I was and I need to work on improving myself and my life.

Back then, at 32, and a mother of four girls, one might say that it was a bit late.

Fitness helped me out. 

35 and doing Urban Assaults
Running eased my mind and eventually, I started joining road races with my first 10k run, New Balance’ Road to Chicago nearly two decades ago. Apparently, it was my Road to Freedom without me knowing it. 

Two years after, the weight room and lifting heavy caught my attention.

This then lead to competing for adventure races at the age of 35 with my team mates, mostly a decade younger. 

This got me inspired to compete and won a few mountain bike races at 36.

After office weekdays, we rode the bus to far off places to compete, and since the sport was quite new, it felt good to bring home the medal after an event. 

At 45, I joined International Dragon boat Competitions (proud Phil Marine Corps DBT signal here!)

I am thankful that, despite considered late, I was able to be aware about how fitness can benefit a person in their lives.

45, competing with the Philippine Marine Corps Dragonboat Team

Fitness had also helped me not only physically but emotionally and mentally. 

Along with improving strength (the physique actually came in as a bonus), there were things that I realized along the way. 

These “life lessons” that I manage to accumulate, is helpful not only on the gym floor but also in real life.

Image from the net
As I settle into January and start my 2018, I break ties with some of my bad old habits (I need to sleep before 12MN!), and begin to make new ones that support where I want to go this year.

My dear friends, I invite you all to revisit your goals, bucket lists and plans.

Asses where you are right now before you get swamped with things that needs to be done.

A new year is another milestone.

A new phase, a new stage, an opportunity to start new things because, it’s never too late to make your own milestone and know that the best is yet to come.


Adventure Racing. Any one of you heard about it? I remember more than a decade ago, I have been active in the Adventure Racing ...