I’m not planning to be a competitive runner, it’s just that I’ve made a promise to myself that my last year in my twenties would be the year I get fit. All the years before that were impossible because of my toxic post production career that would leave me with only a few hours or even just minutes of sleep in one day. Cardio would have “killed” me or given me a heart ailment together with my insane dose of sleep deprivation. When it comes to my fitness goals I don’t want to be ripped as in like muscle-popping hard, just undeniably fit. Martial arts is out of the question or any activity that could sustain trauma to the hands because as a makeup-artist I need to protect them. I’ve made a few small efforts to begin my fitness journey. Unlike others who have admittedly fallen behind on both the weight targets and eating healthy goals my health and fitness needs aren’t that many because I already live clean, eat healthy, and I’m not overweight. My only real problem is I don’t exercise regularly. That changed in May before I left for Singapore when I began the 30-Day Shred workout by Jillian Michaels. I only did it for 2.5 weeks till my mom protested that she was stressed out by the aggressive pace of the program even though it was doable and then said she preferred to walk or run. Then there was a gap in the fitness initiative until I began walking a lot in Singapore and felt my calves burning day in and day out. Then yesterday, unplanned, I did my first 4km run/jog (according to my cousin, Ella) in Laguna with my brother and my cousins. What surprised me was I didn’t walk-run-walk as I thought I would, I actually jogged/ran straight for ’bout 3.5-4km without any trouble, then after 2 uphill climbs I felt the slight labor in my breathing (as my body properly told me my limit) and I decided to walk instead of jog back and began cooling down. I actually realized I wasn’t as UNFIT as I thought, I was thrilled, I could actually do 4km and I wasn’t even that FIT yet. What could that mean?!!
My cousin Ella, the eldest among her siblings, showed us a simple warm-up before we set off then we talked while we ran which I believe made us forget about the distance at one point, it was a light but lively jog. She handed down minor tips after years of running with the best trainers in the country (Coach Rio dela Cruz, Coach Anna). There were small tips like inhaling then exhaling on the 4th count while running “(inhale) 1,2,3,4(exhale)(inhale) 1, 2, 3, 4 (exhale)…” and keeping elbows near your rib cage at a loose right angle and your hands comfortably suspended while swinging and positioned as if you were “holding a potato chip” in each hand. None of these tips on form were expressed to be mandatory, just recommended, but I did as I was advised. Their family is “insanely fit” and not in an overboard way, they love playing, eating, and enjoying their naps, too. I love how Ella and her “bunch” have really embraced the Spirituality and righteousness found in physical fitness and taking care of your body. Not every couple on earth can say they are both tri-athletes, have 5 children (including a 1 year old), and 4 out of those 5 children happen to be tri-athletes as well.
Post run, I walked proudly into my Tito Anthony’s house (popularly known as the head of his tri-athlete family, Team Pangilinan) and said we just did ’bout 4km. He said “Before you know it, Jules, you’ll be telling me ‘I just did my first 10k, Tito’ “, and Tita Maricel told me to ice my legs when I arrived home because of the hills in the terrain of their village, to boost recovery and lessen pain. Coach Dan Brown (not the author of the Da Vinci Code he says) said “As a beginner better to run every 2nd day (not daily) so that you can recover. And you don’t have to run all the way to complete it the first time. Alternate between walking and running first, if you must, then after a few weeks or months just run and time yourself…”. So what was I supposed to do on non-running days like today for example? On the hunt for a new “less aggressive” but still intense workout I could share with my mom I remembered Tita Maricel did pilates. So I researched online and came across this POP Pilates Begginers’ Workout with Cassey Ho.
Cassey, the star of her YouTube Channel “Blogilates”, suffice it to say, comes on “less scary” than Jillian Michaels (as is beginner pilates vs. the shred workout) and she is way more bubbly. In some parts of her videos she can border on being a bit too “sugary” in the way she expresses herself but I totally appreciate her positivism. It’s like having a sweet, first class stewardess teach you pilates, haha (watching her intro I can’t get the life jacket demo outta my mind)! I loved this workout not because it was “easy” (in fact it was not), it was slowly intense, more low impact, and less aerobic. In fact there is still a totally difficult part in the middle of the workout where you lift your legs on your side and do tiny circles. Don’t be fooled, those tiny leg lift circles, they’re MEAN tiny circles, augghh they do big things to your buttocks and you can feel it. My leg dropped several times because of the burn in my “gluts”, I am not kidding. Anyway, I’ve decided that this will be my in-between/substitute workout of choice when I’m not running. I sweat a lot and feel a lot happening to my muscles in this Pilates Beginners Workout.
Getting started is always I believe nearly half the battle in trying to set a good habit in place. Physical fitness is the subject I’ve been most avoiding on the blog simply because I could never get started properly and be a sweating good example to you all. I’m a bit tight financially at the moment so a paid workout program in a swanky all setup gym is just not yet in the budget range. There was a time when I was more mobile physically, especially when I went on Living Asia Channel tours throughout the country as a writer, you can see how confident I was once upon a time in this photo taken by a fellow writer four years ago when I used to jump and flip all over the place especially at the beach. Hello, thunder thighs. I know for a fact that no matter how much I workout my thighs will always have some level of heft, I’m special that way.
If I could afford it, I’d go and do Barre (check out Rockwell and inside the Spa at BGC Fort) which is a stretching combination of ballet and pilates. Pole dancing looked physically promising and it actually excited me (the actual workout) but honestly speaking straight from the heart my moral compass will never point me in that direction because of what the workout implicates too openly (no offense meant to those who pole dance, I’m a Christian, it’s really what I stand for personally). Well, I’ve found a home video workout that isn’t new, it’s from 2008, but it works great for me and my mother so far and we happen to be a pair of NEARLY the worst couch potatoes around. Now, we’re mashed couch potatoes.
HOW I FEEL 5 DAYS INTO IT: What I can say is the first two days made my body hurt but the tormenting strenuous parts of the routine were quite bearable. I just finished the 5th day today early this morning and my muscles no longer hurt and my unused joints (shoulders/hips/knees) have ceased with the infrequent “snapping”, “cracking”, or “popping” sounds they were making before due to proper stretching and rotation, I’m quite excited to head towards the finish line of Level 1 and want to push myself further.
If she looks very familiar that’s because Jillian Michaels is THE original Biggest Loser coach for the acclaimed reality show. My ultimate goal for myself was not to lose weight, in fact I believe “30 DAY SHRED” is actually a hardsell title for what is actually an awesome combo cardio-strength workout that’s been reduced to a window of a 20-minute everyday session at a new difficulty level every 10 days. This is how simple it is and I love that you don’t need A TON OF PROPS to get rolling with this workout. All you need are a pair of light dumbells 1-3 lbs (mine are 3 pounds each) a workout mat, thick rug, or any mat you’re comfy lying down on, and 20 minutes a day for 30 days STRAIGHT. A laptop would be handy to play the workout DVD anywhere in the house where you feel comfortable to workout. Anyone can make 20 minutes for a bit of exercise, you don’t find it, you make it. The workout is simple, it consists of 3 videos of 3 intensity levels. You do the first video workout for 10 days, on the eleventh day you begin the Level 2 video, and on the 21st day you begin the Level 3 video. It’s that simple, then I believe you can continue with the Level 3 video as a regular workout routine once you complete the cycle. For your benefit, I discovered the Level 1 Video was made available on YouTube, I don’t know how much longer it will be on there so best to check this out now while you’re interested, watch this, give it a go and show yourself how easy this 30-Day Shred workout really is…at the start.
Warning, you will sweat a lot and then be surprised at how quick it is, the only catch is you have to do it everyday, it is a 20-minute commitment ANYBODY can make. Mom is on her fourth day of the Level 1 workout now, and I’m on my fifth, she joined me on the 2nd day. I sourced the two other videos but am truly planning to buy this DVD online and it’s available here from Amazon if you’d like to try another of Jillian’s 3-2-1 level method workouts you can try the more advanced and recent Ripped in 30 DVD , you can ask HouseofFlair to order it for you from the U.S. !