Missing the court | Professional Fitness Coaches share how they cope up with long lull from sports, thoughts on fitness and health during ECQ [Part 2]

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By John Mark Herrera - Published May 7, 2020

The NBA playoff would've been in its deep stages, the UAAP and NCAA volleyball tournaments, along with other collegiate sports would have concluded or be deep in their respective seasons while the PBA could have seen its most competitive Philippine Cup, had none of these annual sporting events got cancelled. It's day 52 of zero sports played and we, the fans, are missing it as much as the players do.

The amount of preparations that athletes put in their off-season daily workouts, the hours watching tapes of themselves playing - to see how they can get better, getting to practice with their team, and playing in the actual games, have all been put on hold since the implementation of lock downs all around the globe.

But when you talk about preparation, you can't leave out the people who help sports superstars get to the peak of their game. One of the unseen work being put in together with these athletes' hard work, are the efforts of professional fitness coaches, who study and train just as much, if not more than their clients.

In the second article, we picked the minds and gathered perspectives from two more professional fitness coaches, who are members of successful sports programs in the country.

First up, for San Beda Red Lions strength and conditioning coach, LA Ratio, the extended off-season which is currently being spent off the court as well, remains crucial in their preparation for future tournaments.

"As per athletes, ongoing ang offseason training namin sa SBU. The off-season is the most crucial part of their preparation, this is the time they work on their game and they physically prepare for their season." coach LA shared.

"Since all of us are currently in a state of pandemic, most of our players went back to their provinces. We still keep in touch, and we make the most out of what they have in their homes. Some have strength training equipment while others would have to be more creative and utilize makeshift weights, such as water bottles, water containers, gym bags luggage, etc." on how the players are keeping themselves in good condition while being away from basketball.

"My main goal for them is to maintain their current level of fitness so that it will not be hard for us once they return to our normal practices. Mahirap kasi we don’t have any timetable kung kailan magiging ok to resume our practices." he continued

The same as coaches Justin Aquino and Jose Miguel Gemora in the prior article, coach LA also shares the same perspective on social media, being filled with 'instant' fitness coaches.

"Its frustrating kasi all of a sudden biglang nagkaroon ng mga instant fitness coaches, but for me, I take it as a challenge to step up my business practices and also I take it as part of my responsibility to educate the consumers regarding fitness."

Coach LA opened up about some of the truths about information on fitness nowadays.

"Pero people are actually smarter compared to consumers 5 years ago. Information is already very accessible because of the internet. Problem lang not all information are reliable and correct. The sad truth is that the fitness industry is hard to regulate hence there are a lot of 'instant trainers'. Nowadays people focus more on the number of your likes and subscribers rather than your exercise degree and certifications/training/experience."

But despite these, coach LA believes that the responsibility of changing the unwanted norm nowadays, lies in them, the fitness professionals, to widen the information on what's right and wrong.

"I think fitness professionals have a professional responsibility to educate people re fitness, exercise, etc. There are already a handful of coaches that create content and give out reliable and factual information I think we just need to be more proactive in doing so."

"The public should be more responsible on educating themselves. Like what I said information is already out there. The problem is that these 'instant trainers' in social media (FB IG YouTube) tell people what they want to hear, instead of telling them what they NEED to hear."

For more information on Coach LA:

LA Raio, PTRP, ASCA L-1 // Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy, University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center // Strength and Conditioning Coach San Beda University Men's Basketball Team

IG: @performance.ratio

Performance Coach Gino Villar Zapanta of Phenom Fitness Gym also shared his perspective regarding the importance of fitness during these times. Similar to the first three coaches, coach Gino had to find creative ways to keep him and his clients on track when it comes to their fitness programs.

"With our clients, we're doing our best to keep in touch with them since there's an evident limitation towards the outcomes we want from them (availability of equipment, motivation, etc.) So as much as possible, we work with whatever we and our clients have as of the moment and be consistent and positive." shared the proud product of the University of Santo Tomas.

Aside from directly training his clients online, coach Gino has taken part in donations for World vision, as well as extending their help for better awareness on fitness and health by way of conducting online workouts in social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram (@phenomfitness).

These online workouts are done to help people get accurate results by getting the right instructions from professional coaches; a vision that coaches LA, Justin, and Jose all discussed when asked How people decide nowadays on what fitness programs to get, and which coaches to choose, given that there are 'instant fitness coaches' all over social media.

"For me, these self-proclaimed or 'instant fitness coaches' shouldn't be 100% blamed, it's not their fault that consumers prefer their services right now. Here in the Philippines, it's a business where our fellow citizens prefer quick fixes and as a coach who studied four years and currently having their master’s degree, the common problem is the process on how we get this job done."

"My problem with these 'instant fitness coaches' is how they use sometimes irrelevant information to blind their client (ex. use of trampoline to burn hundreds of calories in a short period of time, usage of physio balls while lifting barbells, etc.). Once they do these, you know it's a business with regards of implementing programs." coach Gino explained.

But in spite of the rise of 'instant fitness coaches', coach Gino spoke of the many clients who continue to trust in him and his fellow professional coaches.

"Usually, the results of all those stuff we did in the past, speak for itself and we coaches are very appreciative for the trust our clients trusts in us." he expressed.

People's notion of fitness and training facilities being an expensive way of getting fir and healthy, saddens coaches like him as the same group of people spends on other luxuries, which could have given them quality training sessions already.

"Common problem really is people are afraid to invest on something. But the same people can afford lots of other luxuries, which is sad"

For his fellow hardworking coaches and clients, he's proud to have them get workouts done and execute nutrition plans despite the ongoing health crisis.

"Going through this pandemic, it was a challenge for some coaches and clients. But some regular clients of ours who already understands the principles or the ways on how we implement our system, they get it done right. It may not be the same means, but ends are usually met. And now that some gyms are allowing people to rent their equipment and some clients now have the willingness to buy gym equipment for their homes - it would definitely help us coaches to do our stuff."

And for his message to his colleagues and for the public, coach Gino had nothing but optimistic views for the future and the people who earnestly gives fitness and health importance, just as much as he does.

"For my colleagues, let us always remember that our goal is to always for the improvement of not only our clients and ourselves, but also for the community. We have a very small world where information can be quickly misunderstood, I'm hoping that this year and in the following years to come, we become stronger and help one another to overcome difficult challenges in helping our fellow people to become greater versions of themselves."

"For the public, I understand all your concerns with regards on the difficulties on achieving your goals. No road is easy and the fact that the process is difficult doesn't mean it can't be achieved at all. We just need patience and perseverance in your part, so that both our efforts could co-exist." he ended.

For more information on Coach Gino:

Gino V. Zapanta, XPS // B.S. Sports Science - University of Sto. Tomas Cum Laude // EXOS - Certified Performance Specialist // Faculty Member - UST Rehabilitation Sciences, Sports Science Department // Managing Partner of Phenom Fitness // Currently taking Post-Grad Studies in UP Diliman for Masters In Human Movement Sciences

Email: ginozapanta11@gmail.com

FB: ginozapanta/ phenomfitnessph

IG: ginozapanta/ phenomfitnessph

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When you talk about passion for sports, these well-educated, coaches are up there, as they dedicated years of non-stop learning and adjustments to new ways of passing down the right knowledge about fitness and nutrition - which in turn would be beneficial for an athlete's conditioning. These unsung heroes help famous sports men and women to stay on top of their game.

But to become the best version of yourself, the right people must surround you to serve as the water which will be poured to you, likened to a plant bound for growth. This is what these professional fitness coaches do, and they'll do it regardless of the times.


Photos from Coaches LA Ratio and Gino Villar Zapanta's Facebook accounts