This hotelier stays fit doing ice hockey–in Manila
Before his Philippine posting, British hotelier Adam Laker was hefty at 227 lbs (103 kg) for his 5’10 (178 cm) frame.
“I did all the things you’re not supposed to do,” says the area general manager of AccorHotels and general manager (GM) of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila. His former diet was rich in pasta, potatoes and fried food, and to make it worse, he ate his meals before bedtime.
One day, he decided to change his lifestyle, starting with his eating habits. “It’s what you eat, when and the volume,” says Laker.
Today, he eats a light breakfast of fruits and egg whites after an 8-km run around the bayside. The heaviest meal is lunch. Dinner is salad or steamed vegetables and grilled meats. Since a hotelier’s job requires entertaining, he skips the gravy on the meat, breads and desserts.
He says in jest that if he ate everything, he would have to run for 15 km before going to work.
Once a week, he hits the skating rink at the SM Mall of Asia to play ice hockey. To the uninitiated, ice hockey is a contact sport which involves 12 players. Armed with curved sticks, two teams of skaters aim to direct a small disc, called a puck, into each other’s goal. Laker plays forward, a position given to person who has a large frame but is nimble. He is gritty enough to extract the puck out of tight corners, and is good in offense.
His teammates consist of Filipinos who have lived overseas and expats, most in their 30s to early 40s. At 48, Laker is one of the older members, but is conditioned for the game, what with his track record of half-marathons and daily running.
The game of three 15-minute periods with five-minute breaks in between is like a high-intensity interval training workout. The intervals, or the stop-go style of hockey, give the body time to recover from muscle tension and metabolic stress. The short rest enables the body to work efficiently. The speed of the game demands bursts of energy that burn a large amount of calories.
Then there is improved muscle strength in the core muscles and legs, and endurance in the arms and shoulders. Skating across the ice enhances balance and agility.
Hockey also improves hand-eye coordination and quickens reflexes. Players must be alert as they pass pucks across the rink. They have to respond quickly to the other players. As in any vigorous sport, it releases endorphins or the hormones that promote relaxation and consequently, clear thinking.
“It’s a fast game. You have to be fit and skate hard. It’s as physical as a long run, demanding and exciting,” says Laker.
The game is made more enjoyable by the fact that his three sons Mackenzie, 13, Hunter, 11, and Miller, 6, are players. The older boys compete in leagues.
Laker encourages them because hockey teaches teamwork toward reaching a goal, and develops communication skills, all important in fast play.
“They help each other and develop camaraderie,” he says. “It also gets them away from the couch or from the Xbox or PlayStation.” —CONTRIBUTED
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