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Good bodies – and how to get them

Four women show you how to shape up – and have fun in the process

Photographs by Jovel Lorenzo
Makeup and hairstyle by Benjie Angeles

Lorraine Lapus, surfer She got into surfing in 2003, more out of curiosity and with no formal training except this piece of advice: “When you go out there,” a friend told her, “don’t hit anyone.” Blessed with a glorious day, she managed to hold her own; since then, Lorraine has dedicated any available time to the sport when she isn’t working as the marketing associate for the province of Camarines Sur, or swimming and biking with her triathlete boyfriend.  “It’s a perfect combination of the beach, water, and your friends,” she says of surfing. “The feeling of chasing waves that are never the same is exhilarating.”

The 28-year-old, who can surf up to five hours straight, credits her sport for her endurance, as well as her strong shoulder muscles (from paddling), quadriceps, and derriere.

“I also have these ‘fake’ abs,” she says with a chuckle of her core muscles, a result of balancing on her board while riding over waves.

Once you get the hang of it, standing on the board, she says, is easy; it’s thinking on your feet that is surfing’s real challenge. You have to learn how to read the water, and keep your calm when faced with a monstrous wave.

Accidents can also happen even before you leave the shore: at nine feet long, your board is an extension of yourself, and as such, can either be a weapon to others or yourself. A good rule of thumb for beginners and seasoned surfers?

“Go with an instructor or someone who’s experienced, like a buddy system,” says Lorraine. Joy Rojas
How to get started

Learn to surf in a controlled environment at Club Manila East. The resort has a 19,000-square-foot giant wave pool that can simulate beach-like wave patterns up to four feet high.  Visit Club Manila East at Km 24, Manila East Road, Taytay, Rizal, or call tel. nos. 660-2801, 284-4740, or 284-4736 for more information.

Marge Angeles, runnerActive on and off since high school, the long-time Philippine Airlines flight attendant tried everything, from volleyball and tennis to boxing and shooting. “But the one I love most is running,” she says with a smile. “It’s my time to think, to introspect, and to do my prayers.”

Running’s also her way of defying age and the body’s supposed limitations. Competitive only recently, this unbelievable 52-year-old ran her first 42k, the Honolulu Marathon, in a respectable 5 hours and change. She also slowly trimmed down from 150 lbs. to 106 lbs. at her lightest, but now feels most comfortable and fit at 120 lbs.

“I thought there were things that couldn’t be changed,” says Marge, a former smoker who once couldn’t bring her arms to her sides because of excess fat. Thanks to thrice weekly runs (as well as regular sessions in the gym), she enjoys wearing snug sleeveless tops and tiny runner’s skirts and shorts – the better to show off her two favorite body parts: her visibly toned and tanned arms and legs.

This mom of three grown daughters also has running to thank for helping her “get over ailments easily. It also gives me energy throughout the day.”

A mental sport as much as a physical one, running is suited for those who thrive in the Great Outdoors. “I’ve been to so many places all over the world,” says Marge, who’s got her eye on her next marathon in Vancouver, “but running has taught me to see things that I would normally take for granted, and to appreciate the simple things in life.”  Joy Rojas

Get into running

Visit takbo.ph for race schedules and tips on how to start from scratch. Thebullrunner.com, meanwhile, gives you an insider’s perspective of the local running scene, courtesy of blogger Jaymie Pizarro.

Omu Toledo, pole fitness instructor

Having her interest sparked by pole dancing videos, Omu began attending pole fitness classes last summer and became an instructor in just nine months. She attended every possible class, which meant three classes a day twice a week, a total of six hours training on the pole. “It’s a sensual way of becoming stronger – that’s why we call it pole fitness, not dancing,” Omu says. “I love that the forms are really sexy.” While she’s had to correct some misconceptions of pole dancing just being racy (“like bar girls who don’t really use the pole”), she’s seen her students slowly become more confident of their bodies after a few classes and learning tricks. They begin shy and conscious of taking off their shirts to train in just a sports bra and short shorts, “but we tell them we’re not looking at their body, but their form.” Students ultimately find confidence in holding themselves up on the pole and keeping a pose.

As for the 23-year-old instructor, Omu wears the “uniform” with poise after losing 8 lbs. in seven months and trimming down from a 30-inch waistline to one that now measures 26 inches. “My problem was my tummy, and I have short legs so you could really see it. Pole fitness works out the whole body. You’ll notice your muscles will develop all over.”

Omu also relies on pole fitness to burn calories, which come from regular buffets, and to firm up her back. “Pole fitness is worth a try for everyone to know if it’s for you. I’ve got a 60-year-old and an 18-year-old student.” Any dancing experience isn’t a prerequisite. She says all one needs to do is “wear really short shorts – and don’t use any lotion.” Ronna Capili
How to get started:

Visit Movement Dance Studio at 28/F and 29/F Unionbank Plaza, Meralco Avenue corner Onyx Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City, or call tel. no. 94944-8075 to inquire about lessons.

Sheng Belmonte, belly dancer
Developing just a bit of muscle all over your body, most especially your tummy and back area, which are often untouched by other exercise regimens, while bringing out your sexiness – that’s what Sony Music’s newest recording artist Sheng loves about belly dancing. She first became interested after seeing one of her personal musical icons Shakira move her hips.

Sheng only enrolled in formal classes last year, where she learned proper form and how to correct bad habits she was unaware of. She first thought it was just as easy as copying someone, but it was in class that she was able to hone her skill and talent. And in belly dancing, that means being able to isolate particular body parts. Sheng also takes pole fitness classes from the same studio, and differentiates between the sensual exercises. “You show your strength in pole dancing when you hold yourself up, but in belly dancing you show your extra sexiness by isolating body parts, which isn’t easy!”

Sheng enrolled in belly dance classes for the cardio exercise benefits and fitness, and has progressed to performing with the Snake Charmers when she’s not busy with her music. She’s also planning to showcase her skills through her upcoming music videos. “Some songs in the album have a belly dance beat,” Sheng says, classifying her genre as soul/party/hip-hop. She adds that, like her music, belly dancing is sexy but not slutty. “With belly dancing, I am sexy because I have talent, and not just standing and showing skin. It’s an art.”

She’s also grown in confidence because she’s assured she’s dancing right. Sheng has developed a bit of abdominal muscles, but nothing too ripped – the kind she can still roll when she dances. “Belly dance is fun because you get to observe yourself in the mirror for an hour to learn more about your body and control.” Not everyone might be as innately confident, but should you give in to self-consciousness? “When you go to belly dance class, it should be because you want to have fun.” Ronna Capili

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Tags: Health and Fitness , Lifestyle , Women

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