JCI-Philippine New York Holds Fitness Workshop

by Diane Ramos


NEW YORK, NY  – To kick-off a new year and the beginning of a new administration, JCI Philippine-New York (Jaycees) conducted a “New Year, New You” workshop Jan. 16 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center.  About 75 young professionals came to hear several fitness experts discuss, motivate and share their knowledge, fitness expertise and personal experiences.  The project’s objective was to make fitness a priority of attendees in their 2013 resolutions and lifestyle in general.

The event also launched JCI Philippine-New York’s golden anniversary this year and will be just one of many other events to celebrate the organization’s 50 years of community service.

The panel, whose expertise range from triathlons and personal training to yoga and nutrition, relayed how their personal experiences led them to seek out healthier lifestyles.

“A training plan is written in pencil, not in permanent marker,” said Alison Cooper Kreideweis, co-founder and Chief Training Officer of Empire Triathlon Club. She shared memories from her first ill-starred triathlon and today, works to coach other triathletes and participates in many events herself.

Her advice and suggestions of starting small, making a plan, and giving yourself a bit leniency if you miss a workout were echoed by Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach Alexander Gruezo.

“A little and often over the long haul,” he says translates into a lifestyle. Eating until you are 80% full, having a protein rich meal with vegetables, and saving starches for after your workout are some of his top tips.

“Defining who you are is important,” added professional runner and soccer player Jane Vongvorachoti. Her mantra of “Purpose, prepare, plan, and follow through,” empowered her to get selected to play for the Thai National Soccer team during one of the lowest times in her personal life.

As much as exercise and nutrition play a vital role in a healthy lifestyle, Grace Fernandez, a Hatha Yoga instructor at the Red Dawn Combat Club School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, encouraged everyone not to forget about the mind and spirit.

“Create your space,” she instructed, as she dispelled common yoga myths and then led the group through a modified version of mountain pose.

Finally, Team Takbo President and Founder Jay Pascual shared his family’s own fitness journey, which led to the creation of his now international running club. “Teamwork is what makes it happen. No one can do it alone,” he remarked. Many members of Team Takbo were in attendance that evening, including the moderator of the speaker panel, comedian Air Tabigue. Tabigue also shared his own fitness journey and struggles, as well as how he overcame challenges with the help of his support system.

Attendees reacted energetically to the speakers.  They participated in the demonstrations, cheered on fellow athletes, and asked for additional pearls of wisdom. 

“This is perhaps one of the first pro-active health events we have ever had,” commented Deputy Consul General Theresa Dizon – De Vega of the Consulate General of the Philippines – New York.

“In the past, we’ve addressed health concerns and remedies reactively,” she reflected, as she thanked the JCI Philippine-New York for organizing the event.

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