Total Fitness: SPICE UP YOUR ROMANCE


Jan - Feb 2012 issue

The word romance evokes a cornucopia of images and emotions – from flowers, candlelit dinners, silk sheets to perfume, movies, art, intimate moments, or perhaps a particular language like French or Italian. Things that fascinate the heart and perhaps fill the soul with wonderment, such that it turns people into poets and musicians overnight.

But more often, the blissful state lasts no more than several months to maybe a few years, and keeping the fire as hot and burning as before becomes such a challenge. How then do you keep the excitement on the up and up when there are so many things out there fighting for your time and attention? Compound that with what your partner is also going through and you have an arduous task of keeping the romance alive, ahead of you.

Tip no.1: Adventure

The two of you must make a conscious decision to embrace adventure and revel in it. Not everyone is born with a daring streak and perhaps you or your partner falls into this category – but this is not an excuse for you to let things remain in status quo. It need not be something so daring it can shock you to the core. You and your partner can find adventure even in something as simple as taking walks on the beach, parks, or the market place. Another thing you can do is trying a new restaurant every month, scary park rides, or a new sport. Whatever you do, make sure you leave some room for your lover to experience adventure with you. It will make your bond stronger.

Tip no. 2: Mystery

Keeping the mystery alive in a relationship is as important as sharing intimate moments together. As a lover, I take pride in my natural ability to be mysterious. As much as I am very transparent about my emotions sometimes, I also know how to mask them at certain moments. By being mysterious, I keep my lover in a state of wonderment so that he is always looking forward to what kind of surprise I will pull off next. Just because you are a couple, it doesn’t mean that you abdicate your own identity and personal space.  You are still your own person and it will be to your relationship’s growth to remind him every now and then of the spirited woman he fell in love with.

Tip no. 3: Love

Cultivate and spread reminders of love in your home. It can be small love notes posted on the mirror or next to the mug of coffee you lovingly prepared for him. Call him in the middle of the day just to say I love you and how your life has been made more colorful by his presence alone. Do random acts of love such as cooking his favorite meal, giving him a massage when he’s all stressed out at work, or running a warm bath that the two of you can share. Go out on dates like when you were just starting out in your relationship as a couple. Hold hands in public and always be mindful of your partner’s needs.

 Tip no. 4: Fascination

Surround yourself and your lover with concepts, ideas, and people that inspire and fascinate. By cultivating fascination, we view the world in a seemingly brand new pair of polarized sunglasses and colors are highlighted and experiences are magnified. Just by learning something new – pottery, cooking, samba, etc – we become fascinated, therefore, make it part of your long-term agenda to take classes of any discipline that interests you. Pay more attention to each other’s body when making love and be fascinated over and over again by the energy that flows between your bodies.

When we cultivate love, fascination, adventure and mystery into our daily lives, we become extraordinarily passionate people and we experience extraordinary events. We see things as we have never seen them before. We appreciate ourselves and our special and individual gifts and talents – as well as those of others. Our world moves more deliberately and the beauty of it all is allowed to caress us with its wonder.

But more importantly, appreciate the fact that the cultivation of romance into daily life is never contingent on whether or not you have a lover. The cultivation of romance is about self-discovery, self-preservation, and self-appreciation. Ensuring that no matter what happens in our journey through life, we have a foundation that nurtures inspires and encourages our success. And this is a foundation that WE ourselves build, and one that is not heavily dependent on another person for its strengths and endurance.

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Men’s Health: WIN THE DATING GAME


***Published in MH September 2011 issue.

It is a shame that most men don’t know a single thing when it comes to approaching women properly, because it is so easy if done in the right frame of mind – and with a great game plan as a follow-through. The approach should be an enjoyable experience for you and the girl that you are going to meet. Unfortunately, few men have the ability to give women that thrill and excitement that they’re looking for whether at a club, the cinema, sports event, or on the beach.  Much more often, women get approached by guys who make them feel uncomfortable and cause their “force fields” to rise up and palms ready to connect with the face of the next obnoxious guy.

Let’s face it guys, most of you need to get seriously clued-in when it comes to the art of seducing women.  And so, with the help of some of my friends, let me walk you through the proper ways of approaching women in select places. But first, let’s get one thing clear: Do not get sucked into thinking that you can only find girls to date when you’re out at a party or at the bar. They’re on the street, in a store, in class, the cinemas, and nearly everywhere you go. All you have to do is play close attention and get your game on.

At a Club

Popular bars and clubs are not labeled ‘target rich environments’ for nothing. These are the easiest and most convenient places to meet women; where large numbers of available women come out to socialize and let loose. And why not? The alcohol is flowing, which aids in keeping inhibitions locked away in the cupboard until after inebriation wears off – and regret seeps in. Or maybe not.  And though it may not be true for all women, but mostly, these girls who aren’t accompanied by boyfriends or husbands are HOPING to be seduced.

Think about it: They did not spend three hours preparing themselves earlier in the evening, choosing the perfect outfit and shoes, doing their hair and makeup, and mastering the come-hither look for another hour in front of the mirror so that they could ONLY hang out with their girlfriends and blow off every guy who tries to talk to them.  Truth is, even when these girls are acting “too cool” for the room or for anyone, never assume that they don’t want to be approached and picked up. This attitude is key is you’re going to master the art of seducing women in clubs.

There is a STRATEGY to be employed when you approach women or want to pick up girls in bars — and even more importantly, you’ve got to know how to switch from the approach into the conversation. And not just any old conversation, the type of chit-chat she’d had to put up with from the last 29 guys who tried (and failed) to get her interested:

 “So what’s your name?”

“Where are you from?”

And so on. Guys who attempt conversations this way DO NOT have any game plan or strategy in mind, and so they wind up running out of steam and losing the girl’s attention very quickly.

Instead, start by using what’s called a “neutral-opinion opener.” What that means is you ask her a question about something that has nothing to do with you. Here are some questions you can toy around with:

“What do you think of this place?”

“Have you heard the news about the IMF President? What you think about that?”

To some women, it may not even matter greatly what you say but what can work to your advantage is that calm and collected demeanor. Girls may be hit on almost every day, and they know why you came up to talk to them. They may not be paying attention to what you’re saying, and rather how you are saying it. For instance, she may look for: Are you confident? Are you comfortable talking to her? Are your shoulders hunched over, or back? Do you slouch?

Do your best to appear comfortable and she will feel comfortable enough not to blow you off – just yet.

On the Beach

Another popular place to meet girls is the beach where alcohol is, again, ubiquitous, and nearly everyone’s half-naked. Now some men may think approaching girls in such an open and uninhibited environment is as easy as brushing your teeth – it is not. Here, women tend to be more judgmental or critical of people, especially men, so you would really want to get it right the first try. Contrary to popular belief, women know what they want, which makes it fairly easy for them to eliminate men within seconds.

Start by engaging her in a conversation. Once you’re talking, keep it up. Make the banter interesting. You may want to come up with some stories about you that are funny or interesting. You are fairly interesting, aren’t you? Try to not fall into the interview technique by asking things like: What do you do? Where do you live? Where did you go to school?

Once you’re engaged in a conversation with a woman, I recommend you DO excuse yourself for a while. This is one of the most powerful ways to show self-confidence. Tell her you have to go and check in on some friends who are playing Frisbee nearby. Or you need to go and make a phone call to your staff, or your dog walker or whatever –just make yourself appear important and in control of your world.  Or you want to go say hello to your friend the bartender. Then, walk away and do your own thing for a while.

If within those few minutes you have actually managed to get her interested, then she will miss your presence — even when comfortably nestled against the relaxing background of turquoise waters and clear skies. And when you do come back and rejoin her, whether it is after five minutes or an hour later, she will be looking forward to it.

The typical guy, when he’s out trying to pick up girls, will meet a girl, start talking to her, and NOT leave her side.

He will keep “working it” as best he can (usually, this means a lot of babbling and asking uninteresting questions), fearing that if he DOES walk away for a minute — even to go to the bathroom — she will get distracted with something else or get scooped up by another guy.

Behave in the opposite way. Be unpredictable. Have a strategy for every situation and every step of the interaction, so that instead of “hoping for the best” you will be guiding the situation towards the result you want.

And while you’re at it, why not invite her to join you and your friends for a round of Frisbee or beach volleyball?

At a Movie house

You saw her standing outside the movie house with her friends, probably in a queue for popcorn and soda.  You find her absolutely interesting and want desperately to approach her. What to do?

Be original.

An attractive girl usually has people complimenting her on her looks – how cute she is, how nice she is, how she makes jaws drop wherever she goes.  Typical. Bear in mind that by now, she’s probably used to empty compliments and if you become the next guy to come up and tell her how pretty she is, she’ll appreciate the compliment, but she won’t find you attractive. Unless you’re Chris Hemsworth, then you probably won’t even have to try. But since you are not Thor himself, try to remain calm and casual. Make a little joke at her expense. For instance, you could say something like “Wow, that’s a big purse! Do you have a BB gun in there?” or if she’s dressed up “I like your shoes…they look really comfortable”. Refrain from commenting on her appearance too often. Telling a woman that she is attractive is a great idea, true, but do not come across as too smitten or obsessed as this will surely freak her out.

Try flirting with her a bit. Yes, even with her friends around, because then she would know you are a confident, self-assured guy. But don’t try too hard.

Ask for her number. After a few minutes, if you’re having a good time chatting, cut things off on a high note, and politely ask for her number. Say that you’re mighty glad to have met her, but you really need to get back to your friends (or whatever else you were about to do before you started talking to her). If she hesitates, you can joke with her and say that you promise to only call her 50 times a day, but that’s all. You could also just get her email address (almost everyone has one, and is OK with handing it out, especially for a charming guy like you) or ask permission to add her on Facebook. But before you do that, make sure your Facebook is somewhat sanitized – if you know what I mean. The last thing a girl would want to see on your Facebook page is tons of photos of yourself in various states of inebriation; too many photos of you and your Ex; or very distasteful wall posts by your friends.

Now if you do get lucky in getting her digits, text her as you’re leaving the mall with your friends, then call her the next day. The rule about waiting to call was made for guys who acted too needy on the first meeting. Give her a nickname. If you call her “cutie” at the cinema, then when you call her you can say “Hey, cutie… it’s Me.” instead of “Umm, this is (your name). We met at the cinema the other night.”

If it seems like you’re being too needy, you probably are. You don’t have to text or call her every day, especially in the beginning. It’s safe to take a step back (if needed) and not disappear completely.

At a Sports Event

As you may have already deduced by now, you can use the same strategy you have employed on the first three scenarios to nearly all other possible scenarios you may find yourself smack in the middle of. It is, at the very least, about showing a healthy sense of curiosity. She knows why you’re talking to her. You’re interested. You won’t try to hide it now, would you?

You’ve met her at a sports event, perhaps a road race, so it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out at least one thing she might be interested in. Build on it. If she’s up for the conversation, she will give you something to work with. “It was a tough route, wasn’t it? “she says. You won’t derail the conversation now by moving on to another subject by saying “Ah, okay. So, where are you from?” Instead, here, you just let it flow.

She smiles, so you allow yourself to be daring. “I saw you when you crossed the 4km mark and I thought you were pretty strong out there.” You look into her eyes for about a minute, and offer to accompany her to the hydration area. On the way there, try to keep the conversation going by saying something about her running shoes or complimenting her on her running form.

All through this, even though she only spoke a little – bear in mind that you are still a stranger, as far as she is concerned – you found out a lot about her. She responds to your queries; she laughs at your jokes; so she likes that you talk to her. She plays along with your quips and that says a lot about her personality. She’s got character – and she’s got you.

The game is on. And it all started because you were daring enough to approach her. What you and every other man out there should remember is that the first few minutes count a lot when it comes to approaching women. A girl will gladly chat with you if you step up like an honest and good-hearted man and talk to her. The worst that will happen is that she will respectfully decline, and even then, she will probably tell her friends about that cool guy who approached her today, took her out of her boring routine and made her feel special and appreciated.

The first minutes, or even seconds, serve to get an overall “feel” for the person you have in front of you. Both of you will gain a lot of unspoken information from just a bit of interaction, and you will be able to tell easily how well you get along. Focus on the vibe that’s going on. Do not let it fizzle out.

Most importantly, don’t let the fact that she’s a stranger deter you. Yes, it’s a big step, but once you have your own plan to approach girls, you will gain major brownie points from her just for approaching her like a good man that you are.

Review: Reebok RealFlex


Reebok Optimal Flex

Note: Reviewed in November 2011. Thank you Reebok for my swanky purple pair!

***

Having taken the plunge by registering for Bataan Death March (BDM) 102 happening in March next year, I am supposed to be on serious training mode as of writing.  With over 100 kilometers to cover, I cannot emphasize more on the necessity of keeping my feet, legs, knees, and core in their best fighting form, yet.  As part of my training, I make it a point to log 10k runs during weekdays and if I’m in town, LSDs on weekends.  Suffice it to say that my running shoes are seeing more action now than they ever did in my history of sporadic racing event participation.

Lately, it seems that barefoot/natural/minimalist running is all the rage and this movement is fueling huge industry growth in the Running business. Not wanting to be left out, I decided to look for a pair that can give me the closest possible feel to barefoot running. When I heard about Reebok RealFlex, I got myself a pair and immediately took it for a 10k spin around Ortigas, followed by a round of Insanity Plyometric circuit training the following day.

At only 9.2oz, RealFlex is indeed lighter than most running shoes out there. But aside from it being lightweight, RealFlex capitalizes on its 76 independent “sensors” located at the bottom of the shoe, strategically positioned to adapt to all training surfaces as well as provide much-needed stability.  Having been used to running shoes with ample layer of cushioning, it took me a while to settle into the minimalist construction of RealFlex. But once I did, there was definitely natural movement and flexibility in each of my stride – whether running or doing executing Insanity moves. I also noticed that the sensors in the heel provided great heel impact absorption as I made several downhill trips at St. Martin’s Loop in Pasig.

The upper part of the shoe made mostly of mesh, gives the feet almost a ‘sock like’ feel while ensuring that feet stay dry and cool. The toebox also allows enough breathing room for my toes.

Of course, knowing that two of the fittest CrossFit athletes in the world, Graham Holmberg and Rebecca Voigt, are openly raving about RealFlex technology is really just an added bonus.

Flexing with Real Flex

RealFlex is available for P4,295 at the following Reebok Concept Stores: U/G Level SM Megamall, 2nd Level Festival Supermall, 2nd LevelTrinoma & 2nd Level Citywalk 2, Eastwood, Galleria, also available at Royal Sporting House Ermita.

Total Fitness: Travel Tips for the Holidays


Check out my article on page. 91.

As published on Total Fitness December 2011 issue. Grab a copy today! Christmas season may be well over but there’s still the Chinese New Year long weekend to take advantage of. So, travel away!

***

For most of us who spend countless hours and days fighting for survival and control in the cutthroat urban/corporate jungle, going away on a holiday is a necessity for a few different reasons: to relax and recharge our batteries, to get lost in the moment and have fun, meet new romantic partners or seal the bond with current beaus, or to simply take ourselves away from the chores and problems of our daily lives. But perhaps, the main reason why holidays are so important to us – strange though it might sound at first – is that they heighten our awareness.

 

For the most part, we are contained in environments that are completely familiar to us, and our lives largely consist of experiences that we keep repeating everyday. But when we go on a holiday, we are transported to a whole new dimension. The beaches, the mountain tops, the fields, foreign buildings and streets and the different food, language and culture are more real to us. They are all so new and different that we pay them much more attention. As a result we become more present than we are at home. We spend less time immersed in the ‘thought-chatter’ in our minds, or giving our attention to distractions like TV or the Internet. Why would you want to stay in your hotel room and watch TV when you can sit in a beach café and watch the boats going by, or go for a walk along the ancient city streets? Why would you give your attention to the chattering worries inside your head when there are so many stimulating and beautiful sights and sounds to soak ourselves in?

Going on a holiday takes us to that state of natural mindfulness, where we pay complete attention to our experiences and develop the kind of fresh, ‘first-time’ vision we used to have as young kids.

Taking a break is one thing but maximizing the perks of your holiday is another.  Because now there are tons of options to consider, it becomes more imperative to make wise and informed decisions without having to kill the thrill of spontaneity  – which is also what taking a holiday is about. To make sure you get all your money and time’s worth when planning for your holiday, consider these tips:

  1. Budget travel is NOT synonymous to bad travel. In fact, not only do you get to save more money, you also get to experience some aspects of traveling you would not otherwise experience during expensive trips. I mean, sure, you get to dine in expensive restaurants and clubs, but chances are, people are less approachable in these places and there are a lot of restrictions. But once you go the cowboy way and mingle with other budget travelers (and believe me there are more of us out there!), you are guaranteed to have the pleasure of meeting more people you can swap stories with.
  2. Explore away! Now is your chance to absorb all the colors, sights, sounds, taste, and feel your body can accommodate so don’t waste it by staying in your hotel room the whole day. Check out local tours and see which ones you can join. Or if you are daring enough, make your own itinerary and throw in some random things in between.
  3. Document your trip using your handy point-and-shoot and make short, fun videos after. This is your chance to discover the inner photographer in you, so make sure you have extra memory card and batteries that will come in handy when you run out of either right in the middle of your exploration.
  4. Make one or two friends for each day of your trip and by that I mean, make it your mission to know more than just their name and what sort of work they do. Have great conversations about books, movies, sports, or anything you can find common ground on.
  5. Learn. Find out more about the place, it’s history, and the people by watching, observing, listening, and asking questions. Traveling should be about learning about places and people as this is also where you can learn something new, different, and surprising – about yourself.

***

More shameless plug: Grab a copy of this month’s Men’s Health magazine and check out my article on page 91. Here’s a quick look at the article.

Go to page 91 for full article.

Run For Pinoy Glory 2012


EDITED to add this: Well, well, well…it seems I got my finishing time all mixed-up! I did not finish 10k above 1 hour like I initially reported. I was looking at the 21k time which was still ongoing when i crossed the finish line. Thanks to Pinoyfitness.com, who posted the results. I finished 10k in 55 minutes 32 seconds and ranked overall 68th out of 192 – and that ain’t shabby at all! Yiheee!

Yes Loves, I am Miss bib number 30148.:)

It was my first race in 2012 and it seemed as though I had forgotten how to run. I was unforgivably slow and though the sluggishness can be justified by a laundry list of reasons, I still couldn’t help but feel wee bit disappointed with my time, which was a little over an hour . Unheard of, really, in my years of chasing PRs and oft-fruitful attempts of trying to outdo myself.  official results show that I did not do so bad after all. I mean, sub-1 is still something, right?

Team Reebok proudly ran for Pinoy Glory

But, truth be told, I am not nearly as broken as I perhaps would have been if I had actually been training – which I haven’t. Since Christmas, which I spent gallivanting around Singapore with soon-to-be-husband, I haven’t done much running. And so it was with heightened sense of apprehension that I asked fellow Team Reebok members Mark and TR if there’s a race that I could perhaps join this weekend as I am in dire need of mileage.

Thankfully, CHRIS Sports came to the rescue! I was having a chat with my Boss when TR sms-ed telling me that we got free race kits for Run For Pinoy Glory 2012 – a benefit run organized by PROACTIVE  for our Pinoy paralympics delegation who, unbeknownst to many, have actually been bringing our country pride and glory in the field of athletics, disability and all.

Vicky the doggy whisperer.:)

I have been away from racing events far too long I guess that I had almost forgotten how I would sometimes feel electrified just by standing among runners and fitness enthusiasts. Glad I felt that again at the race last Saturday. I was supposed to run 21k with Mark and TR but I had to ask to be downgraded to just 10k the night before the race because I had been working like a dog the past week and also, it was Day 2 of our fasting – which I have committed to see through until the end.

Team Reebok with the Pinoy paralympics athletes

On race day, I set my alarm at 3:30am, and woke up expectedly groggy and physically weak. After exchanging pleasantries with some friends and acquaintances at the starting line, I was ready to take my brand new deep purple Reebok Zig Nano for a 10k spin. I thought I started pretty fly but I found myself uncharacteristically slowing down just a few minutes after. When other female runners started passing me by one by one, and knowing that I am in no state to run faster, I allowed myself to just have fun and soak in the euphoria of running outdoors once again.

The race was held at BGC so the route was pretty familiar and there was hydration station aplenty, which was a darn good thing especially for someone who was running very low on energy reserves, like me. My teammates and I made a deal to meet up at the CHRIS Sports’ booth which is where I gravitated towards after I crossed the finish line.

There, I saw Ms. Arleen and we had a lively chat about work, faith, Church, and a few commonalities we discovered we have! And just before we made our way for home, we had the privilege of meeting, shaking hands, and chatting briefly with some of the disabled Pinoy athletes for whom the race was organized in the first place.

Team Reebok with a runner from the PNP

I told them about that morning I flew out of Jakarta to Singapore just last December and being on the same flight with the Myanmar paralympics delegation. It turned out, our Pinoy paralympics were also flying out of Jakarta on that day but on a different flight. I don’t know about you but I am just overflowing with respect and awe for these athletes who, instead of wallowing in self-pity and deprecation, have made that decision to overcome their physical limitations and be great at what they can do in sports. And much unlike some disabled people out there, these athletes are financially crippled as well and therefore, in need of support from people who have a little – or more – to spare.

That's me, making my hot pink Reebok ensembles even hotter. Well, to my think, at least. haha.

And so I feel PROACTIVE has really done something amazing by organizing Run For Pinoy 2012. Whatever money was raised through the run will most certainly help our disabled athletes in their bid for Olympic(s) glory in London this year. With our support and prayers, who knows, they will soon come home bearing medals – if not a lot of experience and confidence gained simply from competing against different countries all over the world.

Mabuhay ang atletang Pinoy!

***

Before I go, that gorgeous Reebok hot pink top and shorts and the equally-ravishing purple ZigNano pair are now available at all Reebok stores in the Metro. I heard they are going away fast so make sure you snatch a pair and totally glam up even while sweating on the road. You never know when KB Runner is going to be at the race and if he is and you happen to be glammin’ it up as per usual in your Reeboks, you just might be hitlisted. I’m just saying…