Train your Mind, Body and Soul at UNLTD

Stress comes from all corners and keeping the balance is a daily challenge I get to shuffle between work, trainings and life in general. UNLTD located at 123 Pioneer St, Mandaluyong, gives you the biohacking advantage in helping the mind, body and soul be in perfect balance.

UNLTD

Biohacking is a new term for me; but, let’s not get lost in the complexity. Imagine the body as a machine and biohacking it is programming the body to respond to an optimal level. UNLTD has different biohacking machines like the Neuroptimal for the brain, Nano Vi and Lenyo for the body and immune system, Red Light Theraphy to simulate the benefits of Sunset and Saunaspace for detoxification. So there you go, UNLTD is your biohacking solution to strengthening your mind, body and soul.

My UNLTD Experience

Got to know of UNLTD from Chooseday League’s Ichang, Gryf and Ines posts and when I learned that they had a scheduled session, I went to join. I’m all about trying new experiencing and getting to learn on what’s biohacking. Upon arrival, I got a brief intro from the biohacker herself Eli on the different machines. Each machine is about 30 minutes each and was also able to join Eli’s sleeping class. So that’s the first tip in going to UNLTD, make sure you spare a few hours for the treatments.

Neuroptimal

The first treatment I took was Neuroptimal. You get plugged in to the machine and you can just watch a video. You can actually watch any video but for my first session, I got to watch a primer about the technology. It not only trains the brain but it’s also been used to treatments for trauma and other diseases. It’s easy as sitting at a chair and just let your mind and the machine do the work. I’ve been so reliant on my mental strength even when it comes to my athletic endeavors. I’m not as athletic so I tend to be more strategic. I remember in one race when I was unprepared with a sprained ankle, it was just my mind telling me not to give up and I did end up finishing the race. The mind is so powerful and with the proper optimization, it can even get better. I barely noticed time go by with these treatment.

Deep Sleep Training

If I had a superpower, I’d want it to be sleeping at will. I always have a hard time sleeping though I just compensate it with getting up at a later time. It was an immediate yes when Eli said if I’d want to join her class on Deep Sleep. Isn’t it cool, joining a class just to sleep? It was like Eli’s voice cradling us to sleep and ‘wahlah’ the next 40 minutes was gone. I would have wanted to sleep more but I wanted to try the other machines. It’s been a week since the session in UNLTD and I’m still logging in good sleep times until now.

Lenyo and NanoVi

After the short sleep class, Lenyo Bioregulation Therapy and NanoVi device was up next. There are so many options to choose from on the treatment and I opted for immune system, detoxification and digestion. It was another 30 minutes sessions where you just lie down and let the machine do their work. Lenyo uses safe Pulsed Electromagnetic Field that convert electromagnetic information into positive physiological response to maintain balance and restore wellness. NanoVi helps in the cell recovery of the body. Before treatment, I was constipated and felt heavy. Post treatment, I felt more relaxed and was able to detoxify faster the next few days.

Red Light Therapy

The Red Light Therapy room simulates the benefits of the early morning Sunrise to the body. It was another 30 minutes feeling the warmth of the lights as well as the visual color of sunlight with the red lights. The red light therapy helps in muscular pain relief, blood circulation, joint health as well as anti aging. That’s what the morning sunlight gives to us. I also learned from Eli that it’s better to see the sunrise without glasses so there won’t be an obstruction between the lights and the eyes.

Saunaspace Infrared Technology

My last treatment was the Sauna room and like regular sauna, it helps you sweat and flush out the toxins in your body. Compared to regular sauna’s Infrared sauna also raises the body temperature to give it a fuller detoxification. There were different level of heat in the room with one side with four lights and the other with just one. I was turning around to get the full effect. I also had water so I won’t be dehydrated inside the room. Felt much lighter after another 30 minutes in the Saunaspace.

UNLTD Benefits

I’ve tried 4 machines plus a sleep class and I’m still feeling the benefits a week after. From a relaxed mind to a fully recovered body and a full soul, UNLTD has definitely biohacked me in a way to operate at a more optimal level. An afternoon at UNLTD was a welcome relief from the daily chores I have to do and honestly, I need more sessions like this.

If you’d like to check them out too, follow or contact them here.

  • Facebook: UNLTD
  • Website: https://unltd.ph
  • Address: 123 Pioneer Street, 2F Guerrero Compound, Mandaluyong City

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Stark Fitness Brings Fitness Right Into Your Home

Workouts and Fitness were among the industries affected by ongoing quarantines with the more common option is working out at home. www.starkfitness.com.ph provides you an avenue to shop for your fitness equipment needs at home.

Stark Fitness

2020 was a life changing year. There was so much struggle as we had times were we stayed indoors as a safety precaution for the COVID 19 Pandemic. Also, it was also the time that we found new ways of getting things done and being fit shifted from the outdoors to the indoors and eventually to home workouts. Working out at home is becoming a routine rather than a trend, as a lot of individuals prioritize their health and shape during this time of pandemic. Gym-goers have shifted the way they sweat out and decided to enroll in online fitness classes. Some enthusiasts have improvised and built their exercise spaces to keep up their vigor and athleticism. Aside from safety, time efficiency and convenient access are the advantages of putting up a personal work-out studio, no more travel time and no more excuse to stop in achieving your goals. Investing on gym equipment is an essential now and the best way to acquire it is through an online store like Stark Fitness.

The new normal has challenged consumers emotionally, mentally, and physically. Many businesses and establishments have closed their doors and that include wellness centers and sports clubs. Stark Fitness changes the dynamics in the fitness industry. Founded in November 2020, Stark Fitness is a Filipino fitness and wellness brand that offers high quality equipment for health enthusiasts and people with an active lifestyle. Stark Fitness focuses on two things, Fitness and Business. The brand wants to help the growing industry in the Philippines and change the perception that working out is hard and unattainable.

“Stark Fitness aims to re-define ‘being fit’ as being capable of one’s own life and wellbeing; the fittest are those who can be the best version of themselves both physically and mentally,”

– Isabelle Lim, the CEO of Stark Fitness.

She strives to incorporate Stark Fitness’ mindset of “Stark Strong, Finish Stronger” to the local market by guiding amateurs with proper and quality tools and motivating continuously those professionals who aim to maintain their fitness habits.

To serve as the driving force for people to achieve their desired shape and maximize their potential, Stark Fitness is bringing a range of top-grade products with Japan-sourced materials that customers could use at home or at the gym. The brand carries commercial and home equipment to keep Filipinos to live actively. The worth it and quality devices of Stark Fitness are mainly designed for Cardio exercises and Strength activities. The Cardio machines include Treadmills, Elliptical Machine, Upright Bike, Rowing Machine and Recumbent Bike. These are intended to burn fats and calories faster. Strength tools on the other hand are used to gain and tone muscles. Under this category are Adjustable Pulley, Chest Press, Shoulder Press, Bicep Press, Smith Machine, Pec Fly, Full Cage, and various Leg Press. The brand is projecting to expand their line this 2021 by carrying Fitness Accessories, building Stark Fitness Gym, and opening concept stores. With these quality amenities and exciting plans, Stark Fitness ensures not only physical progress, but also inclusivity, inspiration, and a stronger wellness community.

Follow Stark Fitness

To know more about Stark Fitness, visit www.starkfitness.com.ph. Customers can also shop the equipment at Lazada: (https://bit.ly/SFLazada) and Shopee (https://bit.ly/SFshopee1). Stark Fitness also ships countrywide. Like and follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/starkfitnessph/) and Instagram (@starkfitnessph) for exciting content and promo updates.

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Year of the Franc 15

How do you even tell the story of 2020?  It’s not your typical roller coaster year but more of a free fall in the hopes of surviving kind of a year.  It’s a grind-it-out year but as anything in life, it’s always a game of reactions and making the most of what we have.

Year of the Franc 

For the past 15 years, I’ve been writing Year of The Franc blogs as a recap of the year.  Not all years have been equal but each year was a full story on its own.  It had its feel-good moments.  Each year had its own struggle.  Lessons came every now and then.  Success came with failure.  Victory came with effort. If I were to go back to my 2019 post, 2020 was the year of recovery from all the exhausting activities I do year-round. Little did I know that it was also a year that everybody would take a pause, reflect, learn new skills and just strive to keep their sanity in check as we’re locked in community quarantine for most of the year.   

Q1 – Pre-Quarantine Days

I started the year hopeful since I was doing away with events after being burned-out in 2019. Who’d ever thought that 2020 was such a surprising year that started with Taal Volcano eruption and the initial impact of Covid19.  I was a little bit more focused and excited as I was preparing for several international races and hikes.  I was able to enjoy a lot of time with family, friends and the outdoors during this period since I wasn’t planning any events.

I was also among the few who got to enjoy my birthday before the lockdown.  As Covid19’s impact started to be felt, I was ticking down one travel plan after the other. Then, the world went into lockdown in the middle of March.

Q2 – The Lockdown

For an outdoor person that barely had a weekend at home, being stuck at home was a big adjustment.  For the first few weeks, I was just in my room save a few pick up of deliveries.  I was fortunate enough to be able to quickly setup a work from home arrangement.  We were able to conduct several board meetings, an Annual General Meeting, finishing the Annual Report and the Statutory Reports. That’s my busy season in the comfort of my home.  

The 2nd Quarter was a period of adulting. I started shifting from surviving on canned goods alone to being able to cook my own food.  I was also doing my own laundry as its also my way of passing time.   I also started taking up online classes from Social Media Marketing, Photography, Psychology of Sales, Trading and Investing, Physical Fitness and Nutrition, Digital Marketing and Creative Writing.  I also took up Tax and Accounting updates.   

Since I am used to multi-tasking, I was filling my schedule already so I won’t be bored.  I would even do some stairs workout just to take away the monotony.  After being stuck at home for so long, even crossing the street seems a foreign activity to me. Baby steps and I would eventually start going to the office for at least a day per week for essential tasks.  Q2 was probably the toughest part of the year.

Q3 – Rediscovering Fitness

One of the races I joined before the lockdown was a Virtual Run, just because I liked the STAR WARS themed medal.  Little would I know that it would be a start of running consistently again.  I would insert short 5K runs over a 1-kilometer loop in the neighborhood in the afternoon and go to the nearby trails on weekends.  Running with a mask was a struggle but I got the hang of it plus there were also breathable masks designed for running.  Then it was one virtual run after the other and after a quarter of minimal fitness activity, I was back working out in the time of Covid19. 

The weekend trails then became routine or more of an escape over stressful days at work. Then, some friends would want to join in.  Funny, how you’d influence people to hit the trails by the hundreds through events before to sharing the passion one person at a time now because of restrictions.  But, whether it’s 1 or 1,000, I’m glad to get people a little bit dirty on the trails.

There was also a shift in mindset as I started to try out investing directly in stocks.  I was able to save a little during the lockdown and that was the seed money.  With not much to expect today, I was more willing to future proof my expectations.  It was a big shift in perspective. 

Q4 Levelling Up

I remember being in the situation over a decade ago, where I had a chance to move up but I turned it down.  I never regretted that choice as it gave me a chance to develop new skills, grow my network and try out a new field and make an impact.  This time, I was ready!  I accepted a bigger role even if it meant that I would have less time to do other things I’m passionate about.  I felt and I believe I can make a difference and that’s all it took for me to say, challenge accepted.  It’s a crazy year so might as well try new things.

Q4 even felt a lot busier at work than pre-Covid days so I had to make do with less workout time.  It made those weekend escapes to the trail something to look forward.  Even at the height of the busy schedule, we were still able to mount Pinoy Trails Virtual Run.  I know it’s a tough year and some are probably still struggling. If there’s one sanctuary I had for over a decade now, it’s been running.  A lot of people may have forgotten that too.   We even had a minimal registration fee with premium inclusion just to encourage more people to join.  It was a lowkey event but seeing hundreds of people running again even virtually is a victory in my books.

What’s different between in ending 2019 and 2020.  In 2019, I was physically exhausted for all the events; while in 2020, I am mentally exhausted from everything that happened this year.  

The Year That Was

It was a year to re-focus. Francramon.com shifts back to its intimate personalized contents.  I might close down my own corporation (FREI) since it’s barely doing any trading business.  I will cut down on my activities and events but I hope to continue to share my passion for fitness and the trails.

It was a year to appreciate.  If there was something, I got to appreciate is having a small and meaningful circle of family and friends.  Thanks to those zoom ‘kwentuhan,’ short coffee or lunch meet ups or a quick run or a feel-good hike, I got past the year that was.  

It was a year to give back.  2020 probably took so much from us in all aspects. It was also the year we got to appreciate that small acts of kindness matter and mutual support is important as each person struggled.  Together, it gets easier.

It was a year to learn. Years from now, we’ll look back to this year and see how this year have changed us.  It’s a series of unfortunate events but even if we don’t feel it yet, we are a much stronger person towards the end of the year compared to when the year started. 

It’s time to look forward.  There’s nowhere to go but up. The future is always in our hands.

Good bye 2020. Hello 2021, Please be good to us.

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Run Unlimited with Instinct Solar

When you asked me on what GPS watch to have, it always boils down to budget, reliability and usage. Instinct Solar is your mid-tier alternative that provides durability in the trails and excellent navigation features while providing all the metrics and a prolonged battery life.

Navigating with Instinct Solar

When you say Garmin, you don’t only get a watch but a community of users and an app that helps you view your stats, create maps and easily send the data to your watch. Having served various roles in the trail and running community, I’ve learn to appreciate the different functionalities of GPS watches. I got my Garmin Instinct Solar while exploring Eastland Heights for Pinoy Trails Virtual Run and even future events.

The drill was to create a route via Garmin Connect, send it to my Instinct Solar and run the course. It’s not new for me to use navigation features of other GPS watch and it’s common for our team to send the routes of our races for runners to have a GPS map of the course in their watches. A little familiarity can help a lot especially on long trail races. What stands out with Instinct Solar for me is that it gives you the exact measure on your turns down to the last meter. That can be a big difference if there are several forks in the road like Eastland Heights, 1 meter could mean that I’m taking a different route already.

If you see that Garmin Connect screenshot at the top, you can also create a pace pro strategy. I’m not a fast runner so I try to make up my lack of speed with familiarity and strategy. I always say, “pag di handa, daanin sa Math”. I actually have plotted the elevation gains and losses for most of my trail races and set a desired pace. I may not able to finish fast but I can finish on time.

A rainbow after a long climb.

The Pace Pro strategy can give you a pace suggestion as you go to the rigors of your runs. Another feature I’ve unlocked was view option of the elevation profile of the route. By seeing the race in terms of elevation, I can spread out my energy on the climbs by staying conservative at the start of the climb and pacing myself at the top of the climb. In some races, I wouldn’t even dare to see my distance, I just want to see me chirping away the needed climb in the race. That’s how I deal with the mental aspect of the race especially on hilly trails.

Play in the Sun with Instinct Solar

Gone were the days that it was the battery life you were chasing more than the race cutoff with almost all GPS watches offering extended battery life. What sets Instinct Solar apart as well as other Garmin based Solar Watches is that it uses a power watch that charges the watches while in use under direct sunlight. I had the Instinct Solar for about a month now and I can count the times that I’ve charged my watch. In fact when I did my 21K at Eastland Heights, I actually had more power compared to when I started because, I finished my run with the sun scorching hot already at about 11 am. I was drained already with the long run, hot weather, the hilly terrain, well. My watch was even gaining more power due to the solar charging technology of Instinct Solar. The watch can be perfect for longer trail runs because of the battery life.

All The Right Metrics with Instinct Solar

I’m a numbers guy at work, at home and even on the run. I always checking my pace especially that I try to compensate some runs with brisk walking to conserve energy. When at use, Instict Solar has a revolving display which you can easily pre-set with the watch. The basic settings can be adjusted with app but most of the views can be edited directly with your watch. It’s a revolving view that provides different stats during your activity. As a preference I always go with current pace and lap pace, total time, heart rate and elevation profile as it help me breaks down the race into more manageable segments. I think it may be good to have also options to edit the views with the Garmin Connect or the mobile app.

Running with Garmin Instinct

I’ve been running for years with various GPS watches and I learned to accept that some areas may not be as reliable as others. Makati for one is covered by tall buildings that can really mess up your GPS tracking. Garmin Instinct has a quick GPS detection feature, within 20-30 seconds from starting your watch and it’s fairly accurate even on courses that has a history of erratic GPS signals. Even on areas wherein I had a history of erratic GPS measurements like Salcedo Village in Makati, I got a more accurate measurement with Instinct Solar seeing the map after the run, with less interference or significant jumps in the route map.

Instinct Solar on the Trails

In terms of look, it’s has a durable look with black and white display. It’s not as fancy as a Fenix but it’s perfect for the rugged and wild side adventure like trail running. It’s a lightweight watch which you’d barely feel as you run. While Forerunners can be your entry level and Fenix be the top of the line, Instinct Solar is your middle option that provides all the metrics and customization you need plus the navigation options to guide you on your runs. It’s perfect for someone like me that’s geeky on data and metrics yet not too drawn by fancy colored displays of higher end GPS watches. It’s your adventure watch that can double as your everyday watch with its activity tracking features. Instinct Solar does tick everything I need in a GPS watch and I’m a lot excited to explore more trails with it’s navigation features.

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There’s a New C in Town

Having a strong immune system has never been more important than today at the time of the pandemic. Santé’s Daily C is your non-acidic source of Vitamin C, which is gentler on the tummy and safer for daily consumption.

Santé’s Daily C has Queen Catriona as its Ambassador

Prevention is better than cure, they say. That is why amid the current global health crisis, everyone is encouraged to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick. 

As part of the “new normal,” people are advised to stay at home, wash the hands frequently using soap and water or sanitizers, and wear protective equipment, facemasks, and face shields, among others, as prescribed by the local authorities.

For Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, however, it also pays to take Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that cannot be produced by our body. While it can be found mostly in the food we eat, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and kiwi, taking an extra dose of this important nutrient can help our body’s immune functions, as well as other health benefits. 

“Keeping a healthy lifestyle, which starts with eating a well-balanced diet to get the right amounts of important nutrients and vitamins, is important to help maintain a healthy immune system. One of these important nutrients is Vitamin C, which has been featured in supplements due to its promising properties,” Catriona said. 

As a model, singer, and beauty pageant titleholder, known for her healthy lifestyle choices and as a fitness inspiration for all, Catriona Gray encourages everyone to get that extra dose of Vitamin C as she joins the Santé family as the new brand ambassador of Daily C. 

Sante’s Daily C

Santé’s Daily C is your go-to Vitamin C supplement for the whole family, as well as young professionals who work all-day or on night shifts. And since it is non-acidic, it is gentler on the stomach and safer for daily consumption. 

This time, Santé Daily C now has an exciting new look and an additional variant. Aside from its Daily C 500mg which has been in the market for over 5 years, Santé also introduces Daily C in 750mg, a bigger serving of the trusted Daily C – ascorbic acid as sodium ascorbate, now in vegetable capsules. 

Daily C provides an extra dose of Vitamin C, which not only aids the immune system but also prevents scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency); an extra level of protection by enhancing the absorption of iron and the formation of collagen in our bodies; as well as an extra aid in speeding the process of wound healing. 

“Now more than ever, it is important for all of us to take good care of our health and overall wellbeing. I’m glad that I am able to promote this mindset as the newest brand ambassador for Santé Daily C,” said Catriona. 

Joey Marcelo could not agree more. He said that “amid these uncertain times, we all need to take extra precautions. We are glad that we have our country’s pride, Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, as our new brand ambassador for Daily C as we encourage everyone to keep themselves healthy and strong, especially amid the current global health crisis.”

Santé Daily C is just one of the many other organic health and wellness products offered by Santé. Known for its flagship, Santé Barley™, the company has developed a comprehensive selection of everyday barley-based products. They are made with organic barley grass, as certified by BioGro, New Zealand’s leading organic certification agency.

To learn more about Santé, visit its website at santebarley.com

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Sante Fitness Lab Brings in the #BetterNormal for your Workouts

Fitness does not have to take a back seat during the times of COVID 19. Instead, we should find safer ways to work out and just in that line of thought, Sante Fitness Lab has updated their facilities to comply with the safety standards during the pandemic.

Sante Fitness Lab

If there’s a time that personal space is important, it’s now during the COVID 19 Pandemic. We should find our safe spaces as the world struggles to find a cure or vaccine. Sante Fitness Lab located at Vermosa Compound in Imus, Cavite has been up to the challenge in giving you that safe work out space for your training and fitness needs. It’s now more than ever when it comes to taking care of our overall health and well being, especially in the “new normal.”

Due to the need for social distancing and isolation, companies across various industries have adopted flexible working setups so their employees can work remotely or at home. These changes, however, led to unexpected mental and physical health problems, such as anxiety, demotivation, body aches and pains, weight gain, sedentary lifestyle, and even overworking, to name a few.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the feeling of anxiety—fear, worry, and stress—are common responses to perceived or real threats, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with new realities of working remotely, as well as the lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, we must ensure that we look after everyone’s mental and physical health. 

For Santé, a provider of premier organic health and wellness products and services, ensuring a #BetterNormal is important for companies to ensure the health and wellbeing of their employees. 

“Santé has always been dedicated to provide health and wellness products and services to help inspire people to live more and do more. Amid the current pandemic, we want to help companies to ensure #BetterNormal for their teams through our Santé Wellness program,” said Joey Marcelo, chief executive officer of Santé. 

That is why through its Santé Fitness Lab (SFL), a premier fitness & sports performance training center that offers a wide spectrum of services from fitness coaching, physical therapy and nutrition services for south-based communities, the company introduces the Santé Workplace Wellness programs, a set of online and onsite solutions, tailor-fitted to the needs of your team.  

Nutritional Solution

The Santé Workplace Wellness programs aim to provide potent nutritional support to keep your team healthy for stronger immunity. This nutritional solution includes providing supplements, such as Vitamin C and barley grass to level up their health. 

Santé has been a household name in providing world-class nutritional supplements, such as its Santé Pure Barley and Daily C. 

Santé Pure Barley is a pure organic barley grass powdered drink. Blended with one of nature’s most potent sweeteners, Stevia, this product is best taken before meals. It also easily dissolves in water and contains A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and E (per serving). 

Daily C, on the other hand, is Santé’s non-acidic vitamin C, which contains 568mg of Sodium Ascorbate in vegetable capsules. Its non-acidic form makes it gentler on the stomach and safer for daily use. When taken daily, this vitamin C supplement can be your immune system aide.

Wellness Solution

To keep your team engaged and informed on maintaining fitness and wellness amid the new normal, SFL provides evidence-based fitness, movement, health and nutrition programs that can be tailor-fitted to any organization’s needs.

With SFL’s expertise, you can engage employees with relatable online wellness coaching and talks, workplace fitness programs with a choice of online or onsite delivery of their innovative training system, movement and nutritional consultation sessions—all these are now the latest adaptations that companies can subscribe to and make available for employees.

The SFL is composed of a synergistic team of fitness specialists, sports physiotherapists and a sports nutritionist.

The Santé Workplace Wellness program is among the new offerings of Santé and its official fitness arm, SFL, which resumed operations to serve fitness enthusiasts in Cavite starting October 5. 

Living up to its tagline, “Home of Champions,” SFL has always been providing fitness programs that help everyone achieve their best-fit selves. As part of its #BetterNormal practices, the facility adheres to the safety protocols, including social distancing, checking of temperature, providing alcohol and hand sanitizers, among others, as set by the authorities.

This fitness center is at par with the country’s premium fitness brands with its complete top of the line and Olympic-graded equipment for cardio, strength, speed, and agility. Unlike any other gyms, SFL boasts of its expert programming and coaching, as well as their innovative recovery and rehabilitation facilities.

With SFL’s distinct programming system, where baseline assessment and progress monitoring are critical, and scientific principles and methods are applied by coaches, you can ensure that you will achieve your goals safely and effectively as everything is well thought of and planned for, whether it’s for jumpstarting your fitness, weight loss, recovering from an injury or training for your sports.

Follow Sante Fitness Lab

To know more about Santé Fitness Lab, visit its official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Santéfitnesslab/ or its website, https://santefitnesslab.com/

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Unleash the Wild Side With Nike Wildhorse 6

I got curious when I saw Nike with a trail shoe on the shelf and ended up buying one and testing it on the trails. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the feel of Nike Wildhorse 6 on the trail and looking forward to more muddy miles with it.

Nike Shoes

The last time I wore Nike Shoes on a race last January 2011.

When I started running, Nike was my first running shoes. To its credit, I was able to go at just 1 minute over my target sub 1 for the 10K distance last January 2011. At that time, Nike was more of a lifestyle shoes entering the running boom. I eventually shifted to several niche running shoes, which had better technology with softer soles and more energy returns. This was the time before I got shoe reviews, team shoe sponsorship and a lot of shoes to try out. Each having its own technology that’s more apt for running. I haven’t bought a single running shoes from Nike since then, up until NOW.

I chanced upon a Nike Wildhorse 6 at the store. White / Mint Green colorway, hard spokes for traction and added heel support with a tight knit fabric. It looks interesting. I’ve heard nice reviews for Nike Kiger but this is the first time I got to see a Nike Trail Specific Shoe. Also, Nike did offer Nike Trail branded items. Then I felt that Nike has probably seen something in the trail community that I’ve always believe in. It’s a growing and viable market. The next thing I did was the find the cheapest way to acquire it and it turns out that it’s 30% off at Tobys.com. I got it a few days, just in time for my short trail runs at nearby trail areas.

First impression is that its light color is not apt for trails but it does look nice and flashy. Let’s get dirty and think of the laundry later. It’s about 11 oz for my 9.5 shoe size. A bit heavy but it does make up for that soft cushy feel when you wear it. Just perfect for slow pokes like me. It also has a collar around the ankle that provides support and also as a way to minimize dirt entering the shoes. It has a mix of rubbery outsole that includes the side and the toe area with mesh fabric for breathability. Spoiler alertt. It’s the mesh part that’s hard to wash after the time with the dirt but mostly, the mud just washes of. It also has a wide toe area. I know this is a clincher for those with wider foot.

The biggest feature I look out on trail shoes is the traction. Hard outsole for soft surface is the usual mix though I have shoes that are have soft rubbery soles that have less traction on dirt but can have a better grip on paved and rocky surfaces. It’s always a pros and cons analysis depending on the route profile. So Nike Wildhorse 6 has hard spokes for traction. Since it’s rainy season, most of my runs are on wet, wild and muddy surfaces. I’m happy with the grip and traction over muddy and almost different trail surfaces. I also like that unlike other trail shoes, it’s not much of a mud grabber. The weakness probably of the wildhorse is on wet rocky and paved surfaces as it can be a bit slippery. I guess it’s just a small compromise as it has good grip on most surfaces.

On the average, I go for 10-12 easy kilometers on back to back days on weekends. I like that it feels soft on the feet. I feel less wear and tear because of the cushioning and foamy midsole support. I guess that’s the added weight compared to just 8 oz for Nike Kiger 6. Wildhorse 6 would be a good training shoes or even racing shoes for longer distance as it can really reduce wear and tear on you feet, legs and knees.

Overall, I’m impressed with the Wildhorse 6 as it’s something I’d feel comfortable with the grip over most surfaces. Though, I might opt for hybrid shoes on routes with more paved and rocky surfaces. How impressed I am with Nike Trail, I also got myself a Nike Terra Kiger 6, but that my friend is a story for some other time.

Coming Soon: Nike Terra Kiger 6

Note: This is not a sponsored post.

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My Daily Collagen Virtual Duathlon

The first time I crossed a duathlon finish line, I felt that the cost of my bike was well worth it already. Why? I never saw myself as a Duathlete nor even an athlete. My Daily Collage Duathlon reminded me of the few years I’ve actually been active in both running and cycling.

Duathlons

My First Ever Duathlon

When it comes to being an athlete, a duathlete or even a fitness enthusiast, I wasn’t born to be one. In fact, I spent my childhood as usually the “taya” on street games as I was among the slowest and the weakest. Well, I still am not the fastest or the strongest but I’ll always look back on the days that I tried to be a stronger version of myself. Every finish line, every medal and every little feat is a bonus to me as this hasn’t been my strong suit. Being passionate and smart has made me cross so many finish lines I was never meant to cross if I was not crazy enough to try.

Duathlon # 2

Peer pressure! That’s what led me to be a duathlete. As my running friends slowly evolved in multisports athlete, I ended up buying a bike and just go with the flow. My duathlon journey happened in 2012 and 2013 before my first marathon and before finding my comfort zone in the trails. One duathlon after another with each race showing improvements, which was surprising for me. It was a short career as when I started training for my first and second marathon, I had less and less of saddle time. My Daily Collagen was a chance to go back to those days of doing duathlons. I may not be as fast as I used to but I might as well give it a really good try, well, just for fun.

My Daily Collagen Duathlon had a unique concept of doing the duathlon virtually and the fun category allowed us to do each segment separately over a 3-day period. Well, I wanted to spend my weekend on trails so I did all 3 segments one after another on a Friday morning. I might as well feel the pain of a usual duathlon since I don’t do this frequently.

Run

3K Run

When I was doing duathlons in 2012, the run part was always intense. At that time, multisport is just starting to blossom and most people are competitive withe barely any recreational duathletes. I usually run the first leg at around 6 – 6:30 minutes per kilometer pace and I’d still end up laging behind the pack. MDC uses a different format with a 3K run, 20K bike and 5K run. It’s usually the longer run segment that starts the race. Since it was late, I tried to do it as fast as I can on my usual 1-kilometer neighborhood loop. I left my water bottle at the lobby so I can do a quick sip after every kilometer. I ended up finishing the first run leg at 21 minutes.

Bike

Short as my duathlon career was, I had a lot of funny memories in the bike leg. From my first time feel of being overwhelmed by a pack of riders on my first race to struggling on the first 6 kilometers of the bike leg in ASTC duathlon because the brake was on on the metal part of the wheel. Those mishaps made each race memorable. I was always conservative on the bike but for this one since I had to do it using Zwift, I knew I could do better. I opted for the flattest route I knew, Tempus Fugit at Watopia. I just tried to maintain a 30 kph and I finished it at 41 minutes. Oh yes, my room is in the 4th floor so I had to add 4 floors on the climb to my transition.

Run

The first time I transitioned from the bike to run on my first duathlon race, my legs were literally on brick mode as it was really stiff and can barely move. It improved after I made my first few steps. Out of my excitement, I accidentally entered the finish line instead of the transition area beside it. Despite the stiff legs, I was able to have good times on my run legs in my races. Transitioning back to the run leg reminded me of the struggle on the transition. I started the first of my 5 loops just to feel out my legs and slowly adding speed on the succeeding loops. Pre-race plan was just to walk it off so I was surprised that I was able to run most parts with just recovery walks in between. I still consider a 4o minute 5K of the transition a decent finish.

I finished everything at 1:42:59, 4th in my age group; which was good enough since I was expecting to finish last. It was a brief duathlon race but its was nice to go back to the fun and crazy days racing duathlons. I’m glad I still have enough legs for another back to back days on the trails for the weekend. Thanks My Daily Collagen for coming up with a first-of-its-kind virtual race and letting me experience the fun and the pain of doing duathlons once again.

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Take a Break from the City at Blackwood in Tanay

Blackwood
Blackwood: Your sanctuary in the middle of nature

“A Villa, a Pool, a Waterfall and a trail at the heart of nature in Tanay, That’s Blackwood in a Nutshell.  Enjoy a hidden gem in Blackwood, where you can spend a family friendly intimate commune with nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the City.”

Blackwood

A villa by the poolside.

Wake up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the lush-green forests of Tanay with your family or your select friends.  That would define a perfect getaway now-a-days with people putting premium on intimate gatherings over the overcrowded places.  Blackwood, is located just 700 meters from the renowned Sierra Madre Hotel, and surrounded by the calming view of nature.  It has its own pool just within the Villa and a trail that gives you an overlooking view of Blackwood and the mountain ranges and a really visually-delightful waterfalls just within a few hundred meters from the villa.  Imagine enjoying all of this exclusively with your friends and family.  Well, you can stop imagining and start making that dream getaway by booking it exclusively for you and your loved ones with the Airbnb link below:

A Weekend at Blackwood

Surrounded by the scenic Sierra Madre Mountain Range

Tanay for me has been a common trail retreat for me with my first few trail races both as a runner and an event organizer mounted on the scenic Tanay landscape.  There’s an unlimited view of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range along so many scenic areas, established local and mountain trails and a haven for several waterfalls and mountain peaks.  Any day in Tanay is a fit day for me.  My last visit to Blackwood was priceless as it was full of fitness activity, commune with nature and a breather from the toxic City life.

Its trees and greens all over Tanay.

While the rest of the group went straight to Blackwood, I got a chance to run from San Andres Area, Mysawa area until Fresno Agro Forestry Reserve and back to the main road heading to Sierra Madre Hotel. It was an easy 11 kilometer run with a lot of overlooking views of the mountain range. 

Clean and comfortable rooms

The rest of the day was spent bonding by the villa and by the pool while appreciating the isolation and the calming view of nature.

Blackwood is such a nice place to chill.

The next day, we had a tour of the trails within Blackwood.  The trail has also the different stations of the cross, which can get popular during holy week.  It was raw and highly forested trail, which leads to a view deck, where you get to see Blackwood as it’s the lone villa in the area surrounded by nature’s greens. 

Blackwood is a lone villa in the middle of nature.

At the lower end of the trail was its very own water falls, which is just a few hundred meters away from the villa.  After the visit in the falls, we had fresh buko juice waiting for us.  It rained in the afternoon and so I did what a kid would naturally do in the rain.  That’s playing in the rain and enjoying a dip in the pool after.  After that, we had a chill afternoon and night bonding and got to eat out at a local restaurant within the area.

Your very own waterfalls just a few hundred meters from the Villa

For our last day, we had a short run around Tanay going to the lower end of Cuyambay area and going back to the main road for our breakfast.  Eat and run activities always entice me.  Aside from the usual Sierra Madre backdrop, we also got to see some of the inner trails within the area before playing around with the hanging bridge and obstacles at Sierra Madre Hotel before heading back to Blackwood.  Sierra Madre Hotel is impressive on its own with offering different vantage points of Tanay and a lot of fun and challenging obstacles. That’s another 10-kilometer run to wrap up the weekend.  

Enjoying the obstacle course at Sierra Madre Mountain Resort

After making Blackwood our home for 3 days, it was time to head home.  The weekend went by so fast but it was such a nice breather and something I can confidently say, that anyone can enjoy an intimate time with family and friends at Blackwood.

Active Fun at Blackwood and Sierra Madre Resort

But, don’t take my word for it, experience it yourself!

Peace and serenity awaits at Blackwood

Categories: My Travels | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Coros Vertix Unlocked

I remember the days of me rushing to finish my first marathon within 6 hours just to make sure my watch makes it to the finish line in 2014. 2 years later with an upgraded watch, my watch barely managed to cross me to the finish line in 14 hours for the 50K distance. Chasing times because of watch battery is now a thing of the past with Coros Vertix battery life of 60 hours at full GPX.

Coros Vertix

Let me start first stating the the Coros Vertix is a test unit and the views here are based on my personal thoughts and experience on the product.

It’s been a long way how sports watches has evolved. I just had a stop watch when I was doing 5 kilometers. I upgraded then to an entry level GPS watch when I was chasing sub 1 10K several years ago. After that, I switched to GPS watches with multisport capabilities after doing a few duathlons and chasing my first marathon. I then switched to watch with 14 hours battery life chasing my first and only ultra distance race and international hikes. The thing is, I had different watches at different phases of my running and multisport life over the past decade and it did help me in my athletic goals. I’m a numbers guy by profession and I can be as geeky as I can get when it comes to watches.

I did settle with a full range GPS watch focusing on battery life over the fancier, lighter and higher powered ones because I had all what I needed. Then came, Coros APEX, which I got at a good price and a longer battery life of 35 hours at full GPS. So that’s the selling point of a Coros, it’s a lot cost-effective being new in the market yet its packed with the same features of higher end watches.

Full Review of Coros Apex here: A Closer Look at Coros Apex

Getting Started

I never get to read manuals on how to use GPS watches because that’s my way of testing how user friendly watches are. Coros has its own Coros App I downloaded for my Iphone and it’s easy customizing the watch. Here’s my views and why I choose to set it up that way.

  • Page 1: I try to view as much as I can on a single screen with distance, pace, work out time and time of day as my regular. I also usually check on my heart rate for need to manage my efforts and the elevation for climbs.
  • Page 2: This is for situations that the distance is crawling slowly because of the technical nature of the trail. I would usually shift to focusing on elevation with me counting down the remaining meters of elevation needed rather than distance. Climbs can keep that heart beat pumping faster so I keep the heart rate to manage my efforts.
  • Page 3: This is if I want to focus one lap at a time.
  • Page 4: This is when I just want to watch my heart rate.
  • Page 5: I usually checked on the gradients on steeper climbs and slow down on steeper section. This is how I manage climbs be conserving energy on steeper parts to be fresher when the gradients are lower.

Coros App

The Coros App is your link between your watch and your phone. It’s where you can customize your views and training plan. You can also upload routes of your run into your watch, which you could use as a navigation feature. I’ve tried preloading maps into my watch and it will really tell you when you are off the course and how many meters you are away. The Coros App also allows you to send your data (automatically or manually) to Strava or other GPS apps. It’s fast to transfer data as you can send it via bluetooth to your computer.

The only drawback I can see is that it does not have a platform for Coros users to upload data online. Other watch brands have their own community platform where there are leaderboards, route maps or even a chance to create routes. To offset this shortcomings, I do my maps with plotaroute or strava and track my progress on challenges in strava. Well, Coros is a new player but this is something that they can really improve especially with a growing community of Coros Users.

Coros Apex vs Coros Vertix

As you can see, Vertix is a muscular version of the Apex with a bigger built and has a Titanium Bezel and Cover. Both watches uses Sapphire Glass. While Vertix is a lot more durable, Apex is a is lighter by about 20 grams though both watches are lightweight with Vertix at 76 grams. Of course, the biggest deviation would be in battery life with Vertix having a 60 hours at Full GPS vs 35 hours for Apex. I haven’t charged my Vertix since I got it 3 weeks ago and that’s about 70-80 kilometers of distance over that stretch already.

Vertix has an altitude acclimatization index, which I hope to test when I go on hikes above 2000-3000 meters of elevation. Basically, once you’re that high, you need some time to acclimatize and be familiar with the thinner air; else, you can have altitude sickness. I’ve been to several summits above 3000 meters and fortunately, I never encountered altitude sickness

Coros Vertix is Your Ultimate Adventure Watch

Why does battery life matter? I’ve been in multi day hikes. I remember I had to bring my powerbanks before just to charge between hikes. Mount Fuji and Kota Kinabalu were 2-3 days hike and I was charging everyday. Last year at Snow Mountain in Taiwan, I didn’t even bring a charger the whole 6 days I was in Taiwan with 4 of those days I’ve been hiking. It’s a perfect watch for major hikes or those who are into the longer ultra marathon distance.

When it comes to my runs, trails or hikes, it’s always experiential. I love going back to the elevation profiles of each adventure, thinking of ways how to strategize each climb. I’m never a fast runner but I’m always a strategic one. I actually have a motto, “pag di handa, daanin sa math.” True enough, I have the elevation profile and target pace for each section of each of my race. You can have that pre-loaded in the watch.

It’s your everyday watch that can keep track of your workouts, your steps and even your sleep. I’m just glad that even during these times, I was able to somehow rediscover my passion for running and as such you can see a recap of my training for the past few months. I usually run around Zapote, South Ave up until The Rise Makati and Buendia. Coros also gives you a peek at your training load and gives suggestions on spacing your workouts for full recovery as part of the daily recap at Coros App.

It uses a digital knob to start, pause and end an activity and it’s not touch screen. You have to press it a few seconds to activate the digital knob, I guess this is so you won’t accidentally pause or end a workout. It has fast GPS detection. Once you start your activity, it detects GPS and heart rate before you can proceed. This takes just a few seconds. Post run, I usually compare the map generated by Coros with the actual maps and there are no significant deviations. I have a set 5K and 3K maps and it’s practically the same measurement each work out. I’m saying this because Makati sometimes have glitches in the GPS because of the high-rise buildings. So far so good.

I don’t usually do long runs. I actually completed a 75K virtual challenge by just doing 5 kilometers everyday. I’m glad I did it that way because it became a habit. It’s also safer to keep runs short at this time for less exposure outdoors to the virus. I did do a longer 10K and 21K distance this month just to establish longer-term endurance. It’s nice to have Coros to measure that progress as even if I started at an easy pace, I’ve been able to improve pace at the latter part of the challenge.

Coros Vertix has an SRP of P34,000, while Coros Apex has an SRP of P20,250 for 46mm and P17,500 for 42mm at ActivGears.Com. Personally, I’m high on Coros brand being a user for over a year now. It’s not cheap but it’s not as pricey as other brands and you get most of the features you’ll need on your run, hike, bike or adventure. Coros Vertix is perfect for endurance athletes or hikers on multi day hike and those who want would login a lot of mileage. Coros Apex can be a perfect watch for both recreational and experienced runners engaged in both long and short distances.

Categories: My Thoughts | Tags: , , | 2 Comments