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Beauty starts from within: tips from a triathlete coach

Written by Excel Dyquiangco, as originally published at the Philippine Online Chronicles

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You can have the most professional of makeup brushes and wear the latest styles and expensive brands of clothes. But without a healthy lifestyle, all those beauty and fashion regimens are just on the surface. It would be great to start and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Those who want to start a daily routine and fitness regimen have so many queries in mind. Here we asked Ronald Molit, a triathlete and a fitness coach based in Dubai, 8 questions that you have been rearing to ask.

1) What is the best way to lose and to gain weight?

Whether you need to lose or gain weight, it’s important to eat nutritious food and exercise regularly to ensure that your body is always healthy. A healthy diet and proper exercise always go hand in hand even if your body or weight goals differ. For a person who tends to be on the heavy side, eating junk will only let your body crave for more unhealthy food – which in turn will help pile up the calories and it won’t give you the energy you need for exercise. For a person who needs to gain weight, eating junk and no exercise might even pose more chances of illness to again make you lose weight.

2) For a newbie who wants to get fit and healthy, what kind of exercises should he do?

I’ve tried all sorts of sports but I didn’t enjoy them as much as I enjoy TRIATHLON now. Swimming, cycling and running already takes care of the CARDIO/ AEROBIC EXERCISES. I encourage anyone who wants to have a fit and healthy lifestyle to get into a sport or any cardio activity that they will enjoy. It is also important to do CORE EXERCISES to help your body become balanced and stable. Core exercises are usually the exercises for the back, abdominals, hips and glutes. Apart from all those, it is important to do STRENGTH/ WEIGHT TRAINING to improve the strength of your muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons plus reduce the risk of injury.

3) What kind of exercises should start your day?

I usually do my cardio exercises in the morning because it wakes up my body and gives me the energy I need for the rest of the day. But when I’m preparing for a race, I like to do my training in the morning before I go to work and also in the evening after work. Some people have difficulty waking up early so it would be difficult for them to make their body do. On the other hand, some people have difficulty going to sleep when they exercise in the evening. So I would really say listen to your body to know what type of exercise you can do and determine if it’s really helping you start your day or if it’s becoming something that you’re dreading to do.   

4) Do you need to take dietary supplements and drinks? If so why or why not?

I make sure I eat healthy food so I get enough vitamins and minerals. I take VITAMIN C to prevent sickness due to the stress my body gets from intensive training. I also take OMEGA 3 and BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA) to help prevent fatigue, help my muscles recover faster and decrease muscle damage.

During training, I don’t usually take energy drinks or gels so I don’t dupe my body into thinking that I am stronger than I really am. I do, however, take energy drinks, gels and chews during races to make sure that I can give my optimum performance.

5) For someone who hates exercise because it might be considered boring, what can he do to spice things up a bit?

Exercise with a friend or a group. If you get into a sport you really like, there should be a lot of teams or clubs that you can join. I suggest you join races also. The adrenaline rush will definitely take the boredom away. If you have a race to look forward to, it’s always easier to train regularly if you want to do well and finish strong in that race.

6) What kinds of food should you take and should you avoid in order to be fit and healthy?

My general rule is: if you are unable to name the ingredients of what you are eating, don’t eat it. It’s much better to eat non-processed and non-artificial food. Cook your own meals so you know exactly what you are eating. If you do that, you can eat as much as you want and as often as you want without having to worry about being malnourished or unhealthy.

7) What kind of food should you eat before and after a workout?

Again, I would say listen to your body. Some people would say that you shouldn’t eat a lot before exercise so you won’t feel too heavy or bloated. I have to eat a lot otherwise I’m going to feel hungry while training. When that happens, I have to stop and eat because when I spend more energy that what my body has stored, I am more prone to illness. Before a race, especially when my last meal was from the night before, I make sure I take a full meal of nutritious food. I go easy on the fruits with a lot of fiber so I won’t need to go on a toilet break while racing. After a workout and throughout the day, I need to constantly eat to replenish the lost calories in my body. I eat a lot of fruits, protein and take a lot of fluids. After a race, I don’t usually get to eat right away especially because I’ve been taking a lot of fluids and energy gels. But when my stomach is more settled, I definitely take a lot of nutritious food.

8) When it comes to wellness and fitness, do you have any advice for all ages and gender? 

Fitness is important for anyone no matter how young or old, no matter what gender. It is good for young kids to be exposed to sports or any sort of activity so that when they get older, they would want to keep on doing it. And it is even more important as a person gets older because exercise helps with their functional capacity. So at every point in a person’s life, it would be ideal to have some sort of exercise. In the sport of triathlon, there are no age and gender barriers; younger men don’t necessarily do better than the women or than older people.

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