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Feature Story


When fitness options abound, why go to the gym?

by Adrienne Dy, M.D.


January ushers in a lot of repentant souls, trying to erase their post-Noche Buena remorse with resolutions to eat more healthily and exercise more regularly. United by regret and resolve—to get rid of the Christmas “bonus” around the belly—most people find that a better diet may be more achievable, since we have to eat every day. A fitness regimen faces a litany of excuses—too tired, too far, too expensive, too hard.

Many have walked for miles in the pursuit of a perfect physical fitness regimen—literally. Today’s options include outdoor activities like fun runs, marathons and triathlons; indoor group workouts like Zumba, Taebo and other dance or martial arts classes; recreational and competitive sports; and the reliable standby of working out at home, complete with Jane Fonda’s DVD. The diversity of choices almost certainly ensures that something will click with you. In this smorgasbord of activities, is there still room for that long-time staple—the gym?

The fit factor

Yes, according to Betchie Cruz, fitness trainer at the DFiT Fitness Centre of Dusit Thani Manila. “The point of the gym is … [going] back to basics,” says the Sports Science major, pointing out the timeless importance of cardiovascular and resistance training. Not only does the gym have all the necessary equipment to aid your full body workout, it also offers something that others do not: the services of a personal trainer.

“Mas alam ng personal trainer ’yung dapat sa iyo,” explains Cruz. “If you have a goal, he can help you meet it, because he’ll know what to do with your body [and] how it will adapt to the exercise program.” Many aren’t aware of the dangers of exercising without supervision. Usually, beginners don’t know the proper form, making them prone to injury. Some exert themselves beyond their capacity, out of peer or performance pressure. Still others simply don’t know how to operate the equipment. A personal trainer can minimize those risks.

Most importantly, he’ll push you to follow through with your fitness plan. “Motivation is a big factor,” Cruz emphasizes. In fact, before you go to the gym, there are three requirements: you have to be self-motivated, committed, and goal-oriented. “External motivation is never as effective,” insists Cruz. Goals vary, from losing or gaining weight, to muscle-building or toning, or even just maintaining one’s current fitness level. The important thing is that it is your goal, set in tandem with the trainer, whom you must trust enough to cooperate with.

Making it happen

Before getting that gym membership, do your homework. Location is important; picking a place near your home or office will make it easier for you to clock in the ideal one to 1 ½ hours, three to four times a week. Check the facilities; the equipment should be in good shape, and the facilities to your liking. Hotel or spa-based gyms may have extra amenities like a pool or sauna that may be worth the membership fee. That said, make sure the fees are within your capacity, and inquire about promos and perks that could help you make the decision.

For some people, the gym is an indispensible part of their lives. For others, it’s a springboard for a fitness regimen they can continue at home later on. For whatever purpose it may serve, though, the gym is there, uniting people with the common goal of better fitness.

Grab your copy of the holiday issue of HealthToday magazine for a jumpstart fitness program you can try. For information on gym use and membership, contact the DFiT Fitness Centre of Dusit Thani Manila at (02) 238 8888 ext. 8151, or email

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