Last week kicked off a bunch of activities related to International Women’s Day, such as Tessa Prieto-Valdes’s gown exhibit, the Under Armour Women fitness event, and the Atleta Ako Aquathlon. This was also one of my most consistent weeks of training during which I felt a big improvement in my fitness.
I engage in sports and fitness activities because that’s who I am: I enjoy challenging myself physically and it also keeps me healthy. I never actually thought exercise was unfeminine, but I have seen far too many women shy away from trying a fitness routine because it involved breaking a sweat and losing their “poise”.
I have learned that the only way to not look like a fool is to commit completely to whatever it is that you’re doing. In my previous life as a dance and yoga instructor we were taught never to perform half-heartedly, because someone who looks unsure of what they are doing looks worse than someone who exudes confidence.
Tessa Prieto-Valdes broke ground as a socialite unafraid of looking silly and outrageous whether hosting a party, or competing in a yoga Olympics, or running and doing triathlons. She just went out and did it because she wanted to. She is still the only person who can pull off these gowns with aplomb but look equally at ease in activewear or on a bike.
(By the way, the “Wildflower by Tessa” exhibit is still on display at SM Megamall Fashion Hall until the end of this week.)
I am always super inspired when I see women of all shapes and fitness levels going for what they want. While for certain activities like ballet or bodybuilding there is a certain look demanded of their top performers, in most other endeavors appearances are deceptive and not indicative of ability or willpower. At the Atleta Ako All-Women’s Aquathlon last Sunday, over 300 athletes turned up in what organizer Raul Cuevas noted was the biggest women’s field ever assembled in a local multisport event.
Whether experienced campaigner or new to sport, these were some of the fiercest women I’ve had the privilege to witness racing. I’m so happy more women are entering the fold and enjoying sport and active lifestyles.
Under Armour celebrated women with a pocket event at EDSA Shangri-La’s Chi Spa where we got to participate in an ashtanga yoga class led by Under Armour ambassador Bubbles Paraiso, as well as experience the “Girlesque” dance class taught by Bench Ortiz of Gold’s Gym. It’s always great to surround yourself with like-minded people who believe in women’s health and wellbeing, and despite our varying levels of fitness we all enjoyed the activities.
I actually haven’t been in a dance class in over a year so it was nice to let loose, and I got a really good stretch from the yoga class, which I needed after some intense run training this whole week.
This event is a precursor to Under Armour PH’s planned women’s convention in October, with monthly events leading up to it. Sounds exciting!
Despite enduring catcalls while doing my long runs or male cyclists sprinting against me when I overtake them, it is my fervent hope that more women discover what I and so many others before me have found: that sport is a valid pursuit and expression of self not just as a woman, but as a human being.