Fitness Diary, Week 16 of 52

I’ve frequently talked about maintaining a baseline level of fitness so that I can tackle any activity or challenge that comes my way. The past few weeks of functional training have certainly been a change-up from the more endurance-based workouts I’ve been doing. It’s been nice feeling like a newbie again and finding out what I still need to work on (core and arm strength, mostly).

It’s also amazing discovering how quickly my body can adapt. I was unable to do full sit-ups without back pain a month ago, but last week I was able to roll up all the way. I also haven’t been struggling with the plank as much.

These all came really handy last weekend when I joined some friends for a last-minute overnight surf trip to Baler, Aurora.

surfing in Baler, Aurora
surfing on Sabang Beach with friends

Baler is known as the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines: when filming for “Apocalypse Now” took place, the American cast and crew saw the waves and realized they were perfect for surfing in their spare time. When filming wrapped, they left their surfboards with the locals, who adopted the sport and started teaching others. From here, surfing spread across the archipelago to the now more well-known spots in La Union and Siargao.

We took a bus from Manila to Baler that left at 1:30am on Sunday morning and arrived at 6am. From then we just had breakfast then hit the waves! I’ve surfed a few times before, but in rather more controlled conditions at the artificial wave pool in Club Manila East. The last time I surfed in the ocean was in 2011, when I first learned. So it was a little harder than remembering how to ride a bike, because each wave moves differently from the last. But by the second surf session in the afternoon I was handling things a little better.

(That doesn’t mean I didn’t still look “wet behind the ears”!)

Surfing in Baler, Aurora
I screencapped this from a video of myself wiping out

I was trashed by the evening, but after a whole night’s sleep, I was ready to go again. We surfed one last time in the morning before departing on a 2pm bus bound for Manila. I don’t think I could have done all three surf sessions on top of the travel without the baseline of aerobic fitness and core and upper-body strength. I was actually more sore in the arms than in the abs after the first day, but now after another night’s rest I’m no longer sore and now looking at future dates I can join my friends again.

Surfing in Baler, Aurora
Our local surf guides took us to really good spots

My travel vlog about that trip will be up later this week on Youtube, so watch out for it! I tell myself to give every new activity or workout one good try. You never know if you’ll find something you enjoy, and even for those activities you don’t feel the knack for, there’s always something to be learned after the experience. It all starts from having the basic functional fitness to give something a go.

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