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Health And Family

Padel up! This new sport can help you achieve your 2022 fitness goals

An Unfiltered Life - Michelline Espiritu Suarez - Philstar.com
Padel up! This new sport can help you achieve your 2022 fitness goals
Padel - pronounced “paddle” - is the perfect antidote to the cooped-up, Zoomed out life we’ve had to endure for the past two years. It’s one of the world’s fastest growing sports, and has been described as “tennis with walls” or “squash in the sun." 

MANILA, Philippines — There’s a new game in town!

This game allows you to socialize with distance, get your body moving, enjoy the outdoors, catch your Vitamin D, and have fun. Oh, and enjoy a gourmet meal after?

Padel - pronounced “paddle” - is the perfect antidote to the cooped-up, Zoomed out life we’ve had to endure for the past two years. It’s one of the world’s fastest growing sports, and has been described as “tennis with walls” or “squash in the sun." 

Played in an area one-third the size of a regular tennis court, Padel has been embraced by the local tennis community, Titas looking to socialize and lose weight, millennials wanting to burn off their excess energy, and families and friends who just want to get together and enjoy a new experience outdoors, all in the center of Bonifacio Global City.

I spent a windy afternoon on the rooftop bar of the Manila Padel Club, enjoying the breeze and the sunset with managing partners and owners Fredrik Lannquist and Alenna Dawn. Stuck in Europe during the height of the pandemic, Fredrik found himself hooked on Padel and decided it would be the perfect pick-up sport to bring to quarantine-weary Manila. Alenna found the ideal 2000 sqm property at 9th Avenue, BGC, right next to the football field — a “welcome coincidence” — she said, as padel is the second most popular sport after football in both South America and Spain.

Although outdoors, the surrounding skyscrapers provide shade from 9 a.m. onwards, and the wind tunnel provides an all-day breeze. It actually feels airconditioned at night!

The sport is easy to pick up, but at the same time can be challenging and high-energy for more competitive players. All you need to bring is your shoes – and three other friends! Or make new friends while you are there. The club rents out rackets and balls. A 30-minute lesson will have you ready to play, if you’re a racket sport player, 15 minutes will do.

Manila Padel Club has players from as young as 7 to 87, first-timers to professional athletes who want an off-season sport. It’s truly a game for all ages, capabilities, and schedules — the club opens at 5 a.m. and closes at midnight.

According to the Manila Padel Club website, Padel is:

  • Great for all ages – with its small court, small rackets, it is easy to play, and played in doubles so it’s very social. It’s gentle and easy on the knees, with the same basic format as tennis. The ball is the same as a tennis ball, but with less air pressure.
  • Great for beginners/non-sports people – it’s as easy to pick up as Ping Pong. Many “non-sporty” types find it very easy to learn, and addictive as a “new” fun sport. It offers a fantastic workout!
  • Enjoyed by tennis and Squash players – the rallies are like ”the best tennis doubles ever." One of its early enthusiasts is a former national tennis player who is recovering from injuries, and plays Padel three hours twice a week!
  • Trick-shots, fun off-the-wall shots, smashing smashes, you will feel young again. Padel is a real skill-leveler so top players can enjoy a game with less experienced players.

But wait — there’s more!

Manila Padel Club also boasts of having the first-ever outdoor gym in the country — an eye candy for gym rats. When it comes to equipment, the Manila Padel Club Playground has everything from cardio machines, plate-loaded strength machines, dumbbells, free weights, barbells, full power racks, and smith machines, specialty equipment like kettlebells and balance balls, among others. Personal trainers work with you to achieve your fitness goals.

Membership is similarly priced or less than other gyms in the area with the plus of specialized equipment in a non-enclosed outdoor space – and the extra health benefits of indirect sunlight and none of the “ick factor” you usually find in indoor gyms. There are also outdoor group classes for all levels including yoga, HIIT and bodyweight workouts, Barre, Pilates, and more!

What happens during inclement weather? Fredrik assured that the artificial turf has a built-in draining system. This, and canvas covers for both the courts and the machines, ensure that the courts are playable 15 minutes after rain.

Since Padel is an extremely friendly game – people stay after the game to socialize at the club. With this in mind, Manila Padel Club also boasts of a restaurant with a world-class menu and rooftop bar. The dining area has a wide range of food, because as Alenna said, clients have different goals.

Some come to lose weight, while some come to bulk up. Whatever your preferences, you will find it here. From healthy smoothie bowls, protein shakes, juice bar, and healthy shakes to breakfast plates with the works: sausage and egg plates, avocado toast, banana pancakes with bacon, the list goes on.

Because of Padel’s origins, lunch or dinner is Spanish/Mexican themed, so you will find tacos, nachos, fajitas, quesadillas, but with a Philippine touch, such as Lechon Baka Tacos with Atchara. You’ll also find savory favorites like soups, salads, burgers, and pasta. All dishes will include complete nutritional info so you can track your macros.

For those who like to drink their calories, the rooftop bar will have a tequila trolley with all the fixings, and creative cocktails with an emphasis on tequila.

While membership has its benefits, such as reduced rates and court reservation privileges, you can simply walk in and pay the non-member rate. There is also a Padel Kiddie Camp, which costs P8,000 for 16 one-hour sessions. First-time trials are welcome, and include the use of rackets and balls. And stay for the fabulous food or unwind with friends as you watch the action and the sunset from the outdoor “naturally airconditioned” bar.

Manila Padel Club formally opens for membership in mid-January 2022 and with future plans to open clubs in Alabang, Ortigas, and Cebu.

FITNESS GOALS PADEL
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