Fit for hoops
THE GAME OF MY LIFE - Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) - November 9, 2019 - 12:00am

Since the 1980s, the fitness industry has constantly been in search of the next big trend. The initial enthusiasm for aerobics eventually faded and it became monotonous. Hybrids of other sports like taebo had their time, in the age of training videos on DVD. Most exercise classes appropriate the fundamental movements of a sport when applicable, and adapt it to full-body movement. Inevitably, fads run out. Cross-training became the norm about 30 years ago, and was gradually replaced by more functional, sport-specific exercise. Globally, stylized gyms like CrossFit became a large international community, staging their own Fittest on Earth competitions. In the Philippines, basketball is far and away the most commonly played sport. Fitness professionals have been trying to create ways to convert the basics of hoops into a viable exercise program even for those who don’t have the need or desire to play competitively.

“SwishFit is the first basketball-fitness class in the Philippines,” explains SwishFit co-founder and COO Josiah Villegas. “It combines three aspects: basketball skills development, plyometrics and functional fitness – all in a one-hour group class. When you attend a SwishFit class, expect to do fundamental basketball drills combined with constantly varied, strength-based, functional movements to give you a killer one-hour workout.”

Villegas graduated from De La Salle University in 2008 with a degree in English. He has been a personal coach in the fitness industry for over a decade, and founded a digital solutions company for small and medium-scale businesses. He wanted to create something in line with his passion for both basketball and functional fitness. He still conducts fitness coaching seminars and corporate wellness programs with various companies throughout Metro Manila.

Villegas and his group staged an open demo class for the public at Reyes Gym a week ago. The general consensus was that it was an entertaining, varied workout. Participants who posted on the SwishFit Facebook page expressed relief that the program would help them recover from injury, get back to the game they love, and relearn the basics at a pace they are comfortable with.

“Everyone is welcome to join our community, from former pros looking to get in shape to weekend warriors and even beginners,” says Villegas, a long-time fitness professional. “Male and female, young and old, newbie and experienced. SwishFit is also primarily an adult class. We have students as young as 18 to even as seasoned as 50, which shows how inclusive our community is. With our class, you get the best of both worlds: you get to play the game you love and you get functionally fit to power you through your everyday life.”

SwishFit has variable exercises and stations to make the program more exciting. Footwork, passing, dribbling, shooting and rebounding are necessary components, but the instructors add other movements to strengthen students “overall development.”

Currently, SwishFit has Monday, Wednesday and Saturday classes in the Pasig and Mandaluyong areas, with a Quezon City schedule beginning in December. On Mondays from 5 p.m. they are at the Barangay San Antonio Multi-Purpose Gym in Pasig. On Wednesdays, class is at 7 p.m. at Decathlon Pasig. And starting on Nov. 23, they’ll have Saturday classes at the Classica Clubhouse in Batasan Hills.

SwishFit may be a great way to stay with the game most Filipinos love in a less strenuous environment. And it’s an apt way to brace for the coming extra holiday poundage.

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