Now let me introduce a good friend of mine. Vanessa Agdon is an instructor at Fitness First and an age-group triathlete.
Back in 2012, Vanessa was one of my favorite BodyCombat instructors in the south area: Fitness First Southmall and Westgate Alabang. Vanessa by the way, is polysystic: she has PCOS, meaning she gains weight fast. Exercise keeps her hormones in balance and her weight down.
Now let’s get to know her a little more!
Hi Vanessa! It’s been a while! How are you doing since our Fitness First Southmall years?
I was such a blast being the Fitness Manager of FF SML years ago. Since then I have laid low on big positions as such to focus more on just teaching classes and doing races. I recently dropped my BODYCOMBAT program and switched to teaching a spinning program Pro45, exerting most of my energy to movements that will benefit me in my sport.
I know you’ve been a long-term fitness instructor and a triathlete. But I’ve never really had the chance to ask this: What was your path in taking the fitness road? How did you become interested in it?
I finished Fine Arts in Adv in college, but for some reason, I found that I have an act for inspiring people and helping others to be fitter. I found more meaning in life through this career when I change people’s life through fitness.
It really is hard to stay in shape and everyone would love to know, how do you manage to stay consistent?
Setting goals keeps you consistent. What I learned through the years, that clients have found it meaningless to come to gym to workout but have a meaningless workout. Having goals is like having a map. It’s knowing where to go that keeps you moving. All you need is the right direction, that is where the job of a good coach comes in.
Can you take us to your training routine as a triathlete?
It depends on what race you are eyeing for. I am currently on to do my first full distance Ironman. Training hours are super long and arduous. It’s specifically challenging for me to train because my body isn’t at the usual 100% percent when I go get to train.
Some athletes’ problems are lack of time because of office work. My problem is that my work is also a workout. As to why I have trimmed my old working schedule of 4 days a week to just 3 days a week.
Usually Mondays are “rest” days. All throughout the week I struggle to juggle my energy between my classes, swimming, biking and running (or doing both). And yes, there are days when you actually need to train twice in a day. Weekends are a different kind of beast. These are the days when long distances are needed to be accomplished and is one of the most important part of your training plan.
And then… here comes Monday (“Rest” day) but guess what, that is when I teach an 12:00NN BodyPump class. Exhausted but hey, I got to make some money.
Oh, and sometimes, my weekend training hours go as long to 8-10 hours of running and biking.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in your triathlete career so far?
Aside from completing 4 70.3s and winning some races, i feel that my biggest accomplishment is when I inspire a person to change their lifestyle to a healthier one. When someone tells me that they have reached their goals because of something that I have said or seen I have done , then I have accomplished my intent.
#RelatableFitness Question: Do you allow yourself to have cheat days too? If you do, what are your favorite foods you allow yourself to indulge in?
I do not eat what I don’t like. It’s extra calories! Unless, it is something my body needs.
I have no cheat days… everyday is a “cheat” day for me because I eat what is delicious for me. Food is nourishment, should be more natural and less processed, the better. “Eating clean.” It has to properly fuel your body with good nutrients to keep you going.
A triathlete can burn from 2000-3000, more or less, calories a day. Depending on the training plan. I’m lucky pasta comes in as an essential kind of food into my sport. The key to it is taking it in portions.
If I do binge on some ice cream time to time, I make sure it is either before or the same day as the day when I have a heavy training. But still, in a good amount of healthy portions.
We only live once. Don’t deprive yourself of delicious dishes mainly just to look good. Unless it’s your job to look trim or something. Being truly fit and healthy is better than just to look fit.
Do you have any advice for those who need help improving their swimming?
A good coach! Sometimes you will need different ones with different approach. Find one that suits your needs. Each one is unique. Don’t forget to research! There are so much information on the internet now.
What is your biggest challenge right now in racing? What do you do to combat that problem?
My energy. I’m low on it since I have to share my energy that I need to give to my training with the group exercise I teach. Three things I make sure I do have is:
- Get a good sleep of 7-9 hours for full muscle recovery!
- Nourish! Vegetables! They are natural sources of vitamins and minerals to keep your body efficiently functioning. Keep hydrated! Drink your water!
- Get a time off. When things get to stressful, with your diet, your exercise or work. Take time out to breathe. Meditate and pray. Re-energize and get back in the game.
What is the next big race you’re training for?
I am hoping to finish my full distance Ironman Triathlon, the Tabuelan 226, this September. I am also eyeing out for the Ironman Subic for next year, but I am still checking my schedule. Training for a full Ironman needs so much time, energy, commitment and money.
Unfortunately for me, less work means less money. No money means I can’t pay for plane tickets, food, pool fees, coaching fees, gears etc.
To wrap up, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My friend Herman, rest his beautiful soul, always reminded me that if ever I start to doubt myself on things I want to do with my life, before I give up on them, I need to ask myself the question; “What If?”
Any shout outs / parting words / fitness quotes you live on by?
Life is tough, but so are you.