Donning the Philippines’ colors in the biggest sporting event in Southeast Asia—the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), which recently concluded in Singapore—Filipino athletes showed that they can slug it out with the best athletes from neighboring countries.
The Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) has new programs for the SEA Games representatives in order to realize their full potential and ensure that they are at their peak condition during this much-hyped event and other international sporting events in the future.
The Philippines’ foremost sportsmen successfully translated these programs into more wins after improving the country’s seventh place standing during the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar, to a sixth place finish, bagging 30 more medals in this edition of the Games.
POC enlisted the help of professionals in the fields of sports science, sports psychology, sports vision, sports rehabilitation, sports training, and nutrition in order to whip the athletes into shape and to achieve their optimal fitness level.
Before heading to Singapore, athletes from different sporting events went through rigorous training and special programs that rendered them more competitive than usual.
“Ngayon mas naging doble yung hirap na ginagawa namin compared sa ibang international competitions; mas mahirap talaga yung training for SEA Games. Parang gusto na naming sumuko minsan pero pinipilit namin kasi para ‘to sa country,” said Olympic Rowing representative Justine Vinas, who missed the podium after settling for fourth place.
Emmanuel Escote, who is the spiker of silver medalist Sepak Takraw team, said they trained intensely to top their successful performance in the recently concluded King’s Cup Sepak Takraw World Championship in Thailand. “Mas binubugbog namin ‘yung sarili namin ngayon! Siyempre kung ano ‘yung skills mo ngayon, kailangan mo pang higitan.”
While athletes have varying motivations for playing for the national team, they share one cause—to bring home a win and make their fellow Filipinos proud.
“Para sa ’kin, masarap i-represent ang Pilipinas. At saka yung karangalan na maiuwi mo yung mga medalya sa competition mo, isang malaking bagay na yun e!—isang malaking karangalan,” declared Escote, who is now on his 4th playing year in the national team.
“Magandang opportunity po ‘to! Masaya kasi hindi ka lang nagbibigay ng pride sa bansa mo kundi pati kay God—‘yung talent ko ginagamit ko sa magandang bagay,” Jesson Ramil Cid, the country’s silver medalist for Decathlon, affirmed.
Acknowledging the important role of good nutrition in an athlete’s performance, POC created a sports nutrition program to make meal plans for the athletes depending on their specific needs.
In the process, POC nutritionists learned that many of our national athletes are constipated and lack an understanding of proper nourishment in achieving optimum health.
To address this issue, the POC partnered with a leading supplement brand in the country, C-Lium Fibre. With the tie-up, fiber was incorporated in every athlete’s meal plan in order to reach the 25 to 30 grams of recommended daily fiber intake. Athletes were asked to take C-Lium Fibre in husk form mixed with water, first thing in the morning.
“’Nung dumating kami, many of them are constipated kasi unang-una sa lahat hindi nila alam kung ano ‘yung mga dapat nilang kainin. Ang ginawa naming approach is to make sure na balanced ‘yung kinakain nila at ma-achieve nila ‘yung required daily fiber intake with the help of C-Lium,” said POC nutritionist Luningning Caravana.
“Ang fiber naman kasi, in general, ay tumutulong para mailabas ‘yung dumi sa katawan natin, mapababa ‘yung cholesterol, and, at the same time, nakakatulong sa weight management para mas makapag-perform ng maayos ‘yung mga athletes natin,” she added.
After just a couple of weeks on the program, athletes readily reported experiencing regular bowel movement and no longer suffering from bloating or other signs of digestive disorder.
SEA Games first-timer Vinas claims that the bloating of his stomach disappeared after he started POC’s nutrition program. “Regular na ’yung bowel movement ko! Personally, nakatulong talaga ‘yung nutrition program ng POC—may meal program sila for us and we consume the required daily fiber intake —kasi nga mahirap mag-training pag may nararamdaman kang discomfort sa tiyan. Ngayon wala na akong iniisip, training na lang talaga.”
The Sepak Takraw standout, on the other hand, revealed why POC’s newest program has been a tremendous help. “Nagbabawas ako ng timbang kasi feeling ko ‘nung last game mabigat pa ang katawan ko. From personal experience, nakatulong ‘yung nutrition program sa aking bowel movement so feeling ko it helps na rin sa pag-maintain ng weight ko. With the help of the program, nare-reach namin ‘yung required daily fiber intake.”
C-Lium Fibre—available in husk and capsule formats—is made from natural psyllium plant, which is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber.
According to the National Fiber Council, the soluble fiber in psyllium absorbs water, turns it into gel, then attaches to food, sugars, cholesterol, and fats in the stomach. It then helps to expel these from one’s digestive system. A high-fiber diet also helps lower the risk of developing life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, certain forms of cancer, diabetes, and stroke.
“I think it’s one of the most important supplements we need to take as individuals. C-Lium Fibre is actually a very good product and it’s very convenient and so there’s no excuse for you not to be able to get the right amount of daily fiber because it’s so accessible,” said Coach Jim Saret.
Coach Toni Saret, who is co-heading POC’s program with her husband Coach Jim Saret, said that nutrition also plays a big role in an athlete’s performance.
“You cannot work out with poor nutrition. Fitness and sports are always tied up with proper nutrition; you cannot have one without the other or else you cannot attain your optimal performance as an athlete,” said the female coach.
With new partnerships such as that with C-Lium Fibre, POC has high hopes that our representatives will perform better in different international sporting events like the Olympic Games and this will translate into medals for the country.
“You can never question the Filipino spirit. We will always fight; they will always continue to fight despite the odds and being the underdog; lalaban at lalaban pa din ang Pilipino. So that makes me really proud to be a part of this program,” said the Coach Jim Saret.
C-Lium Fibre is a product of Pascual Laboratories, Inc., and is available in major drugstores nationwide.