Boogie Tonight!

I’ve been getting a lot of search engine hits for “Body Jam 42”, which is the latest release to be launched across Fitness First gyms in the Philippines. While I’ve been doing parts of this release during my demos, it’s always been just a couple of tracks or a short block (and on the instructor’s side). I finally got to attend a full class when Fitness First Ortigas launched on Monday evening. I arrived early that night to get a place in the front row, and I came to party!

  • Warmup
    Boogie 2Nite (Seamus Haji Big Love Edit) – Booty Luv: This track does a great job of bringing in that party atmosphere so crucial to any Jam class, since it is the “ultimate dance party workout.” Super simple combos too, so anyone can get it.
  • Isolations
    Tambourine (Clean Version) – Eve: The hip-hop feel to the track helps make isolating core muscle groups fun instead of a chore. Excellent choice of song as well because it makes me wanna dance!
  • “Cha-Cha-Cha” Latin
    Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – John Legend / Let’s Get Loud – Jennifer Lopez: A little challenge in the latin track’s rhythms makes this one enjoyable. Sexy too!
  • Contemporary Rock
    Do It Again – Mega NuRave Styles and DJ ‘Little’ Rippa / One And Only – Timbaland ft. Fall Out Boy
    Funky new feel, chest pops, and a huge cardio blast — this track had me rocking. The stomp at the beginning seems to drag on for too long though.
  • Recovery
    Umbrella (Clean Version) – Rihanna ft. Jay-Z
    Nice way for the heart rate to come down slowly. Obviously this is one very popular song, but this mix of choreography and music makes this my favorite Body Jam recovery track so far.
  • Jam de Podium
    Sexual Healing (Freemasons Mix) – Alibi vs. Rockefeller / Get Down (Original Club Version) – Groove Armada / Get Up (Before The Night Is Over Tribalectric Mix) – Global Deejays ft. Technotronic / Rain Down Love (Phunkk Mobb Remix) – Freemasons ft. Siedah Garrett
    I love that this track doesn’t have too much traveling from side to side going on, so even in a crowded dance studio everyone gets a chance to break out. The Bounce move is so much fun and the playfulness in this cardio block’s choreography really elevates the mood and hypes everyone up. I don’t like how this block ends, though. I’d rather have a big finish because the energy is just through the roof.
  • Groove Down
    Beautiful Liar – Beyonce ft. Shakira
    Sensual, sexy feel to this track and I love it! One of the best groove downs in my opinion, still incorporating dance while helping you stretch out those worked muscles.

I can’t wait to do this release again at the classes I attend. It provides a great contrast to the latest Body Balance release, number 38, which is all about stillness and focus. I helped launch BB38 in Fitness First branches in Manila and North EDSA, and will be launching at ABS-CBN, Fort, and Eastwood over the next few days. It’s a tremendous rush for me to break out and dance after all that controlled movement in my Body Balance classes. Ü

For more information about these group exercise programs, check out LesMills.com and Fitness First Clubs PH. For track listings, visit TotallyLesMills.com.

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Saying Goodbye to Stage Fright

Last Sunday I was at TriNoma Mall doing a demonstration of group exercise programs from Fitness First. I shadowed the warm-up to BodyJam 42, presented the standing strength of BodyBalance 38, and shadowed the Oldskool block from BodyJam 41. We were performing in front of the membership recruitment booth on the ground floor, and it wouldn’t have been anything out of the ordinary if our impromptu audience hadn’t started whipping out their camera phones, still cameras, and videocams (!!!) and started visually recording what we were doing.

I found myself feeding off the attention and actually loving it. It’s a huge contrast from last year. I think I’ve really grown in that aspect. Here’s the evidence.

  • June, after starting to attend dance classes: If there’s one thing I don’t want to do in a dance class, it’s to draw attention to myself. When that happens, thoughts start coming into my head, like “Am I trying too hard? Do I look like I’m from the Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) video?”
  • July, thinking that I was destined for a life behind-the-scenes: I’m just going to come out and say this: I have terrible stage fright. There’s just something about the way all those eyeballs are focused on me when I’m up on stage that turns me into a deer in headlights — frozen still as a statue as the 10-wheeler of shame bears down on me.
  • August, after attending BodyJam classes for three months: I was really surprised and flattered when she gave me this piece of advice (this is not a direct quote). “Everyone was watching you… You only looked up whenever I called your name. You know the last time, when I said you were dancing in your own little world… You have to look up! The audience can’t see you project.”
  • September, after auditioning for the Nike Rockstar Bollywood competition: After the cool-down, one of the judges announced the three members who would represent Ortigas. The first number she called was mine! I felt like I’d won Miss Universe (and I probably had the same mock-surprise facial expression, haha).
  • October, after competing at the Nike Rockstar event: And then we went out on stage. To my surprise we did better than I expected, and I was glad we didn’t prove to be embarrassments to our branch. After all, we were chosen as the team because we were supposedly the best they had to offer.
  • February, after auditioning for BodyBalance instructor training: Admittedly I’m a gym rat but I’m more of the sweat-my-way-to-fitness kind, which is why I was totally surprised when Mother Fhe (so called because she’s the “mother hen” of most group exercise instructors at Fitness First Philippines) told me to audition for BodyBalance.
  • March, after participating in another Nike Rockstar competition: It was a nice way to spend a few days living a different routine from home-work-home. I’ll end this entry with a video of our performance of which I’m very, very proud.
  • March, after BodyBalance instructor training: I’m sitting here typing this smiling inside with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. You might ask why, since it’s so early in the morning. Well, for the first time, I team-taught a BodyBalance class this morning at Fitness First ABS-CBN… I really do enjoy this and I hope I excel at this new endeavor. I may be an instructor of a group exercise program that’s supposed to leave you calm and centered, but I am definitely buzzed about it!
  • July, after my first trip with Living Asia Channel: I’d never been on a working trip before, so everything was new to me: being on cam not for a family video but for a real show, traveling insane distances in bumpy circumstances just to get a shot of a required location, sleeping in a different place every night and at some point not having a shower to come home to… But it was so much fun!

The Noelle of last year would never have thought she’d be doing what I’m doing now: being in front of people, hosting or presenting or performing or anything of that sort. Sure, she may have dreamed of being in front of cameras but she wouldn’t have thought she’d have the guts to do anything there aside from quivering and shaking and making a fool of herself.

I have no idea where this boldness will take me, but I’m sure God has a great plan for my life which didn’t involve the timidity I used to suffer from. Right now, I’m just happy to say goodbye to my deer-in-headlights look. Ü

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We Are One Tonight

Isang linggong pinag-ipunan / Isang buwan mong inabangan / Ang feedback ng mga gitara / Mga paborito mong kanta / HALA BIRA! — “Sugod” by Sandwich

My sister and I waited more than a month for the Switchfoot in Manila concert, so last night we were hoping for a really great show.

Jon Foreman on vocals

What happened was an experience beyond my wildest concert dreams. I’ve never been front-and-center at anything before (well, I had front row seats to an M2M mall tour appearance once BUT THAT DOESN’T COUNT OKAY?!).

mosh pitWe had bought tickets to the mosh pit. We were at Cuneta Astrodome around 6:30pm and there was a long line for Lower Box B ticketholders already. We almost lined up there, but thankfully Marielle saw a friend in there who told us the mosh pit line was further ahead.

As we fell into line, I noticed this tall Korean-looking guy in front of us and I thought, “I’ve seen him somewhere before.” And then I realized it was Champ from the band Hale. (I didn’t take pictures. It would have seemed stalkerish.) Other local showbiz luminaries passed by, like Anne Curtis, who greeted the Hale vocalist as he stood in line and was later joined by the rest of his bandmates. Later in the evening at the mosh pit, Jericho Rosales and Heart Evangelista showed up and stood with all of us regular Juans as we waited for the concert to start.

Then some guy got onstage and told us what we were all gathered that night for. Apart from it being Switchfoot‘s first concert ever in the Philippines, 20% of the ticket proceeds would go to the International Justice Mission, a “human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery, and oppression.” My heart swelled within me as I realized these guys had come halfway around the world to do a concert for such a cause. It’s just like them. Even though their songs aren’t overtly Christian and they don’t market themselves as a Christian band, nevertheless their lives show that they truly live the message in their songs. “We were meant to live for so much more.”

Salamin opened for Switchfoot. They played four songs, ending with “Euphoria” featuring Gabriel Valenciano and Daniel Gorospe on bongos. The guys were really on, really whipping the already-excited crowd into a higher frenzy.

Then the roadies came onstage and started soundchecking for Switchfoot.

What else can I say about the concert? I don’t even remember a lot of details, really. I started screaming my head off as soon as Switchfoot came out and started playing “Oh! Gravity”. It was pure delightful headbanging madness from beginning to end.

SwitchfootSwitchfootSwitchfootSwitchfootSwitchfootSwitchfoot

Jerome, the band’s keyboardist and guitarist, is a Filipino-American so at some point as a stunt, he got someone to bring out balut (boiled fertilized duck eggs) for his bandmates to try. It was a huge hit with the crowd, and truly established these guys as good sports.

me at the Switchfoot concertThey played a lot of favorites and the energy from the crowd was intense. It peaked during Switchfoot’s encore of “Only Hope” and “We Are One Tonight”. We mosh-pitters really rocked it out, especially a group of guys on my left who are in a band and have Switchfoot as their main influence. (From their conversation pre-concert I could tell they were massive fanatics.) In fact, the crowd was so hopped up on adrenaline that a guy and a girl from the mosh pit jumped up and started running around onstage, to the dismay of Switchfoot’s roadies. The guy got bodyslammed off the stage by one roadie, and two other roadies pulled the girl away kicking and screaming after the concert ended.

Because we’d bought our mosh pit tickets before August 6, my sister and I were entitled to a poster and a t-shirt for free, which we collected after the show. We didn’t know that the poster was an autographed one, so when I saw the actual Pentel pen marks on the canvas poster, I was in complete shock. It really ended the evening on a high note. Thanks, Switchfoot!

“We are one, tonight / and we’re singing it out / We are one, tonight / and we’re dreaming out loud / And the world is flawed / but these scars will heal / We are one, tonight! Tonight! Tonight!”

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Wedding Jitters

No, I am not getting married. At least not yet, anyway. I have a wedding to attend on Saturday and I have just realized I haven’t bought the wedding present. But I’ve got an even more pressing issue.

I have nothing to wear!

The invitation (which I got only today) asks that we guests refrain from wearing black and denim. Dress code is formal. Serves me right for choosing the little black dress over a neutral-colored anything. On the whole I really don’t have a problem with the way I dress, except for formal occasions. Now I’ll have to rummage in my closet, but I have a sinking feeling I’ll need to buy something specifically for this occasion.

Any ideas? Cheap ones, preferably. I don’t want to overshadow the bride (LOL!), especially since I’m just the groom’s guest. Ü

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