Celine Encarnacion is a life loving fitness enthusiast with the kind, bubbly personality to match! She is currently an Associate Director for Health, Safety and Quality Assurance for Plana FORMA. She also teaches yoga, Zumba, and is trained in Pilates Mat. Encarnacion found her way into the fitness world after tryingout other career paths and never looked back.

Learn more about how to better take care of yourself by reading her tips and recomendations:

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Plana Forma

Philippine Tatler: Could you tell me how you got into the fitness business?

Celine Encarnacion: After graduating from university, I worked in corporate, specifically in Marketing, Sales and PR. I will always value my corporate experience, but I realize now I feel most at home in health and wellness.

After corporate I decided to take my yoga teacher training. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, it was a series of wonderful serendipitous encounters that led me to what I’m doing now. I had just finished my 200-hour yoga teacher training where I was reunited and reconnected with a wonderful mentor, dance teacher (one of the first) and friend, Julie Alagde-Carretas. I remember taking a call from her, inviting and asking me to teach a private yoga class to my now bosses, Iya Lagdameo and Tina Lagdameo. Little did I know that class served as my teaching audition, which eventually lead me to the start of this new adventure and opportunity to train under a barre method called Physique57 in NYC, and help establish what is now known as Plana FORMA in Manila. Six years later, I still wake up every morning loving what I do, and grateful for the opportunity to help inspire and empower my students to be the best, strongest version of themselves.

 PT: Why do you love being healthy?

CE: Being healthy allows me to perform at my best when I teach. I handle a minimum of 15 classes with small group and private classes sprinkled in per week, and the stamina and endurance required of me demand that I keep fit and eat right. I guess you could say being healthy is an occupational hazard, and I am more than willing to oblige. I meet people from all walks of life, get to know their stories and fitness journeys, and any small victory for them makes me the happiest! Love seeing them get stronger with each class they take, whether yoga, barre or dance.

Apart from the surge of endorphins and that feeling of accomplishment from finishing strong at a workout, I also believe in making exercise + eating right a part of your lifestyle, and giving the body with what it needs to function at its most optimum.

PT: What advice do you have for people who are trying to get fit but are having a hard time? For people who feel like giving up?

CE: There are no shortcuts to long lasting results. It’s tough at the beginning, and acknowledging that you need to get fit is the best first step. What might also help is to think of the end goal in mind. Why do you want to do a lifestyle makeover and take control of your health? Knowing your objectives will help keep you focused on taking the necessary steps towards keeping you on track from the kind of workouts you take or what food to eat and avoid, etc. It’s wonderful and empowering to have an overall goal in mind, but you never want to keep that at the forefront of your fitness journey because it can become overwhelming and act as a deterrent at what you are really trying to accomplish. So, take things one day at a time and one meal at a time. Good habits come from a consistent workout and nutrition plan that once applied, can help you achieve your fitness goals.

PT: Tips or advice for people who need to lose weight? 

CE: Fat loss begins and ends with healthy food. But what constitutes as healthy? The rule of thumb ratio is usually more protein and veggies and less carbohydrates. If you are going to carb out, make it healthy! – Fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and oats, organic red, brown or unpolished rice, or quinoa. Pastries and bars chocolates or sweets? Save them in times of dire emergencies!

Diet alone isn’t going to cut it, though. For best results, I would recommend combining the meal plan with a fitness program that involves strength training, cardio-centric classes and active recovery/ stretch classes for flexibility and to help give your muscles that well deserved release from the workouts you do.

PT: How do you motivate yourself to workout and be healthy all the time? 

CE: Those who know me well can attest that I am a self-confessed foodie… that and I’m also all for balance. If I crave a certain dish, I will enjoy and revel in the experience of twirling and enjoying forkfuls of pasta or scoffing down a burger with fries, or dousing naan in Palak Paneer. Yum! Life is too short! One salad for a meal won’t make you instantly thin in the same way one succulent dish won’t make you bulge stat. I just try to stay consistent with my workout regimen or I end up taking an extra strength and cardio class to make up for giving in to the munchies. Besides, the more I deprive myself, the more I’ll end up bingeing and that’s even worse! So I try not to sweat the small stuff.

PT: How many times a week should someone exercise?

CE: It will depend on the person’s fitness goals. I definitely recommend a mix of various workouts, from strength training, cardio, active recovery stretch/ yoga workouts, core stability, functional fitness-type classes. I’d suggest to start with a workout that fits your lifestyle and do a minimal amount of classes per week, and progress as you get stronger. That way, the body doesn’t adapt too quickly to one format and you utilize your muscles in different ways per workout.

PT: Why is it important to not only change your diet but also exercise, and not only exercise but also watch your diet?

CE: It is no secret that eating clean and working out is a time-proven formula to achieving one’s fitness goals. This of course is much easier said than done. And sadly there is no quick fix to getting fit and staying healthy as much as a healthy diet AND consistent exercise can do.

I think there ought to be a shift in perspective as to how we view food. Carbohydrates aren’t necessarily the enemy. Neither is gluten. Some diets will work more for some versus others. There are several schools of thought for diets to choose from and try - from the Atkins diet to a gluten-free diet, to intermittent fasting, or going vegan... Bottom line is, we always have a choice as to the type and the amount of food we take in. It is really about choosing healthy options that fit your lifestyle and workout regimen. Viewing food as nourishment for the amount and type of physical activity/ies we do and what helps sustain us daily is important. If you don’t know where to start, do your research! Read up on what’s healthy versus what isn’t and ask fitness professionals for advice.

PT: How does someone find out what workout is best for them?

CE: The only way to know what is right for you is to explore and try as many workouts available in the market. In the last six years there has been a surge of various types of workouts that you have so many options to choose from. It has to be something you can make time for, located near you, that challenges you and something you enjoy. Have FUN in anything and everything you do, workouts included!

PT: How can someone know if they are pushing themselves too much?

CE: A possible indication is hyperventilation, light-headedness and sudden dizziness…

Before our classes start, we make it a point to remind our clients that this is their workout. We’re here to best guide them, but they know their bodies best and it pays to listen to it. If you feel a bit light headed and dizzy, pause for a moment and catch your breath. Always hydrate throughout the workout!

The worst thing you can do is force your body to do something it is not ready for. If you lack sleep the night prior, rest instead of trudging through a class! Instead of taking 2 classes at 70% effort each, why not do just one class, but give it your 100% attention and effort. We encourage everyone to do their best in class and push themselves over and beyond what they think they can do, but rest and recovery is just as important as working out. In fact, this is essential.

PT: What do you say to someone who says they are too busy to workout?

CE: Planning is KEY. Treat your workouts like any important appointment as part of your everyday. Book your classes in advance to avoid future conflicts in schedule. Make the time and effort, and your future self will thank you for it.

PT: If someone does not want to spend to join a gym or a fitness studio, what advice do you have for them?

CE: There are several options available online from free to paying a minimal monthly or per class package fee. On-demand classes are plentiful and one just has to look which type of classes interest them the most. However... this may not work for everybody. 

Of course this will never replace a live class, where you are personally being guided by fitness professionals, but for someone travelling overseas, or is just squeezing in a quick session while they go about their busy day, the online platform works just fine.

I highly encourage everyone to just start moving! Our bodies were meant to do so. The gift of great health is the best investment you can give yourself. You are worth it. And you deserve it.

PT: What do you think about a juice fast as a way to diet?

CE: A juice fast can be a jumpstart point to detoxifying the body and ridding it of toxins, and replenishing our system with organic fresh fruits, veggies, and forms of super-food rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, but it is never a quick fix to losing weight. I still am a firm believer in diet AND exercise.

Tags: Yoga, Exercise, Health, Fitness, Gym, Dance, Workout, Plana Forma, Zumba, Celine Encarnacion