Every morning, the first thing I do is shower – actually, wait, no. I don’t really shower; I wash my face with Celeteque, brush my teeth, and put on moisturizer. If I’m not too lazy I use a bit of sunscreen. It’s a very simple routine. Then, I head to the gym, shower, then head to class. I work out again after with either a run or a swim.
My schedule depends on what day of the week it is. For example, if it’s a Monday then I usually have Chinese Medicine classes. I’m done with traditional med school. I took the boards 2 years ago, but I’m aiming for a specialization degree in traditional Chinese Medicine. How I got into sports accupuncture was a bit of a surprise. When I was in my 4th year of college, I had a really bad migraine and a friend of mine – who’s my mentor now – Dr. Navarro helped me out. We were at a triathlon together and I had a bad case of whiplash. My head really hurt, and I had already had a baseline migraine for months. I succumbed and said, “Oh sige, acu mo na nga ako.” I was such a skeptic but it worked almost instantly.
After that moment, my interest in the field grew exponentially. When I was about to graduate med school, I fixed up an elective in Chinese/Eastern Medicine and from there, started considering it as a career. I realized that sports is still my end goal for taking medicine. I love that I can offer my services to other athletes. It’s something aside from the usual pill or physical therapy – although those work, I’m not discounting those. But I really do prefer this kind of treatment more.
Anyway, I’m in the phase where you need to treat patients already, and then present your cases at the end of the term. So, we only have classes a few times a month but if we do, it usually falls on a Monday. On Tuesdays, I work at St. Lukes Global City in the afternoons and do Nike Running Club at night. Wednesdays and Fridays are usually saved for meeting patients in my clinic here at home. If there aren’t that many, then I get to sneak in a few more workouts or maybe even training.
Right now, we’re actually in the midst of triathlon season. It usually starts around February or March, and then extends up to maybe August. This time of the year, I tend to do a lot of different exercises. Just last week, I came from a CrossFit competition in Davao. For now, though, I’m on a mini break. The summer was really hectic. Every two weeks I would have something, like a competition for cycling, or running, or weightlifting. Of course, there were triathlons, too.
Off-season, I do a lot of my workouts at Alpha Strength in Mandaluyong or Quezon City. It’s usually just a lot of strength and conditioning exercises to keep me in shape. I also run. Swimming is also always there – especially since it helps ease my body’s tension from other workouts.
Going back to my mornings, I’m not really much of a breakfast person. I mean, I can work out without anything in my stomach. I just need to be hydrated. A few years back when I was training for the SEA Games, I’d have to wake up at 4AM to get to practice by 5AM – there was just literally no time to eat. So, I learned to just drink water or coffee (but only if I’m really sleepy). I love having a few fruits in the morning when I can, though. On days that I have loads of time on my hands, I try to fix something up. My fallback is usually an omelet with lots of protein.
I would say that I’m conscious about my diet but not in a bad way. I watch what I eat but I don’t count calories per se. I just tend to choose things that I know will nourish my body well. One principle that I like to remember when eating in general is to keep everything balanced. Balanced in terms of the kinds of food that you eat and the flavors that you have so it can’t all be salty or sweet. Just having that balance of everything is really the key.
Sittings by Sam Potenciano