When the global health crisis struck the world into a colossal spiral while we all watched anxious in our homes, I decided to escape into a fitness challenge. Hey, I needed some form of healthy coping and I thought putting my frail, petite figure into the ringer was a good way to keep me distracted.
So, since the end of March of this year, I decided to do at-home workouts six days per week. And, by the end of April, I had somehow dedicated hours into working out consistently from Sundays to Fridays.
Deciding to be fit
If you’re thinking, “she’s mental,” hi. Yes, I am. I always knew I was capable of sticking to something I wanted to work towards. I’d go so far as to say I’ve always had an obsessive tendency towards things I set my mind on. There was, of course, a good incentive: my mental health.
I’ve always struggled with my mental health. Even when writing about how video games helped me through rough patches in my life, I’d spiral back into the same mental state over and over. I wanted to break that horrible cycle. And so, I set myself to use fitness to expend energy I would usually have to be anxious or self-destructive on something healthier and beneficial.
Oh, I almost forgot a tangent motivation to all of this: I was weaning off my medication. So, if you didn’t know, which you probably didn’t, I was taking antidepressants and mood stabilizers to get by.
Whenever I had teetered into fitness, I weirdly felt on-top-of-things. I brought this up to my psychiatrist and knew that if I wanted sustainable stability, I had to work on long term changes to my lifestyle.
So, back to the task at hand, I had consistently worked out, built muscle where I didn’t know I had and gained a ton of weight. By late August to early September, I had felt better mentally.
Tracking with the OPPO Watch
When I got the OPPO Watch, I had already checked out most of my personal goals except one: getting stunning abs. I went to work on journaling ab workouts I was going to do and healthy meals I wanted to treat myself to. I was planning on running outside to get my daily 10,000 steps through the watch’s Wear OS out of the way and was pretty excited to strap on the OPPO Watch.
Before we hop into my journey with the OPPO Watch, here’s a couple of things you might want to know. The Oppo Watch’s dual-curved 1.6-inch AMOLED display makes it look identical to the Apple Watch.
Elephant in the room finally out; let’s talk specs. It’s got a Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC with an Apollo Chip. All of that runs on Wear OS by Google and is powered by a 300mAh battery. And, OPPO boasted the watch’s 21-day battery capacity. So, I was hyping myself up for a two-week ab workout program to accompany the specs and features the watch was decked out on.
Let me just get it out there: as much as the OPPO Watch has an identity crisis on potentially being an Apple Watch wannabe or clone, it delivers on looks. The watch is pretty and the interface never once stuttered while I used it. But I digress…
Road to getting abs
On day one, road to maybe getting abs, the watch flopped and stopped recording my run, and ab exercises because it had run out of battery. Frustrated but also quietly relieved, I dropped my plan for the afternoon and eased out of my workout quicker than I often would.
You see, I had become overly obsessed with working out. So much so, that I was scheduling everything else in my day around the 2-3 hours every single day I wanted to exercise.
Although it was a disappointing first day, it was a wake-up call. I had always felt fatigued and out of breath from just doing typical chores. I’ve long ignored this symptom of over-training and kept overworking myself.
As much as the watch didn’t get to keep up with my “typical” day, it drew red flags on the fact that I was unusually active.
Don’t get me wrong. The OPPO Watch is a great smartwatch. It’s got a ton of features I want a smartwatch to have. It had a training assistant, a heart rate monitor, a sleep tracker, sedentary reminders, and had a vast array of workouts you could track through Wear OS.
It was the best thing to help validate the hard work I was making on a daily. I would use and abuse installing the Google Fit app to track my strength training, workout sets, and footsteps. But, if there’s anything I slowly learned from over-training and “over tracking,” it’s that you tarnish your relationship to exercise if you obsess over calories.
More to getting fit than looking a certain way
If you’ve been hating yourself for not getting fit or not losing weight while the rest of the world is ablaze, let this be the reminder you need. We’re here to survive, not to pressure ourselves into losing weight, getting fit, building unhealthy self-images, or getting sick and injured.
This year, especially, is not the time. I know that being isolated can feel relentlessly daunting and peeking into social media feeds into unhealthy and toxic standards you might feel pressured to try to achieve. But, there’s more to health than trying to look a certain way — there’s the important bit about how you are and how you are feeling.
A lot of the ironically toxic parts of health and fitness is from building fundamental goals on visual validity: a number on the scale, a measurement, or aesthetic muscle development. When health and fitness should be about developing something sustainable: strength, flexibility, stamina, or better well-being.
It’s also good to note that quick and sudden fixes can show fast results but won’t be sustainable long-term. The quicker the change, the quicker it is to lose. Easing your way into small changes until you achieve a healthy lifestyle that isn’t restrictive of anything you want is the way to go.
For the past two weeks with the OPPO Watch, I decided to be more attuned with myself, mentally and physically. It was a good time for my body to recover from brutal stress I put it through.
The watch’s Wear OS features breathing exercises that helped a lot with this. I would find myself struggling with anxiety late at night and I’d go on the watch and do the breathing exercises until I calmed down. I know the feature is simple and I can do without it but, having something to guide me through deep breathes really helped.
Throughout my two weeks of what was meant to be non-stop ab exercises, I decided to work out on days I felt like working out and rested on days I wanted to. The OPPO Watch gave me a good feel of my health with my heart rate and step count even if I stayed indoors.
It monitored and gave me customizable daily goals which were less about reaching them every day and more about realistic and forgiving progress.
Oh! It’s good to note that the watch might be able to last about a week but it’ll need to be on power saver mode. You’ll be limited to viewing the time, checking your pulse when you want to, counting your steps, and getting notifications.
On that week, I kept active and went about my day without worrying about the nitty-gritty details of how much calories I burnt from walking, running, or lifting weights.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
I didn’t keep the OPPO Watch on power saver mode for long for a few reasons. To recover from over-training, I wanted to improve on my sleep and work on my relationship with exercise and calories so tracking my sleep was important to me.
On top of that, the breathing exercises weren’t accessible on power saver mode which was a huge bummer seeing as that feature helped me through some anxious nights — what a legend of a feature.
The OPPO Watch is decked out with so much to help you get better, happier, and healthier but only in ways, you choose to. So if you’re not a fitness fiend and are looking for a smartwatch to just track your pulse, steps, and of course, keep track of time, consider this watch. The OPPO Watch costs PhP 12,990/GBP 229.
How to get your bumpy fitness journey back on track
Start slowly with a smartwatch
The rise of smartwatches and wearables is revolutionizing healthcare in an entirely new way by allowing us to take charge of our physical and mental well-being right from our wrists.
Anyone can quickly jump-start a fitness routine designed for their level. But if you haven’t kept up with your fitness routine over the past year, I’m not going to blame you. I’ve been hibernating most of the year, too!
The thought of figuring out how to start working out again seemed daunting. But wearing a smartwatch can help shake off the dust. Such is the case when I wore the Redmi Watch 2 Lite — I knew right away it’s time to get back in shape.
Know your fitness level and start slowly
It’s been a while since my last workout, so I remembered to take it easy. Starting off with something as rudimentary as a week of stretching is fine.
I decided to begin my fitness journey with quick runs, yoga, and quality stretching. If you’re unsure where to start, smartwatches usually have workout modes built-in. In my case, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite offered 100 workout modes — from core sports like outdoor running, and even freestyle workout tracking.
It also includes support for GPS, Glonass, as well as Galileo, and BDS satellite systems to improve accuracy in tracking your outdoor runs and rides.
Keeping my heart healthy, unbothered and happy
Before working out, I used to pick a Spotify playlist that’ll last the entire duration. Then, I just head off and skip some rope or run on a treadmill. Or go outdoors when the sun is setting down.
I’d do anything to keep my heart rate up without depleting my strength. It helps with my concentration and focus — something that we need to consider beyond our workouts, too.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite has an optical heart rate sensor that continuously measures heart rate during exercises, or even when you’re lounging around day or night. On the plus side, it helps me track my stress levels and wind down through guided breathing exercises.
Take essential breaks to power through
Hitting your fitness goals as soon as possible might be your main objective for now, but you shouldn’t work out relentlessly. Take breaks. Come back better and stronger.
Throughout my journey, I learned how important sleep is, especially in helping your muscles recover. It actually matters the most during training.
Although sleeping requires far less energy than most daytime activities, I was surprised that it’s still an active period for burning some calories.
Seeing statistics on my wrist about my sleep quality helped me understand recovery better. For in-depth understanding, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite syncs with a dedicated Xiaomi Wear app — which works with any smartphone.
Somehow, I learned more about my sleep stages as well as my heart rate and blood oxygen levels when I’m snoozing, and how they’re an important indicator if your body’s doing well. I realized that my sleep quality can help me determine how much effort I’ll make on my workout the next day.
Stay active, no matter what
Consistency is key. I’m a deep believer that our habits don’t just appear out of nowhere. A significant reason is that things don’t just happen in a split second — time is needed to get stronger, build muscle, and lose fat. Having a visual reminder of my workout streak motivates me to keep going.
This is why I enjoyed the Redmi Watch 2 Lite. It packs a 262mAh battery capacity which, based on my regular usage, lasted me for at least 10 days.
It’s great having a smartwatch with a solid stamina that can accompany you through your fitness journey. You don’t have to spend a lot of time charging your device every now and then, so you can continue being active and staying on track. Hit your goals right!
Ready, #GetFit, and #StartNow!
Imagine having a smartwatch that can certainly get you a week’s worth of time in between charges. For a budget smartwatch, the Redmi Watch 2 Lite certainly impressed me on how it can be a long-lasting companion as I try to get my fitness journey back on track.
It also looks chic and it doesn’t feel cheap, even for a retail price of PhP 2,899. Plus, the screen has a reasonably good quality.
The Redmi Watch 2 Lite comes in various colors such as Ivory, Black, and Blue. Meanwhile, the straps showcase different colors that complement the watch, namely Pink, Olive, and Brown.
How the Galaxy Watch4 Classic helped me build better habits
And break old, bad patterns
Smartwatches rarely stay on my wrist for a long period of time. Not because I don’t like them, but because I have to test wearables every month or so.
Having a job that requires you to test different smartwatches from several brands might be a dream come true for some people, but I find it highly cumbersome especially when I’m still trying to build the lifestyle that I want.
After I reviewed the Huawei Watch 3, I decided to slap the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic on my wrist. Permanently. After all, I’m neck-deep in the Samsung ecosystem. It makes so much sense to use a smartwatch that will work with all my other devices.
Breaking and building habits
For a quarter, I made a pact to myself that I will build the lifestyle that I want. And boy, after months of using Samsung’s latest smartwatch, I realized I turned my life around using a small, functional accessory.
I never realized I’ve been changing my habits — which I consider the building blocks of a lifestyle, based on what I learned from a transformative book called Atomic Habits — through this nifty device.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably curious why I keep blabbering about turning my life around with just a wearable. And you’re probably skeptical, thinking I’m just selling an idea. But, trust me, this is a personal account of my transformation.
While changing my beliefs, mindset, habits, and learning more about myself are the main factors to consider, having a smartwatch helped me attain my goals in little, simple ways.
And based on Atomic Habits, change starts in the little things you do within yourself and your surroundings. (I won’t spoil you, so go ahead and read the book. It will change your life.)
Using my smartphone less
Like many young adults, I struggle with using my smartphone too much. With a job revolving around the latest gadgets, particularly these high-tech slates, it’s easy to fall into the rabbit hole of building an automated life.
But everything’s within your reach, right? Yes. Except I also deal with cranky mornings dashed with a little rush from all the emails and messages. I’m certain I’m not the only one bombarded with notifications as soon as connecting to the Wi-Fi. On top of that, I’m exposed to too much blue light — smartphones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and portable gaming consoles.
The dream is to lessen the time spent holding my smartphone and create a balanced life of being connected through my devices while being in tune with my physical surroundings.
Streamlining reliance on gadgets
Having had the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic for more than a quarter now, I found appreciation for its basic features, especially when they all work seamlessly without delays. I answer calls, respond to chats, and check important messages at a glance.
I stopped using my smartphone for alarms, and instead of reverting to an old-school alarm clock, I just customized the smartwatch to ring and vibrate in a way that would really wake me up.
And there are a lot more features to enjoy; things we take for granted because we don’t know how to incorporate these features in our lifestyle simply because we don’t have to.
Years of covering smartwatches made me realize that these wearables are already advanced and have everything we need. People just really don’t know how to maximize these features to make their lives more efficient. And I, regretfully, fell in the same trap despite being able to test the latest smartwatches regularly.
Nevertheless, the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic still stood out among the smartwatches that came across my wrists, especially in 2021.
To reserving my brainpower for more fruitful activities in life
Change my mind: Google makes navigating your digital life easier, especially if you’ve been with the Android ecosystem for years. This is why I still prefer using Samsung over Huawei — especially with the loss of Google Mobile Services. Surely, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic is the perfect Android smartwatch right now.
I’ve had my fair share of Huawei’s smartwatches (Yes, I do love them), and while they all pack unique tools in a robust build with flagship-rated power and a long-lasting battery that lasts for several days — they still require brainpower to seamlessly integrate the smartwatch to your devices and your day-to-day life.
And that isn’t something I don’t want to welcome in my life, moving forward. I prefer to make things simple and efficient. I prefer to use the last of my brain cells by doing things that are meaningful to me e.g. reading a book, playing a strategy game, doing more architectural sketches and gouache paintings, and learning new hobbies that make life more exciting.
If a device calls itself smart, it should be able to figure things out on its own so I can live my life to the fullest without worrying about how things work.
Compatibility is so important — in relationships or smartwatches
The experience with Galaxy Watch4 Classic, as compared to Huawei’s flagship Watch3 and Watch GT3, is much easier for someone with only three brain cells left functioning. One instance is when connecting the device and using the Samsung Health app — even on a non-Samsung device.
I’ve had trouble navigating Huawei’s Health app and connecting the devices to various smartphones, even with the likes of Honor 50. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic works well with any smartphone. Although to maximize the device to the fullest, it’s best to use a Samsung smartphone — even if they’re old like the Galaxy S8 or an affordable one like the Galaxy A52.
Using apps that are appropriate for my lifestyle and compatible with my devices
One reason why we believe the Apple Watch is still considered the gold standard when it comes to smartwatches is because of its ecosystem, plethora of compatible apps, and plenty of straps and designs that match different personalities and lifestyles.
While the Galaxy Watch4 series isn’t enough to rival the Apple Watch, Samsung holds the crown when it comes to Android smartwatches.
Samsung really did it right, collaborating with Google for WearOS. Now, I get to route my map before heading out for a drive using Google Maps. And everything I download on my smartphone, if compatible with the smartwatch, gets automatically downloaded.
I get to respond to annoying Viber messages, control my music playback on Spotify or YouTube Music, and even use apps that help me continue the fitness journey that I started a year ago.
And there’s a reason why most of my friends use the Galaxy Watch4 series as well. It’s compatible with fitness apps we deem important in our lives. There’s Google Fit, Strava for my cyclist friends, adidas Running app for those who have a lot of will to run, Calm for my meditative chicas, and myFitnessPal which I also use for tracking my nutrition intake.
Overcoming the love-hate relationship with fitness
I used to have a love-hate relationship with smartwatches when they used to look like workout gears. It made it impossible to wear it in casual settings, which is counter-productive for those who aim to make fitness their lifestyle.
When I was still training with my coach, we came to a conclusion that it’s easier to make fitness a lifestyle when your space, clothes, and accessories are all workout-ready. I had to install dip bars, make the exercise ball and dumbbells visible right when I wake up and use a rubber mat to create a conducive space for my physical activities.
In the same way, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic was always ready to join me in my conquests. Aside from the health and fitness features it possesses, I like how it’s unassumingly a fitness-oriented device since I can sport it while wearing a dress shirt. And when used to accompany me in my workouts, it brims with features that will make the most out of your workout.
Living an active lifestyle
While it’s hard to be consistent when you live in an erratic, hectic schedule, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic reminded me to stay active. It asks me to move around, or perform stretches while I’m working consistently, sitting for hours. Even without its alerts, subconsciously, I get reminded to choose situations that will require me to be active.
I used to take my electric scooter to move around the neighborhood, or use the car even when going to run my errands — which are sometimes within a kilometer or two away from home.
I struggled, of course, but the visibility of a lifestyle companion made me walk despite the unbearable, scorching heat. That, or I take the bicycle.
When I forget to choose the walking mode among the workout options, the Galaxy Watch4 Classic is smart enough to record your movements, and automatically switches to workout mode.
My forgetfulness is somehow saved by the highly perceptive sensors found on the smartwatch. And that high-tech functionality is what I welcome in my life.
Paying more attention to my health
I’m no stranger when it comes to a smartwatch’s health features. Every smartwatch I’ve tested has the same monitoring features to help you pay more attention to your health.
With my experience working with smartwatches, it’s the last habit I have to change. I’ve been paying more attention to my health ever since I slapped a smartwatch on my wrist.
But it’s still worth mentioning how you can solidify the habit you’ve started. It’s easy to forget stuff when you’re overwhelmed — tracking your health included.
The Galaxy Watch4 Classic’s rotating bezels made it easier for me to monitor my health. You can customize the tiles depending on your priority, but from the get-go, they have the necessary features presented accordingly.
At a glance, you can check the steps you’ve taken, the minutes you’ve been active, and the calories you’ve burned. I know, you’re already familiar with this one. These data are also accessible depending on your watch face.
Then, there are also tiles for heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen, stress levels, food and water intake, and even cycle tracking for women. Having easy access to these important data made me more aware of what changes I need to do.
To better night routines
There’s also Sleep Tracking which also coordinates with your phone, tracking your sleep through the snore or sound you make. Sometimes, I forget to wear my watch and leave it charging on the dock
There are days where you just really hit the snooze button and shut down from the world. Those times made my smartwatch and smartphone work together to record my sleep.
It won’t be able to check my pulse though. This is why I learned to take my smartwatch off when I’m taking a shower and doing my night routine. I get to pamper myself while my smartwatch recharges, so it’s ready to monitor my sleep and heart rate when I’m asleep.
That may be the only thing I didn’t like about the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic. The shorter runtime could’ve been longer so I don’t need to recharge time and time again.
Anyhow, it helped me to really make an effort to perform a self-care routine. Even when I’m dead tired from a long day at work.
Working on my ideal body
It’s also worth mentioning how the Galaxy Watch4 Classic takes the spotlight with its body composition tool.
The new feature uses a technology called Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA). They’re basically little charges shot through your body to tell how much is fat and how much is skeletal muscle.
When you’re working on your dream body, knowing your body composition is essential to understand what changes you should make to your fitness program and diet.
Weekly, I check my body composition through the tool. It helps me decide how to adjust my lifestyle so I can reach my body goals. It can be tiresome to stay on this journey, but I’ve committed to taking better care of myself. And I’m elated that the smartwatch is well-rounded enough to accompany me in everything I wanted to do.
Designing the lifestyle I’ve been dreaming of
Frankly, I know I’m not yet there — living the life I’ve always dreamt about. A routine that works perfectly with my activities and schedule. A body that I can confidently flaunt across the cameras.
I’m still susceptible to the big changes in life that can shake my foundations, or push me back to square one and revert to my old, bad habits.
But I know I’m also far from where I’ve been. When I look in the mirror, I see a new version of myself. I jokingly state how I’m now in my version 2.4.9 as if I was a smartphone update. Although, it’s also true that I do get better over time. Because that’s what I intend to do with my life.
When you recognize the habits you want to change and take necessary actions to improve, you’ll get the results. Anything can be a tool to accompany you, as long as it fits the lifestyle you want to work for.
It just happens to be the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic. And I’m happy to have it on my wrist and stay with me as long as it works.
The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 Classic retails for PhP 17,990 for the 42mm variant, and PhP 19,990 for the 46mm variant. Both sizes are available in Black or Silver colorways. You can purchase it in Samsung’s Online Store, official stores, and authorized retailers nationwide.
Stark Fitness redefines local fitness landscape in the Philippines
High-quality equipment and accessories within reach
Having a home gym setup has been a coping mechanism for some Filipinos. To stay sane, healthy, and fit, especially during an ongoing pandemic. The demand to invest in high-quality equipment and accessories soared in nearly two years of being under community quarantine.
Stark Fitness, a rapidly growing startup fitness brand established in 2020, aims to redefine the local fitness landscape in the Philippines. It has expanded from e-commerce, mounting its first-ever physical store located at the 5th level Bridgeway in SM Megamall.
The fitness brand brings high-quality equipment — adjustable dumbbells, home spinning bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, and other fitness accessories.
But they’re not stopping their rapid growth. Stark Fitness aims to open 10 more branches in Metro Manila for 2022. Subsequently, the brand will eventually broaden its territory — penetrating the provincial market in key cities and regions.
Currently, Stark Fitness offers easy payment options for its products. Customers can avail of a 12-month installment to pay plan with 0% interest. For BPI and BDO cardholders, there’s a Buy Now, Pay Later option.
Welcoming its arrival
On its opening day, key executives spearheaded the ribbon-cutting and store blessing.
Isabelle Lim, Stark Fitness Managing Director, raised a toast after the ceremony. “We, at Stark Fitness, aim to be a trusted brand of Filipino, especially to health and fitness enthusiasts. More than a brand that offers premium quality products, we want to envision Stark Fitness as a brand that is inclusive to all genders and sizes.”
“This is the route we want to pursue — to cater to everyone’s needs and preferences and to create a space for everyone where they can be the best version of themselves.”
Stark Fitness’ opening day was also attended by a star-studded guest list. Celebrities like Kris Bernal, Ashley Ortega, Max Collins, Michelle Dee, Will Ashley, Meg Imperial, Argel Saycon, Kira Balinger, Nikko Natividad, Devon Seron, and Teejay Trinidad were seen throughout the event.
Beauty queens have also graced the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with Miss Aura International 2021 Faith Garcia, Miss Earth Philippines 2019 Janelle Tee, Miss Supranational Philippines 2021 Dindi Pajares, and Reina Hispano Americana Filipinas 2019 Katrina Llegado turning heads among the crowd.
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