Preaching the fitness gospel
SHARJAH (UAE) – As a child, fitness expert Richard Francisco Vidaja has always dreamt of becoming a superhero to save the lives of people. Today, he is trying to make that dream a reality by helping people battle the bulge and a whole lot of lifestyle-related health issues such as acid reflux, fatty liver and hypertension through a scientific fitness regimen.
Richard, who is based in the city of Sharjah in the UAE, is the awardee of Active IQ Level 2 Certificate in Fitness Instructing and Active IQ Level 2 Certificate in Personal Training. He has been awarded credits by taking into account aspects such as knowledge in the field of anatomy and physiology for exercise, health, safety and welfare in a fitness environment and providing instructions for gym-based exercise, among others. “I provide a comprehensive one-on-one training and nutrition guide, promoting a realistic and natural way to achieve your fitness goals,” he says.
He says with his regime, there are umpteen benefits. “It helps in muscle building or conditioning, weight loss or gain and fitness and general wellness, which includes eliminating fatty liver, acid reflux and hypertension.” He adds that he focuses on ‘natural ways’ such as proper training, good food, providing supplements such as multivitamins, Omega 3, probiotics, BCAA and taking enough rest.
He talks about how he got intrigued by the idea of becoming fit and the footsteps that one must take in this regard. “I had gotten into the bad habit of smoking and drinking a while ago, and one day I realised my life could end so soon if I am not going to control my inclination towards the same or completely stop it. Suddenly, the idea to get myself to workout captured my attention. However, I did not know where I must start from,” he says.
“In 2008, the use of WiFi and YouTube was strictly prohibited in the UAE, and I remember how even gyms were very few. I was left with no choice but to visit the nearest bookstore and look for the basic exercises I can do. My very first gym was my room and interestingly, my equipment was a pair of bottles containing water, a chair and a towel. With self-motivation, dedication and determination, I started working out well. In no time, my bad habits were completely gone. The body I have now was developed from 70% in my room and 30% in the gym,” he adds.
That said, he says the journey is still daunting because of the criticism that has been levelled at him. He says, “The criticism doesn’t matter, as long as you are focused in what you believe. With faith and trust in God, everything will be fine.”
He goes on to say that with proper training, rest and good food, one can achieve the goal of becoming fit in three to six months.
Richard then talks about his grandfather, who has been his inspiration. “He taught me a lot of things, from being humble and respectful to all no matter what their colour is to being a god-fearing person,” he says.
His family members are living in the Philippines and running a small business in the village by providing clothing and making provisions available for daily basic needs.
Given that a lot of people, especially in the UAE, are affected by lifestyle issues, he says fitness is definitely the need of the hour. “Health and wellness or like let’s call it an ordinary exercise, for which we need to spare at least 1% of our time per day. The extent to which moving your whole body, pumping up your heart and lungs a little will help prolong life. It will also help avoid the risks of heart attack and lowers cholesterol and improves mobility. These are just a few, however, the list will go on and on,” he says.
So, other than focusing on fitness what does Richard indulge in? “Cooking has been passion. I love cooking food with a twist, and giving it a tinge of innovation,” he says.
He concludes that he looks forward to making a mark, with regard to the fitness regime. “I believe one day I would be running my own food business and fitness centre.”
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