Photos by Rhobynne Villaluna
Manila Traffic. Bipolar Weather. These two factors are enough to discourage even the most strong-willed fitness freaks. But 25-year old certified fitness trainer, and a graduate of Sports Science from UP Diliman, Leandro Cabrera (Coach Andre), saw it as an opportunity for a new kind of fitness service.
Fitness Mobil is a group of coaches and certified trainers that delivers workouts straight to your home. Founded by Coach Andre, he wanted fitness to be inclusive, after having negative experiences in the gym. “I believe that fitness is for everyone, but when you workout in a gym, sometimes, you will feel intimidated and judged by the way you look, instead of being supported by your commitment to work hard and be fit. The gym can be a very mean place for a person who is insecure of their weight, just like what I felt while trying to workout in our college gym. I realized that what better place to workout than in the comfort of your home, while still achieving the same results you get in the gym. You get rid of those negative factors that will hinder you from reaching your goals, and focus on yourself, and getting better.”
Knowledgeable and passionate are two words I’d associate him with, after our initial meeting. He definitely knows what he’s talking about, and you can tell that he takes his job seriously. “What I like most about fitness is how it can break barriers between what the mind thinks it can’t do and what the body can actually do. Every time you are faced to lift for a new personal record, you are also faced with so much doubt. That moment when you decide to do it beyond all doubts is what interests me in fitness. It’s just like life.”
ON BODY IMAGE
Tell us your fitness story.
I grew up being a fat kid and being insecure of my weight. Out of the 4 siblings, I was the chubby one. What can I say, I loved to eat. My insecurity over my weight grew when our family transferred to Manila from Cebu permanently.
Entering into a new high school was tough, because I had a hard time adjusting. This was also the first time I decided to be fit and try to lose weight for prom (haha!). As a result, I lost 20 pounds through 3 hours of basketball and 1 hour of running everyday, but I also lost strength because of crash dieting. Although I got really thin, I still thought I was fat. Entering college, the pressure to be fit was really high. I was enrolled in Sports Science, and the only impression of it was to be physically active and fit. My turning point was when I started my internship with 360 Fitness Club. I was motivated to be fit because it was sort of a fresh start. I didn’t know anyone in the gym and they required us to workout at least 4x a week. Ever since then, I have never stopped lifting, and I know I am stronger now than I was before.
Do you think men are pressured to look a certain way?
I believe the root of the pressure comes from how the media define how men should look. They focus more on aesthetics, not on strength. We see it in the movies and advertisements, and the images we see create that pressure, because we compare ourselves to them, when in reality, not all people can achieve the same results.
Do you feel that you have to be bigger (more masculine) to be seen as an “effective” coach? If so, how do you deal?
No, but it helps if you are fit. Some say it boils down to practicing what you preach, but “effective” coaches shouldn’t be defined by how they look. They should be defined by how many lives they have helped change through fitness.
When I started as a trainer, I felt the pressure to look big and be stronger than most people, but at the end of the day, the focus shouldn’t be on us, it should be towards our clients. Yes, coaches needs to be fit because of the fact that it is a physically exhausting job, but we don’t have to promote ourselves, we have to promote our craft.
I know that as a coach, you’re focused on the strength development of your clients. How do you deal with those who are so obsessed on the numbers and weight loss?
Part of my job is also educating my clients on the difference between weight loss, fat loss and strength training. I have observed through experience that it takes time for people to shift its mindset from just losing weight to getting stronger. I just constantly remind them that we need to trust the process of our program and let know that fitness is not a magic pill where you can see results right away. Another method I do is to track the results in terms of girth to convince them that we are on track in reaching their goals.
ON FITNESS MOBIL
What were you doing before Fitnessmobil?
I was already into personal training and had my first client while I was still in my senior year in college, around 2012. The name of the company was still different back then.
What are your credentials as a personal trainer?
- National Academy of Sports Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer
- TRX Certified Trainer
- SMRT-CORE Certified Trainer
How is Fitness Mobil being received so far?
When I decided to do this full time last July 2015, I was a bit hesitant if indeed there was a market for home training. It made me wonder why there hasn’t been any company that offers this type of service. When I resigned from the gym, I had 8 active clients. With God’s grace, by December 2015, I had 18 active clients. The inquiries grew, and I had to hire more coaches. I realized there was really a market for home training, it was only a matter reaching out to them. As of now, we have around 30 active clients.
How does Fitness Mobil work?
So first is, you contact us and we will give you our rates & packages via e-mail. Next is, we schedule your free trial session on your preferred time and place. Once the details are set, I will coordinate with my coach who is nearest you, and they will contact you directly to confirm the trial session.
During the first meet up, our trainer will let you fill out some forms that will help us get to know more about your fitness background. With the information provided, we can proceed to the fitness test, where we will assess your strengths and weaknesses to give a baseline data of where you are in terms of your fitness level. After the workout, our trainers will provide you with a full assessment and explain to you how well you did, and what are the things you need to improve on.
Our packages are categorized into basic, advance and premium.
Basic Fitness Package is a good start up fitness package for people without experience or background in fitness and who are living a sedentary lifestyle. This gives a complete strengthening workout program for our beginner clients. This can also be for people who have access to a gym in their area but just lack equipment.
Advanced Fitness Package. Our clients can achieve faster results with the use of dumbbells and kettle bells, this gives more opportunity to burn fat, build more muscles and gain more strength.
Premium Fitness Package. Our clients will experience a complete workout experience from warm up to cool down to recovery, through the use of Trigger Point that massages the muscles. It increases the mobility and releases any muscle tension that the client is feeling.
What makes Fitness Mobil unique compared to regular gym memberships?
We give our clients something that is more valuable than money, and that is time. Our clients get to save time from traffic going to and from the gym. We also give them the privacy and space they want to have, where they won’t have to compete in a jam-packed gym during rush hour. Our service includes the equipment that is needed for training like kettle bells, dumbbells, foam rollers, and cable bands. With these free weights equipment, you can reach your fitness goals the same way you can at the gym.
What are your next plans for Fitness Mobil?
Ideally, I plan to have one coach assigned per city.
You seem very passionate to start your own fitness business. What keeps you driven?
I take satisfaction in knowing that what we are doing as a profession is not just merely helping them get fit, but we are helping them get better in life. Seeing our clients satisfied and how their lives have changed because of a fitter and healthier body keeps me going.
- Favorite workout: Barbell exercises!
- Favorite post-workout snack: Chocolates!
- Favorite “cheat” meal: Fried bangus with bagoong and rice plus ice cream for dessert
- Favorite music to workout to: Motivational speeches!
- If you were a gym equipment, what would you be and why? Kettlebells! Because they’re just badass! Hehe.
- Who is your favorite fitness icon and why? Joe DeFranco and Bret Contreras
- If you were to be trained by anyone, who would you choose? I’d want to be trained by Bret Contreras.
Lastly… Do you think body positivity is important?
Yes, it is important. The more we compare ourselves to other people, the more insecure we become. Our bodies are unique and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. We need to build a better version of ourselves, and accept it, so that we can recognize the achievements we have made in our fitness journey.