Name: Vivien Panganiban
Lives: St Petersburg, Florida
Occupation: Fitness/Life Coach & Federal Government
Favorite OCR Series: Spartan Race
Favorite Obstacle: Hercules Hoist
Least Favorite Obstacle: Spear Throw
Ideal Race Distance: 3-5 miles
2016 OCR Goals: Represent well for the Philippines at OCRWC
Give me a bio of yourself in 3-5 sentences.
I’m a 35-year-old single mother of two children ages 3 and 5. I have two careers: I’ve worked for the Federal Government for over 15 years and also have my own Fitness/Life Coaching business as well. I use my past struggles with obesity (I’ve lost over 85lbs), depression, anxiety, low-self esteem, emotional/physical abuse, and the loss of 2 children at birth as a way to inspire others to “never give up” on themselves. I have used health & fitness as a way to transform my life both physically and mentally. OCR has been another avenue in which I am able to show others that “obstacles” are put in your way to see if what you want is really worth fighting for.
Why do you compete in OCR?
Yes, it feels good to place in a race, but I ultimately compete in OCR so that I could inspire others who may think that they could never do something as “extreme” as this. I want to offer “hope” to those who are dealing with weight and confidence issues or other life struggles. I want others to know that your past does NOT define your future. Anything is possible with drive, discipline, and determination.
Has there ever a time during your first race that you thought you couldn’t finish? Once you did finally cross that finish line, what thoughts were going on in your head?
My first ever OCR was Savage Race. As a “newbie” to the sport at that time, I had many thoughts of quitting throughout the 7-mile course. I remember not even being able to get over a 3-foot wall without assistance. I attempted Saw Tooth and the Warp Wall and failed yet it gave me something to work towards. My least favorite obstacle was Davey Jones Locker where you have to jump off a platform into water. I literally thought I was going to drown from being so out of breath but I survived. 4 hours later, I crossed the finish line. As the finisher's medal was placed around my neck, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I have never felt before. All I could think of was that this was the beginning of an OCR addiction.
Tell me about a time when you experienced a lack of motivation. What caused this and what did you do about it?
I lacked motivation after an ACL tear last March. I was feeling sorry for myself because I was not able to compete or train as hard as I wanted to. I finally realized that I had to focus on the things that I was able to do rather than focusing on the things that I could not do. So while I was rehabilitating my knee, I concentrated on strengthening my upper body, core, and grip strength. My pull up bar became my best friend.
Give me a fact about yourself that would impress most people.
I had been overweight almost my entire life (from ages 7-28), so I was never an athlete or a runner back in the day. I never participated in any type of competitive sport until 2014 when I ran my first competitive OCR. So to be able to qualify for the 2015 and 2016 OCRWC is a huge accomplishment for me.
A lot of people think that exercise alone will improve your health, but in reality, diet is just as important to reaching your health goals. When it comes to eating well, what are your top-3 recommendations?
Eating “clean” is definitely important if one wants to improve their health. A person could work out consistently, but if their nutrition is not on point, then they will not see the results they are looking for. My top three recommendations are:
- Limit processed foods that are made in a factory especially with ingredients you cannot pronounce
- Eat foods mostly from the produce and meat section of the supermarket
- Do not drink “diet” soda with artificial sweeteners
Do you have a go-to meal? What is the recipe? If you have a family/significant other, how did you manage to alter your eating patterns to accommodate them?
Since I follow the KETO diet (low carb, high fat), anything with meat and vegetables is my go-to meal. My children eat the same things I eat, except I add rice to their meal for carbohydrates. My boyfriend eats healthy as well so that is not an issue either.
What is your proudest non-running accomplishment?
My proudest non-running accomplishment is that I am able to help inspire others every day with my “story.” When people tell me their life has transformed completely because of the support I had given them, it makes me so proud. It reminds me that I do what I do as a Fitness/Life Coach because of them.
Do you have a coach and/or training partner? If so, how have they helped you transform as an athlete?
I do not have a particular training partner, but I do have celebrity trainers such as Shaun T, Tony Horton, Segi, and Autumn who have helped me transform into the athlete I am today. Believe it or not, 90% of my training is done from the comfort of my home just by “pressing play” on my DVD player. I have completed Insanity, P90X3, Insanity the Asylum, Max 30, Body Beast, and currently completing a program called Hammer & Chisel. I also have an accountability group that I host and run monthly fitness challenges for all my clients. Since I am a Fitness Coach, I have to lead by example and this helps keep me accountable towards my goals as an athlete.
Pretend you’re a race director for a day. Describe the course you would design.
I would design a short course (2 miles) with 100 obstacles that focused on strength, speed, and skill. There would be wall climbs, inverted ladders, bucket carries up hill, inclined/declined monkey bars, Hercules hoist, platinum rig, drag/pull center blocks, over/unders, rope climbs, atlas carry, warped wall, and more…followed by a sprint to the finish.
What advice do you have for people struggling with weight issues?
You could have one hundred people tell you that you need to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight, but if you aren’t self-motivated, the weight will not drop on its own. Think about all the reasons why you want “change” in your life and use those things as motivation. For me, it had to take me being in an abusive relationship, losing 2 children, and losing my father to preventable health, and being 85lbs overweight, for me to finally “wake up” and realize that I am the only one with the power to change my current situation. I used health and fitness as my outlet and as a way to regain control of my life.