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Tribesports User of the Week: Ramon F

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Posted by Ramon F under Climbing, Muay Thai, Scuba Diving on 9 October 2013 at 11:00 PM

Ramon F Which has been toughest Tribesports Challenge and which are you most proud of?

The 30 day exercise challenges seem to always be fairly hard to get through to the end, not because of the difficulty of the exercises involved but because of the consistency and regularity that is required over such a long duration. I always seem to find myself cruising for the first few weeks and something unexpected ends up causing me to miss one day leaving me no choice but to start again from the beginning. I am pretty sure though that the 90 degree push ups Challenge will undoubtedly be one of the toughest. I have been working on it for a while now but am still no where near completion.

My trek to Everest Base Camp that I did at the end of last year has to be the one that I am most proud of. I decided to do the trek alone without any porters or guides and besides the classical EBC route, I managed to squeeze in the high altitude passes and the lakes of Gokyo. 

Everest base camp

The treks themselves were not too physically strenuous but the weeks and weeks of carrying a heavy backpack and loads of camera gear did take its toll but the magnificent scenery made it all worthwhile!. Here is the compilation of the GoPro footage that I took:

I am also very proud of the team that I lead that ended up winning the Zombie Run event that was held a few months ago. The team consisted of fellow Tribesporter and good friend @andysaiden and his brother, two of my own brothers and I. The run itself was pretty interesting as it was a course that was split up into different sections and each section was filled with obstacles that were interspersed with 'zombies' that were out to get us! Each of the sections had an objective and all the objectives needed to be picked up in the quickest time possible with the least number of 'fatalities'. I was pretty delighted by the teamwork and communication that we had that day, everyone worked well as a team and seemed to just know exactly what to do!

Ramon F Zombie Run

Climbing is clearly a huge part of your life - what's been your most epic experience?

I make it a point to head up to Railay in Thailand once a year for a few weeks of climbing as Railay is a climbers paradise! The spectacular limestone crags overlook the ocean and there are apparently over seven hundred bolted routes in the area! There are also excellent beaches and other activities available like kayaking around the coastline and hiking through the jungles with each evening ending with a delicious Thai meal while watching fire poi or live Muay Thai matches. Can it get any better?!

Railay Thailand

Ramon F Deep Water SoloingDeep Water Soloing (DWS) can also be found off an island nearby called Koh Poda. DWS is a form of rock climbing that relies only upon the presence of water at the base of the crag to protect you against injury (no ropes or harnesses). You basically keep on climbing up until you either fall off or jump off into the water. Definitely an epic experience that I would highly recommend!

Any near misses when climbing?

I've been pretty fortunate over the years and have not sustained any major injuries when climbing (apart from the normal scrapes and scratches and the occasional flapper after a dyno). I have had to treat a few bad cases though, the worst was when I came across a girl who broke her ankle after landing awkwardly when bouldering. The ankle was displaced but fortunately the fracture was a closed one. I have heard of other accidents such as rocks being dislodged or those stemming from incorrect belaying techniques but they are so rare that I have yet to personally come across any. 

Where in the world would you most like to climb?

The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival is a huge target of mine. The event itself oozes fun and mutual camaraderie and the location in Kalymnos, Greece can't be beat!

I would also love to join the Petzl RocTrip but the climbing venue changes every year so you never really know where the next one will be held. I actually have a bucket list of places to climb (as well as hike and scuba dive) that includes other awesome climbing sites such as Rodellar in Spain, Getu Valley in China, and Geyikbayiri in Turkey.

Martial arts is an awesome way to develop discipline, strength and speed, how often do you train and what benefits do you feel it brings to your fitness?

When I was in primary and secondary school I mainly trained in Karate and Taekwondo but I ended up switching to Muay Thai when I started my tertiary education. I recently emerged (thanks to this challenge : What's on your agenda 30 days) from a long hiatus and am now back to training Muay Thai 2-3 times a week. I recently started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) classes as well and absolutely love it!  Martial arts hone almost every fitness aspect and practitioners (if they train hard) can expect huge benefits and improvements to their cardiovascular system, improved speed and reflexes, as well as improved strength, balance and flexibility.

Which discipline is your favorite (go on, be honest!)?

Muay Thai logoI have tried several other martial arts (aside from the ones that I've already mentioned) such as Wushu, Capoeira and Aikido but in my own personal opinion, the efficacy of Muay Thai as a striking martial art cannot be beat. This is also pretty evident if you look back to the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) where almost all the fighters trained in only one discipline with almost no cross training (style vs style).

The flashier martial arts with more style and less substance ended up getting weeded out and now almost all UFC fighters have adapted and train in BJJ (or wrestling) either for offensive or defensive groundwork and Muay Thai for the strikes and clinching. Belts are now a thing of the past.

When did you decide to aim for functional strength training rather than aesthetic?

I am an ectomorph and have always been what people refer to as a hardgainer. I began to weight train when I was a teenager, initially by lifting buckets that were full of water and later on by training with dumbbells once I could afford them. Years later when I started rock climbing I realised that it was not the raw strength that matters but the strength to weight ratio of an individual. Most of the rock climbers had very lean frames and the heavily muscled guys who thought that rock climbing would be easy were always pretty horrendous when they gave it a shot. I also noticed that those who are able to do high level bodyweight exercises such as the one arm pull-up or the human flag were never big, bulky guys.

Ramon Climbing

The concept of trying to build muscles to look bigger in order to conform to what society has deemed to be aesthetically pleasing struck me as rather ridiculous. To me, function and performance are key. If you focus on these elements, a so-called 'aesthetically pleasing' form will naturally follow. 

How did this change your training?

Around that time I also found myself doing quite a bit of travelling so it just made sense to stop weight training with cumbersome weights and just to utilise bodyweight-only exercises. This allowed me to workout wherever I was and to save a bunch of money in the process. A lot of individuals claim that bodyweight-only exercises have a lot of limitations but I just feel that those who say that tend to just lack creativity. There is a huge amount of variation that can be added to callisthenic exercises that make them far more difficult. Over time I also began to integrate HIIT techniques and plyometrics into my workouts and also now time every single workout in order to add intensity. I have not touched weights or entered a gym in years!

What's your big goal for 2013 and how close are you to reaching it?

I fell in love with scuba diving ever since I first gave it a try and have since been wanting to get that ever-elusive Divemaster certification. The Divemaster course takes a few months so there is always some kind of time restriction but I am trying to free up enough time so that I can make it possible. I actually don't think I have one single big goal but rather many, many different goals in various fitness aspects. But if I had to state one, it would be a lifelong one : "To be better than I was yesterday"

Ramon F

Which Tribesports user makes your day?

Tribesports is an engaging community of people who are always making my day with their constant words of encouragement and non-stop motivation. I have had some great challenge teammates and virtual running partners.. and even fellow science enthusiasts, all of whom are far too numerous to mention individually! I appreciate you all :)

What's your favorite quote?

My favourite fitness quote has to be "Obsession is a word that the lazy use to describe the dedicated." - Anonymous 

..but the one that really inspires me is "In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away" - Shing Xiong

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