How UP Pep Squad keeps fit for the Asian Cheerleading Dancesport Championships

Barry Viloria on Nov 08, 2016 01:24 AM
How UP Pep Squad keeps fit for ACDC
There’s no such thing as ‘off season’ for this crew.

UP Pep Squad captains Jari Buenaventura, Karlene Sison, and Joseph Guevara found themselves getting some pump at Gold’s Gym Katipunan last Friday morning. It was just one of their at least twice-a-week gym sesh, as part of their everyday goal to be fit. (They are, after all, ambassadors of the fitness center.) They may not be joining the UAAP Cheerdance Competition (CDC) this year—one that rather came as a shocker to many of the event’s fans—but still they’re getting themselves oiled for something bigger.

This November 26, the award-winning group and CDC favorite will be in Indonesia for the Asian Cheerleading Dancesport Championship (ACDC), the qualifiers to the Cheerleading World Championships (CWC). It’s a little different from the qualifiers for the reason they were previously held in the country, the captains revealed. The ACDC is another chance for UP Pep to bring honor to the Philippines again, after bagging four medals at the 2015 CWC in Berlin last year.

“We’re still following the usual training schedule,” declared Buenaventura. “That’s six hours a day from Monday to Friday. We start at 5pm and end around 11:30 to 12 midnight.”

UP Pep’s mix of training will quickly debunk those who belittle cheerleaders and dancers. The group’s exercises and form training are no joke—“We start with warm-ups and cardio activities like running around the Oval, and then do core exercises. We then do stunting, lifting, and gymnastics on separate days,” said Guevara.

As for their diet, loading up on carbs and protein-packed foods is a necessity for UP Pep members. While “there’s no strict diet,” Buenaventura said, “It’s also about learning your limits on sugar.”

Guevarra stressed, “For us, there is no such thing as ‘off season.’ Whole year round yan—as long as you’re part of the team, you should always be in shape kasi maraming sinasalihan, laging may ginagawa. We rarely have breaks. Christmas or two weeks after competition lang ang pahinga,”

Compared to the “more thematic and more colorful” UAAP CDC, the ACDC will get UP Pep more mindful about techniques, stunts, and coordination. The squad is set to join five events: the main ones—cheer mixed and all-female team cheer; and the minor ones—group stunts mixed, all female group stunts, and cheerdance.

While the ACDC remained one of this year’s goals for UP Pep, the captains revealed that UP Pep still trained hard for the annual UAAP CDC. (Besides, the group has had eight titles since the tournament came to be in the mid-90s.) As we all know, the team recently decided to forego this year’s tournament when the organizers last year didn’t answer to the team’s protest. Despite their claims, UP placed third last year after eventual champion NU and first runner-up UST.

“We were preparing for both, as much as we can sa mga routines. Doble, triple din yung effort,” confessed Guevara.

Most of the UP community and CDC fans have since been frank online, saddened about the news. But how are the UP Pep members dealing with it?

“Na-sad sila (students), they would always ask about it," Guevara said. "Kami naman, as members as one yung decision namin with the coach kasi alam naman namin na yung ang makakabuti for the team."

“But, overall, supportive pa din sila,” Buenaventura seconded.

“Naiintindihan nila kami and yung reason of our decision,” Sison could only add.

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