A common excuse for most individuals who don’t get into fitness—despite their dissatisfaction with their physique—is that they just don’t have the time to exercise because of their jobs. Marketing professional Sunil Chandumal challenges this mindset: “Working out is what gets me to work. It’s what keeps me going.”

He has always been active, playing basketball competitively as part of the De La Salle Zobel and College of Saint Benilde NCAA team B. Now, he also wakeboards, boxes, and hits the gym twice a week. He claims these have made him more goal-oriented, always making and trying to break personal records he has set for himself.

Wakeboarding started out as just that. A trip to Camarines Sur in 2010 introduced Chandumal to the sport, and during the entire duration of his two-day stay, right after getting the hang of standing on the board, he was circling CamSur Watersports Complex over and over with the singular goal of landing a ramp before the end of his trip. He recalls, “When I woke up the next day, my body hurt so bad. I had to roll to get out of bed, but at 10 a.m. I was back at the cable park again. It was 6 p.m. on my second day that I landed a ramp. I thought, ‘I can go home now.’” Chandumal has been wakeboarding since, and in 2012 placed first in the Amateur Men’s category in the 6th Philippine Wakeboarding Nationals. After that, he joined the provincial government of Camarines Sur as its provincial tourism officer in charge of the marketing of CWC. He now splits his time between the province and Manila, which ironically leaves him with less time to wakeboard.

“Competitions bring everyone together. In the wakeboarding community, even if we’re competing, we still say, ‘Yo, do your best.’ It’s never fun to watch someone crash, knowing they can do better than that, knowing that they’re just under pressure,” he says. “I participate just for the fun of it. Honestly, I don’t feel like I am competing against other people when I compete. What matters is that I beat my previous self from a year ago.”

For Chandumal, wakeboarding is a full body workout. “Even those who are fit and athletic will feel a bit of aching because it triggers muscle parts you never knew you could use,” he explains. “I don’t do cardio at all now, but I don’t recommend that to everyone. With wakeboarding and boxing on the side, doing cardio in the gym will make me lose weight, and I’m trying to gain weight.”

Just last year, he was nine to 10 percent below the ideal body fat percentage, but he says he’s normal now. Eating a lot is important for gaining weight, but Chandumal’s eating right with ease. “I was never a fan of junk food and oily food to begin with. Once you get them out of your system, your body will reject them. Now when I eat sweets, I find them too sweet.
“Fitness is 40 percent workout, 60 percent diet—what you eat and how you eat,” he continues. “The wrong connotation about being on a diet is people think you’re trying to lose something. What it really means is that you are trying to do something through what you are eating. You’re not supposed to go hungry; having good eating patterns is important. If you crash diet and starve yourself, your body switches into survival mode, and everything you eat after that would be stored as fat because your body is trying to adjust to the idea that you aren’t getting much food; it stores whatever is coming in.”

To achieve his fitness goals, Chandumal needs protein, which he gets from chocolate milk post-workout. He gets most of his nutrition from food. “Relying on supplements ruins the liver and the kidneys. Whey protein is alright since it is like milk and protein concentrated into one form. Creatine with nitric oxide is popular for building muscle mass, but you should only take it if you’re coming from a state of zero. It really helps to cut time to get results, but it won’t work if you don’t work out enough; as its name says, it’s a supplement.”

Back to his water sport of choice: one tip Chandumal gives to those looking to start wakeboarding is to stretch. Stretching is essential, as the body is extended the whole time when engaged with the sport. “Stretching lengthens your endurance, so you must focus on your back—including the shoulders—and legs and upper thigh areas because you do a lot of twisting. You can get injured without it.”