July 16, 2019 By Chris Van Hoven Photos by the author

Focused Performance

Admittedly, there was a time when a very young, very naive version of myself didn’t think much about the fitness levels of professional racecar drivers. You sit in the car, you turn the wheel, you work the pedals. Surely, it can’t be that demanding on the body, right? It wasn’t until I participated in a 24-hour karting endurance race and wobbled away from the kart after my stint that I truly understood the kind of demands the body expects from a racecar driver. And if driving a go-kart for 30 minutes straight made me hurt in places I didn’t know existed, imagine what kind of fitness level Formula 1 drivers need to be in, with G-forces far exceeding what I experienced.

Racecar driving, just like any sport, is a specialized discipline that requires a very focused approach when it comes to athletic training. But there aren’t a lot of people (or places) that can help you when it comes to specializing in a particular sport, no matter what it is. Sure, you’ve got your usual gym, with personal trainers giving you some generic exercises that benefit everyone, using what limited knowledge they have about your chosen sport, but with racecar driving being a rather niche discipline, finding the right direction when it comes to focused training is made even more difficult.

Focus Athletics is here to change all that. Born from the idea of providing a facility that focuses on athletic performance, Focus Athletics caters to those looking to train and excel in particular fields, with pinpoint programs created specifically for them. The newest branch in Alabang, Muntinlupa takes this concept a step further by integrating Focus Medical – a program geared towards sports rehabilitation for those coming from injuries. Focus Athletics’ Alabang branch now combines their training programs with regressive sports rehabilitation services, walking side by side with the athletes from the onset of injury, to surgery (yes they have surgery rooms), to rehabilitation, until they’re able to return to their sport.

“The advantages are pretty straightforward,” says Armando Bajacan Jr., Branch Operation Manager and Head Sports Physiotherapist of Focus Athletics. “Because it’s all happening under one roof, there is an interdisciplinary communication that is very efficient, which results in better, faster outcomes and good quality service where they don’t come back with a reinjury,” he continues.

It’s not an easy road to get to the top. First you have to make sure that your body is injury free, and a lot of times, you don’t even realize that you’ve been carrying an injury all along. Once that’s ironed out with physical therapy and rehabilitation, the Focus Training System has you starting out from the very bottom, building a solid foundation for you to progress to the 5th level – Skill and Power. For the most part, it doesn’t matter what level athlete you are when you start – everyone goes through the foundation level – a nine-session training period where you’re taught mobility drills, activation drills, proper warm ups, cool downs, a proper way to land, jump, squat properly, and even how to use foam rollers. The reason why the foundation level is so important is because it helps you progress faster as the programs stack up.

When it comes to racecar driving, whether for endurance racing, rally driving, or even drag racing, the highest-level drivers are also some of the most conditioned. Their bodies undergo a tremendous amount of stress from G-forces and reaction times, to excessive vibrations in the seat, and even the stress of competition itself where their cardio pulmonary system is constantly under duress. Those looking to excel in racecar driving need a place where they can prepare their body with the right athletic and strengthening program under people who are trained to do so, and Focus Athletics is more than capable of doing just that.

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