Chief People Officer Haidee Enriquez with Coach Sot from 360 Fit Teams during the SitelFit live fitness talk
As a teenager in Palawan during the 70s, Haidee Enriquez, Sitel’s Chief People Officer PHANZ, led an active lifestyle. In high school, she was a member of several school varsity teams, including volleyball and softball.
“You name it, I was there,” Haidee shared on a recent SitelFit Wellness Wednesday Facebook episode as she discussed her love of sports and being active. However, when she moved to Manila to start working, exercise “took a backseat.” While she wanted to include regular exercise in her daily regimen, she just couldn’t find a way to do it.
The hiatus began in 2015 when Haidee had to undergo surgery. As part of her recovery and therapy, the doctor advised her to refrain from intense physical activities, a scenario which Haidee described as an “excuse” to forgo an active lifestyle. Unfortunately, even when she had fully recovered, her schedule had become so hectic that she had a hard time fitting exercise in.
Then, the pandemic happened. People’s movement was restricted and most employees, including a number from Sitel, began working from home. While this presented its own set of challenges, working from home gave Haidee a free two to three hours a day which used to be spent dressing up and traveling to the office. This extra window was the perfect time to bring exercise back into her life, both to get her moving again and to help boost her body’s immune system and overall health.
So Haidee started a fitness regimen that worked for her. This not only made her more active it also helped her go from 165 pounds in mid-March to 135 pounds today. Plus, with more energy and a renewed concern for health and wellness, Haidee discovered a new hobby too: gardening.
A fitness regimen that works for you
If you want to use the extra stay-at-home hours you’ve been given to start a fitness regimen, Haidee has this essential piece of advice: Find one that works for you. The same regimen doesn’t always work for everyone. You should consider your interests, your schedule, and other personal factors when deciding on your exercise routine. “That way, it doesn’t become an ordeal; instead, it becomes an enjoyable hobby,” she explained.
As for Haidee, her schedule includes waking up at 11am to begin her day with gardening. At 1pm, she starts her fitness routine, which includes a round of “insanity workout” – short but intense bursts consisting of jumps, calisthenics, and martial arts – and dancing Zumba. After that, she goes for a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
Zumba was an easy choice for Haidee because she is a dance enthusiast. “I love dancing so much. Whenever I do that as an exercise, it’s not like ‘O my God, pagod na pagod na ako (I’m exhausted)!’ it’s more like ‘Oh my God, I’m so happy I get to dance!’”
Gardening is therapeutic and good for health and wellness
Haidee continued to follow her “do what you love” mindset and began growing an edible garden on her balcony. As a pescatarian, her diet consists of fish, seafood, and vegetables and she’s always wanted to try growing veggies fresh. Now she is cultivating bell peppers, mustard, and Chinese pechay, amongst other vegetables. She is also growing microgreens in recycled containers and replanting and reusing her vegetable compost.
Since starting her edible garden, Haidee has not only found joy in gardening but both she and her family have started cooking gourmet dishes using her homegrown plants. A vegetarian pizza made with basil pesto and salads with camote tops, talinum, and pansit-pansitan (peperomia pellucida) are some of the tasty concoctions she has whipped up with her fresh produce. “Gardening for me is therapeutic,” Haidee said. “It just changes my entire mood.”
Haidee’s dishes from her homegrown plants: Veggie pizza, Seafood pasta with homemade pesto, and her homemade Pomodoro sauce
And this positive effect on her is why both her exercise routine and gardening hobby are successful. Many find it hard to stick to a fitness and wellness regimen because it doesn’t suit their personality and lifestyle. “If you simply copy from other people, fitness doesn’t become a way of life, because it’s not sustainable. At some point, you end up letting it go simply because it takes so much time, or you just find it tedious or difficult,” she explained. To Haidee, passion is the key to a successful exercise routine. That’s why she combines her favorite exercises with her favorite hobbies – to make it both fun and effective.