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September 28, 2021

Celene Liwanag Finds Strength In Flying


In a recent episode of the podcast TaskHuman Talks, Coach and host Jamie Carroll interviewed Coach Celene (Candy) Liwanag about her experience as a trapeze artist.

Celene (Candy) has learned a lot about strength and life in her practice of flying—the technical term for swinging on a trapeze. That learning also spreads into how she works with her clients. She helps them develop their own understanding of strength and what they are capable of in their own lives. She shared her wisdom with Jamie during the podcast. Here are the highlights:

1. An Active Childhood

A self-proclaimed “sickly” child, Candy often felt weak and lacked stamina. She didn’t want her physical weaknesses to define her, so she poured her energy into challenging herself athletically.

And even at a young age, non-mainstream sports appealed to her.

It was the challenge all sports brought to her life that enticed her. They were a way to push herself. She was able to compare her performances and see, with tangible evidence, how she had improved—how she had gotten stronger.

But it wasn’t always a steady, upward trajectory.

In 2012, Candy was diagnosed with Juvenile RA and 2014 brought a major operation and long hospital stay. It was then that she shifted her mindset on life. Instead of seeing obstacles to overcome, challenges to beat, or skills to acquire, Candy also wanted to enjoy what she was doing.

“I have one life,” Candy says, “I might as well have fun with it.”

As she got older, Candy continued looking for something different. While she enjoyed her other sports, they didn’t capture her spirit the way she was hoping.

Then she found trapeze.

2. Strength in Flying

Candy admits that trapeze looks graceful and easy, but it’s not. Hours of work go into the minutes-long routines.

Sometimes learning new tricks comes quickly and other times Candy struggles to believe she is good enough to perform.

Even in the difficult times, trapeze teaches her something though. Like life, you will have easy moments and challenging obstacles, but there is always something to learn.

One of Candy’s favorite trapeze lessons is that you need to trust yourself. You need to believe you can do what is difficult for most people: allowing yourself to let go. In trapeze, you can not doubt yourself for a moment because those moments are when you will make a mistake and fall or drop someone.

You also need to trust your team—your “catcher.” You need to believe that they are reaching out to make sure you don’t fall.

In trapeze, as well as in life, even though you do most of the tricks by yourself, you still need someone to help you a little.

And while it is challenging, it is also beautiful.

“It doesn’t look like a sport,” she says. “It looks like entertainment. Like an art form. It’s both: art and sport.”

Trapeze also pushes you mentally and physically. It’s such a difficult sport, Candy explains, that most people who try it stop after a few months.

3. Inspired for Clients

For Candy, there’s an important difference between how most people see exercise and how she sees exercise. And it’s important to her to share that perspective with her clients.

“People see fitness as working out or losing weight, but actually, it’s more than that,” Candy says. “It’s showing up for yourself.”

When you build self-discipline through exercise, you also make your goals attainable because you know you’re not going to give up. Your resolve also strengthens and “nothing can get in your way.”

Candy’s workouts for her clients help them build their discipline by teaching them to take care of their bodies. Her trapeze-style conditioning workouts also help prevent and treat injuries. Trapeze uses the whole body, and Candy’s workouts reflect that.

She also loves helping people push through their fear—something she faces regularly on the trapeze. But she’s adamant her fear is not the fear of falling. It’s the fear of not getting back up. It’s not failing. It’s sitting in your failure and not moving forward.

“If you overcome your fear, you’ll find something about yourself,” she says.

4. Nutrition Is Critical

Candy loves nutrition because she sees it as the foundation of health.

And while she believes nutrition is deeply personal (not all foods agree with all people), everyone can benefit from eating slowly and stopping when they’re full.

In her opinion, working with a coach to determine what foods are best for your body is helpful. Their experience can make the process easier for you to navigate.

“We’re the tour guides, and you’re the country,” she says.

It’s also important to remember that what works for one person may not work for you, even in meal prepping. Every person’s life is different, so what one finds easy or convenient is going to be different for another person, too.

Instead of forcing yourself to meal prep in a certain way, understand who you are and what your life is like now and allow it to naturally fit into your own reality.

For Candy, meal prepping is the basis for nutrition success.

“Meal preps are important because you shape your path to a healthy lifestyle,” she says.

5. Flying Changed Everything

Flying is more than an active and creative outlet for Candy. It helped her transform her life.

She now knows to focus on her nutrition, movement, recovery, sleep, and mindset. And while it may seem like these are a lot of areas, they overlap and intertwine. Each affects the other, and all are interconnected.

“It taught me to really take care of myself,” she says. “And I just want to be able to celebrate the life that I have.”

Interested in watching the whole podcast? Get inspired by Candy out here!



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