By Nikki Quiambao
"Passionate" is an understatement referring to Miguel Aytona on sports. After graduating from UST with a Sports Science degree, he is now the Strength and Conditioning Coach of Ateneo's women's volleyball team. Ball is definitely life for this hottie, who likes to get scientific about his work. When he's not geeking over sports, Miguel does so on Star Wars and other sci-fi movies!
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On a scale of 1-10, how much of a geek or nerd are you?
“In terms of my profession, probably a 9. Cause if I say 10, I might offend those who are really geeky and nerdy. But on an average, 90% people in my profession, I’m probably in the 10%.”
What sparked your interest in the particular field you are in right now?
“Basketball and volleyball. Since I train the women’s volleyball team, I’m starting to take an interest in volleyball. But mainly basketball because I used to play in high school.”
Who’s your role model in your industry?
“I have a lot, really. My mentors, I have three or four mentors and the collegiate teams that they train. Well, basically when I was under them, they taught me the ways and hows in this field. I should be super passionate about it and very evidence-based, always be firm in whatever you believe in and every time you read something about a certain study, you should try to apply it in your field and not just theoretical principles na you read it and you immediately believe it, always be skeptical about it. Basically, they taught me that all principles should stick in my profession."
How do you use smarts to your advantage career-wise?
“Since my mentors taught me how to be evidence-based, I read a lot of studies, and I'm always skeptical about what I read and watch. It became an advantage to me na everything has to be from books, or it doesn't always have to be traditional. Everything has to be from evidence, and advanced. Everything is elite, and I don't just read books from here. Some are in the States, I follow them online din, and I read some of their material. I also invest in certain certification courses as well. Aside from this, my profession being much about sciences and stuff, it's also about making relationships with people, networking. You have to sell yourself, sell what you train, your training system.”
What's the greatest thing you have accomplished in your career?
“I've been a strength and conditioning coach for eight to nine months pa lang. My players have achieved great feat so far. People have been noticing—they have been putting it on social media, like millennials, their results from my program. They coined it as ‘Aytona Performance.’ They always put the results saying, ‘I've reached the (board) for the first time,’ ‘I've increased five inches in my vertical,’ or ‘I've lost 15-20 pounds in 2 months without starving myself.’ For my players, they reached the board for first time. We just finished our second phase, and that's early pa. Just wait for the other phase and they'll have more achievements. That's what I'm happy about.”
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Name your favorite book!
“Periodization Training Sports. It's all about my field, I'm a nerd about my field. It's like the bread and butter of what I do for my teams. Everything is there. Everything I need to plan my teams for the upcoming UAAP season, and I just keep reading and reading it. It's also hard to understand even if it's about my field already. It's very technical. There are graphs and other stuff that I have to constantly always read.”
Your favorite movie?
“I have three, because I like following a whole franchise of movies. So I like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Back To The Future. I just like it when it's something long, and I wait for another movie. It's very geeky.”
How about your favorite band?
“My all-time favorite bands are Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco, pero ang tagal na n'un. My favorite singer's probably, Chris Brown, AJ Rafael, those guys. Chris Brown kasi I think he's really talented. He can sing, dance, and play ball, and that's like a package. I like RnB rin. AJ Rafael, I really like his music, his songs. They're very chill, nice to sing to.”
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What's your guilty pleasure?
“Sweets, like chocolate. I'm a sweet tooth. So, every time I go on a diet, I can't neglect sweets; they always have to be there.”
In terms of catching a girl's eye, do smart guys have the advantage over sporty guys?
“It depends on the girls. Sporty guys, the girls will catch their eyes just by looking at them. The smart guys have to talk to them for them to catch their eyes. It depends on what the girl wants. Most often than not, in my experience, sporty guys win. Just looking at what they do, watching their games [would catch their eyes]. But smart people, you actually have to spend time with them to [see], to get to know them better.”
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Produced by Camille Santiago | Creative direction by Barry Viloria | Photographs by Vyn Radovan | Styling by Gelie Manansala | Grooming by Leonie Galang | Shot on location at: Chaos, City of Dreams, Pasay City | Special thanks to: Charisse Chuidian, Romina Gervacio, and Fran Arias of City of Dreams | Melanie Acedillo of MDA | Glaiza Agbayani of R2 Group of Companies | Banner image by Lui Jimenez