How to Start Your Summer Workout, According to Professional Volleyball Player Mars Alba

How to Start Your Summer Workout, According to Professional Volleyball Player Mars Alba


The former team captain of the DLSU Lady Spikers and now professional athlete Mars Alba gives MEGA Active all the details about getting and maintaining a good workout routine for the summer

When it comes to dominating the court, Mars Alba will steer her team to the championship while also bagging the titles Best Setter and Finals Most Valuable Player. Now a professional athlete for the Choco Mucho Flying Titans in the Premier Volleyball League, MEGA Active talks to Mars about her workout routine, her athletic lifestyle, and how you can start and maintain the good body this summer.

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Choco Mucho acquired volleyball player Mars Alba after her rookie campaign with the disbanded F2 Logistics Cargo Movers

Downtime Fitness Routine

When not in peak season as a professional athlete, Mars still keeps herself on her toes to maintain her strength, agility, and endurance. She incorporates a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises to keep her body in peak condition, including those that target stability and balance. For her full-body workout, she focuses on exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, and core work.

Mars with fellow volleyball players Kianna Dy, Majoy Baron, Kim Fajardo, Cha Cruz Behag, Aby Maraño, and Jolina dela Cruz

The gamemaker also prioritizes balanced meals that provide the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to fuel her workouts and aid in recovery. “Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and tofu, complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados and nuts are staples in my diet. I also emphasize staying hydrated throughout the day, especially during intense training periods,” she tells MEGA Active.

Mars Alba fits perfectly fits in with the Choco Mucho team as one of the players leading the Flying Titans to a perfect start in the 2024 PVL

Good Summer Body

According to Mars, taking care of your body with simple exercises can help improve overall wellness

Mars’s ethos is, ultimately, consistency. A good-toned and fit body needs the mix of her own routine—we’re not so far different from athletes, after all. Incorporating a mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises into your workout and sticking with it over time will yield the best results,” she says. “Challenge yourself by gradually increasing the intensity or trying new exercises to keep things interesting and push yourself to your limits.”

On and off the court, discipline is important. Even with a simple workout, according to the playmaker, maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, is crucial for long-term success and well-being. “It’s not just about what you do during training sessions, but also how you take care of your body outside of them,” she explains. “Regular exercises help improve mood, boost energy levels, and reduce the risk of injury, making it easier to perform at your best when it matters most.”

The Beginner Tips:

Working out at home

Workout from home with just these equipment and start your way toward a more active lifestyle

You don’t have to always make a trip to the gym to start your active lifestyle. As Mars is a professional volleyball player, her opportunities to train in different environments are endless, mostly in state-of-the-art facilities and a well-equipped gym. But while this access is certainly beneficial, the athlete says it’s not always necessary to achieve your fitness goals. “There are plenty of options for creating a functional and effective workout space,” Mars shares. Here are her recommendations:

1. Dumbbells or kettlebells: great for strength training exercises like squats, lunges, and shoulder presses. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase as you get stronger.

2. Resistance bands: lightweight, portable, and ideal for adding resistance to bodyweight exercises like squats, glute bridges, and bicep curls. As they come in different levels of resistance, they are suitable for all fitness levels.

3. Exercise mat: provides cushioning and support for floor exercises like planks, push-ups, and yoga poses. Look for a mat that is durable, easy to clean, and provides sufficient grip to prevent slipping.

4. Jump rope: this cardio workout also improves coordination and agility. It’s an inexpensive piece of equipment that doesn’t take up much space—perfect for at-home workouts.

5. Stability ball: fit for core exercises, balance training, and stretching. Mars adds, “It adds an element of instability, which engages more muscles and enhances the effectiveness of your workouts.”

6. Foam roller: an excellent way to release muscle tension, improve flexibility, and reduce soreness after workouts. According to the athlete, incorporating foam rolling into your routine can help improve recovery and prevent injuries.

7. Pull-up bar: if you have the space and ability to install a pull-up bar at home, this is a great addition for upper body strength training. Pull-ups and chin-ups are compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, including the back, arms, and core.

However, as Mars reiterates: fancy equipment don’t make up the routine. You have to be present, and you have to build a consistent schedule of even just bodyweight exercises such as squats, push-ups, and planks—these can already be incredibly effective for building strength and endurance. “The most important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and that fit your fitness goals, whether that’s playing volleyball, lifting weights, or practicing yoga,” she tells MEGA Active. “With dedication and consistency, you can achieve remarkable results no matter where you choose to train.”

Working out in the summer

A hot workout, when you’re already overheated and clammy, is not something you’d look forward to. No one knows this better than Mars, who says that while exercising in humid heat already poses challenges, being active in dry heat can be just as risky.

Hydration is important in any workout—but it’s even more necessary and crucial in this heat

“It’s important to prioritize hydration, proper warm-up, and cool-down routines—and listen to your body,” Mars says. “I always start with a dynamic warm-up to get my muscles ready for action and incorporate plenty of stretching to improve flexibility and prevent injury. Staying hydrated is key, so I make sure to drink water before, during, and after my workouts, especially when training in hotter temperatures. I also opt for early morning or evening sessions to avoid the peak heat of the day.”

Additions to your fitness routine

Running improves cardiovascular health, builds endurance, and burns calories. If you want to incorporate running into your lifestyle, as many Gen Zs and millennials do nowadays, the athlete’s advice is to start slow and gradually increase your mileage to avoid injury, especially if you’re new. “Add running to your workouts gradually, alternating with other forms of cardio like cycling or swimming to reduce the risk of overuse injuries,” she shares.

Personal diet

Contrary to the popular belief of having to lessen your food intake, Mars sets the record straight when it comes to building your summer body: “Focus on structuring healthy eating habits rather than restricting yourself too much. Aim for a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and be mindful of portion sizes. Including more whole foods and minimizing processed foods and added sugars can make a big difference in your overall health and fitness journey.”

For your workout, eating a light, balanced meal or snack can provide you the energy to power through your session. Mars recommends foods that are easy to digest and have a mix of carbohydrates and protein, such as a banana with almond butter or Greek yogurt with berries.

Workout clothes

While it may not seem much, the athlete says that the right workout attire can make a big difference in your comfort and performance. “Look for moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or nylon, which help draw sweat away from your skin and keep you dry during intense workouts,” she explains. “As a beginner, you don’t need to invest in expensive gear right away—start with basic pieces like breathable shorts or leggings and a moisture-wicking top.”

Choose clothes that are optimal for an active lifestyle and will move with your body. The best fabrics are nylon, polyester and spandex blends.

Exercise shoes

Wearing shoes that are comfortable and have good traction can be as important than wearing specialized workout shoes, though they can offer additional support and stability.  “If you’re mainly doing gym workouts or classes, cross-training shoes are a versatile option that can handle a variety of activities,” Mars recommends. “As you progress and specialize in certain types of exercise, you may want to invest in shoes specifically designed for those activities, such as volleyball shoes for court sports or running shoes for jogging.”

Working out alone or with friends?

This ultimately depends on your personal preference and fitness goals. The athlete shares, “Some people thrive on the motivation and accountability that comes with exercising in a group setting, while others prefer the focus and concentration of working out alone. Experiment with both and see what works best for you.”

Working out with friends can be a game-changer when it comes to accountability and discipline, but if you prefer doing things alone, why not? Make sure to check what works for you.

Photos and Featured Image: MARS ALBA (Via Instagram), MEGA ACTIVE ARCHIVES

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