Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLaces – all from

“I saw my capacity as a woman. I can redefine the meaning of beauty and the stereotype of women. I have learned to love myself. It helped me appreciate power; it made me realize my potential. Before, I used to pick myself apart in attempt to adapt to a standard. But this gave me a sense of empowerment,” Joy Bautista-Lumpias says about her journey in CrossFit.

Trial and error – and finally finding what’s right

Since she was little, Joy has led an active lifestyle. At a very young age, she began to train in ballet and belonged to a dance company. This gained her a scholarship to St. Louis University, where she joined the school’s dance troupe while majoring in Philosophy.

At 19 years of age, Joy married her high school sweetheart, Angel. They started their family and had their first daughter. “Right now, I’m 35 and I have a 15-year-old!” Joy shares. “Ang hirap mag-adjust at first, kasi hindi pa kami mature. Tapos teenager pa lang kami and may inaalagan kami. Pero nag-aral pa rin kami.”

After several years, Joy’s small family grew – she and Angel had two more daughters six years after their eldest, who were born a year apart. Joy was overjoyed to have three beautiful daughters, but she slowly began to feel the effects of a less active lifestyle. “I felt na ang taba-taba ko na! So after having my last daughter, I went back to the gym – I did spinning muna, then aerobics. I wanted to bring sexy back!” Joy went on to try out other things to achieve her goal: “I did, Pilates, Zumba, belly dancing, Hip Hop Abs. You name it. At home, I tried P90X and Insanity workouts.”

In 2010, Joy started running, which would inspire her to set new goals for herself. “When I started, I did 5K first. My first target was to get a sub-30 (minutes). After I did that, I moved to 10K and aimed for a sub-1 (hour).” Joy took her running goals seriously: “I wanted to meet my goals before going to the next stage. Hindi yung basta-basta lang. Yun yung thinking ko before. I am so competitive. It runs in my blood!” Joy laughs. She also completed a half marathon in less than two hours, and ran her first marathon after that.

Entering the bakal gym, then coming out as the Baguio CrossFit challengers

Joy began to spend more on the road, running in the morning and the afternoon. Soon, she found that while she enjoyed being competitive, she also began to spend less time with her family. Her husband, Angel, at this point had started dabbling in CrossFit. “He did it in a normal ‘bakal’ gym. I was hesitant to try it at first – na-intimidate ako. Okay na kasi ako sa running; nakuha ko na yung katawan na gusto ko – okay na yung target weight ko. And I was fast. Okay na ako sa goals ko. I even did a duathlon and nag-podium ako. I guess it was beginner’s luck!”

Still, Joy decided to take break from running. “My husband was doing his own thing, and I was doing my own thing. We didn’t have time for ourselves and our kids. So I decided to give CrossFit a chance.”

Just like with running, Joy adapted a very dedicated mindset in CrossFit. “If I do something, I want to do it right, do it slow.”

Nung nag-CrossFit na kami, I started slow. It was a combination of cardio, flexibility, gymnastics, and weightlifting. But because of my ballet training, I was able to do it okay,” Joy recalls.

For six months in 2014, Joy trained with her husband. They would eventually create a small group in their ‘bakal’ gym – enough to go to Manila and join the CrossFit Manila Throwdown as Team Baguio in October.

Team Baguio punched well above its weight, landing an unexpected podium spot at the event. Joy explains that her team came to the event with one major advantage: altitude training. “Cardio wasn’t a problem for us,” Joy explained. “Hindi kami napapagod. Kahit galing lang kami sa gym bakal. Galing lang kami sa probinsya; ang baby-baby namin compared to everyone else!”

“A lot of people train in Baguio. It’s become a mecca of sports training, cross training, and strength conditioning.”

Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts and Alii Sport, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLaces – all from

Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts and Alii Sport, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLaces – all from

Photo by Charisma Lico, Edge of Light; Make-up by April Feliciano; Hair by Jannet Saberon. Clothes by Running Skirts, Shoes by Saucony, and Shoelaces by EZLaces – all from

A passion for self, family, and community

Joy returned to Manila in May the following year, competing in an individual event for the first time. This time, Joy placed in the top 8. “Hindi ko siya in-expect kasi beginner lang ako!”

2015 proved to be a very eventful year for Joy – she and her husband opened the very first affiliated CrossFit gym in Baguio. “My husband is the founder and head coach of CrossFit Baguio. He’s one of the highest-ranked trainers in the Philippines,” Joy proudly shares. CrossFit Baguio opened in October, and since then, it has been warmly received – not just by people from their hometown, but from out-of-towners as well. “Dun kami naging close – as athletes na mag-asawa. But we also coach as a tandem. So when people talk about CrossFit in Baguio, they say, ‘Ah, that’s the Lumpias couple.’”

There were some struggles at the beginning, especially when it came to introducing CrossFit to women. “Women are intimidated at first. Unang pumapasok sa isip nila is ‘Hindi ko kaya ‘yan!’

Joy knows sharing her own experience is a great way to encourage women. “Women are afraid to bulk up, but it’s not like that. You just get toned. When I was running, I was fast. But I wasn’t strong – I couldn’t even lift groceries. Now I can help my husband. I became functional.”

“I’m a mother of three. After bringing the kids to school, I head directly to the gym or the track, depending on our WOD (Workout of the Day). The good thing about CrossFit is that most of the workouts only last about five to 30 minutes. The rest is for practicing movements, form, and technique – then I use these skills in my daily activities like when I run errands, cleaning and maintaining house,” Joy shares. Among the common household chores Joy can do? Everything from changing the five-gallon water bottle in the dispenser, to hoisting an LPG tank onto her shoulder, to lifting rice sacks. “Yung mga trabaho ng lalaki, nakakaya ko na. Alangan namang hintayin ko pa yung asawa ko!” Joy says. “With these, I can encourage other women that they can be physically independent – that they can train to unlock their inner strength, learn how to use their body, get better, stronger, and fitter.”

Joy believes CrossFit has strengthened her marriage, as it has become a shared passion between her and Angel. “We’re at the gym every day. Now, we’re building a community – a CrossFit Baguio community. We’re extending the passion to Baguio. We’re the first here, so it’s our responsibility to spread the message. At para pag bababa kami sa Manila, malaman ng lahat na may mga malalakas sa Baguio,” Joy proudly declares.

Angel and Joy, who got her certification to be a coach in May 2015, are at their box from Monday to Saturday, teaching six classes per day from 8 in the morning to 7 at night. They get an average of 50 students per day. “Tulong-tulong kami ng asawa ako,” Joy says. “Time management lang naman talaga. For all people naman ang CrossFit – there’s CrossFit Kids, so our kids do it with us also. It’s our family bonding!”

‘Even though she but little, she is fierce’ by William Shakespeare is a saying Joy lives by. “I’m physically, mentally, emotionally tougher than I used to be. CrossFit made me who I am today – JOYMATON.”

Joy’s Journey

Photos from Joy Lumpias

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