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Amid the lockdown, Jiu-jitsu champion Meggie Ochoa has been getting the rest that she has never experienced before in her life. “I’m the type to push myself beyond my limits! These days, I get to slow down a bit, but there’s still a form of busyness,” she shares.
With less martial arts training sessions, the Under Armour ambassador has constructed her own home gym where she works out every day. She also trains with her teammates once a week online. “I usually do a mix of weight training, body weight exercises, kettlebells, yoga during more relaxed sessions, among other exercises,” she says. The 2019 SEA Games gold medalist also continues to train weekly online with the children they help through Fight to Protect, an advocacy campaign that aims to contribute to the end of child sexual violence and restore survivors through sport.
While Meggie admits that the lockdown has added more challenges to their group, they’ve been coming up with creative ways to engage with the kids and carry on with their mission. “Since we cannot visit the kids right now, we’ve been maximizing online platforms to conduct events for them,” she shares. On May 2, 2020, they launched Sweat to Protect, a full-day workout fundraiser for the benefit of Project S.A.F.E (Support and Awareness to Fight Exploitation), a movement by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) that aims to support families and communities that are vulnerable to online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC).
“Experts have pointed out that the current crisis has increased the risk factors that could encourage OSEC, especially among impoverished communities,” the athlete notes. “Through our efforts at Project S.A.F.E., we wanted not only to help out families in need with care packages, but we also aimed to raise awareness on safety tips against OSEC.”
On top of these efforts, Meggie looks forward to Freedom Sunday 2020, a campaign geared toward raising awareness on and caring for the survivors of OSEC. This year’s Freedom Sunday Campaign will run from September to December 2020. “Aside from helping out victims of OSEC, we also want to help women who are affected by these abuses. Through She Works – Made in Hope, the Freedom Sunday Network gets to help women who are survivors of exploitation. They provide women with livelihood programs so they can also earn through these tough times,” she shares. “On top of this, I even want to create a bigger version of Sweat to Protect to support the Freedom Sunday Campaign! Maybe that’s something we could do by the end of the year,” she hints.
If there’s anything that pushes her to put in the work further, it’s her unwavering faith in God and strengthened relationships with others. “Faith holds me together, helping me go through challenges no matter what. It keeps me filled enough to give more of myself and reach out to others,” she affirms. “The first few weeks of lockdown were difficult, I admit. However, after seeing everyone else do the best they can to get by, I realized that I am not alone in this uphill battle. We’ve built relationships and bonds that help us get through tough times, whether that may be with training, our advocacies, or personal lives. We are here now, we are alive, and we will go through this together, however big the pandemic’s challenges can get.”
Meggie also credits Under Armour for their undying support. “Under Armour has been part of my athletic journey since 2015. They’ve been supportive even outside my competitive career–they were a big help during Sweat to Protect,” she shares. “I also appreciate how the brand is encouraging healthy living among athletes and people who want to jumpstart their fitness journey for their overall health. Sometimes, that extra push is just what you need to get through, and Under Armour succeeds in giving that boost of motivation.