By Joel Mangahis

What’s in a toned or muscular body? Is it just for flaunting? Or is it about improving one’s self-esteem?

The 24th Slimmers World Great Bodies competition answered these questions and more as over 1,500 fitness enthusiasts witnessed this annual event at the Newport Theatre of Resorts World Manila.

Dubbed as “The Battle of the Seas,” this year’s theme was Atlantis, inspired by DC’s Aquaman with matching stage design, audio visual and an explosive opening number.

The self-introduction portion of the 28 hopefuls kicked off the competition, revealing the newbies and veterans and even the young (two male students, age 19) and the not-so-young (a 62-year-old female warehouse checker). Surely fitness is ageless especially nowadays when regularly working out and eating right have become a lifestyle to many.

Although the competition may look like a typical pageant or bikini fest, Great Bodies adopted different segments to showcase each facet of a “great body” that is not just solid and rigid, but flexible as well. There is the individual posing round, the aerobics routine, the “symmetry” round, the compulsory poses and even a question-and-answer segment.

If one would think that the aerobics routine is similar to zumba, then think again for even a zumba enthusiast cannot perform those routines!  It was indeed amazing how a very muscular male contestant can dance up a storm and end it with a full split while flexing his bulging biceps. 

Aside from aesthetics, Great Bodies is about improved muscular strength and stamina, better balance, enhanced flexibility and movement coordination.

The competition is inspiring as it shows that one can only win any kind of life battle if one can find a better, sturdier yet adaptable version of oneself.

In the end, the ultimate winner in this competition is the “new you” in both form and substance.