By: Trung Tim Nguyen, Berkeley Center Health & Wellness Coordinator
Akira Abenes, a.k.a. Guido, has consistently been a shining light in health and wellness at the Berkeley center. Although he does not have a YMCA membership, it does not deter him from getting regular physical activity.
Weekly, he participates in yoga, walking club as well as strength training in the fitness room on his own. He would apply and practice the resistance exercises he had learned during individual wellness session to improve his overall strength and endurance.
In addition to the exercises, he continually makes adjustments to enhance his posture, balance, coordination, and hand grip strength. Recently with the help of his advisor, he willingly bought a rolling backpack to substitute his handbag that had been putting a lot of pressure on one side of his shoulder. Also, he now carries with him a hand strength ball (in a shape of a brain) to improve his hand grip in between CIP modules.
Nutritionally, Guido is open and receptive of ways to improve his eating habits considering he has mild fear of eating new fruits and vegetables. He is determined to overcome that fear by trying one new fruit and vegetable every week. Some other commendable health modifications he had made recently included carrying a water bottle in his backpack, trying mixed nuts as snacks, taking a daily multi-vitamin, and drinking three cups of milk every day.
He once said, “I want to gain weight so I can donate blood.” Guido’s strong will to maintain a healthy lifestyle allows CIP staff to optimize our support and help him reach his wellness goals.
Guido’s greatest quality is that he understands and is fully aware of his weaknesses in wellness and constantly strives to improve them. How he cares for his health is admirable – asking intelligent health questions, trying new and healthy grocery items, accepting feedbacks and advices, and setting short-term wellness goals.
Guido, as his name means “light or guidance,” has definitely live up to his name and deserves to be Wellness Student of the Month at the Berkeley Center.
Trung Tim Nguyen, Health and Wellness Coordinator at the Berkeley Center, was raised in San Diego and has lived in the Bay Area for 7 years. He holds a double B.A. Degree in Molecular and Cell Biology with an emphasis in immunology and Integrative Biology with human physiology concentration from UC Berkeley. He recently received an M.S. degree in Exercise Physiology at San Francisco State University.
Before his current position at CIP, Tim had worked with students from K-12 for 6 years as a tutor, mentor, and a teacher. He had taught biology, chemistry, biochemistry, as well as several mathematic courses including statistics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. Additionally, he worked as a teacher’s assistant at the University of California at Berkeley in the human physiology laboratory. Most recently, he taught Medical Terminology and Pharmacology at San Francisco Heald College in the medical assisting program.
Furthermore, he was involved in several medical missions in Honduras, Cambodia, and Indonesia with Berkeley Medical Brigades organization. He used to volunteer for a pediatric clinic in San Diego. As a health and fitness counselor, he was involved with scientific research in exercise physiology at UC Berkeley and he has provided individual health and fitness counseling at wellness retreats. In his spare time, he enjoys exercising, traveling, reading, camping, hiking, kite flying and spending time with his loved ones.
Photo by Nader Khouri