Finding Their "Why": Ia and Karla #GearUpwithAkma

#GearUpWithAkma's first workout weekend is finally happening, and we wanted to share more about our featured coaches - Ia Hernandez and Karla Yu. Ia and Karla may have quite different sports backgrounds, but one thing they have in common is their love for fitness and health. There is no doubt that these two passionate women have found their purpose through fitness. Read on to learn more about our go-getter coaches!


Ia is wearing the Ari Hooked Mesh Bra.  


Ia Hernandez has always lived an active lifestyle; she was a member of the varsity taekwondo team from high school to college. She discovered yoga back in 2013 when her fitness club offered classes. She decided to take them to improve her flexibility and as a form of cool down or active recovery after her weights workout.  

In 2017, Ia had the opportunity to work with YogaPlus in McKinley Hill. There, she met a lot of yoga teachers and was exposed to a great yoga and wellness community. It was also there that she developed a more consistent yoga practice. Through her daily yoga practice, she started to feel the mental and physical benefits of yoga. Ia says “It inspired me to adopt yoga teachings that eventually changed my outlook and attitude towards myself and my environment.”

She was inspired by the effect yoga had on her life and in 2018, she took her Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with YogaPlus. This move proved to be even more life-changing for Ia because in 2019, she opened her own community yoga studio, Ia Yoga Studio in Parañaque.  


With all the positive effects yoga has had on her life, Ia found the need to share her love for yoga with others. In her teacher training, she discovered her why– to heal and support people by introducing them to yoga. By teaching yoga, she wants to help people feel good and experience all the good things that yoga can bring into their lives.


Ia’s yoga studio holds online classes every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and during the weekends! Check out the schedule below:

Instagram: Ia Yoga Studio

You can also find her on YouTube:

YouTube: Sweat Warrior Yoga


Karla is wearing the Koko Tank Top and Gigi Leggings


Like a lot of women in sports, Karla Yu had the fear of looking too muscular or bulky. That’s why early on during her fitness journey, she was into sports like yoga and running. It wasn’t until she got into Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) that she realized that working out was less about how the body looked like, and more about what the body can do. Today she is an OCR Community coach at Spartan SGX Kalabaw and Obstacle Central.  

Getting into OCR didn’t only improve her endurance, speed and strength. It also changed her outlook on fitness. Karla’s views on functional fitness and working out were influenced by her love for OCR. The preparation for OCR requires focusing on functional exercises that train the body for activities performed in daily life.

OCR helped Karla connect with her body in a healthier way. “The sport also helped me push myself mentally because there’s always an opportunity to prove to myself that I can overcome the boundaries that were holding me back if I’m willing to work for it” said Karla.


Aside from OCR, Karla keeps fit by maintaining a plant-based diet. Nutrition plays a big role in fitness. Good workouts need to be paired with good nutrition. She says that going plant-based has helped improve her health, and is advocating for people to learn more about going plant-based.

Karla also shared with us three tips she has for anyone’s fitness journey.

  1. Purpose: Know why you are doing it. Have clear, realistic, and measurable goals because when it gets tough to stick to the plan, you can always go back to your ‘why’ to keep yourself on track. 
  2. Consistency over intensity: Of course, there are days that would require more intensity but results don’t come overnight and you would need a bit more patience to keep going. Find something that you can commit to do consistently (something that you actually like) and keep at it. Ocean waves can shape rock-solid boulders too.  
  3. Challenge yourself: You’re made of tougher stuff than you think. A large part of fitness happens in the mind. Half the battle is believing that you can do it and guess what? You’ll never be able to find out whether or not you can if you don’t take the leap and try. 

Now that everyone is stuck at home, Karla recommends doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT is easy to do without equipment and can be adjusted depending on intensity and time. HIIT alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise followed by less intense recovery periods and is done in sets until too exhausted to continue. 

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday and Sunday, go-getters! If you haven’t yet, sign up for the other weekends here:


Written by: Marga Delos Reyes