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BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:Kicking up a healthy lifestyle

School specializes in martial arts, but also in coaching students to live healthy lives.

February 28, 2007|By Rachel Kane

A new tae kwon do gym in Burbank is schooling students about a healthy lifestyle through martial arts.

Planet Infinity, an almost 2-month-old addition to the west side of Olive Avenue, is the first United States version of a Filipino chain that combines life coaching with physical fitness through tae kwon do, life coach Ina Sycib said.

The gym was previously located in Shadow Hills.

Even though the Planet Infinity plan focuses on youth, physical fitness and life-coaching classes are available for all ages, Sycib said.

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"Basically the motto of this gym is raising champions of the game and champions of life," Sycib said.

Basic training in tae kwon do, a Korean martial art, is at the center of the program. But the two life coaches — who are longtime motivational speakers — and Jae Ok Lee, a tae kwon do grand master, insist the program is more about fitness and well-being than anything else.

Students are mostly young children and teens who come to class after school.

They divide their hour of class time between Lee's physical instruction and 20 minutes of life coaching from and Sycib and Mario Amansec, who give activity-based lessons on everything from etiquette to eating habits.

"Basically the gym operates in kind of a holistic approach," she said. "That makes this gym kind of different from other gyms."

Sophie Vinluan, 42, of Los Angeles, has noticed the difference in her two boys and two girls since they started taking classes at Planet Infinity in July.

Vinluan is a native of the Philippines, where Planet Infinity's parent gyms are located.

"We have, in America, we are really very protective with the children and sometimes we miss out on the discipline aspect," she said. "I care for my children a lot, but I don't want them to miss out on the discipline aspect also. It has to be side by side."

Since her two boys have been taking the tae kwon do and life-coaching classes, Vinluan said they have been doing their chores and helping around the house without being told and the boys' general dependability has also increased.

The gym operators hope to expand the building's floor space onto a second story to make a space for students to do their homework, surf the Internet and enjoy healthy snacks while they wait for their classes or after they are done.

They also plan to offer pre-packaged foods in the downstairs area for parents and students that feature leaflets with information about the nutritional values of the snacks.

Bret Harte Elementary School will partner with Planet Infinity on March 19 to promote healthy living and fitness in a one-day interactive demonstration on campus.

Planet Infinity will welcome the public on March 17 with an open house that includes prizes, games, martial arts activities and tae kwon do demonstrations.

Planet Infinity is at 1821 W. Olive Ave., Burbank. For more information, call (818) 953-9928.

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