1. What do you do for a living?
I am a freelance writer, fitness blogger and director of a fitness non profit organization, Fitness without Borders. I am also a business owner of a residential care home for the Elderly, Comforts of Home.
2. What does a typical day look like for you?
Since having kids my schedule has changed a lot. I am a stay-at-home working mom. I wake around 6:30am. I used to wake earlier but I’ve started working late and usually need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep. If my husband is home, sometimes I will go to the gym, often times, I run on the treadmill at home. I like to get my priorities out of the way, the first being my commitment to my health and fitness. Then around 7am my sons wake up and I cook them breakfast, answer emails and clean the house. We leave the house by 8am to drop one of my children to school. During the 3-hr break I either go to the gym for an hour (if I didn’t train already), run errands or attend my mom group at the park. I pick up my son at 11:30am then I make them lunch, put the youngest down for a nap then perform work projects, phone meetings and paperwork while supervising my sons while they play outside. After my youngest awakes I usually visit my care home facilities and perform errands during the late afternoon. I also usually schedule my in-person meetings around this time. Around 5:00pm one of my sons usually has t-ball or Muay Thai practice. At 6:00pm I cook, spend time with my children then get them ready for bed around 7:30pm. If my husband is in charge of bathing, I usually tidy the house. While I see my husband periodically throughout the day I make it a point each night to spend quality time with him. Around 9pm onward I’m back in my office working usually on paperwork or writing, often close to midnight.
3. What keeps you motivated?
There are several things that keep me motivated. Firstly, having a mother who suffered from being overweight, having diabetes and heart disease really made me passionate about seeking holistic solutions to her personal weight problems. I experienced firsthand not only the mental and physical damage being unhealthy does to a person, but I also recognized the discrimination many overweight people faced because of their public image. And I, like everyone else, is susceptible to falling into negative patterns that can cause weight gain. Secondly, I also stay motivated by constantly setting goals: whether it be for a competition, a party, a vacation, a race…anything! I think it’s important to keep focused towards an unreachable target whenever you’re trying to achieve anything in life.
4. How long have you been training?
I started performing floor leg lifts, sit-ups and jumping jacks every morning in fifth grade. I completed my little circuit every morning until high school when I finally cajoled my mother to join a gym. Before that I bought home videos and even fondly recall using phone books as a stepper. I didn’t start to seriously weight train until I became a personal trainer in 2000.
5. How did you get involved in competing?
My mom ‘forced’ me to compete in my first pageant when I was 16. It was a local Filipina pageant held by Noel Rominque. I was so nervous! But all I remember about that period is really wanting to win. I watched pageant tapes every night, practiced applying make up, walking, talking, smiling..everything! And I won. After I won I competed in Canada in a national Filipina pageant and won, then I went to Texas in an International pageant to represent the Philippines and won. So…it was more of a string of successful competitions that ‘forced’ me to continue competing.
6. How did you get started in the Fitness Industry?
One evening when I was working out at my local 24 Hour Fitness I spotted a friend doing pushups on a barbell with a few guys. I walked over to say hello and they challenged me to do more pushups than them. ( I had never done pushups before) So I placed my hands on the barbell and ended up performing more pushups than them! Then one of the guys watching said, “What’s your name? I want you to be one of my trainers, I am the Fitness Manager here.” and the rest is history….
7. When did you start modeling?
I am not a model. Anything that has been printed is because it was requested by a friend.
8. What do you do when you don’t feel like training?
I do whatever it takes! There have been times when I sat in front of a computer screen and googled “motivational quotes” just to have something to get my focus on track…I have also been known to write bold messages all around my home reminding me what my goals are. For example, in my kitchen there is a sign that reads: “Food is Fuel.” On my bathroom there is a sign that reads: “Every day is a new Battle.” and above my desk area I have my Goals written down.
9. What do you want to do in the future?
I have so many ambitions – can’t really list them all. I want to have a big family, be married to an extraordinary man, work in a passionate career and live a life based on simplicity, curiosity, gratitude and love.
10.What do you do to have fun?
I like a lot of things…I like to dance, I like hanging out at lounges and meeting new people, I like to participate in fitness charity events, and I like to go to festivals and political lectures. I also LOVE garage sales, flea and farmer’s markets.
11. What is something most people don’t know about you?
Since most people who read my sites don’t know me personally – they probably don’t know I drive really fast, make my bed every morning and wash my face with only soap and water
But I thought a bit about this question and realized that even my closest friends don’t know that:
I don’t shave my legs, I don’t wear deodorant, and I rarely use smelly lotions and perfumes. Honestly, I have no leg hair, I don’t smell when I sweat and I was born with good skin and healthy pharemones. (I think this has something to do with how I take care of my body!) Now everyone knows!! And NO, I am not going to post pictures!
12. Are all your writings written by you? Or are you quoting other works?
Unless I’ve quoted someone, all my writings are uniquely my own. Although I must accredit all the philosophers and religious/spiritual teachers of messages I read and resonate with. I firmly believe that all truths are not our own – they are universal and of God. So, I can’t claim the idea to be mine, it is ours.
1. What Supplements do you Use?
I am very, very bad at taking supplements consistently. Unless a multivitamin is shaped like a dinosaur and chewable, I usually don’t take one. However, when I am more focused I take glutamine in the morning and after my workouts to assist in muscle recovery, chocolate protein shakes, quick meal replacements and muscle growth and an energy pill right before my workout.
2.What do you think of Diet Pills?
I’ll be honest, I’ve used them: mostly as a placebo affect and for energy. But I firmly believe that THERE IS NO SUPPLEMENT TO HARD WORK. So if you’re overweight and doing nothing but popping a pill in your mouth hoping to get results, then you are going to have some issues…
3. Are you on a Low-Carb Diet?
I attempted the Atkins diet for five weeks over five years ago…but after five weeks with no energy and no bowel movement I was done. I don’t believe in eliminating an entire energy source out of your diet: I believe in moderation and eating natural, organic foods. I eat a diet low in sugar and high in fiber. I have a couple cheat meals in the week for sanity purpose: but I tend to be happiest when my body is fueled properly and programmed for success.
4. Do you drink Alcohol when you go out?
When I am preparing for competition I only drink diet soda…and go to sleep early to train in the morning…but! lately I’ve been drinking a glass or two of red wine. I have a weak spot for a nice cold beer, but I keep my eye on the prize when I look at the body type of most people who overly consume alcoholic beverages.Alcohol is empty calories: meaning that it has absolutely no use but to go directly to your fat stores for deposit.However, just because I don’t drink much doesn’t mean I don’t have fun: I think I have a ton of fun when I am out partying, not only because I am on a ‘natural’ high, but because I am conscious of the moment and am living the night in full awareness.
5. How do I get a flat stomach?
You can do a million crunches and not achieve a flat stomach if you are eating crappy, drinking too much and not performing cardio. Everything in life is about Quality: the quality of food you eat, the quality of exercises you perform and the quality of focus you put into your daily workouts.
6. Do eat before or after your workout?
I eat after my workout. By the end of my workout my metabolism is revved and hungry to refuel itself.
7. What is your favorite Cheat Food? Diet Food?
I have a weak spot for cereal and I love chocolate and brownies! But I also equally love tofu and shrimp salads every day!
8.What do you order when you go out to eat?
I usually order some type of lean protein with a complex carbohydrate: most of the time it is grilled fish, tofu, or shrimp with broccoli, asparagus, or salad.
9. Are you a vegetarian? If so, is it because of moral reasons?
I did stop eating animal meat for a period of time, but have now continued to eat mostly chicken and fish. Originally it was because I went through a life changing experience of wanting to become more connected with the foods I consumed and show reverence from where it came from. As I began researching more, I realize that many animals are not naturally herded, but breed in cages, injected with growth hormones and die an inhumane death obsessed and stressed.
I firmly believe that ‘you become what you eat’ and I decided that it wasn’t a healthy decision to continue consuming meat I didn’t feel was harmonious with my personal philosophies. Eventually I began reading studies on the benefits of vegetarian diets and picked up great role models who gave me more information. This was the perfect transition for me because I stopped eating a lot of red meat many years ago. S
11. I heard you don’t like Splenda. Why?
It’s not that I don’t like Splenda, I don’t like any artificial sweeteners. While I’m not perfect and am still trying to ween off of the diet sodas and protein bars, I know that anything chemically manufactured is not good for you. These sweeteners not only make me bloated, but add toxins to my body and make me crave sweets more.
12. I want to hire a trainer. What should I look for?
Look for someone you have been either referred to, have watched train others or have done lots of research on. The trainer needs to be certified by a good organization and experienced for many years. Just because someone looks fit, doesn’t mean they know anything. Find someone you can both connect and easily communicate with. Lastly, find someone who has a lot of integrity and makes you feel really good after the first meeting.
13. I hate the gym. What do you do when you get really bored with exercise?
Take it outside. Ride a bike. Perform Calisthenics and Plyometrics. Start Jump Roping. Run around a track or on the beach. There are tons of things you can do outside of a gym environment.
14. What do you think about Yoga and Pilates?
At first I didn’t like it because it takes a lot of patience and core stability and flexibility. I also naturally enjoy intense exercises that are high paced and fast. But this year I am planning on taking more slower classes so that I can work on my weaknesses and become more meditative.
15. What is the best advice you can give someone who is just starting out?
Find what motivates you. Write it down. Create a deadline. Figure out an action plan and follow through no matter what. Start slow, build on your success and understand that nothing great is achieved without sacrifice. Educate yourself and find role models. When in doubt or challenged physically or mentally chant the words: Discipline, Determination and Drive. If you don’t have the 3 D’s you won’t win this fitness game.
16. Do you ever eat bad?
Of course I do! When I try to ‘balance’ my perfectionist side – I make it a point to be less ‘perfect’ on my diet by eating more sugar or carbs than my normal diet. I also enjoy eating 1-2 ‘cheat’ meals per week. Recently I’ve been splurging more on Thursday and Saturday.
That’s me in the Fitness America Ads!
1. I really enjoy working out and am thinking of making my ‘passion’ a career. What is your advice?
Congratulations on taking the next step in following your ‘bliss’ – however, while you like to workout for you, keep in mind, that once you dedicate yourself to anything in life, there are many challenges. If this is something you are serious about, I suggest you take a part time job or internship at your business of interest and network with those who are already in that field. This small experience will give you some insight and preparation as to what you are in store for.
2.What are the best personal training, group certifications?
I personally like NASM because I’m familiar with their program and found it to be the most successful in working with clients. However, other certifications like ACSM, ACE, AFFA and ISSA are also other accredited schools for personal training certification. If you are interested in becoming a group instructor, I suggest you work closely with the group director to see what internal training programs they host and which classes are in most request. Personally, I would become certified in the latest, greatest buzz class: like Bikhram Yoga, Pilates, Bosu, Urban Strip Tease and Kickboxing. Being able to provide a service no one else can will optimize your value and create a stronger following.
3. I enjoy being in the fitness business, but I can’t stand the whole ‘sales’ part. How can I overcome that?
Understand that if you truly wanted to ‘make a difference’ and ‘help others’ then the Number One measurement of that success is through the profit of your business. If your service or product made a real and impactive difference, then it will naturally be successful. However, if you do not fully believe and are not truly confident in what you are ‘selling’ then how can anyone else be? Be confident in what you offer, make changes if things are not working and understand that economics will always be part of the process.
4. I am interested in becoming a fitness model. How can I become successful?
First and foremost, figure out your niche and what makes you ‘special’ – is it because you have a beautiful body and face? Are you a fit mother of 3? Are you Asian, African American, Latina? Do you have a beautiful smile or strong legs? What are you innately gifted with that will separate you from the crowd?
Once you figure out your product – figure out how you are going to market it. You can compete, write fit articles, hire an agent or get sponsored by a fitness business. There are tons of different avenues. Keep in mind that while competing has become more popular in these last years, having a ‘competition body’ is very different from having a ‘mainstream body.’ Make sure you never lose sight of what the market wants to see.
5. What are your thoughts on big bodybuilders and really sexy fitness models?
I don’t condone steroids and I think muscles that aren’t used for real functional movement is not attractive. In regards to sexy fitness models – I think it’s important to never lose sight of the connection between mind, body and spirit. When you begin to objectify yourself, you start treating your ‘temple’ as a product and not as a part of you.
At one my self defining photoshoots, I was asked to pose in thong bikinis – while I continued the shoot, I only shot from the front and made it a point from here on out to never have a full back shot of my gluteus maximus Immediately I felt uncomfortable and knew that I wasn’t using my body the way it was meant to be used. Bottom line to my advice is that you should never, ever put a price to your soul.
6. I am interested in working with 24hour fitness and have heard both good and bad things about the company. What is your experience?
I love 24hour fitness. I started working with them when I was 20 as a personal trainer and continued my fitness career with them up to this day. I’ve always excelled and learned from their continuous training programs and have really grown from the various levels of challenges and successes I’ve experienced with them.
My number one rule in any life experience is to understand the ‘exchange of value’ taking place. I stood by 24hr for so many years because I was able to evaluate this working exchange and adjust my energy given to my work as things changed. In the end, I always keep in mind that 24hr had given me so many opportunities, I was blessed to have awesome managers and I was able to influence, effect and befriend many people because of their large network.
1. I have the worst luck with men/women. I am so unhappy, what should I do?
Focus on being good to yourself. Your mate should be a supplement to your already ‘happy life’ and not be the source of your happiness. Once you’ve attained a sense of inner awareness and security, your positive energy will emanate and connect with someone who will be drawn to the happy you.
2. I just broke up with my boy/girl friend. Even though we’re having problems, I think it can still work. Do you think I’m hopeless?
Time is the Wisest Counselor. When challenges arise in any part of life, it teaches you to reflect, recognize and refine the behaviors that led you up to your current predicament. If the love energy between you and your mate is still strong, it is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ you will to come together again, so be patient. However,if it never happens, it was never meant to be.
3. What would you do if you liked someone who wasn’t ‘perfect’ yet…like he/she needed to be in better shape, or more financially secure..would you still date him/her?
When you meet someone, you are meeting them for a ‘moment in time.’ Meaning that their attitude, their lifestyle and their current situation is going to evolve, it is going to change. What you should look at is their history: What are their patterns? How do they overcome adversities? What do they want to achieve? What is their character? There are going to be times when you are experiencing a difficult moment in your life, a time when you are depressed,unsuccessful and insecure: so let’s hope that people won’t judge you too harshly if they were to meet you in that moment in time.
4. I have a long distance relationship with someone.Do you think this can work?
I think that anything is possible. Like any situation, there are disadvantages and advantages. An advantage is that you can start learning to become a better listener and learn more about the person without getting distracted from their physical presence. A disadvantage is that you don’t know how that person will integrate into your daily life. Nonetheless, I believe that if there is a will, there is a way…and that if you love someone, there is no obstacle you can’t overcome.
5. What is the best way to pick up a girl at the gym?
First off, make sure you wear deodorant. Secondly, be yourself. I personally hate it when people make flirtatious remarks towards me, but I do like it when a person who is friendly with everyone, is friendly with me, because I already observed that he was just a ‘friendly’ person. My advice is to smile with everyone, seem gregarious and meet your target by giving her a nice compliment. (That works for me. And I’m a hard one.)
1. How do you discipline your kids?
We began using ‘time out’ at a year and a half. Timeout is usually in a corner or in their bedroom. Depending on their age I would let them sit there for 2-4 minutes. This usually happens after they don’t follow my direction after I count to “3”.
2.Do/did you co-sleep with your sons when they were young?
While it isn’t advocated, I certainly did. This was not only an opportunity to bond with them, but since I nursed, it made sense to have them close to me. My husband and I are also light sleepers and not very big people, so we didn’t worry about rolling over the baby. I believe co-sleeping is a very personal decision.
3. How much television does your children watch?
Right now my children are 3 and under. When I didn’t have kids, I really didn’t even want a TV in the house because I think it affects their creativity. However, I found that some programs do educate them and give me a 30 minute break! Again, depending on their age I will allow them to watch anywhere between 30 minutes – 1.5 hours of television. I know it sounds like a lot! But it is not consistently 1.5 hours every day. The programming is also not incredibly terrible. At this age they like Sesame Street, Barney, Word World and Cailou.
1. Why is your favorite color green?
Green is the color of nature. To me it symbolizes freshness, cleanliness and life.However, I’m not a big fan of wearing it, my favorite color to wear is white, peach and beige. (thought I needed to mention this since I get a lot of green clothes from people because they know its my favorite color!)
2. Are you a Republican or a Democrat?
I’m both. I consider myself a Liberal Republican
3. What is your biggest accomplishment?
Maintaining my Christian Faith and never losing my inner child spirit. When my sons grow up, my biggest accomplishment will be having raised incredible men who are courageous, strong, loving and socially responsible.
4. What makes you so passionate about life?
I honestly think that if you lack passion, then life would be sooo boring, menial and mundane. I’m passionate because I realize that we can fulfill any dream we desire knowing that we have the rest of our lives to complete it. In truth, the only thing in the way of me and my goals is time. And it’s that realization that we house more than we know that makes me so passionate. I’ve experienced a lot of pain in my life, but a lot of it was rewarded with passion received from the fight. When you fight for something you become passionate. I fought to stay positive and in a state of ‘love’ in an angry world as a kid and that is the number one reason I am passionate today.