Tag Archives: Get Well

wellness by Alyssa Castillo

Get Well: GMA Actor Ivan Dorschner

Caught up with a hectic schedule, Ivan reveals that his key to work-life balance is keeping everything simple.

How often do you work out?
Well, in my dreams, 4 times a week. I would do that, but now, just once every 2 weeks. I used to do a lot of mountain biking as my main sport twice a week, and I’m still finding time to get back to that. Everything else I do is modelled after strength training, and then the diet takes care of the rest. The most important thing I’m doing for my health right now is Intermittent Fasting.

Cool! Alex Diaz mentioned that previously. Can you tell us more about it? What does it do for you?
It makes everything simple. I don’t have to worry about preparing food or breakfast in the morning. After all, it’s so time consuming. It’s not about being lazy and skipping breakfast. There’s a reason: If you skip a meal, you put your food into this 8-hour window, and then your body itself secretes more growth hormones, your skin gets clearer, and you sleep better. Not only that, from 3 meals, you cut down to 2 meals, which actually makes you spend less money and time.

Intermittent fasting, I believe, is great for you because way back when, this was how the cavemen did it. They’d only eat when they’ve been able to hunt, when food is ready. The body is made to survive food schedules that are intermittent. Another good thing here is that you don’t lose any muscle mass because it takes 36 hours of fasting for that to happen. This is only a daily 16-hour fasting period that allows you to even exercise without getting burned out and then eat a heavy meal after. It’s nothing like starvation.

Given that you have a hectic schedule, how do you prioritize being healthy?
The only secret to how I do it is eating healthy and sustaining my diet.ivan 2Beyond its physical benefits, how does working out affect you?
It balances my hormone response. The thyroid produces all the feel-good chemicals which help you feel better when you’re stressed. I also gain more confidence. In my line of work, we get judged by our appearance, and how much effort you put into exercising can also show the kind of person you are–work ethics-wise. It’s obvious when you’re not taking care of yourself. All the signs show up.

Do you prefer to work out solo or alone?
Solo. Working out with other people allows you to feed off each other’s energies, but that’s not always a good thing because group workouts are not time-efficient, especially when these people are your friends. It won’t be as effective because you won’t reach your full potential when you’re not able to do everything you want.

Following your intermittent fasting schedule, are you strict about your diet? 
From 1-9pm, I eat my 2000 calorie diet for those 8 hours, and yes, I’m strict about it. I don’t eat pork, I only eat beef, chicken, and fish (salmon’s my favorite). Although, admittedly, I cheat a lot. My cheat meal would have to include peanut butter, matcha, and ice cream. But it isn’t necessarily about what I eat. Cheating for me is eating when you eat too much of something, let’s say, triple the actual serving. The real mentality of cheating is never have anything unhealthy. If you do, just take a little bit. Too much of anything is a bad, bad thing – unless if it’s a good thing, then that’s forgivable. Cheating is having double to triple (or even more) servings of something.ivan 3Do you have fitpsirations? 
Sure. That would easily be Ryan Reynolds. You can see, just by looking at him, how well he works because of how well he keeps up with his appearance. And not only that, his hair is graying but we don’t see him slowing down any time soon.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about health and fitness?
Start with something you enjoy, something you’re comfortable in. People always wait for a new year before getting a jumpstart but that’s just a huge marketing scam. Before the first half 2017 is over, they’ve already quit the gym. For me, don’t wait for the next season. Don’t wait to follow a new fad or for your friends to do it. If you want to do it, do it now. Start with something you like enough to commit to, something that’s not too farfetched from your daily life. Keep it simple.

Produced by Alyssa Castillo
Photography by Andrea Beldua

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
wellness by Alyssa Castillo

Get Well: MYX VJ Alex Diaz

ABS-CBN actor, MYX VJ, and host Alex Diaz talks about investing in a healthy lifestyle, his dream of being a triathlete, and Intermittent Fasting.

So, tell us about yourself.
My name’s Alex Diaz, I’m an actor, previously a singer (kind of), and a host who speaks mostly to the millennial generation. I’ve also dabbled in theater and indie films.

Give us a walkthrough of your daily activities.
My day begins at 6am with me reaching for coffee in the morning. After, I go do circuit training, jog, or I’ll go to Ride Revolution. And then I’ll head to my rehearsals: Tuesdays and Thursdays are gymnastics for four hours; and then Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays, I take ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop classes. I also dabble in musical theater and attend voice lessons. I get home at 10pm, go to sleep, and then do the same thing the next day.

How often do you work out in a week?
I always make sure to work out at least four times a week. It varies –last week I did seven times a week because of theater. There was six hours of dance and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays it becomes ten hours. On Saturdays, I do at least an hour of cardio. When I’m not rehearsing, I squeeze in two Ride Revolution classes in a day. I also make sure to do three to four hours of cardio four times a week.

What workouts do you do? Are there more that you want to try out?
I love Ride Revolution – it’s my number one. Your thighs have your biggest muscle group, so to engage and to strengthen that is also strengthening your whole body and your whole system. For the other workouts, I really look into exercises that are challenging enough to excite me. I started crafting my own circuit training instead of getting a trainer because I realized after a while that you can really train yourself. But anyway, I also want to accomplish a triathlon. Besides these, I also golf. I want to learn how to play Tennis and also get back to playing football.alexHas fitness always been a part of your lifestyle?
No, I was never really into it. Back then, I’d half-ass it by drinking a lot and partying with my friends. But just last December 2016, I saw shirtless pictures of me in La Union. That day, I told myself, “This has got to stop. You can’t continue your life doing things half-assed. You’ve got to invest and put your time into being healthy and fit.” And so, I stopped drinking and smoking and began working out seriously. My last progress picture was taken last March, just a month ago, and I really saw the difference.

Beyond its physical benefits, how does working out affect you?
In Ride Revolution, there’s a part called The Introspective and it’s when the instructor gives you advice. It’s amazing that you can work out and you also get therapy in the middle wherein you take and carry a piece of advice with you for the rest of the day. After exerting your effort and getting exhausted, you hear that and it sticks with you. It sets the mood. Aside from the shallow reason of looking good, I also love that working out puts you in a great mental state and it allows you to be more focused, driven, and positive. It’s easier to stay away from negativity when you’re coming from a good place.

What are your current fitness goals?
In six months, I want to go on a triathlon, regularly teach in Ride Revolution, and be good enough to play in a golf tournament. Also, I would like to get six-pack abs.

Do you prefer to work out solo or with a group?
I’ve never been good at team sports because I get pressured when people rely on me. I love working out by myself because you don’t have to wait for people or take turns. I prefer doing my own thing, but I do see the benefits of working out with a group because you motivate each other.IMG_7762-1Who inspires you to work out? Do you have any fitspirations?
My Ride Revolution instructors, Lexi Gancayco and Ida Paras. They’re both insanely fit and intense in class, and they push me. But, also, my dad inspires me because I want him to see the benefits of being fit. He had heart surgery that’s related to his health issues and that’s why I want to inspire the fitness in my family. Everyone’s sort of halfway there and I want all of us to reach the top of our health condition and our physical prime so that we can take this over the years as well.

Are you strict about what you eat?
No, not at all. I love chocolate. I’m the biggest chocolate lover in the world. There’s a shelf in my fridge dedicated just to me and my chocolates. At night, at 10pm, I’ll sneak a chocolate bar before I go to bed. But I’ve tried a strict, calorie-counted, high-protein, low-carb diet. It’s definitely not enough calories for me. I think twice by avoiding junk food and instead lean on green, organic, and fresh foods. For rice, it has to be brown. I restrict myself from processed, MSG-filled foods as well.

I’ve also begun Intermittent Fasting, for 15-16 hours between 7pm-10am, and then I’ll eat whatever I want (in moderation) between 10am-7pm. To energize my body, I really try to consume good things as well. I do this because I’ve read that your body–at the time you’re not eating–regenerates itself on a molecular level. Your body is training itself to break down food more effectively when you fast. I’ve noticed, when the “hangry spell” is gone, that my focus and my mental state are at their peak and I have more energy.

What’s the most important lesson or advice you’ve ever learned or received about health and diet?
Invest in yourself because in the long run, it makes a difference. People always complain that healthy food and going to the gym are expensive, but if you think about it and look in the mirror, you realize it’s worth it. You take a deep breath and realize you can do that without being winded. It’s priceless to be able to go to bed at night and not feel like there’s something wrong with your body.

Finally, what’s your perfect cheat meal?
I haven’t thought about that, actually. When I cheat, I just open the fridge and pick out the unhealthiest thing. But after eating right for so long, sodium-loaded junk just doesn’t appeal to my taste buds anymore. Although, I would break my fast for Din Tai Fung and Ramen Nagi.

Produced by Alyssa Castillo
Photography by Ralph Mendoza
Sittings by Sam Potenciano

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
wellness by Alyssa Castillo

Get Well: Lexi Gancayco

This Adidas ambassador and Ride Revolution marketing manager believes that good things come to those who sweat.

What’s a regular day like for you?
A regular day in my life involves waking up at 7am, hitting the gym from 8 to 10, and then working between 10 to 4pm on my laptop to prep playlists for my next classes and to conceptualize new gimmicks for Ride Revolution. Other days when I’m not teaching classes, I’ll visit the other studio at Steps Makati so that I can have a balance of both. I arrive at the studio before the 5:30pm class to mingle with the riders. Afterwards, I usually have dinner with the other instructors.

How often do you work out?
I spin 4 to 5 times a week, which involves both teaching classes and riding as a student. I’ll typically teach 3 to 4 times a week and then ride someone else’s class at least once. That’s a lot of cardio, so to counter all that, I also do strength training in the morning. Evenings are when I spin. I always do more than one workout per day.

Has fitness always been a part of your life?
Growing up, my parents wanted me to be a swimmer. I competed but I never really had the drive to win; I just wasn’t hungry for the gold. When I stopped, I told myself that I’d stay away from sports because I didn’t enjoy my experience as a swimmer. Fitness only became a big part of my life in 2012, when I was in my third or fourth year of college. I had made a bet with a friend that I could get six-pack abs in just six months, and because of that, I ended up really getting into boxing and eating healthy. It all started from there.lexi 2What are your current fitness goals?
I want to maintain my body. As you grow older, your metabolism slows down, so to counter that, I try to switch up my diet and exercise routine. Aside from that, it’s always been a goal for me to be able to do full pull-ups. I can do maybe 10, but I want to do more in 2017.

Is there anyone in particular who inspires you?
I’ve always looked up to Izabel Goulart because she’s so strong. She’s able to run marathons, do body weight exercises, and other really intense workouts. She’s a bit older now, but she’s still so disciplined. I learned the Portuguese phrase “bom dia” from her, which means “good day,” and I think it’s such an energizing way to greet people.

At the end of the day, you can’t look at these people and say that you want their body because we all have different bodies with different needs and capacities. If you’re always striving to have someone else’s body, then you’ll never be content with your own. It’s about self-love and self-motivation. I think with fitspiration, these are people that you should look up to because of their discipline and their ability to keep doing what they do, rather than their physical appearance.

What’s the best thing about working out for you?
For me, exercising sets my day. It makes my day complete and my body craves for it. When I skip a workout session, I feel groggy._MG_3199Are you also a super clean eater?
During the week, I prepare my own food and I keep it very clean and healthy. In the morning I eat bread with peanut butter, and then I have a protein shake after I workout. For lunch, I’ll have lots of veggies—not salad but steamed cauliflower and spinach with eggs or chicken or fish. I can do that every single day. For dinner, I have whatever they serve at home because we’re all health-conscious there. I’m not anti-carb, but I always look out for that. On the weekend, that’s when I treat myself. It’s very important to keep it sustainable. For me, this is how I’m able to keep up at it.

Do people ever ask you for fitness tips? What advice do you give them?
People always ask me how to get this type of butt, or lose weight, or get abs—but that’s really not the point. In return, I ask them, ‘What are you willing to give up?’ It could be sweets, your alcohol intake, or carbs. You can train as often or as hard as you want, but you need to give up something, too. There’s a quote I believe in that goes: ‘If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.’ So, if you’ve never had a crazy toned ass, you have to do something you’ve never done for it.

Produced by Alyssa Castillo
Photography by Renzo Navarro

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
wellness by Sam Potenciano

Get Well: Kaila Estrada

The model, student, and SM Youth ambassador on balancing clean eating with Yum Burgers.

How often do you work out in a week?
Ideally I like to work out 3 to 4 times in a week, but when I’m really busy with work or school I try to get to the gym at least twice.

Can you tell us about what kind of workouts you usually do?
I do Crossfit over at Hit Arena in BF Parañaque with my trainer Dandy Chua (@hit_man_dan). Time-wise they’re these shorter sessions (sometimes less than an hour) but they make up for it in terms of intensity. We’ll usually do 40 minutes to an hour of really intense cardio—10 rounds of 3 exercises with 15 to 20 reps each, and only 2 minutes of rest in between. It’s super fast-paced so even though it isn’t that much time, you feel like you get 3 hours of training in.

Twice a month I’ll also lift weights to tone up a bit, as well as alternate Crossfit training with boxing.kaila 2Is your approach to nutrition just as intense?
Our coach helps us come up with a nutritional plan based on whatever our individual goals are. Mine is to lose a bit of weight, so he put me on a plan that’s mostly fruits, vegetables, meat, and not too many carbs. I wouldn’t say that I’m super strict about it though. Just the thought of depriving myself of the things that I like to eat stresses me out. Gigi Hadid said this thing that I always remember, something like, ‘You eat clean to stay fit, but you eat a burger to stay sane.’ I totally agree with and live by that philosophy!

For 5 days out of the week, I’ll try to stick to my diet, but on the weekends I’ll let myself enjoy and indulge. So 60% of the time I eat clean, but the rest of it I don’t deprive myself if I’m craving sweets or fast food.

What’s your go-to when you’re having a fast food craving?
Oh, Jollibee for sure. I get the Yum Burger, the Jolly Hotdog, the fries…4Does sticking to a healthy meal plan feel harder when you have to juggle work with school?
It’s definitely harder if I have an early call time for a shoot or if I have classes. I don’t really have that much time to prep my meals, so it’s mostly about making healthier choices throughout the day. I’m lucky because this year The Healthy Corner opened up near my school, and they offer really great choices like black rice and lean protein. At shoots they usually provide food, but that’s usually pizza or fast food, so I’ve learned to bring my own food in those situations.

Can you tell us more about your fitness goals for the year?
I want to be more toned and lean and strong. I love Gigi Hadid and the way she shaped her body for her first VS show. I like the fact that she looks really healthy. She’s not stick thin; she has curves but she’s still lean and physically strong at the same time.

What motivates you to work out?
I honestly feel that, when you see yourself looking great, you just feel better. For me it builds my confidence. Personally, I’m much more confident when I work out and eat clean because when I see how it affects me physically, it makes me feel better. I also work out because it de-stresses me. It’s sort of like a form of therapy after having a really long day. For me, working out is a release.

Photos by Ralph Mendoza
Produced by Sam Potenciano

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.
wellness by Alyssa Castillo

Get Well: Karla Ong

This Pilates fanatic and OneLife Studio promoter has only one motto: Be strong, not skinny.

How often do you workout in a week and what are the workouts you do?
When I started doing Pilates, I would go every single day and take back-to-back classes, five times a week. But lately, I’ve been focusing on my full-time job in a start-up company. Now, I go twice or thrice a week. It’s difficult to squeeze in a workout sometimes but I always find a way. I don’t really follow a schedule because I just take the class that’s available. But if I decide not to do Pilates, I’ll go swim. I’m not strict with schedule because I just make up for it some other time. Other workouts I do are cardio exercises, but I really like swimming because I feel more accomplished in the pool.Karla 22

Can you tell us more about Pilates in OneLife Studio?
What I like about Pilates in OneLife Studio is that it offers many benefits with a variety of Pilates. With Reformer Pilates (which I prefer over mat Pilates), you use the reformer equipment to help you do much more. There’s Cardio Pilates called “Jump Board” wherein you attach a jump board to the reformer and you’re constantly jumping and doing different movements–which is much higher in intensity than usual classes. We also offer Suspension Pilates which is a combination of TRX and Pilates. There’s also Circuit Suspension Training which likens to boot camp exercises. We also have Athletic Conditioning which is very intense but I love it because it pushes you. With every class in OneLife Studio, you can change it up so that you can target the different areas and muscles of your body. It’s exciting because you never know what to expect. You don’t always perspire but then you can always feel the burn.

Pilates, in general, makes you longer and leaner instead of bulking up. I like it because I was always muscular and sometimes I feel bigger and look bigger especially in photos. I never wanted to dabble in lifting or competitive swimming because of how it might make me look masculine. My goal as a Pilates student is not to be skinny, but to get stronger.

Has fitness always been a part of your lifestyle?
Yeah, I was that girl who always wanted to excel in PE class. I never stuck to just one thing and my mom let me enroll in different sports clinics, but the one thing I really wanted to do was dance. I started dancing in 4th grade and did that until college when I decided to focus on my studies. I had this long break before working and that’s when I used the free time to work out a lot instead of just bumming around. I stuck to Plana Forma and Barre3 for a year and in-between that I would go to the gym and use the treadmill or do 50 laps in the pool. It was really heavy on cardio.Karla 44

What are your own personal reasons for working out and keeping fit?
If I could, I would keep working out. I really like it, but it’s not because I just want to look good and feel good about myself. Honestly, the reason why I workout is because I want to eat more. I always try to balance out the amount of food I eat. I’ve never tried to diet and I don’t intend to, ever, unless of course my health is at risk. I would eat anything because there’s really too much good food out there to miss out on.

So, what do you do in OneLife Studio? How did you begin with Pilates?
I actually stumbled upon the chance of being a OneLife Studio promoter when I came there to offer a service and a loyalty platform from my full-time job. I started first as an ambassador, and I’d invite friends to come by. For my first class, I didn’t know much about it. I just went in and I didn’t know what to expect. Now, I’m still promoting and I also help out with PR and Marketing–from events to features and partnerships or collaborations.

My director recently brought up the idea of me teaching there. I would love to teach one day but I’m also enjoying being a student first before going through the rigorous training process to be certified. When you’re a teacher, you’re somehow responsible of the bodies of your students, so it’s a big deal and you really have to study. In the future when I have more time and confidence, being a certified teacher is something I’ll definitely explore. There’s more to learn and I’m taking my time. I don’t want to rush anything. I always want to get it perfect before I get to the next level.Karla 11

What other benefits do you get from working out and how do they affect you?
Well, I have bad posture from slouching a lot. With working out, I become more mindful about it because it affects my movements. I feel better with a good posture and I have overall awareness with my body now. Besides that, working out also improves my mental health. It helps me become more patient with myself and with others. I understand now that I have to give myself time to hone certain things and I think that’s a good thing to carry with you. When I’m stressed, working out also serves as an outlet to release tension and frustration. Working out fuels my energy more than it drains me, and Endorphins are real–it’s not just a Legally Blonde reference.

Are you super strict with your diet? How’s your cheat day meal like?
Not at all! Every day is basically a cheat day. I can hop to Jollibee right now for a burger so that I can compare it to McDonald’s burger. What I take seriously is the 30-minute calorie burning window after working out, so that I can eat a lot. I eat before and after working out, but then of course I also have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as midnight snacks. Cup noodles are my thing too, so, from that you can see how unhealthy I eat. Let’s just say that, for now, I’m blessed with a really fast metabolism. Working out to eat is also a good motivation because I enjoy life without suppressing my cravings. But, yes, I know, I need to cut back on some junk food soon.Karla 33

Do you prefer to workout with a group or solo?
It’s always fun to workout with your friends but I feel that I reap more benefits when I workout alone. I’m motivated to reach personal goals all the time, like start with 20 laps and then push myself to do 30, 40, and so on… But I can’t do that when I’m chit-chatting with friends. The great thing about Pilates group classes, though, is that it trains you to listen to the instructor and focus on yourself even with other people around you.

Do you ever get competitive?
Yes, I’m very competitive! I always ask myself why I can’t do this or that and it was tough for me when I transitioned from Beginner to Intermediate. With my very first intermediate class, I was surrounded by older, middle-aged women, who were doing everything flawlessly. I felt frustrated and I just wanted to get on that level quickly, but then again, I had to be patient with myself. I enjoy these challenges, anyway.

Photography by Andrea Beldua
Sittings by Mags Ocampo

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
wellness by Alyssa Castillo

Get Well: Nica Hechanova De Erquiaga

This Urban Ashram instructor believes wellness is about way more than just being healthy.

According to Nica Hechanova De Erquiaga, beginning your very own yoga practice is the best and safest first step on the road to personal wellness. After all, it’s not as competitive as joining a class, but is still physically challenging enough for your body to really feel the burn. And after the year that was 2016, who wouldn’t want to kick-start the new year by taking the path to inner peace?

“I’m more concerned about being fit than being considered thin,” Nica explains. “Being concerned with one’s own health is part of caring and loving oneself. Health isn’t just dieting or making sure you get proper exercise and sleep, but also making sure that you’re happy and well. Yoga reminds me that being well is about much more than just being healthy.”

Nica practically grew up outdoors—exactly the type of kid you’d see biking around the village and getting into all sorts of sports such as taekwondo, gymnastics, softball, and ultimate Frisbee. As a full-fledged adult, she’s even made a name for herself as a certified yoga trainer at Urban Ashram Yoga Manila.get-well-1Her journey began after she took a single session of Bikram yoga as a means to add a bit of grace to her overall movements. When Urban Ashram Yoga Manila opened in 2011, she immersed herself in their technique because it helped her learn more and more about her own body. The year after, she decided to undergo teacher training, leaving behind a career as an arts & crafts teacher. Nica never assumed she could do this forever, but after almost 5 years, she believes there’s still much to learn.

Through time, her practice helped her movements evolve through vigorous Vinyasa afternoons and gentle Asana morning sessions, which in turn taught her to be kinder to herself and to others. Prior to yoga, Nica experienced a fair share of life’s aches and pains, but the practice further helped her become more mindful. Today, she makes it a point to practice at least 4 times a week at home or in the studio.

“Yoga helps me become more compassionate. Teaching yoga and learning yoga is similarly a very humbling experience,” She reflects. “It’s taught me that happiness is really from within and it’s a constant work in progress because chaos, impatience and stress will always exist. It balances my energy and takes me to a place where I can breathe and be more at peace.”1Now that 2017 has arrived, Nica thinks that this is the perfect time for others to pick up the practice as a peaceful way to enter the new year. She says that more than just the physical benefits and the numerous studies that back up the science of yoga, the practice is one of the most holistic tools for overall wellness. And no, it isn’t all about pulling off gravity-defying poses, because she shares that you can even learn the Art of Pranayama, wherein you can work with your inner body to help bring stress levels down—shaking away all tension and frustration.

Having an active lifestyle doesn’t necessarily equal a boring diet though, because as Nica plainly puts it, enjoying yummy food is what makes her happy. With the aid of her yoga practice, she has learned to be disciplined and discerning when it comes to her food choices—despite very real cravings for buttery croissants, french fries, and soft drinks. Just like in her yoga practice, balance is key, and she’s learned to apply this to every aspect of life.

Photography by Andrea Beldua

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
Alyssa Castillo
Alyssa Castillo is a freelance writer and is concurrently Rogue Media's Editorial Assistant for The NBHD. She reads for fun, writes for a living, and wastes too much time entertaining the possibility of a zombie apocalypse. Find her on Instagram as @alyssakcastillo.
wellness by Sam Potenciano

Get Well: Neil Dy

On 2 hour workouts, cheat meals, and eating kare-kare without rice.

As if completing his final year as a Communications Technology major at Ateneo De Manila wasn’t grueling enough, student Neil Dy also serves double duty as part of Bench’s latest wave of fresh-faced brand ambassadors. Amid photoshoots, press events, and, yes, that final academic stretch, he reveals how he also—somehow—manages to squeeze in 2 hours of workouts every other day.

How often do you work out in a week?
In a week I work out around 3 to 4 times, and each session is about 2 hours each. I start with 20 to 25 minutes of cardio, and then I lift for about an hour and half after that, and I end with stretching. I usually do all of that at the Wack Wack Country Club.

How do you find the time to work out for 2 hours in between classes and your Benchsetter duties?
I made it a point that when it comes to school, all my classes are scheduled in the morning so that I’m free to do whatever in the afternoon. That’s usually when I get to work out.

Do you prefer working out alone?
I gym by myself, but I also play pick up basketball games at night with my friends.

What do you do to fuel each workout?
I make sure that I eat before each gym session. Coffee is definitely an essential for me. I have it in the morning and before I hit the gym.

Are you particular about what you eat?
I’m not so strict about what I eat, but I do try to eat clean—and I don’t eat white rice.

What do you have on an average day?
Usually I’ll have 4 hardboiled eggs and coffee for breakfast, then for lunch I’ll have chicken breast with egg again, and at night I’ll have whatever they serve at home, just without rice.

So you don’t have any carbs at all?
I do have carbs—bread, pasta, black rice. I just stay away from white rice in particular because I can’t control myself when I have it. I’ve been doing that for about 2 years now, and even when I eat Filipino food, like kare-kare, I can just have the meat without any rice. I don’t look for it so much anymore.

What is your idea of the perfect cheat meal?
The kebab meal from Behrouz. That’s the only place where I have to eat rice. There’s one in Ortigas in Metrowalk. If I really want to have a good cheat meal I go for their basmati rice.

Finally, why is it so important for you to stay fit?
I just feel good—almost cleaner. Working out and staying fit puts me in a better, happier mood. When I don’t get to work out I definitely feel like there’s something missing in my day.

Photography by Kitakat Pajaro

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.
wellness by Sam Potenciano

Get Well: Mathew Custodio

How this Benchsetter and DLSU football player stays in shape.

How often do you work out in a week?
I don’t start at DLSU until January, but I go there every day to train for football.

Have you always been into football?
Oh yeah, I’ve been playing it all my life. Before I was born I was kicking my mom na. Right now I’m an attacking mid-field, so I play behind the striker.

Do you do any other workouts?
Actually it’s been two months since I started consistently working out at the gym for the first time. For the purpose of, sure, strengthening for football, but also just to look good. I had to once I started modelling for Bench. Before that I was just training for football every day.

That training wasn’t enough?
It was, but maybe I felt more pressure. Like, now that I’m doing this Bench thing, I want to look even better. You know—to fit into the underwear and stuff.

Do you plan to do Bench Body stuff?
Not yet—but hopefully. Just kidding!

Do you feel like your approach to fitness has changed since you started modelling?
I feel like I have to be more lean, which is good because I was never consistent with going to the gym before. I’d never even had a membership, but now it’s my second month of going to one.

What’s your schedule like now that you’re juggling Bench with football?
Right now my schedule is pretty simple but it still takes up my whole day. I wake up at 4:30am because training starts at 6. It takes place in Rizal and I live in Merville, so it’s pretty traffic and a long drive as well. That’s my daily routine. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays our training is in De La Salle Zobel in Alabang, so I get up even earlier.

After training (which is about 9am) some of the other players have class, but since my term hasn’t started yet, I take my time at the gym. If I’ve had a really intense training session though, they also offer fitness therapy, so sometimes I spend that time recovering. I also do some modelling work after that.

Would you say you’re more into team sports than solo workouts?
When it comes to the field and to the pitch, we train together as a team, but I’m more of an individual guy when it comes to working hard. I’m not a good captain, you know what I mean? I’m the guy who’s gonna push myself, but I’m not gonna shout at anyone else. I’m just going to focus on pushing myself. That being said it’s still a team sport, so you have to work both ways.

Who inspires you to work out?
There are people that I follow on Instagram for their workouts—specifically Bradley Simmonds (@bradleysimmonds). He’s a personal trainer for a couple of the professional football players in England. And, of course, like everyone else who plays football and wants to look good, I follow Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano). I don’t care if this sound gay, but he’s hot. It’s the truth.

Are you strict about what you eat?
I eat properly but I don’t follow a specific diet because I physically can’t. You know how models have these really strict, military-type diets? I can’t do that because I’m an athlete. I need all the food that I can take. I’ll eat anything.

What is your perfect cheat meal?
Turon, which I seriously eat every day. If you see my Snaps you’ll see the turon stand that I always go to. I don’t miss a day. Turon and bananaque—it has to be that combo. I have it before I train and it gives me energy. I guess I don’t really consider that a cheat meal since it’s a daily thing for me though… Maybe something more indulgent like a katsu at Yabu. Or donuts. I was at the Krispy Kreme launch recently and I brought home five dozen boxes, which made my mom really happy. At the party I had, like, a dozen to myself. I had 12 pieces at least.

What do you love the most about working out?
I really believe that if you look good you feel good. Being fit gives me lots of confidence in general. I’ve also been getting really tan from being out in the field, so I’m not hiya anymore to take my shirt off. Simple things like that. Like after a game or training, the DLSU volleyball team trains the same time as us, so if I have to take off my shirt in front of them, it’s all good. It doesn’t stress me out.

Photography by Kitakat Pajaro

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.
wellness by Sam Potenciano

Get Well: Katarina Rodriguez

How the MTV VJ, Saddle Row instructor, and model takes care of herself.

How often do you work out in a week?
I try to work out everyday, but I also make sure to get in at least one rest day each week.

What workouts do you gravitate towards?
I teach indoor cycling at Saddle Row, so my personal trainer bases the rest of my workouts off of the days that I teach. We’ll alternate my program in line with that so that I don’t get burned out. It changes all the time, like say on a Monday I do a high intensity workout, then Tuesday I’ll do Pilates, and then Wednesday I’ll go for boxing.

Has fitness always been a part of your lifestyle?
For the last five years I’ve gotten really into it, but it’s only this year that I’ve started to figure out how my body works. Running has always been a part of my life, though. I ran cross-country and track in high school and at DLSU I was part of the varsity women’s track and field team. Now I do long distance road runs. I haven’t joined a full marathon yet, but I just did an 8k for the New Balance 2016 Power Run and placed third.

Aside from teaching at Saddle Row, where else do you like to work out?
I have a membership with Guava Pass which is so convenient because there are so many gyms and workouts that you can try through it. It’s so hard to schedule a workout with my trainer, so I just show him my work schedule and he tells me which Guava Pass classes to book based on that. Every single day I get a different workout and my body is constantly in shock. I think that’s what keeps me fit, especially when I have a hectic schedule. Like, yesterday I was boxing at Elorde in Eastwood because I had work near that area.

Are you super strict about what you eat?
Every time I work out I give it 110% because my diet isn’t super strict. I get my meals delivered by The Healthy House, but I eat more or less what I want. If you’re out with your friends what are you gonna do, right? My trainer also doesn’t stop me from satisfying food cravings. He’ll just say if you’re going to eat cookies (which I’ve been into lately) then do some high intensity cardio. It’s about balance and flexibility. If you want to eat whatever you want just work twice as hard to burn it.

What are your current fitness goals?
When I first started modeling, I tried losing all this weight to hit a size zero but that wasn’t sustainable. After that I ended up gaining all the weight back twice over, and it was such a shock for my body to go from the thinnest I had ever been to the heaviest. I noticed the changes in my body and in the way I felt. My knees started to hurt when I would run and I developed a kidney problem. Now I focus on a slower and more sustainable lifestyle. With my body type now, I’ve more like a fitness model, but my current goal is to get to a point between a fashion model and a fitness model. That medium is challenging because you could easily go overboard like being way too thin or not modelesque enough.

katarina-rodriguez-4Who inspires you to work out?
I really admire Adriana Lima because she was one of the first supermodels who promoted this idea that fit is the new sexy. She really trains like an athlete, too—from her sleeping patterns to sports stretching to recovery. She does kick-boxing, muay thai…. A lot of people see models as very fragile but she’s very strong and she started that whole movement.

Do you prefer to work out solo or with a group of people?
My best friend, Maureen Schrijvers, is also one of the fastest runners in the country, and we work out together a lot. We also have a Viber group of friends who work out together at least once a week and then grab a bite after. It’s a really relaxed, healthy way to bond.

Beyond its physical benefits, how does working out affect you?
Different workouts give me completely different things. If I’m feeling frustrated I’ll book a boxing class and just shut off my phone and take my energy out there. With yoga it’s more about gratitude and calming myself. It’s very spiritual for me. In pilates you have to pay attention to these weird muscles that you don’t normally use, and to all these very controlled, small movements, so what I get from that is the feeling that I’m the choreographer of my body’s transformation.

Running is my first love and the thing that I always go back to. Even if I’m at the beach for La Boracay, people will ask: “How do you not have a hangover?” Because no matter what I’ll wake up and just go for a run before I even think of anything. Running gives me back the balance I need in my life. If I have any kind of internal conflict or if I have to meditate on something, I’ll do a long run and it just puts me in a better place.

Finally, what’s your go-to cheat meal?
I actually make a list of cheat meals and use that as motivation for my workouts. Like if I have a race, I’ll do it for the pancakes. But my #1 has to be McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets! Even the staff at MTV just automatically orders me nuggets. It’s the balance that I need from eating too clean. Like after a morning run I’ll go straight to McDonalds when they finally serve nuggets.

Photography by Aryann Avenido

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.