Latest Stories

Mikael Daez turns to apps to level up

When he needed to buff up, the actor loaded up on calories, and used workout programs on his iPhone to add variety to his exercise routine


Basketball is his first love.

Mikael Daez has a problem most people would like to have. His body type is not predisposed to fat. However, being skinny in front of the camera can be a disadvantage.

“As an actor, I’ve got to be versatile. I have to fill up my shirts. If I dress up and look so thin, I won’t be able to pull off the look,” says the 25-year-old model-turned-TV host and actor. “I was able to bulk up, but I got skinny when I didn’t exercise. I lost fat and muscle, so I looked like a high school boy again,” says Daez.

Building muscle requires regular weight-resistance workouts, cross training, nutritional supplements and a high-calorie diet. But with Daez’s daily schedule, he finds it challenging to strike a balance. He gets up at 4 a.m. to be at GMA 7 for his hosting duties on “Unang Hirit.” When the program finishes at 8 a.m., he goes to the taping of the romantic comedy “With a Smile.” The taping usually ends at 10:30 p.m.

Then the cycle is repeated. It gets more hectic when he goes out of town for his “Midnight Snack” segment in “Saksi.”

A techie, Daez uses apps to help get him in shape when he can’t find the time to meet up with his personal trainer Joel Abalde or enroll in a yoga studio. With his iPhone as his exercise companion, he has discovered high-performance fitness apps. Aside from providing mobility and flexibility in schedule, apps are cost-effective.

Many are free for basic levels or offer free trials. Progressive fitness apps cost a mere fraction of gym or studio fees. The popular workouts are available for both iOS and Android platforms.

Digital workouts

WITH the iPhone as his exercise companion, Mikael Daez uses the Gym Hero app to record his program. Doing the pushup and row exercise. PHOTOSBYNELSONMATAWARAN

For building muscle, Daez uses Gym Hero, which serves as an exercise journal. It helps create routines and provides a summary for every completed workout, which includes the total weight, numbers of repetitions and sets and workouts over a certain time for each muscle group. It gives a complete picture of what was accomplished in one session and shows the user’s progress at a glance.

“Gym Hero is my best log book for the gym. I input what I do. It’s easy because you click which exercise you did instead of writing them all down,” he says. With this digital journal, he can keep a record of his progress and share it on his blog.

Gym Hero can be synchronized with a cardio app, RunKeeper. The phone’s GPS can follow the route, speed, distance, time, and even calories for each loop. Daez merely taps “start activity” to get running. It can also be adapted to include music from the phone’s playlist or to make a running program.

“I’m a super geek. RunKeeper records my every activity. It gives you a chart and sends an alert if you haven’t run for days,” he says.

To improve his flexibility, Daez started using Yogify. He rolls out a towel in his bedroom and enjoys the stretches while the video shows a teacher delivering the instructions in a soothing voice.

The yoga classes are set according to fitness objectives—strength, balance or flexibility—and skill levels. Each set of exercises has specific poses to target certain muscles. Daez enjoys this app because it enables him to focus on what he wants to achieve at his level.

THE YOGIFY app enables him to do yoga anytime and anywhere at no cost.

“I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks. I’m staying with flexibility. There are poses for the hamstring, groin, back and hips. I chose the hamstring,” he says.

He points out that fitness apps enable the individual to maximize his time and resources. “If you don’t have the money, these apps can give you a chance to work out. You need to put in a different kind of effort. Instead of the effort of going to the gym or studio, you need to make time. When you appreciate the benefits, then you’ll be able to continue the program. Imagine how life would be without it. If you didn’t have this app, there’s no way you would do yoga or exercise unless you go to the studio.”

Yet in spite of all the digital aids, Daez always reverts to his first love, basketball. He was a varsity player at Ateneo from grade school to college. The sport has taught him a lesson in humility. In high school, he looked up to Allen Iverson, then the shooting guard of the Philadelphia 76ers. Iverson was a natural talent who set high scores despite slacking in practice.

Daez picked up that attitude. “Iverson preached: ‘No practice.’ We didn’t take basketball seriously in high school. When we got to college, the players were faster and stronger. If you didn’t prepare for the sport in high school, you’d have a hard time catching up in college. I didn’t give myself the best chance to be where I could be in basketball.”


He cites today’s icons, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, as the opposite of Iverson. “They preach psychotic obsession in trying to get better. Even if you’re No. 1, you still have to find a way to up the ante. I see the kids following their example.”

Aside from exercise, Daez pays attention to his diet and supplements.  His breakfast consists of brown rice and tuna and cheese omelet. Daez says he advocates brown rice not only because of its nutritional value, but also due to economics.

“It is said to be the key to our self-sufficiency,” says Daez, who was invited to join Oxfam, an international organization that aims to seek alternative solutions to poverty. As brown rice is more filling, a study has shown that if Filipinos eat more of this instead of white rice, they would eat less, thereby considerably reducing consumption.  Subsequently, there would be no need to import white rice. He complements the rice with chicken and steak, and snacks on fruit.

Daez says for his 5’11” frame, he needs an average of 3,000 calories a day. He tried going on 5,000 calories, but the constant eating was taxing for his jaws.

Supplements helped him gain 15 lbs in one year. “It may not be much, but I’m proud because it’s really hard for me to gain,” says Daez. He mixes his shake with high-protein weight gain powder—50 g of protein and 250 g of carbohydrate.

“That is a one-and-a-half big meal. One serving is 1,250 calories. This helped me out,” he says. He keeps his shake in a 1.5-liter thermos and drinks it slowly throughout the day.

The efforts paid off. From 160 lbs, his weight went up 178 lbs. As a sign of his triumph, he even became a Cosmo magazine centerfold.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Apps , Celebrities , fitness , iPhone , Lifestyle , Mikael Daez , Technology

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  9. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions