Real people as health and fitness inspirations | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AUTHOR with her dad in Central Park 2013
THE AUTHOR with her dad in Central Park 2013
ERIC and Bea Puno

There are amazing people I’ve known from way back and others I’ve met only recently who have really touched my heart and kept me motivated to stay healthy, hopeful, inspired and happy.


If you have also encountered such individuals, let them inspire you this post-holiday season to achieve your wellness and health goals.


Perfect example


I started training Fr. Gregory Ramos, 54, six months ago after his doctor gave him the clearance to exercise.


He had multiple myeloma or cancer of the plasma cells exactly a year ago. An Inquirer article was written about him last year when he was undergoing cancer treatment (


Since then, he has been very consistent with our once-a-week Pilates session. He also does indoor/outdoor walking, and climbing up and down the stairs, while praying the rosary, two to four times a week.


According to his sister, Cynthia Ramos-Dizon, Father Greg’s recovery is a miracle, somewhat like Lazarus’ resurrection. She lives with him and has observed that Father Greg is more conscious now of his diet, eating more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.


He now reads the nutrition facts on the labels when he buys grocery items. Exercise has become part of his regimen.


MAYEN Ordoveza about to do core training

When I met him, he was using a cane and could hardly sit and stand. In his Sunday Mass a few weeks ago, I saw how he could do without the cane as he walked from the church’s door and climbed a few steps to the altar.


Father Greg is the perfect example of how strong faith and will can make someone well. He inspires people to keep the faith, to stay hopeful and to treasure every second of life.


Inspiring transformation


Adel Torres, 53, finished his first full marathon in early last year with his friends.


I met him last year when he signed up for the once-a-month weight-management (WM) sessions we offer every year to first-time full-marathoners. He completed all six WM sessions, plus the run trainings and lectures given by marathon organizers.


Adel is always hungry for knowledge, experience and life lessons. I credit this for his success in losing 35 pounds in 10 months and for finishing that grueling 42-km run in less than five hours.


FR. GREGORY Ramos is currently doing Pilates as his rehab after his recovery from multiple myeloma.

Adel now sleeps better and is more alert than ever. He has also improved his cholesterol levels and has achieved a normal body mass index, effectively managing his asthma.


His goal is to continue running, to eat healthy and to improve his health.


He is truly an inspiration to people who want to improve their health and fitness level.


The power of companionship


I truly admire the strong partnership of Eric Puno, a 50-year-old lawyer, and his wife Bea, a 48-year-old homemaker, especially when it comes to fitness.


They have both developed the discipline to wake up at 5 a.m. thrice a week to run around different villages. Eric and Bea have had this routine the past six years. Last year, they added once-a-week Pilates and resistance training.


The husband and wife have  finished three full marathons  (New York, Chicago and Paris) and are prepping for a fourth in Tokyo.


The couple considers exercise as an excellent way to combat stress and as means of spending time together while doing something they both love and enjoy.


ADEL Torres before and after

Bea said strenuous activity helps them stay focused, closer to each other and more disciplined. They push each other to sleep and wake up early for training sessions. They also talk and listen to each other while running for two to three hours.


The couple believe they will continue to run together to age 60 years old and beyond. Age, after all, doesn’t matter when it comes to will and determination.


Happiness from within


I met 62-year-old Mayen Ordoveza three years ago when she set the goal to stay healthy and fit so she can finish her runs  and do occasional mountain climbing.


Now she runs three times a week, does strength-core training twice a week and dance class once a week. During our strength and core sessions, she easily completes repetitions of challenging exercises fit for a 20-year-old.


Mayen strongly believes that happiness comes from within. Her passion to try new things, to improve herself and enjoy life really inspires me to look forward to more new, exciting and positive things in life.


Positive presence


There’s also Francis Felipe, 57, my dear father who has always been a role model to me, our family, his coworkers and friends when it comes to fitness.


Since I was five years old, I’ve seen him lift weights and swim to stay fit and healthy so he can do his work and family duties. I am confident he will continue to work out and take good care of his health as long as he can, because exercising really makes him feel young, happy and more effective in his job of dealing with guests as a restaurant director.


When my beloved mom passed away last year, I became worried about how my dad would cope with this unexpected and heartbreaking loss. But exercising and staying healthy have played a big role in his efforts to adjust to the loss of a loved one.


These have also allowed him to combat his stress, loneliness and frustrations. Dad says he still feels the strong and positive presence of my mom whenever he works out in his home gym, where they used to work out and spend time together.


Happy new year to all!




E-mail [email protected], follow on Twitter @mitchfelipe

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