Kevin Lapeña has always been into fitness. “My dad’s a fitness professional, and someone who’s really passionate about sports and keeping healthy. So I suppose it was natural for me to have picked up on it at an early age.
“Physical exercise—be it through sports, working out in a gym or just going for a run—has always been my personal source of balance and a staple of my day-to-day,” said the 30-year-old TV and events host and travel media producer.
The pandemic had a big impact on Lapeña’s career, since the two main industries he’s part of—travel media and live events—took a huge hit. “But one of the good things that came out of this was that I started to explore content creating. I had to be creative in still maintaining my presence. So I started vlogging about events and voice-over work, and I’ve started a pocket travel series that I’d just shoot from my home studio, where I’d feature different destinations around the Philippines.”
Now, he’s back to hosting live and virtual events. “My travel media work has slowly been coming alive again, too! I’ve been shooting promotional videos for local tourism boards, as well as producing features for hotels and going on fam trips to local destinations.”
Fitness continues to be a big part of his life, of course. Here, he shares his secrets to staying healthy.
My fitness regimen: The kind of exercise routine I follow really varies, depending on my goals, say, if I’m preparing for a race or if I want to bulk up or cut. The exercises I’ve been doing these past few months have mainly been to keep healthy and to just maintain my fitness. I mostly run outside or on the treadmill, followed by doing exercises from the NTC (Nike Training Club) app (my favorite workouts are the “Head to Toe Meltdown” and the “Boxer Burner”) and by doing resistance training through bodyweight exercises, free weights, and, on occasion, going to the gym.
My favorite workouts and exercises: I love endurance training. I used to be a big weights guy but when I started doing endurance sports back in 2015, endurance workouts have been my go-to exercises, specifically running, cycling and swimming. Swimming is my favorite, since you get so much out of it and with the least amount of impact on your joints!
My workout frequency: I always try to work out as often as I can. Pre-COVID, I’d work out six to seven days a week! But now, because of all the limitations and the mental and physical fatigue of a year’s worth of community quarantine, I’d work out two to four times in a week, on average. Five, if I’m feeling motivated.
I work out … Mostly at home, indoors for the functional workouts and resistance training, and outdoors, for when I run. But on some occasions, I go to the gym, just to squeeze in a proper workout with weights and machines and all.
My fitness must-haves: My No. 1 priority has always been music. It’s what keeps me motivated throughout my workouts and helps me push myself on lazy days. So you’d always see me with earphones on when I exercise. I make sure to use in-ear/bluetooth earphones so I’m not bothered by dangling cables and so they keep in place no matter how much I move around. A set of must-haves as well are resistance bands and/or dumbbells, and an exercise mat. If I have these with me, I’d be good, no matter where I am. And lastly, a face mask for when I run.
My workout playlist: Thing is, I’m really big on music and I enjoy listening to all kinds of genres, so it really depends on my mood! It can range from the usual genres like rock and hip-hop to classical and even Broadway! But lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of alternative music—Interpol, The Killers, Them Crooked Vultures and The Shins, to name a few.
My diet: I do intermittent fasting, where I’d usually only eat once or twice a day, and when it’s time to eat, I make sure to still eat healthy, by eating a lot of greens, staying away from junk food, managing my portions, etc. Unless there’s chocolate. Then that’d be the exception. Haha.
In a day, I usually eat … Vegetables for the most part, like a salad, or stir-fried kangkong with garlic and tofu (my favorite) and some muesli for dessert. But when I’m hungry, I like eating fish or chicken with rice (or cauliflower rice, if I’m feeling responsible).
One health hack I recently started doing as well is drinking apple cider vinegar every morning. I’ve always had problems with hyperacidity and this thing completely took it away! Not only that, it helps keep my gut healthy too!
What’s off-limits: Junk food! Chips in particular. I’ve always been a big snacker, and once I start snacking on chips, it’ll almost be impossible for me to stop! It’s always been one of my weaknesses, too, so I try my best to keep away from it, whenever I can.
Cheat days: I think this is really important to have, especially if you’d want to have a sustainable commitment to eating and staying healthy. It keeps the sanity intact too and the cravings at bay. I usually allow myself to enjoy during the weekend, either on Fridays and/or Sundays. Sky’s the limit here! Fast-food, pizza, beer, you name it!
What keeps me motivated: Overall life balance, I suppose. I remember talking about this recently, where every time I’d think about how the “best version” of myself would look like, in all its different iterations and scenarios, the common factor in all those is me being fit and healthy. It keeps me centered, anchored and I am at my happiest when my body feels good.
That aside, I wear suits a lot because of my hosting work and suit pants can get pretty tight! So if not for life balance and all that, this is a pretty huge motivator for me!
How the pandemic affected my fitness routine: It really messed it up, unfortunately. I would go to the gym six to seven days a week before the pandemic and was never really into home workouts. But being stuck in a condo for months without going out taught me how to keep fit with just my body weight and little to no equipment.
It was a huge adjustment process for me, but when I started getting the hang of it, there were times that I even preferred it more than using machines. Now, I’ve started to incorporate endurance exercises again and staying outdoors to get fresh air and sunlight.
It still takes a conscious effort on my end to maintain my routine. But so long as I keep myself healthy, with everything that’s going on, I suppose that’s more than enough for me.
More fitness secrets: I’m not sure if it’s a secret, but I find that changing up your diet really helps if you want to lose weight and to avoid having your gains plateau. I’ve been eating plant-based for a few years until I noticed that I wasn’t looking and feeling as good as I used to. Then I started experimenting with other diets and introduced meat into my diet again and to my surprise, it worked wonders! I leaned out and gained muscle, too!
Tips for people who want to get healthier: Take it one day at a time. More often than not, people stop their fitness journey before they even really get to begin. It can definitely get overwhelming thinking about all the things you’d need to do, like exercising, being conscious about what you eat and changing your lifestyle. So best to ease into it first. There’s no need to rush into training hard right away, so do what’s comfortable for yourself first, and as long as you’re consistent with it, the progress and the gains will come.