Rovilson Fernandez is back in the United States, to spend quality time with his parents and family in California.
“This pandemic has highlighted what is truly important, and for me, that’s family,” he says.
While there, the 47-year-old host has rekindled his love for writing. “I’ve written short stories about Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Peter North—yes him!—and a loving tribute to my parents. All shocking, suspenseful and inspiring true stories. I’ve been told I should write a book and I’m honored they think that, but right now I’m just enjoying the writing process.”
He’s also spent the past months exploring. “I’ve visited about 15 national, state and local parks so far and counting.”
And fitness, as always, continues to be part of his life. “Growing up with three brothers and living across a lake and my high school, it would have been a crime to not be active,” he told Lifestyle.
Here, he shares his secrets to staying healthy despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
My fitness regimen: I went from having five gym memberships/fitness disciplines to zero. That was tough to adjust to. Still is. The pandemic only allows outdoor running and hiking, two activities that I’m passionate about.
My favorite workouts and exercises: Nonpandemic: CrossFit and spartan racing. During the pandemic: trail running and hiking. I’m also appreciating my weekly Zoom WODs (workout of the day) led by Las Vegas-based “Biggest Loser PH” host and fitness guru Chinggay Andrada.
Workout frequency: Once a week WOD, and three times a week, a trail run/hike with my parents.
I work out … outdoors as much as possible. Exploring new parks and trails. The only silver lining during this pandemic is visiting new forests, mountains and trails and doing this with my family. The Zoom WODs are done in my parent’s garage like the good ol’ high school days.
My fitness must-haves: My New Balance Hierros (perfect for trail and the urban jungle), a water flask, a Garmin GPS watch, Apple EarPods and Strava app and my phone because I’m always snapping pics and videos during my runs. California sunsets are amazing.
My workout playlist: I haven’t heard new music in years. All I listen to now are podcasts. On heavy rotation: “Jalen & Jacoby,” “Joe Rogan Podcast,” “Warriors Huddle,” “ESPN 30 for 30,” “Tiger Belly” and “The Rewatchables.”
My diet: I’ve been on a diet since I entered show biz (20 years ago). During my CrossFit years, I realized it wasn’t about my weight on the scale, it was about power and performance and that required calories and protein. Probably my happiest years in fitness were when I didn’t care about weight anymore.
In a day, I usually eat … freshly squeezed lemon juice and water for breakfast. My first meal is usually at 1 p.m. At least one serving of all five food groups. I avoid eating after 8 p.m. if possible. And “Taco Tuesday” is a thing.
What’s off-limits: GMO (genetically modified organism), high-fructose crap, white rice (only when I’m eating Filipino food), soda and processed food.
Cheat days: Now that I’m on vacation in the States surrounded by all my favorite comfort food, Mexican taquerias and mom’s cooking, it’s practically cheat day every day. But I’m not complaining.
What keeps me motivated: My tribe. Spartan Race and the beasts in my age group category, the desire to play sports with my five nephews when they are grown men. Longevity and pain-free living.
How the pandemic affected my fitness routine: I can’t work out at home, I need the gym atmosphere to motivate me. Thankfully, I’ve reinvigorated my passion for running and hiking, the only safe and legal activities allowed. The last half of the year, I must have logged 450 kilometers plus completed the NYC Virtual Marathon. I originally scoffed at anything “virtual”; now its my go-to activity. I highly recommend it!
More fitness secrets: Find a tribe of like-minded beasts and train/compete together. You can always flake on yourself but it’s harder to flake on your gym buddies. Always run/train with someone faster/stronger than you. Treat yourself to proper gear if your budget allows (shoes and GPS watch are the basics). Train first thing in the morning and knock it out (make your WOD the toughest thing you’ll do all day for 30 minutes/hour, then the rest of your day is cake). Envision success—abs, confidence, slimmer waistline, fitting into that two-piece bikini, new personal record. Set small, achievable goals: five pullups this month, 10 pullups next month, etc.
Tips for people who want to get healthier: I keep it simple. Eat, sleep, train, repeat. Eat nutritiously, smart and moderate portions; sleep eight hours if you can; train with your tribe, push each other to be the best version of yourselves; and repeat. Do this four to six days a week for three weeks then it becomes a habit. And never care about the other person; you are competing against yourself. My favorite quote: “You’re stronger than you think you are.” P.S. And to release healthy endorphins, call your mom!