Bea Antonio, retail operations and training manager for L’Oreal Philippines and indoor cycling instructor for Ride Revolution, has been balancing both jobs while working from home.
“I have been trying to get back into some hobbies that I haven’t had the time to do, like reading and making some art,” she said. “I also recently decided that I want to get certified for scuba diving.”
Another thing she makes time for? Working out.
Antonio, 29, has always led an active life. “At an early age, I was exposed to all sorts of physical activities—swimming, badminton, kickboxing, dance, etc., and I cannot remember a time when I didn’t have any form of activity on the side.”
She admits that her motivations to stay fit have changed over the years. “When I was younger, it was mainly stemming from my insecurities and feeling like I needed to look a certain way. However, as I got older, my main motivation was really to allow myself to have an outlet to destress, imbibe happy hormones and, overall, feel good mentally and physically. I think working constantly on myself gives me a sense of control and it allows me to have time to sort of slow down and be fully with myself, because days can get pretty busy for me.”
Having other fitness-loving friends helps, too. “I have always had guidance from other friends in the industry to learn more about fitness and what works for me; they were actually key to keeping me inspired and motivated on working on myself.”
My fitness routine: Just a good balance of cardio, weights and rest. For cardio, I do indoor cycling or jumping rope in the garage. Sometimes, I even join my parents for a walk around our village and that definitely still counts for extra movement. Even on days when I teach indoor cycling, I still set aside time to lift some weights. For this, there are different focuses per day (upper body, lower body, etc.) and I try to include core exercises as well to ensure that I am able to do a full body workout. I make sure to give myself a good stretch before and after the workout. I also keep track of my water intake (at least 4 liters per day) and my macros.
Favorite workouts: I absolutely enjoy indoor cycling because of the feeling it gives you during class. Not only does it get your heart rate up and make you sweat, but it also gives you a good feeling because of the atmosphere of the class. There’s always introspection. I enjoy doing deadlifts because I like seeing how I can set my mind and body to working on the proper form and on the weight that I will carry.
Workout frequency: At least four times a week.
Where I work out: Right now, only at home because I have been extra cautious of my exposure outside. I do my spinning in the attic, which was transformed into my bike room, and I jump rope in the garage with whatever space I am able to find, haha! But prepandemic, you could find me in the cycling studio or in the gym close to my house.
Fitness essentials: (1) Klean Kanteen tumbler—never without my jug because I try to keep hydrated all throughout the day. (2) Fitbit Watch/Fitbit App—it helps me track sleep score, daily steps, heart rate, and you can even input your water intake. (3) MyFitness Pal App—best buddy in keeping track of macros! (4) Foam roller—great for recovery and relieving muscles. (5) Whey protein—it helps me reach my daily protein intake (my favorite brands are Wheyl and MyProtein).
My workout playlist: It depends on my mood for the day. Songs can vary from BTS to Kendrick Lamar, as long as it has a good beat!
My diet: High-protein, moderate carbs and fat. In every meal, I try to make sure I have a good portion of protein and a balance of carbs. It’s not hard to do at home especially if you like preparing your own meals, but when I go out, I usually stick to the healthier options. Generally, I immediately choose the option that has more nutritional value for me. But I do still allow myself to enjoy fast food from time to time.
What I usually eat in a day: For breakfast, it varies from toast, eggs or cereal, but always with big cup of coffee! I can’t function without coffee—my top options would be a cold brew, a flat white or a soy latte. For lunch and dinner, the choices would usually be chicken or fish and I have it either with rice or potatoes and veggies, but I like playing around with my sauces or dressings (there are so many available low-calorie condiments now so it makes meals more experimental and tasty, haha). I don’t usually snack, but when I do, it’s just a sandwich, fruits or dark chocolate.
What’s off-limits: I think the only thing I would consider off-limits is allowing yourself to feel down, may it be about your progress, your routine or being offtrack with your step or food goal. I think self-doubt is the biggest thing that can affect your routine or journey, so that’s something I learned along the way. I used to be so tough on myself that whenever I would feel like I “wasn’t getting anywhere,” I would make myself pay for it.
Something I learned is that the journey will have its ups and downs and you just have to ride through it. Plus, it is OK to rest because that’s important, too! I think a lot of people forget to be kind to themselves most of the time, especially when there’s a goal they want to achieve (I know this because I’m the same). But it’s always nice to be reminded of that. The fitness journey gets easier and better when you also feel better doing it.
Cheat days: I don’t have cheat days but rather cheat meals, because I don’t usually need the whole day, if that makes sense. I’m very simple when it comes to food so it’s usually a double cheeseburger with fries or a samgyupsal spread complete with all the banchan. I also love ice cream, so that would definitely be included.
What keeps me motivated: Just the thought that I’m doing this for my well-being is enough motivation for me, but knowing that I also have the ability to inspire other people to work on themselves is also what keeps me going. I always have the thought that “future me will be grateful for what I do now” and it’s really something that helps push me even on days when I do not want to move at all.
How the pandemic affected my fitness routine: At the onset, I struggled to adapt to the situation. But later on, I knew I had to figure something out. I had to start with what I had. So I began with just my jump rope, a yoga mat and some dumbbells. I also did some HIIT workouts and yoga from available online classes. Eventually, I was able to get back to my routine and it got easier again. When the restrictions eased, I also started investing in more gear and bought heavier equipment. However, what I learned is that you can make it work with whatever you have even if it means doing squats with a big gallon of water as your weights!
Tips for people who want to get healthier: Find a routine that you enjoy fully and allow yourself to enjoy the whole fitness journey. Don’t deprive yourself or compare yourself with other people. Everyone has their own strength and weakness, so just focus on yours and see what you can do to improve on them.
Another thing I learned is that consistency is key. Keep at it even if you slow down; that’s OK as long as you don’t give up. I learned from an instructor before that you cannot just be interested in something and not put in the work, so do what you need to and eventually you’ll be able to attain your goals.
Lastly, the fitness journey is a marathon and not a sprint, so don’t rush. Rather, enjoy the whole process. INQ