HOW DOES an in-demand actor prepare for a half-marathon (21 km) race?
“You finish taping in the morning but you still have to train, then you have a presscon, you have a commercial, you have a recording—you have to do all these things and yet you need to rest ’cause you’re training. So kapit lang, galaw-galaw lang,” said Piolo Pascual, laughing.
He’ll just sleep between takes, he said.
Pascual, who has sculpted his body into that of an athlete the past few years, is set to join his first international competition—the second Ironman triathlon in CamSur on Aug. 22.
He is nervous, he said, and excited at the same time. Training thrice a week, doing different runs—long runs, tempo, zone, sprint—Pascual will do the last leg of the triathlon relay (He has a team that will do the swim and bike legs.).
The actor has always had an active lifestyle. As a child, he was into basketball, swimming and volleyball. As a young adult, he leaned more toward indoor sports such as billiards, darts and table tennis. He then resolved to have an active lifestyle once more.
“I got to appreciate the value of having a good lifestyle. It comes with the territory—we have to look good. I have shoots that require me to be topless, I endorse products that need me topless in a photo. I wanted to present myself better because I am my own product,” Pascual said.
He began to challenge himself—mentally and physically. He may have been running and doing other sports for the most part of his life, but Pascual said he has never been competitive. He dislikes the pressure that comes with it. If he runs it’s because he finds it enjoyable. If he competes it would mean competing against himself.
“I never thought I’d be doing sports and pushing myself to the limits. As an actor acting is my comfort zone. Doing my training is so different from what I’m used to. I motivate myself for personal reasons. I challenge myself to finish that course. I try not to think about being pressured because I’m a celebrity,” he said.
During the triathlon, Pascual’s run, the last leg of the competition, will begin at 11 a.m., when the sun is at its hottest. To train his body to function at its optimal best, he runs before noontime. His heart rate jacks up almost the minute he starts running, he said, so he needs to work around that problem still.
“I love living an active lifestyle. After working out in the gym, I run, then I swim, if there’s time I bike, then I eat, and if I still have time I play badminton. Even in my down time I’m always training. It doesn’t just take two weeks for me to prepare, it takes a long time. Every day if I see an hour window I put training into that. We can always find excuses not to but if you really want it, you’ll find time,” he said.
He runs without music. It’s just him alone with his thoughts, pushing his body. A few times he doesn’t finish his goal for the day, especially when it gets unbearably hot, but that’s exactly what he’s training for: to build his endurance at extreme temperature.
“When you are able to juggle a lot of things, face challenges and situations and come out of it victorious, I think that’s when you become an Ironman, when you can say pwede mo palang lagpasan ang mga pagsubok sa buhay,” he said.
When he runs, he said, he gets to be just like everyone else. He is not the actor running, but the regular athlete pushing himself to reach a goal. Hanging out with other runners and bikers also adds a different dimension to his life because he gets to be the average Joe around athletes.
It’s a win-win situation for Pascual. He gets to enjoy what he does, and gets to invite people to join him in this healthy lifestyle.
“You take them away from late-night drinking and bingeing to live a healthier life,” he said.
Before the year ends, he said he’ll do a 32-km run in a Timex event, and by next year, hopes to do a full 42-km marathon and first solo triathlon at the third international Ironman competition.
“I’m doing this because I want to do it, because it’s time I did it. I want to be able to push myself and look better, of course. With swim, bike and run I get to spend time with my son and my friends, and meet new people with the same interests as mine,” he said.
Does he watch what he eats?
“I love to eat. I eat anything, especially sweets!” he said.
With the training he’s doing, he can eat what he wants and still not gain weight. But it takes discipline to keep his body buff. He admits he drinks only low-fat milk, and eats only bread as his source of carbs. And not just any bread. He bakes his whole-wheat bread himself.
“I’m fit so I can push myself. Some people can’t do that, that’s why I appreciate what I have even more,” Pascual said.
Timex, Ironman and Pascual’s sponsor, will sell limited-edition commemorative sports watches at the event.
Source: Anne A. Jambora, Philippine Daily Inquirer