You’d be hard-pressed to find a couple as fit and active as Avic Papa and Jose Gemora, who’ve taken their love for fitness to a whole other level. In this Project Lifestyle Manila feature, both Avic and Jose talk about their training, diet, and overall lifestyle in pursuit of long-term wellness.
Jose Gemora is a Senior Coach at 360 Fitness and a former track star from U.P. Diliman. Jose is an NSCA CSCS (National Strength and Conditioning Association) (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist) Certified coach and is as credible a trainer as they come. Also a TRX Certified, Jungle Gym Suspension Certified, Triggerpoint Myofacial compression Technique Certified, and SMRT-CORE Certified instructor, whatever health tips Coach Jose gives you are as good as gold.
On the other hand, his better half, Avic, is also a former track star from U.P. Diliman. Nowadays, when she’s not busy working, she spends her time training in the gym or teaching Yoga to kids. Avic took Rainbow Kids Yoga Certification in August 2012 and started teaching kids Yoga in Urban Ashram Manila last February. She also teaches kids Yoga every Saturday mornings in Brixton Kapitolyo and at night in Bonifacio High Street.
Dedicated to spreading the word on fitness, both Avic and Jose spared some time to share their fitness lifestyles in this insightful interview.
So Coach Jose, can you tell us what it’s like being a 360 trainer? Di ba nakakasawa being surrounded by fitness talk and training 24/7?
Jose: Actually, I love what I’m doing; working out is one of my passions. Sabi nga nila parang hindi ako nagtatrabaho sa ginagawa ko. I like what I’m doing kasi I’m helping people and I get paid for it. Marami akong nakaka-usap na tao, I learn how to communicate and pakisamahan yung iba’t ibang klaseng personality. Nakakasawa? Sakin hindi. In our line of work you have to be proactive every time, you feed your clients with energy, so hindi pwedeng tamad ka kasi tatamarin din sila. If they don’t see results, sayang naman yung stay nila and binayad. I also like the challenge—yung clients nanahihirapan mag lose ng weight or yung may mga pinaghahandaan. It challenges what I know and I have to read and research every now and then.
How about you Avic, you’re always updating social media with your latest workouts, would you consider yourself a fitness addict?
Avic: I can’t really call myself an “addicted” since I still have those days when I’d rather just stay in bed and sleep. But since I started working as a preschool teacher, I realized just how important working out is to me. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my active students if I didn’t workout often. Also, stress would get the best of me if I didn’t have the venue to release it.
You two are obviously very fit individuals, what is your training like?
Jose: Kunyaring fit lang yan! I work out 4-5 times a week. For now, goal ko lang is to maintain what I have, but from time to time, I have basketball leagues na pinaghahandaan ko and minsan dun nag-iiba yung goal ng work out ko. If you’re going to ask me about my diet, I eat anything. [laughs] But now I try to eat more vegetables. Pero malakas kasi ako sa fruits.
Avic: I go to the gym thrice a week to do a variety of workouts from personal training with my coach (usually strength based) to group exercise classes (usually stability and endurance based) to yoga (flexibility and balance) and the like. I try to keep my workouts varied to avoid plateau.
Tell us about your diet.
Avic: Another reason why I workout is because I do not have rules when it comes to eating. I eat anything and everything I see. Just recently, I’ve been trying to include veggies to my daily meals (because I do not eat vegetables at all) and I’ve also been trying to cut down on sweets (since I would much rather eat cakes, pastries, and ice cream on a daily basis).
Jose: Actually, timing lang ang parati kong iniisip. I do eat anything I want, but in moderation. I just see to it that every meal is a balanced meal: I have carbs, protein, and good fat. But of course I try to eat a high protein diet every time. Kung kakain man ako ng fast food or sweets, I usually do it after a workout or early in the day. Iwas ako sa maraming carbs pag gabi na.
Let’s talk about guilty pleasures. Do you have a favorite and is it OK to indulge every once in a awhile?
Jose: Of course okay lang mag indulge from time to time. As what I’ve said earlier: timing is the key. There are people who can tolerate carbs, meaning hindi sila mabilis tumaba. Ako yun. [laughs] Meron din namang konting kain lang, lalaki na kagad. Now, if you can tolerate carbs more, then you can eat more simple carbs (like sweets, rice, etc.), but keep in mind that timing and moderation are very important. Indulge in guilty pleasures early in the day and after working out only. I like ice creams, chicken from fastfoods, and french fries.
Avic: Yes, I do (indulge) all the time whether with Jose or not. But him being my coach also helps since he constantly reminds me to eat everything in moderation. And I do the same for him.
What is your training philosophy?
Avic: My training philosophy would probably be training in a variety of ways as well as hitting a variety of muscle groups rather than just one. But on top of working out, my main priority is to always have fun.
Jose: Train movements not muscles. Functional training is the way to do it. Shempre iba kung body builder ka; definition ang goal mo eh. But if you’re a recreational athlete or an athlete talaga, you will train specifically what you need for your sport. Also, balance upper and lower body push-and-pull strength.
What are your fitness goals/what motivates you to keep doing what you’re doing?
Jose: Maintain my fitness level kahit matanda. [laughs] Gusto ko, if ever magka-anak ako, masasabayan ko sila sa ginagawa nila, I can run and play with them. Pati yung ginagawa ko ngayon lalo na mag-basketball, gusto ko hindi ako tumigil maglaro. Sabi ko nga kay Avic: gusto ko, 40 or 50 na ako, pero may abs pa rin. [laughs]
Avic: I would really just like to maintain my metabolism and strength now despite getting older each year. And I’ve always wanted to become a fit mother so while I’m far from being one yet, why not start now, right?
Exercise-wise, what are some things you’ve tried together that you probably wouldn’t have if you were just training by yourself?
Avic: Going to the gym is one. [laughs] If not for Jose, I wouldn’t have tried to regain my metabolism and strength. But so far, my favorite would have to be exercises that require me to use kettlebells and battling ropes. They make me feel and look as strong as boys in the gym.
Jose: Actually, feeling ko Yoga lang yung exercise na hindi ko magagawa kung hindi ko siya kasama. We’ve tried anti gravity and it’s fun, yun nga lang parang hindi siya pang every day. [laughs] Hindi pa naming na-t-try mag dance class, ayaw din kasi niyang sumasayaw. Gusto niya parati strength class. Maganda ngayon kasi nagiging holistic yung approach namin kasi may yoga na from time to time.
What would you say are the benefits of having a significant other who shares your same passion for fitness?
Jose: Parang training buddy lang yan eh, namomotivate ka. Of course minsan may tatamarin, in our case, siya yung tinatamad [laughs], pero kasi sa gym din kami nagkikita, so kahit rest day niya, nasa 360 pa rin siya. Maganda rin kasi at an early age we value health and wellness. Mahirap kasi kung sedentary ka eh maraming lumalabas na sakit. Minsan din stress-reliever yung workout, you release endorphins or happy hormones every time you work out.
Avic: You can workout anytime of the day without having to think of someone waiting for you to finish; we both refuse to be stressed; we workout together at times which makes working out extra fun; sometimes we don’t need to go on dates only because working out could already be one of our dates—cheaper pa [laughs]—and we both want to be able to keep up with each other until we grow older.