Martin Nievera gets helpful pandemic tips from fitness expert couple

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at May 30 2021 09:17 AM

MANILA -- Veteran singer Martin Nievera wants to get back into more active sports or regular exercise, an hour a day, even this pandemic. How can he maximize an hour a day exercise, while still being the kind of person who loves to eat?

That was the question he posed when he recently guested in the Philippine Heart Association’s (PHA) “Usapang Puso sa Puso” monthly forum, with the topic, “Usapang Quarantine: Mag Da-Moves Para sa Puso,” held simultaneously with the organization’s 51st annual convention and the launch of the Heart Failure Network.

As PHA highlights the importance of physical fitness amid the pandemic, the activities were held via Zoom and Facebook Live.

“How can I still eat the way I eat and still maximize one hour a day of exercise?” Nievera asked. “How can it be safe and beneficial for me?”

Fitness gurus and celebrity coaches Jim and Toni Saret addressed Nievera’s question. “Especially amplified by the pandemic, everyone is getting more sedentary,” Toni pointed out. “To fight sedentarism, amplified by the pandemic, we really have to move. Now that most restaurants are open and we have more access to eat out, we have to start with structure.”

According to Jim, there’s a saying, “You can never out-train a bad diet.” It doesn’t matter if you will do a one-hour exercise, but if you are eating too much, you cannot fight that.

“There are people who are skinny fat, but they are pre-diabetic already,” Jim said. “Sometimes, it’s not even in the weight. You regularly work out and exercise, but you are still not healthy.”

He apologized to Nievera that he cannot recommend a one-hour work out that can offset the singer’s love for eating. However, he recommends some tips that might be able to help change the whole dynamics.

“Before you begin anything, see your doctor first,” Jim allowed. “You want to do it safely, go to your doctor first. It’s always good to make sure first we can eat the food we love to eat. Sometimes, our cholesterol or our sugar might be too high. You might have hypertension. The food that you ate might trigger a lot of comorbidities.

“Secondly, weigh yourself every morning, so you will not forget your accountability. We think that once we eat then we do a one-hour workout, that’s already good. It doesn’t work out that way.

“Sometimes when you eat for 10 minutes, the calories that go to your stomach, that’s more than the one hour that you burn. Weighing yourself in the morning can be a wake-up call. Keep a record of your weight, so that when you see you’re gaining weight, that can be a warning sign for you and you will not binge.

“The third tip we can give, try to squeeze in a pocket workout first thing in the morning. This is one of the wellness habits that coach Toni and I want to promote to everybody. Make the exercise part of your morning rituals.

“We are trying to change the pattern of behavior. Because if you don’t, the way you start your day is probably the same way you end your day. People who work out in the morning are more successful in keeping their body weight as compared to the ones who exercise later on during the day.”

Former PHA president Dr Raul Lapitan likewise addressed Nievera’s query and talked about the science of 10,000 steps a day, equivalent to 30 minutes of brisk exercises, to make the heart healthy. That’s equivalent to eight kilometers or five miles per hour, burning 500 calories per day.

Lapitan also adopted “Sneakers Friday,” pre-pandemic, from the US and introduced it to the local setting.

Young actor Marlo Mortel, meanwhile, posed the question about his friend who had hypertension and high cholesterol. He was ready for his vaccine and he was following safety protocols, but Mortel was curious what his friend needs to do to lower the risk of getting COVID infection.

Lapitan said exercise can prevent and protect us from acquiring COVID infection. “Push for vaccination, because that’s also one way to protect us. COVID will stay and we have to protect ourselves.”

“Sitting is the new smoking,” warned Dr. Luigi Pierre Segundo, who hosted “Usapang Puso sa Puso” with Dr. Don Robespierre Reyes. “Galaw galaw, para hindi pumanaw,” Segundo seemingly warned, advocating good exercise and we need to be consistently active.