MANILA – Michele Gumabao admitted she gets criticized a lot “for being too big or too muscular” as she makes her transition from being a professional volleyball player to a beauty queen.
“My legs are too big they say, honestly they really are,” she wrote on Instagram.
However, instead of being insecure about it, Gumabao said she just reminds herself that “that these legs got me through years of intense volleyball, allowed me to jump, play and win.”
“If you constantly find yourself comparing who you are and how you look with others, may this remind you that self-love and confidence won’t be handed to you, it is a choice,” she said.
As a message to those who are being body-shamed just like her, Gumabao said: “I say let them hate. They'll never understand that these muscles are only made for champions.”
In a conversation with PetroGazz's Cherry Nunag on "Kalye Confessions" in April, the volleyball star said she is keeping busy with daily workouts while at home in preparation for the Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
"Keep healthy lang," she added. "Nagluluto din, parang buong araw ako nagluluto at kumakain. Pero healthy food naman ang niluluto ko."
Gumabao explained that her fitness goals for volleyball and for pageants are very different, and her recent workouts are geared towards preparing her for the Miss Universe Philippines competition.
"Iba kasi talaga 'yung katawan na ina-achieve ko for Miss Universe. Pag volleyball, it's all about buhat, gaining muscle. Palakihan, palakasan ng katawan. Kailangan, malakas ako pagdating sa court," she said.
It's not quite the same for pageants, said Gumabao, who is decreasing the amount of weights that she lifts and is even changing her diet.
"Kakaibang workout, kakaibang diet, kasi kailangan ko paliitin 'yung katawan ko na hindi ako humihina. So 'yun ang ginagawa ko. Kailangan healthy 'yung pagkain, sobrang disiplina sa pagkain," she said.
"'Yung mga workouts ko ngayon, hindi man ako bumubuhat ng mabibigat, pero and'yan pa rin 'yung weights. Kasama pa rin ang buhat sa ensayo ko, para hindi mawala 'yung muscle, para hindi bumagsak," she added.
The volleyball star, who was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Globe in 2018, is determined to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe this year.
Miss Universe Philippines creative director Jonas Gaffud earlier announced that their first-ever coronation night has been moved to October 25 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
The finals night of MUP 2020 was initially scheduled on May 3 at the Mall of Asia Arena.