MANILA, Philippines – Michael Martinez made Filipinos proud with his performance in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, performing admirably even though he only had two-and-a-half weeks to prepare for the event.
Martinez only found out that he qualified for the Winter Games in late January, and his abbreviated preparation was not enough. He finished outside of the Top 24 in the men's figure skating, and thus did not qualify to the final round.
There was another, more dangerous effect of his brief training camp. Before the Winter Olympics, the 21-year-old Martinez had been bulking up, having taken up body building. A picture of his buffed physique even went viral last year.
"It helped me perform a lot stronger and better," Martinez said of how body building affected his skating. "A lot of people actually approached me. 'Michael, you project a lot stronger.' I was like, maybe it's because of the body building."
"The injuries are a lot lesser," he also said.
However, he also had to tone down his musculature for the Olympics, as figure skating uses "a lot of smaller groups of muscles" compared to body building. Martinez revealed that he had to drastically change his diet and ramped up his cardio just to prepare for the Games. He would run for two to three hours per day leading up to the competition.
"I wasn't really eating a lot," Martinez also admitted. "I didn't eat breakfast, just kind of a small meal at lunch, and a small meal at dinner. Vegetables, salmon, bread… That's basically it. No sodium, no anything."
"Every day, at the end of the competition I was like, 'I can't eat this. I can't eat this any longer.' But it was very hard," he said.
All the changes he made to his diet, to his body, came to a head after his performance in the short program.
"After the competition, after my performance in the Winter Olympics, I actually had a very bad nose bleed," Martinez revealed.
"I went to the doctors and they told me that you know what, it's because of the switch of the diet, the sudden switch, sudden stress and everything that you put in, it made my nose bleed," he added.
"It's very difficult."
Now that the Winter Games is done, Martinez can "cheat" a little. He said he intends to gorge on Korean BBQ now that he does not have to watch his diet.
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