Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My Inspirations Behind My Fitness Journey

When I was a kid I thought heroes were men and women who died in action, defending the country while at war. There was this dramatic and cinematic gory details of rebellion and revolution all made colorful perhaps because I had History teachers who were creative story tellers or perhaps because I had heard and watched too many war movies since I was a kid for reasons that I came from a family of military men. Though the stories I had heard were told in jest where one find it hard to believe if they were just wishful thinking or not, still my concept of heroes when I was young was left pure and innocent, until I entered college. I know it was rather late for me to learn that not all heroes have to die or do some heroic thing for one's country just to be called one yet the knowledge that we can all be heroes somewhat triggered my curiosity, even challenging it to search for real heroes that were very much alive. 

I had always been a daddy's girl and as what to be expected, I looked up to him for everything and at one point had considered him as my hero. Though he may not have been a soldier who defended the country, he had fought a lot of wars since he was a kid. Growing up dirt poor and  without a father, he learned to be financially independent so he could help his family by doing odd jobs even at a very young age. Though he had been financially challenged he used that as a motivation to pursue his dream of finishing his studies. He became a scholar for being the band leader of Far Eastern University of the Philippines and the rest was history. Sad to say, because he had worked odd jobs to survive, he had also learned to smoke early to last him through the day. Though he had quit when he was already in his fifties, it was too late for his body to recover and to fight the cancer that had caused him his early death.

Dad is the one with the trumpet

Now my older brother, Xavier who we fondly called Sonny and who I also looked up to as well had a different story. He was born with a congenital heart disease and my parents thought he would be very sickly as a kid that they became very protective of him. And because he too was influenced and inspired by the war stories we heard and watched, he also wanted to become a soldier. Since achieving such dream was impossible, my parents allowed him to do the next best thing. Because he did well in school, he had been allowed to join the elite group of Boy Scouts in the Philippines and climbed Mount Makiling for that historical Jamboree. He was also encouraged to be active in extra curricular activities both in school and in our community and was even allowed to sleep late nights so he could watch his favorite shows. And because of his heart condition, my  parents strictly prohibited him from smoking and drinking. Until my dad passed away and my brother moved to the city permanently to live there together with his own family.

My brother had always been an achiever since we were kids

Perhaps because being a father was very stressful, with all the bills, expenses and parenting that went with it, my mom was not able to control my brother from drinking and even smoking. He was such a workaholic and because he wanted to give a better life for his family, he barely had time to exercise. He used to join a group of bikers every Sunday but that had stopped when he was gifted a second  hand car. I could understand why my brother worked so hard for his family because we grew up  poor  where my mom's meager salary was not even enough for my dad's medication and for our schooling. He just did not want to pressure his kids and let them experience what he had gone thru. Until one day, he had emphysema that greatly affected his breathing, sleeping and daily living. One day, like a thief in the night he left us. He was just 48 years old.

My brother with his family

Seeing my dad and my brother passed away right before my eyes had left an indelible mark in my life. Because of what I had witnessed, I vowed to myself not to smoke nor drink as long as I live. That also  motivated me to start my journey into fitness bit by bit. Because I look up to both my dad and my brother, I constantly remind my kids of the consequences if and when they decide to start smoking and drinking. I have to admit that I still cannot help not to feel sad and think how things could have been  different if they had  taken cared of their health. There are still days that I missed them both, especially my dad with all his stories, laughter and music. And during those days that I long for both of them and feel that I am alone and helpless, I rely and think of those who keep me going and save me thru the day.

My Mom and my kids.

Mother's Day 2012 with Mom and my girls

My Mom has diabetes and osteoporosis though we only had learned it over a decade ago. There had been a year when she had been in and out of the hospital. She have had multiple strokes and we thought she will not be able to make it the last time she had been confined where she had been in the ICU for a week, had a minor heart attack, had pneumonia and due to the infection required to have a blood transfusion because her hemoglobin went down drastically. She was in oxygen the whole time and was in tubes for the first week of her confinement. I had prepared myself and my kids for the worst and wished that if it was time for her to go, that there should be no more pain because my Mom does not deserve any more of it after all that she had been thru. Miraculously she was able to pull it through. Even her doctors still could not believe that after multiple strokes, she is still up and about. 

I am my mother's daughter indeed

Since September of last year my mom had been back to her old self. Though she lives with my eldest daughter in the province, there has never been a day that I have not missed her. At times when I feel like giving up and feel that I do not want to work anymore, I think of her and my kids. 

My kids thru the years 

Most of my kids are now on their teens. They may have all  grown up now but there are some things that had not changed. Like their love for the Harry Potter stories, of books and heartwarming stories of kids and of kids at heart, of classical movies and inspiring documentaries mostly about kids, of veggies, fruits and pasta, of laughter and music and of long walks while telling funny and crazy stories in between and of going back home to be with my mom every holiday season and school breaks.

These are the people who keep me going. The reasons behind why I push myself to wake up very early during weekends so I could run and join the exercise at the park, the same reasons why I do not want to be sick and see myself tied up in a hospital bed one day. 

Whether living or dead, there will always be heroes in our lives who will motivate us to live healthy and continue our journey towards fitness. My dad and my brother had long been gone but their passing will always serve as great reminder that life is short and that we must take care of it if we still want to achieve the dreams we long for and spend more time with the people we care for, such as my mom and my kids whose faces and presence will always be an inspiration for me to get up every morning, take care of my well being so I could live my life to the fullest. 

*This post was written for the campaign " Who Keeps You Healthy? "  for the American Recall Center. For more updates and information on health and wellness, visit them at or at*


1 comment:

  1. From random post, i just picked a very nice feature, family. Dropping by from Ican't see the fan page, ill be back when my net is good and when it loads a little bit faster. :)