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  • After 40 And 2 Kids, Rica Peralejo Succeeds In Growing Strong And Fit–Here's How You Can Do It Too

    It's never too late to start, and there's no such thing as too little of a start according to this Smart Parenting Editor-at-Large
    by Dahl D. Bennett .
After 40 And 2 Kids, Rica Peralejo Succeeds In Growing Strong And Fit–Here's How You Can Do It Too
PHOTO BY INSTAGRAM /RICAPERALEJO
  • For those of us who’s survived COVID-19, we saw our lives in a new perspective after recovery. Celebrity mom of two and Smart Parenting Editor-at-Large Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio is no different.

    A period of recovery from COVID-19 plus more months in quarantine led her to exercise regularly, something she avoided since she became a mom.

    “Jumpstarting your fitness journey” is a topic close to her heart and in the fifth episode of Smart Parenting Poprica, she shares how she managed to start a regular exercise schedule after almost eight years of keeping it at bay.

    She also shares, how to this day, she has developed the discipline to ‘show up’ whether on the yoga mat or with her jump rope in her home. 

    Surviving Covid-19

    “Only at the age of 40, after 2 kids, and 8 years of being a parent, saka lang ako nakabalik talaga sa pag wo-work out,” Rica reveals. 

    She says it started when she and her husband, pastor Joseph Bonifacio, got COVID-19. She suspected that they contracted the Delta variant because they had it so bad to the point that she thought they wouldn’t survive the disease. “I felt like, baka ito na yung huling mga panahon ko sa mundo,” she recalls that difficult time.

    RELATED: Rica Peralejo Loses 14 Pounds With Jump Rope, Diet: 'Ang Goal Ko Na Ay Maging Malakas'

    Luckily, they managed to fight the disease and slowly felt their bodies become strong again. However, their energy didn’t match the circumstances. 

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    “The energy is slowly coming back and yet you can't go out... and I think that was what pushed us [to think] na baka meron naman tayong magawa dito sa bahay,” she recalls. 

    “Baka pwede tayong gumalaw-galaw because we really felt like our bodies just really needed to move.”

    Stumbling blocks to a regular workout 

    Rica remembers that she and her husband approached their desire to start ‘moving’ differently. “Yung kanya was more of like I'm going to start jumping so nag jump rope siya, tsaka naglilift siya ng weights,” she shares.

    Rica’s approach was more complicated. She needed to prepare herself mentally. “It’s not as simple as having the strength to do it,” she says. “Madami pong stumbling blocks sa buhay at sa utak natin kaya we can’t work out just like that.” 

    She cites age as one of those stumbling blocks. “I was already 40 years old so meron pala akong mindset na pag 40 ka na siguro hindi mo na kaya yung mga mahihirap na exercise,” she reveals.

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    Another challenge she says was parenting her two-year old Manu. “Sa mga nanay at tatay na may maliliit na mga anak, gets na gets ko po kung bakit parang feeling niyo hindi niyo mapursue yung fitness journey niyo.

    "Kasi, talaga namang the smaller the kid mas marami talaga siyang demands.” 

    A third stumbling block, she shares, was diastasis recti, literally the separation of the abdominals. This is a common condition postpartum when the rectus abdominis muscles or what we call six-pack abs separates during pregnancy and may stay that way years after.

    “I had a very weak core and pelvic floor,” Rica admits. 

    One step at a time

    So how did she manage to inch her way through these stumbling blocks? “I just took it one step at a time. As in literally, kung ito lang yung kailangan kong gawin or kaya kong gawin for the day [I’ll stick to that].”

    She starting doing yoga through the popular YouTube Yoga program, Yoga with Adriene, led by popular online yoga teacher Adriene Mishler who is known for her free and beginner-friendly yoga sets. Rica shares that she did Adriene’s 30-day yoga program without any promises to go beyond the 30 days. 

    “It was a very simple decision of ‘try ko nga ‘to everyday.’ My goal was just really to get my blood circulating,” she says. Little did she know that the yoga program led her to ‘a place of strength’.

    RELATED: Want To Get Your Postpartum Body Back? Try Andi Eigenmann's 30-Day Fitness Challenge

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    “I was just so changed and I was shocked at my level of strength and energy,” she remembers. Climbing the three-flight stairs in their home used to be a source of dread but has since become a welcome exercise, she says.

    “When I started doing yoga, I didn't mind anymore if I had to go back up and down repeatedly in a day. That was when I knew that something was working in my body. 

    What worked for Rica: 5 tips for beginners

    From yoga, she then began to explore strength training and eventually was led to Jumping Rope, her videos of which inspire many to follow in her footsteps. “I know it looks high impact but there is a way of making it low impact na hindi ka masyado hihingalin,” she says.

    In getting moms and dads to start moving and exercise regularly, Rica enumerates what worked for her to overcome  the mental stumbling blocks. 

    1. Start with something very gentle.

    In Rica’s case, it was a beginner-friendly yoga program on YouTube.  “You don’t need to take on something that will make you lose weight overnight,” she says. Just start gentle. 

    2. Be consistent.

    Just show up everyday whatever activity it is and wherever to want to do it. “There will still be days when you don't feel your best, but the point is to build the habit first,” she advices.

    Even before we come to a place of excellence, we need to show up daily, she adds. 

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    3. Progress unhurriedly.

    Pressuring oneself to achieve a fitness goal at once is unrealistic. “Minsan, gusto natin is mabilisan lang lahat. Nagworkout tayo ngayon bukas malakas na tayo.”

    Our levels of energy change from day to day so if we’re expecting change overnight and it doesn’t happen, we are only setting ourselves up for quitting sooner.

    4. Think holistically.

    “Everything about us is connected—body, heart, mind, soul,” says Rica. There are days that one isn’t on the same energy level as the rest and that’s when we find it hard to jumpstart an exercise. Being in touch with ourselves helps.

    5. Be kind to yourself. 

    “We are made up of many parts and sometimes those parts really need a pulling up,” says Rica. Personally, she’s tried exercising regularly but it got pushed aside many times.

    “Marami na po akong attempts but because of certain instances in my life like depression and anxiety, di ko po nagawa.” When she failed she got up again and tried until she finally found her groove.

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    Today, Rica treats her social media followers to tips on how to do jump rope through her videos. Her progress is amazing and it shows in her body and disposition.

    Since 2020, she says, her mantra has been ‘never says never’. “If I can do it, guys, you can do it too,” she says. 

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