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Ruffa Gutierrez reveals the secrets of her unfading radiance despite a life under the searing spotlight.

by Annika Brandon


We often require our celebrities to be almost superhuman: they can’t do wrong, they can’t show weakness and they can’t look like us mere mortals. For Ruffa Gutierrez to maintain her looks and, most of all, her health, even she has to impose self-discipline for a lifestyle based on smart choices.

“One time [my trainer] made me climb this net,” she shares about her fitness routine. “And I said: ‘Listen, I have no plans of joining Survivor.’ I don’t want to get bruises on my legs. I mean, it was fine. [But] I never want to do it again because I’m getting scratches everywhere.”

That was just one of the exercises the actress had been put through—a tough ordeal for anybody, with or without the superstar status. But Ruffa’s exercise regimen isn’t for show. Frankly, she doesn’t seem the type who’d base her self-worth on others’ opinions. Still, the anecdote tells us that there’s a price to pay for good physical appearance—one can’t just sit back and expect things to happen.

Fighting food fixations

When it comes to food, Ruffa is nothing but disciplined.

“I’m always on a diet. I think girls love to say, ‘I’m on a diet.’ There’s not a specific diet that I’m on right now, it’s just basically cutting on carbs, eating healthy, doing fruit salad, more protein, staying away from sweets … cutting back on, I guess, softdrinks. And alcohol.”

Although she, too, admits to lapses at work: “I think that’s when I started to gain. You’re on the set, waiting for your turn … you need the extra sugar, the extra energy. You’re puyat, you’re doing all these crying scenes … and [soon], you’re eating sweets. I guess it’s a mental thing.” She further observes that many actors gain weight during their soap opera runs because they tend to consume junk food while hanging around with each other in between shots.

But the quest to lose weight can also have a nasty flipside, with people going on fad diets. “I think you just have to take things in moderation and not really starve yourself,” she points out.

“I don’t feel deprived at all,” Ruffa declares. “Usually women go on a diet or work on a certain goal if there’s a project that they’re aiming for. And right now I’m going to be filming two movies with Regal Films [the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Hototay; and Wanted: Perfect Stepmother], and I also have a new show [a yet-unnamed soap] that I’m getting ready for on TV5,” she shares during the HealthToday shoot.

“So I want to feel good and confident about myself. And if my fat is sticking out my clothes, then I’m not going to feel good. So that’s [an] inspiration for me to lose weight,” she says.

Be wise, exercise

In terms of exercise routines, Ruffa isn’t unlike most people—she gets bored. Noting how biometrics has been effective for her, she says, “I can’t stand being in the gym and going on a treadmill for 20 minutes. [I’d be] tweeting, texting, looking at my watch wondering when it will be over. I have to be outdoors, either by myself or [with a] personal trainer—to push me, to egg me on—[or be] with friends that share the same interest.”

She warms up by running for about a kilometer, and then does field fitness, which is comprised of a lot of exercise drills: boxing, TRX [Suspension Training] and even cardio and Bikram yoga. To curb boredom, she also does Plana Forma, “which is a mix of Pilates yoga and dance. That’s [what’s] new in workout[s] now… everyone’s into it.”

A huge motivating force in her trainer’s gym: “A huge LED TV [showing] Victoria’s Secret runway [shows]. So you see [models] like Adriana Lima, Heidi Klum, in teeny-weeny bikinis. So I’m there looking like a lantang gulay, trying to work out. It makes you strive [harder] ...”

Ruffa likewise infuses her discipline with a sense of fun and fashion. For one, she uses hot pink equipment and accessories—from her bike, helmet, shoes and gloves to even her nail polish. “Everything I have is hot pink,” she says proudly, laughing. “So even my bag, my dive gear … ’yung mga accessories like the mask, and the regulator, the bag … I just make the workout fun.”

The anatomy of beauty

The star, known as the face of the Belo Bodytite procedure, looked so unbelievably hot in her billboards that they had to be pulled out from several places in Metro Manila. No stranger to controversy, Ruffa opines that this particular ad campaign was different from a for a men’s magazine cover that serves only to scintillate. “And if you pose in a bikini being a young mom of two, and you’re doing it for … a new procedure that makes one look young and fabulous and slim—for me, there’s no negative connotation at all. And a lot of people really admired the shoot. I think it was tastefully done.”

But Ruffa also cautions those who only hinge their hopes on cosmetic procedures, without a care for their diet and continue to “eat like a pig. And you can’t just diet and not work out. I think everything goes hand in hand. [For me,] the Belo treatment definitely helped instigate the weight loss. And then, of course, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, sleeping well …”

While she isn’t against cosmetic surgery for women “as long as they feel comfortable about it and they want to look good [and] feel good,” Ruffa nevertheless adds, “I think they shouldn’t have it [done] so much on their faces and bodies that they don’t look like the same human being anymore. Enhancing your beauty—or doing something like an anti-aging process as you get a little bit more mature—is fine as long as you still grow old gracefully.”

For more on Ruffa’s take on stress-busting and balancing celebrity life with motherhood, grab a copy of the October issue of HealthToday, out now in major newsstands and bookstores.

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