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Up close with a Dubai-based Filipina bodybuilder

by | Feature

Jan. 05, 18 | 8:15 am

‘I love bodybuilding because it is my outlet for stress. For me, the intense training in the gym translates into lessons that I can apply to real life.’

DUBAI: Bodybuilding is a niche sport and has come a long way since the golden times of ‘Terminator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger and ‘Rambo’ Sylvester Stallone. Though the sport is more common to men, there are now women who are gaining interest in it.

One of the few who took the road not a lot of ladies would dare take is Victoria Viray, whose day job is being an art director in advertising. She won first place in last year’s Universal Muscle Fitness & Fashion in Dubai. And just recently, she flew to the Philippines and participated at one of the biggest bodybuilding competition event of the year, the Shawn Rhoden Classics 2017 Philippines.

Here is Victoria Viray up close.

The Filipino Times: How was your experience at the Rhoden Classic Philippines?

As an amateur bodybuilder, it was the first show I have ever joined back home. It was an amazing experience and was also a great opportunity to get to know and mingle with fellow Filipino bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts.

Was it the first time you joined competitions like this?

It was my third time to compete. I try to compete in a show at least once a year. I started competing in 2015 here in Dubai.

What category did you participate in?

My category is called Bikini Fitness. To describe this category in the world of bodybuilding, contestants are not judged on muscularity and leanness, but rather on proportion, symmetry, balance, shape, skin tone, as well as the overall stage performance, styling and poise.

How many participants were there?

Over 20 women. Men’s categories have more competitors, easily 4 times more.

What challenges did you encounter during the competition?

The biggest was having to balance competition prep with my 9-6 office work as an art director in advertising.

There is lot of hard work involved in competition preps. For me, every prep is tough but it was easier this third time around. I had to give up going out and socializing.

Contest dieting is strict and you have to be careful about every single meal.

Can you tell us your preparation for the contest?

I started dieting at around 3 months before, where I gradually dropped calories to lean up while conserving my muscle tissue. I kept a food diary to track my workouts and diet.
My target was to drop bodyfat % from 20% to 12% on contest day. The whole week before contest day, I had to water-load in order to force the body to flush out excess water under the muscle to look dry. The day itself I could only have tiny sips of water and I was eating mostly carbs like salty chips, chocolate and peanut butter to make the muscles look full onstage.

Why bodybuilding?

I love bodybuilding because it is my outlet for stress. For me, the intense training in the gym translates into lessons that I can apply to real life. Being a bodybuilding competitor means having an all-or-nothing mentality.
If you are not a strong-minded person it can mess with your head and your confidence. It is a demanding sport but is one that has helped me build my inner strength and self-confidence.

Any message to our readers?

I would like to share my favorite quote from one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

“A well built physique is a status symbol. It reflects you worked hard for it, no money can buy it. You cannot borrow it, you cannot inherit it, you cannot steal it. You cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows discipline, it shows self respect, it shows patience, work ethic and passion. That is why I do what I do – Arnold Schwarzenegger”

Contributed by Yba Okingob


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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 1 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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