Newscaster and host Gretchen Fullido is known for her hourglass figure and is evidently and consistently in tiptop shape. For those who still don't know, this is mainly due to her swimmer roots. Mind you, Gretchen is a former national team gold medalist and a current swim leg relay triathlete whose team usually ends up on the podium. Intelligibly articulate as she is, the UP Diliman graduate has much to share about living a sustainably healthier lifestyle.
Gretchen has this offbeat anecdote to share whenever asked about her getting into fitness, "I was a swimmer since I was six years old. Weirdly though, I nearly drowned in the States while vacationing in Disneyworld in our hotel in Orlando. I was with my rival cousin in the States, so I tried to copy her. But I didn’t know how to swim so I nearly drowned! So, when we came back to the Philippines, I learned swimming for real. Then when my mom learned that my cousins were in the swim team in Valle Verde Country Club, sabi nya, 'Si Gretchen din!' Everything my mom wanted to do, she made me do. The rest is history."
She continued, "I got into the team, I got six golds in six events and I got most outstanding swimmer. My mom was the usual stage mom. At 11, I was in the national team for swimming and I was competing abroad until I graduated college. I also got a varsity scholarship in UP Diliman. I was working and being an athlete. I did water polo also because it complements swimming also. The coach of the national water polo team was my coach too so when they built the first women’s competition for water polo, kami yun. Nag-MVP ako dun. I was really muscular and boyish. It was really because of that near-drowning experience kaya ako naging swimmer and because of my mom who’s a stage mom. That’s my entry point to fitness and everything was built around that because we had cross training, running, gym, court training so it’s part of my DNA na."
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Even until now, as a sought after entertainment and lifestyle broadcast journalist, Gretchen finds time to swim competitiely. "I join triathlons, I do the relay, I do the run. It just makes me feel good. It’s something that removes the stress from all the work. It’s something that keeps me centered, focused, and grounded because you can only compete against yourself. Swimming per se, is competing against yourself. It’s a lot of mental toughness and becoming the best version of yourself and beating your previous records."
Gretchen's self-discipline kicks in when it comes to balancing her career and social life while living an active lifestyle. Take it from her that no one is too busy to keep themselves fit. "Because I know people can say, 'I’m so busy. I don’t have time.' No, you have time! Minsan, there are days that you don’t want to train but those are the important days that you need to get up. There are days also that you don’t feel like it. You have hormonal problems, PMS, dysmenorrhea. There are days when the workload is just too much and you just have to put in a little effort and some people think kasi when you work out, it has to be a devotion of two hours of their lives every day."
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How exactly does Gretchen maintain her bod? When it comes to diet, she doesn't do any. In fact, she loves chocolates ("I always have chocolate chip cookies in my bag!"), salads and greens, and meat. She's not one to indulge in rice. "If you ask me, I don’t deprive myself. I eat everything in moderation and I eat good but at the same time, you gotta burn those calories, too!" she declares.
And when it comes to fitness, not all days are the same for Gretchen as she would rotate her workouts comprising cardio, swimming, and low impact training sessions. "I don’t have a coach because I take in whatever my coach taught me from years back and I incorporate it into my training now and update it with the latest technology. It’s not about the fad sa akin. It’s about efficiency."
Being on TV obviously has its perils—and most especially, the "weight gain." But Gretchen isn't one to concentrate in fitness because of vanity. In fact, she doesn't want to be skinny—"I want to be strong and healthy for more years of my life." This strong-over-sexy principle, she breathes smoothly into her career as she serves a purpose bigger than just reporting the stars' lives. "The nature of my job requires me to be looking perfect all the time, but to be honest, we don’t feel and look perfect all the time. But we make the best out of every day that we have. I always think if I don’t feel good about myself on a certain day, I’m not alone in this. But I always think of it na every day I want to inspire somebody. Just one person, matuwa lang sya sa post ko or quotes ko, or sa training ko, kung ano man, kahit sa aso ko but I think of it as a responsibility we have also for our audience."
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Produced and styled by Camille Santiago | Photography by Vyn Radovan | Video by Tin Zabat | Edited by Lui Jimenez | Makeup by Hannah Patriarca | Hair by Jan Jonas Lucas | Shot on location at The Ascott Makati | Special thanks to Heidi Manabat