Sexy @ Sixty

At the early age of 5, I have been into competitive sports. My siblings and I were exposed to Archery Tournaments. While we were not that serious about it because we were very young then, we slowly started to appreciate what winning was all about. My three elder sisters, a younger brother and myself spent our growing up years exposed to competitive sports until college. All of us competed as members of the UP Archery Varsity team. I somehow think that was where my personality was molded. It has made me into a competitive person who doesn’t give up easily and would fight till the end, that is why I never had a failing grade in college. I am really very proud of my siblings, because all of us were members of the Philippine National Team in archery, competing in International tournaments.

But in 1982, I decided to lie low in competitive sports, to prioritize my studies after being accepted at the UPCD. This was the start of my sleepless nights, non-stop anxiety and stress. Those years  may have been stressful, but those were also fulfilling memories that put a  smile on my face whenever I recall them. I love my school mates and I am really proud to belong to my batch. Go UP ! After graduation, all my efforts shifted to making a career; to becoming the best dentist I can be…. trainings, seminars, lectures. I then opened  my own dental clinic  and started the practice.

Then in the early 90s  practice was good and  I was now starting to earn extra.  I realized that my physical exercise was only limited to my 10 fingers and hand movement the whole day.  I knew I needed to do some sort of physical exercise. Now married with little children of my own I realized that I have to take care of myself. This is when I started attending and joining a local gym near my place. I have already been exposed to weight training during my varsity years. I was  a regular with my  co -athletes at the UP gymnasium, so weight training and exercises were not something new.  There, I met new friends – real hard-core bodybuilders. I trained with them, laughed with them. At that point,  I realized this is something I love to do. It’s something within me. I love the hard work and the pumped feeling, as well as the challenge to do better each and every day.  I have been obsessed with improvement and physique development. I then started researching and reading books about bodybuilding. I strongly believe that  there is a science in proper training and muscle development. You will meet a lot of self made coaches, or so-called “coach” or “trainer” but all you may get are empty advices – coaches who believe that awesome bodies are always achieved  together with steroid use.  I am not really a fan or supporter of any growth enhancing drugs ever since. So that’s when I started my research on training, diet, and different principles in achieving a healthy buffed physique. All those years I am proud to say that I never used and never will try using illegal or synthetic drugs just to enhance my physique. My priority is  my health and not having an awesome body. What I have right now is just a result of a healthy lifestyle.

Now at 62,  I know in my heart that I can still compete and go toe to toe with younger guys even half my age. I can still do what any 20-year-old guy can do.  I may have a lot of white hair and wrinkles but I can  still describe my body as ‘hot’; no maintenance medication, everything normal with a yummy six pack.

However, I am a very shy type of person, so it’s really hard for me to join physique competitions. But the challenge to prove what I can do always overcame my shyness and always awakened the competitive spirit inside me.  I am really proud because even after all these years when people ask or talk about national competitions the name  “Dakart”   always comes up.

I started joining competitive physique contests rather late. The year 1997 was my first competition and I was 37 years old then. This was 1997 Slimmers World Great Bodies. I didn’t know anything about competing, contest preparation, diet, and weight loss;  all I had was my desire to learn and do it the right and natural way.  I started learning and reading about contest preparations and the diet of well-known bodybuilders and followed it strictly to the letter. I know it will be hard, it will take a lot of sacrifices but I won’t let even a bit of error spoil my final result.

In every competition, I am only competing with myself alone. I am always trying to outdo whatever I have done before. After years of trial and error with different training and diet preparations, I can now predict what I will look like on contest night. No more hit and miss. Now I am confident I know the science of getting buff and lean. During the last two weeks before a contest, just by observing my co competitors – what they do and what they eat; I  can predict pretty well if I will look better than them.

Slimmers World Great Bodies is no ordinary bodybuilding or physique contest; where all you have to do is pose and outdo each other in what you have achieved in your physique. The bigger the better.  SW Great Bodies is looking for aesthetic harmony, a body with an athletic functional look with symmetry, definition and balance. Aside from physique, we are judged with our aerobic routine, creative posing ability, projection and stage presence, fitness profile, skin quality, personality and audience impact, plus the nerve-racking Q&A. More of a pageant-type physique competition.  So with all of these criteria, not everybody has the heart and nerve to compete.

I  joined great bodies five times. In 1997, when I was 37 years of age (champion).  In 2005 at 45 years of age (champion). In 2010 at age 50 (top five). The years 2011 at 51 years and 2017 at age 57,  both as champion. What motivates me to join is a simple answer, “to get back into shape”. I have a roller coaster ride when it comes to getting fit. I am not always fit, with a six-pack body, especially during the early years of my fitness journey.

I still haven’t really fully understood the principle of fat burning. So from a fit body after the competition, in just a few months I will return to my big fluffy body-  a 200 pound person with a 34 inch waistline. But after years of trial and error on diet, I now have finally found the true principle of burning fat. After years of searching, I found the secret of maintaining a fit and buff body. It’s not the hours you spent inside the gym that make you lose weight, not even

the different kinds of diet would guarantee your weight loss. The secret is knowing when you are using fat for energy, to enable us to burn and lose fat. No matter how long you do cardio exercises, if you’re not burning or using fat for energy the weight loss is minimal to none. If you want a guaranteed fat loss, it’s the combination of fasting and exercise that will give you the best results. I have tried different kinds of diet and exercise up to the extreme, but nothing works best than the combination of fasting and exercise. There is no need to starve yourself, you still enjoy your favorite food and you don’t have to get rid of rice. Everything in moderation.  What’s important is you do your exercise or any strenuous activity during the fasted state to guarantee the use of fat for energy. And the fasted state comes between 8 to 12 hours after your last meal. Every time you take in food or anything with calories, your pancreas releases insulin, which gives the body a signal to store fat and use sugar for energy. As I have stated earlier, once you spike your insulin, it will take you 8 to 12 hours before you turn to your fasted state, and use fat for energy. So, small frequent meals won’t really work.

My advice is to learn how the body works when you want to lose unwanted fat. Food is not bad as long as you take it at the right time. Exercise or physical activity will help a lot in burning fat provided you are in a fasted state. The most basic of fasting is the 16/8  fast,  where you fast for 16 hours and feast for eight hours a day.

This is the story of my journey to having a great body at any age.

Dr  Art Guerrero, Class of 1986,
holds a private practice in Quezon City. – Ed

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