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The Untold Story of Filipino Bodybuilders: Beyond Stereotypes and Myths

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The Misunderstood Titans: Filipino Bodybuilding Legends​

When one hears of Filipino bodybuilders, the iconic names of Jonathan Casimiro and Roman “Dondon” Cortuna resonate. These are athletes who have etched their names on international platforms. But their stories, like many others, go far beyond competitions and medals.

Alexislee Azna


A Deep Dive into Alexislee Aznar Abule's Success​

Alexislee Aznar Abule is not just another bodybuilder. The man, with a chiseled physique boasting approximately 5% body fat, is a former educator in Bangkok, and an esteemed title-holder in the annual Thailand Muscle and Physique Championships. Under the aegis of the Thailand Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Association (TBPA), this competition is a gateway for promising athletes to potentially join the national ensemble.

In 2018, a memorable year for Abule, he emerged as the victor. His rigorous diet, consisting of limited carbohydrates and minimal water intake, was a testament to his dedication. It's an all-consuming passion, a world where every droplet of sweat translates to perfection.

From Bullying to Building: Lee's Transformation Tale​

Would you believe that a man with such a sculpted form was once ridiculed for his slender frame? Friends used to humorously caution Lee against standing close to electric fans for fear he'd be whisked away.

Driven by these jibes, he commenced his fitness journey in a gym in Cainta, Rizal. Initially, the path was rocky. But it was under the guidance of two stalwarts, 2014 Mr. Universe, Jonathan Casimiro, and two-time Mr. Universe titleholder, Roman “Dondon” Cortuna, that Lee began to see transformative results.

Success soon followed. Titles like the four-time Southeast Asian Champion became synonymous with Lee. He also marked his presence in international competitions across Russia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, constantly bringing laurels.

An Occupation of Passion and Perseverance​

Shifting away from a secure job in a Filipino chocolate enterprise, Lee immersed himself entirely in bodybuilding. While many perceive it as a selfish sport, demanding exorbitant hours for training and meticulous meal preparation, Lee viewed it as an art form. Nutrition played a paramount role in his success, with particular focus on curbing sugar and sodium.

But what stands out is his commitment. Beyond competitions, he consumed nearly 3,000 calories daily, striking a balance between carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. This diet isn’t just about muscle gain, but about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, as reiterated by Lee.



The Rise of Fitness in the Philippines​

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, a fitness revolution burgeoned in the Philippines. With increasing awareness about health and well-being, many Filipinos are gravitating towards gyms.

Yet, many women harbor apprehensions about becoming "too muscular". Such misconceptions deter them from realizing the myriad benefits of strength training. It’s essential to note, as per Lee, that women have unique physiological dynamics due to hormonal fluctuations, and the training regime should be tailored accordingly.

Celebrating the Legacy: Pioneers of Filipino Bodybuilding​

While the popularity of basketball remains unchallenged in the Philippines, bodybuilding has carved its niche. The 1960s saw the formation of the Philippine Bodybuilding Federation by Tomas Ortega. It was during this period that the legendary Roland Dantes showcased his prowess, emerging as the third runner-up in the Mr. Universe competition, a title won by the famed Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The SEA Games, in its 1987-1993 editions, included bodybuilding, with the Philippines clinching the inaugural gold in 1987. In the years that followed, Filipino bodybuilders like Luzviminda McClinton and Myra Golloso made their mark on the international stage.

However, controversies surrounding the usage of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) have sometimes overshadowed these achievements. It remains crucial to shed light on the genuine efforts and acknowledge bodybuilding as a formidable sport in the Philippines.

Lee's Vision for the Future​

Despite the occasional setbacks and hurdles, Lee’s ambition remains undeterred. Aged 39 and at the zenith of his career, he has set his sights on clinching a gold for the Philippines in the upcoming SEA Games.

In conclusion, Filipino bodybuilders like Alexislee Aznar Abule have redefined the world of bodybuilding. Their stories are not just about muscles and competitions but about determination, passion, and breaking stereotypes. It's time we celebrated these unsung heroes and their inspiring journeys.
 
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