In fitness and in love: Couples who work out together

Steph Arnaldo, Beatrice Go

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In fitness and in love: Couples who work out together
These couples stay in love (and in shape) by sweating it out together

MANILA, Philippines – Having trouble staying in shape after pigging out on all those dates? Or do you need that extra push in getting up to go and work out? 

This Valentine’s, Rappler talked to these couples who spend quality time in the gym, studio or even outdoors playing sports. 

Alyssa Valdez and Kiefer Ravena

They may be phenoms in their respective sports, but both Alyssa and Kiefer have found a way to be competitive with one another through golf. (WATCH: Alyssa Valdez on sharing Kiefer’s golf passion)

Since the FIBA suspension prevented Kiefer from playing and participating in basketball events, he poured his energy into golf, and managed to get his girlfriend Alyssa into it. 

What’s your favorite workout together?

Alyssa: I think golf is the exact opposite of the arena where we play in – it’s very enclosed, covered, loud and the intensity is high. I’m not saying that golf isn’t high intensity, but it has a different style of intensity and I think we both like being outside, so I think the nearest we can go to that is near Manila to feel that we’re in the province or out of town is the in fairway. 

And I like golf even more now because I’m with Kiefer playing golf, I’m really learning from him because I really listen to him since he’s been golfing longer. 

What’s the best thing about working out together?

It takes 5 hours to play golf, so technically it’s quality time for us since we barely see each other because we all do train for our respective sports. We’re really competitive so whenever someone tries a different sport, we try to be good at it too. 

I think it’s healthy because this brings out the best of each other in other aspects not related to our respective sports, so it means that we both have an equal footing, in short. 


Hidilyn Diaz and Julius Naranjo

Photo from Instagram (@hidilyndiaz)

The Olympic connection is real for Hidilyn and Julius – their love for weightlifting brought them together and strengthened their relationship. Both even had to endure a long distance relationship since Julius was a member of the Guam national team. (WATCH: Hidilyn Diaz on journey to Asian Games gold)

But now, all is well as Julius is residing in the Philippines and is always by Hidilyn’s side during training as her strength and conditioning coach en route to her Tokyo 2020 Olympics journey. 

What’s your favorite workout together?

Hidilyn: Everyday, we’re together in my weightlifting training, he trains me during warm up, stretching and he also joins the training so we’re always together. 

What’s the best thing about working out together?

The best thing about it is that he understands me as an athlete because he knows the feeling of what I feel and he is my coach also in strength and conditioning so he’s there for me too. 


Max Velazco and Matthew Limlengco

Photo from Instagram (@maxvelazco)

Who says med school students are too busy to date? Max and Matthew are Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health students who make time for each other by going on spinning dates. 

What’s your favorite workout together?

Max: We take indoor cycling classes at Electric Studio weekly – we really make it a point to go when we’re not that busy with med school. I first tried it out a year ago when my friend told me about it, then I invited Matt to go with me. He didn’t really want to try it out since he already considers playing tennis his workout, but I really did my best to convince him. Ever since then, Electric has become our happy place!

What’s the best thing about working out together?

Max: I really don’t like working out alone, so it’s nice to have someone there with me and who can also motivate me. What I love the most about it is that through working out together, we’re able to de-stress in a way that keeps us healthy.


Patricia Aspiras and Josh Gunnacao

With Pat currently taking up her Masters in Australia and Josh working almost round the clock in med school, you’d think their workout time together would be cut short.

However, the long distance is no excuse. The few times Pat visits Manila are spent continuing their habit of exercise, sports, the outdoors, and physical activity.

What’s your favorite workout together?

Josh: I personally prefer strength training while Pat prefers high-intensity interval training (HIIT) type of workouts, so we usually alternate between the two. 

Our favorite ways of being active together, however, are activities outside of the gym. We love the outdoors and the water – but probably our favorite would be surfing! 

We love it because we both find it very challenging – catching our own waves and paddling out to the line up can be tough – but riding a wave can give you an amazing rush and a sense of fulfillment – getting “stoked” as they call it! 

Being active, be it in the gym or outdoors is something we also both personally love and would gladly do on our own, so doing it together just makes it so much more fun! 

What’s the best thing about working out together? 

Pat: One of the traits we have in common is that we’re both very competitive and that definitely motivates us to push ourselves and to secretly one-up each other by doing that extra rep or lifting that extra weight. So in the process, it becomes a source of pride as well when we see each other finishing a workout strong or successfully learning a new skill.

Whenever we surf, I’m definitely more at ease with Josh by my side so I can feel safer out in the water especially when the current and the waves get rough. 

In general, working out together has definitely helped us get better because we can not only critique each other’s form or timing (this could be the challenging part as you gotta make sure you do it constructively!) but also be each other’s biggest fan and source of encouragement!


Michele Gumabao and Aldo Panlilio 

 Photo from Instagram (@gumabaomichele)



Being a professional volleyball champion is tough for Michele Gumabao, but she is able to stay strong and fit thanks to her trainer and boyfriend Aldo Panlilio. 

When Michele was training for Bb. Pilipinas 2018, Aldo guided her all the way through the workout program that allowed them to spend time together despite her demanding schedules. (WATCH: Michele Gumabao on volleyball training, beauty queen duties)

What’s your favorite workout together?

Michele: We never workout together doing the same routine cause we prepare for different things and have different goals. Usually Aldo gives me a program and supervises while I do it at Grindhouse but we always go together to the gym! He helps me a lot with conditioning and how to get in volleyball shape. 

What’s the best thing about working out together?

Michele: We’re both in the field of pro sports, so schedules can be really tough because of how demanding it can get especially during season. Going to the gym together becomes like a bonding time for us and sort of like a date already because it’s so hard to find time to go out. I sleep really early cause practice call time is 5:30am so I rarely sleep late and go out late at night. And late means 9 pm for me.



Ilene De Vera and Carlos Jimenez

Former Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific International 2017 beauty queen Ilene De Vera and boyfriend Carlos Jimenez also make sure to make time to work out together amid Ilene’s busy sched.

What’s your favorite workout together?

Ilene: My boyfriend and I are both into fitness and keeping up a healthy lifestyle. So we try to meet each other halfway in working out by going to the gym together. Sometimes, when he’s not playing his sport golf, I invite him to jog around his village. I, on the other hand, am into boxing and HIIT workouts and it’s something I got my boyfriend interested in doing recently.

What’s the best thing about working out together?

The best thing about working out together is having someone who keeps motivating you to be your best. My boyfriend and I have been really supportive of each other’s fitness milestones ever since. He used to be around 200 plus pounds before we dated and now he’s currently 197 lbs. In my case, I added some weight after my pageant last 2017 but I’ve been losing it since late last year. Ever since we got together, we got more conscious about eating healthier and working out. It’s really such a great feeling knowing that you have somebody going through the same journey with you and I think that’s the part I love the most. 

The most challenging part for us, I think would be our love for food! We both try to cut down on the unhealthy stuff now that we’re very conscious of our weight. –

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.
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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.