"The goal is strength, not aesthetics." This is what Rica Peralejo wrote on Instagram as she opened up about what her fitness journey has been like. She's been working on herself for a year now, changing her diet in September 2020 and working out regularly in just last April. In total, she went down from weighing 125 pounds to 111 but weight loss has never been the goal; now, it's all about gaining strength. 

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Rica opened up about her progress in a YouTube vlog, saying that her fitness journey began when she was pregnant with her second child. After giving birth, her metabolism was at an "all-time high" so when the pandemic hit, Rica said, "I remember eating two dinners every night and had no regard for my sugar intake. Ito na rin siguro yung pinaka-isolated state ko in my entire mental health journey so I felt like it was a factor in my not wanting to move."

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When they finally flew back to the Philippines, Rica turned to the Baron Method to "get back on track." And it wasn't easy. The mom of two shared, "It felt so hard to move. It felt heavy. Even the simple going up and down the stairs gave me the sweats-yung pawis ng mahinang katawan." Later on, she and her husband got COVID-19 and when they recovered, they decided to become more active. Rica turned to yoga and finished a 30-day challenge, which motivated her to keep going. "I felt the difference in strength, energy, and mindset." 

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Next, she tried jumping rope and it was love at first...skip! After three months of jumping, she can't seem to stop: "My normal day-to-day [routine] consists of jumping anywhere from 30 minutes to I don't know how many hours...on top of that, I have my strength training every other day." 

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Rica said, "Strength is key. It is the doorway to your right diet, right weight, and health in your body. When you're strong enough to increase in your activity, you are strong enough to say no to the things that make you unhealthy. Today, I weigh around 111 pounds, but I eat rice. I don't starve myself, but also, I stay away from junk because I now feel the effects of food in my body..."

She added, "Hindi ko na goal maging payat. Ang goal ko na ngayon ay maging malakas." Rica also advised that you find a type of workout that makes you happy because "joy makes hard things sustainable."

Find out more about Rica Peralejo's fitness journey below:

READ MORE: 

Bianca on Why Moms Shouldn't Compare Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss Journeys

These Supplements Can Help You Safely Gain Weight in Your 30s

Nutritionist Answers Pressing Concerns About Weight Loss in Your 30s

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4 Health Exams Women in Their 30s Should Remember to Take

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