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Karen Ibasco: Being fit means having a healthy body

Down-to-earth beauty: “I think it’s not about the outside appearance. Being fit and healthy helps you build a good immune system,” says Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco.

When I met the reigning Miss Philippines Earth Karen Ibasco back in 2015, I instantly knew she would be a star. She was stunning, extremely eloquent, and hardworking. Karen has been a regular at the gym for years. 

Those who know her would agree she is the epitome of beauty and brains. The third of four children of Simoun and Rochelle Ibasco, Karen has always been very intelligent. 

Before her time on the pageant scene, Karen was a medical physicist. Working in a hospital opened her eyes to the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She understood how diet and exercise early on truly is preventive medicine for a multitude of diseases.

Her hard work and dedication all paid off when she was crowned Miss Philippines Earth in July 2017. And now, as Miss Philippines Earth, Karen is a true fitness ambassador.

Karen shares her fitness journey:

PHILIPPINE STAR: Were you always athletic as a child?

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KAREN IBASCO: No, not really, but I started when I was in high school. I was part of the varsity team for badminton, but I stopped when I went to college. Now, I am just continuing to work out. 

What got you into sports?

I think it’s because of my dad as well. He is very athletic, he plays basketball, tennis, and badminton. I think that’s one of the things that motivated me and when he saw that I also had potential and height, he trained me for it.

What makes you go to the gym?

What makes me go to the gym is that it’s really not about being thin because a lot of people are taking pills and stuff to get thin, they do not eat. For me, I really continue to work out to keep my body healthy. I’ve worked in a hospital and I’ve seen how being unhealthy makes your immune system very low and makes you very prone to disease.

So, right after college you decided to be motivated to go to the gym?

No, maybe when I was in my late college years. When I took my master’s degree, that was the time my eyes opened that I needed to work out. I needed to be consistent with working out to keep my body in shape.

Do you follow any specific diet regimen on a regular day, not just for the competition?

For me, really no. Just having a clean diet. For me, it’s avoiding fatty food, drinking a lot of water, having a lot of sleep, and eating a lot of fiber, fruit and vegetables, and lean meat.

When it comes to the portions of what you eat, how often do you eat in a day?

In a day, I eat about three to four times. But I eat small portions when I eat four times a day.

Do you follow a specific workout or program?

My personal trainer guides me through my program. I do cardio and I do weights to keep me toned as well and focus on the areas I need, like my legs and my abs.

What values have you derived from working out?

Fitness promotes determination, being disciplined and also having or setting a goal you want to pursue.

Why do you give importance to fitness?

I think it’s not about the outside appearance. For me, being in the medical field, the core essence of working out is to have a healthy body. Being fit and healthy helps you build a good immune system to protect you from diseases around you. I know because I’ve been to that field and my fitness helped boost my immunity greatly.

What was the biggest challenge you had encountered in your life and how did you overcome it?

My biggest problem would be when my mother was a cancer patient. That was how my eyes were opened to continue my field until my master’s degree so I could help people like her. My field is about radiation oncology that helps cancer patients. It was really hard, but we were able to cope as a family. I saw that it’s a part of life, I can do what I do to help people like them.

On the other hand, what’s your greatest achievement and how did you reach it?

I think my greatest achievement would be finishing with flying colors, it’s not easy, and, of course, winning Miss Philippines Earth.

Aside from working out, do you have other interests?

I like designing clothes, and I do part-time modeling as well.

Do you follow a specific philosophy? What words do you live by?

The words I live by would be: Pick God first before everything. I believe that He blesses every aspect of your life if you put Him first.

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