Woman of Interest: Hilary

This new section in the blog is about certain women that piques our curiosity. These ladies are personalities we see in social media, and/or TV. Either we admit it or not, we have become fans of some of them. 

You know how much of a sucker I am for reunion shoots. By far this is quite in the making for several years. Last time I got to work with Hilary was way back 10 years ago for FHM Magazine. Had her in the studio for some quick beauty and Japanese concept shots (she provided the katana too). It’s both a conceptual and technical challenge converting strobe lights too make them look a bit more cinematic.

Her beauty is timeless. Given she’s into body building now, she got the abs to boot. Yep, the star tattoos on her side were still there. – JT

Can you give a brief story on how you got into body building and the healthy lifestyle? Was there any life event that triggered it?

There’s a funny meme that says “breakups make bodybuilders” and in a way, that’s my story too. I had walked away from an abusive relationship and celebrated having survived by hitting the gym and getting my life back on track. An emotionally and psychologically abusive partner had messed up my view of myself and I was determined to build myself back up. An old friend at the gym remarked on my physique and suggested joining a bikini bodybuilding competition. I had two weeks of “prep” (not much prep if you ask me haha) and out of 8 women, I placed 4th. Not bad considering I was a rookie with zero experience. That experience got me hooked! But what was a season of bodybuilding competitions served a greater purpose: it led me to the path of fitness and health which I would later on use to empower and inspire other women to take better care of themselves.

A typical day with you would be comprised of what?

I start my day at 6am with fasted cardio. Somewhere there, my son will wake up and I’ll have to get both our breakfasts ready so we can sit down together and have our morning chats before taking him to school. My breakfast is comprised of oats and hard boiled eggs. While he’s in school, I work on my computer answering emails, crafting workout programs for clients, writing fitness-related articles for my fitness blog, etc. Then I pick him up, drop him home, and I go about my personal training appointments with clients. Some days I have events to host, a commercial to shoot or a photo shoot. My work day typically ends around 8pm at the latest and then I rush home to spend time with my little guy before putting him to bed. Rinse. Repeat.

Is there really such a thing as a cheat meal? If so, what comprises of that “guilty” pleasure?

Yes! In fact, I recommend a cheat MEAL over a cheat DAY, for the simple reason that eating thoughtlessly for one day is enough to counter all the sacrifice and hard work you’ve put in the entire week before. What I do is have one cheat meal per week so I can afford to really enjoy it without throwing off all the training and relatively clean eating I’ve invested throughout my week. A cheat meal to me would be a huge slice of cheesy pepperoni pizza (one of my top favourite cheat meals), or a cheesy pasta dish, maybe even a decadent and indulgent dessert. Anything that’s rich in dairy, has relatively high sugar or carb content, maybe very savoury—I would consider those as my cheat meal. Sometimes my friends will suggest having a wine and tapas night and that’s what I would treat as a cheat meal.

What was the heaviest thing you lifted? How long did it take for you to train getting to that level?

I only started bodybuilding March 2016. I just recently celebrated my one year anniversary into the foray of bodybuilding and fitness. Many have remarked at my impressive transformation and progress considering it’s only been a full year. As a PR (personal record) or PB (personal best), my heaviest would be 100lbs on bench press (I only started benching a month and a half ago!); 185lbs for deadlifts, and 195lbs for squats. I’d say it took about 3 months for me to reach those personal bests. My goal is not to go the heaviest in the fastest way possible. My goal is to build my strength and muscle endurance without compromising safety. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts injure themselves (some even permanently) because they rush into insane PBs and PRs. Fitness coaching and being a fitness and brand ambassador—those are my livelihood. I make sure I go about reaching my goals in a way that does not compromise my ability to fulfil my job. I’m a single parent and if I stop working and earning, no one else is going to pick up that slack.

Any workout routine / tips you can give somebody who would want to start getting into fitness?

The first tip I would give is to hire a personal trainer. There’s nothing like having a professional teach you the proper form and execution of exercises to get you on the right track to fitness. Understand the WHY of your fitness journey and you’re more likely to stick with it. You’ll want to make your workout program as fun and sustainable as possible. Be realistic in what you can commit to in terms of time you set aside to work out, and the way you plan to go about your nutrition. Fitness is 80% NUTRITION and 20% EXERCISE. Short term goals help you reach your long term goals. Be patient with yourself, trust the process, enjoy the journey. Bodybuilding and fitness take time. if you’re patient and committed to yourself and your fitness journey, you’ll see significant progress both in your fitness and physique in due time. Don’t give up!

Woman of Interest would be monthly feature in the site (hopefully). So watch out for more interviews and shoots here.

Image Gallery

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Production Credits

  • Make-up: Jet Babas
  • Styling: Hannah Kim (MIA)
  • Production Design: Carlo Ocampo
  • Model: Hilary Isaac

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