Joem Bascon: Peanut butter boy is not creamy, he's hunky

Joem Bascon: Peanut butter boy is not creamy, he's hunky
By Walter Ang
January 19, 2010
Manila Bulletin

Being tagged as the "the Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby hybrid look-a-like," is what created buzz for Joem Bascon. It's probably the reason why he grew out his facial hair for his acting stints in I Love Betty and Bud Brothers, to establish a sense of identity that's separate from his co-actors.

Nonetheless, only in his 20s, Bascon is slowly developing a stronger foothold in the industry. What isn't usually talked about, however, is his athleticism. It isn't an exaggeration to say that Bascon's body is ripped; it's landed him in a magazine's hot body list. But unlike some actors who buff up but aren't really fit, this guy is actually healthy and strong, too.

Bascon was introduced to sports at an early age. He took up basketball in grade school and even played varsity in high school and college. "Sports or being active is really in my system, I always look for something physical to do," he says. "I actually have dreams of going professional in basketball."

When he broke into showbusiness, all that energy was channeled into weightlifting. "I used to lift weights every day," he says. A trainor at his old gym, Red Corner, introduced him to boxing a few years ago and he's taken to it ever since. The aerobic component of the sport and his reduction in weight training has visible results: his once bulky frame has a leaner, toned look now.

"It was also a conscious decision on my part to try to reduce my bulk to help my career since it can be difficult sometimes to be cast for certain roles if your body is too big. Anyway, it's easier to bulk up if you have a lean frame than to reduce it if you're big to begin with," he adds.

His upbringing in and exposure to the rigors and discipline of sports has carried over with his new love affair with boxing. He's even joined a celebrity match where he battled it out with Cesar Montano and is waiting for word if he'll be included in this year's line-up for the boxing show "Warriors," where he reached the semi-finals last year.

These days, Bascon trains at Tiger City Gym in Mandaluyong City. The gym caters to professional boxers where Bascon picks up techniques that are based on scientific principles. "We do the same kind of training that the actors for the movie `300' did. For example, I've had to throw sledgehammers to build strength and use ladders for footwork training," he says.

Bascon also engages in plyometrics, exercises designed to produce fast, powerful movements where muscles are contracted in rapid sequence to build strength and elasticity. "It has a lot of explosive movements, it's what basketball players use to develop more powerful jumps," he says.

Bascon does kettle bell training as well, a technique that has been gaining ground in the country where a metal ball (that looks like a cannon ball) with a handle is used to increase strength, endurance, agility and balance. "It's really all about developing your core muscles so that you have a strong foundation," he adds.

Given that most actors have irregular schedules, Bascon makes sure that he still gets exercise into his day. "I jog at least one to two hours a day and try to fit in two to three hours of boxing. On days when I don't have shows to shoot, I'm usually at the gym the whole day," he says.

For variety, Bascon tries out new sports once in a while. "I've tried wall climbing and sometimes I play volleyball. This year, I want to try bikram yoga (yoga done in a heated room)," he says.

Bascon, just like the rest of us, is human after all, and has lazy days as well. "Of course, sometimes I also don't feel like going to the gym or working out, but because my body is so used to physical activity and it needs to do something physical, I will jog or do push ups at the very least," he says.

The advice he gives to anyone interested in taking up boxing, or any exercise regimen for that matter, is to prepare ahead of time. "You can't just go into boxing if you've been leading a sedentary lifestyle," he says. "You can try to start jogging everyday or doing light exercises to condition and prime your body for something more strenuous."

When it comes to diet, food lovers will hate to take advice from Bascon. "I really watch what I eat. They used to call me `Peanut Butter Boy" because I would bring peanut-butter sandwiches as my baon for my meals," he says with a laugh. "They're quick and easy to prepare and is a good source of energy and protein and is low in fat." Supplements like multivitamins and fish oil are also a staple in his dietary schedule.

His meals center around brown rice and white meat while his snacks are usually bananans, boiled peanuts or camote. If these food items sound bland and boring to you, just take a look at Bascon's body and let's see if they don't start becoming appetizing.

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