Alden Richards had to lose 20 lbs for his cachet-boosting blockbuster paring with Kathryn Bernardo in “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” now the country’s highest-grossing Filipino film. But the “life-changing” transformation didn’t end there for the Kapuso heartthrob. “The Gift,” his telenovela for GMA 7 that wrapped up in February, showed viewers how he had managed to keep all that heft away throughout its 105-episode run.
Looking at the long threads his Instagram posts generate every time he shows off his ripped physique these days, it’s obvious how Alden’s perception of health and wellness has stirred up his interest in a healthier lifestyle.
Don’t get us wrong. There was nothing wrong with the “old” Alden, not at all. It’s just that more skin has certainly sexed up his image, making the actor seem like a new person—or at least a “better evolved” version of himself.
To demonstrate, Alden’s posts on May 23 and June 17 kept social media “trendingly” abuzz and agog, with some of them generating about 274,000 “likes” from his 3.6 million followers on Instagram.
With bulges and curves in all the right places, this “Alden, 2.0” version is a far cry from the adorable but occasionally portly matinee idol who made teenage girls and young ladies swoon just by flashing those bedimpled smiles.
Not that there’s been any sign of pace slackening for the 28-year-old multimedia star. In fact, Alden just wants to see what else is there to explore and conquer beyond his comfort zone.
“My heaviest weight was at 180 lbs,” the Kapuso superstar told us early this week. “That was after the holiday season of 2018-2019. Naisip ko that I wasn’t getting any younger, so I shouldn’t take my health for granted. Pagbabayaran ko rin kasi when I get older. Working out has changed my point of view, especially in terms of eating right and prioritizing exercise every day.”
And no, it wasn’t just because Alden had to build a strong immune system to keep himself fit or disease-resistant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Priority ko na talaga ang health ko and boosting my immune system even before the pandemic,” he said. “But you always need to keep a goal in mind kung bakit ka magda-diet. Ngayong may global health crisis, it’s important to be as healthy as you can be—that way, you’re always ready to battle the virus.”
For people who are inspired by the actor’s journey to wellness and passion for working out, Alden encourages them to just take the first step without trepidation: “My advice to beginners would be to just start. Kailangan ninyong magsimula sa kahit simpleng workout, between 10 to 20 minutes.
“You have to start somewhere. You have to make exercise and working out a part of your lifestyle, especially now na kailangan nating lahat ng malakas na pangangatawan.”
Excerpts from our Q&A with Alden:
How different are you now from your “Alakdana” heyday almost 10 years ago?
I was inside a shell during the first three soaps that I did (“Alakdana,” “My Beloved,” “One True Love”). I used to be reserved. I was hesitant to try out things I have yet to go through, kasi hindi ko alam kung magwo-work.
Through experience and after all the projects I have done, I learned certain things na hindi ko na-realize na natutunan ko na pala unconsciously. It’s always about the willingness to learn, being open to change, being able to adapt and deliver portrayals that are acceptable to the director, writers and, most importantly, to the audience. Mayroon din akong mind-set na kung hindi ko gagawin itong role na ito, then when do I start? Always seize the moment.
What traits have you learned from your home network GMA, which has consistently nurtured your career from the start?
When I signed up with GMA, my mind-set has always been this: I don’t want to let it down whenever a certain project is given to me. GMA doesn’t know this, but the projects they give me make me want to work harder on my craft … to always get better and build the actor within me.
What’s good about GMA, especially where the projects they’ve been giving me are concerned, is that there’s always a challenge in the way I must deliver a role na hindi ko pa nagagawa. That’s my motivation.
They don’t just give me easy, disposable work that I can do with my eyes closed … and that’s where the challenge and excitement come from. As an actor, you can’t be content just staying in your comfort zone because there’s no growth in that.
What type of movies do you want to appear in next?
I want to do more projects that are socially relevant. As a Filipino viewer, I’d like to think that when you watch a certain TV show or movie, we always look for something we can relate to. More projects like that sana in the future.
You and Kathryn Bernardo turned in career-best portrayals in “Hello, Love, Goodbye.” What’s your takeaway from that whole experience?
“Hello, Love, Goodbye” is one of my most pivotal projects to date. I’m so honored and thankful to ABS-CBN and Star Cinema, Inang Olivia Lamasan, Direk Cathy Garcia-Molina, our writer Carmi Raymundo, and to Kathryn for doing that project with me.
I’m also grateful to GMA for allowing me to be part of the film. That whole team took the risk to deliver such an amazing project and cast an actor from a rival network. We had no lofty expectations about the movie.
All we wanted was just to tell a great story, about two individuals who love each other and the more important things in life meant for each of them [that get in the way of their budding romance]. Whenever I watch “Hello, Love, Goodbye,” I still get the same feeling I had when we were shooting. It still inspires me to do more and “be” more.
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