Thirty-year-old Myra Golloso has made a name for herself as a champion bodybuilder.  Having only competed for about a year, she has already bagged several titles, her most recent being silver medals in the Swimsuit Model Open and Under Categories at the ANB Universe, as well as 1st place in the 2018 Muscle Contest Philippines.

But the wins didn’t come easy.  Nothing in her life did.

Myra Licerio Golloso was born and raised in Bicol.  Competitive by nature, her favorite sport as a child was gymnastics. “I was a member of the varsity teams from grade school until high school,” she shares.  

At 16, Myra wanted nothing more than to continue her education.  But she was hard up. Her father, the family breadwinner, couldn’t afford to send her to college. This reality prompted her to move to Manila, where she would stay with relatives who offered to cover the cost.

Little did she know that being a student wasn’t the only thing they had in mind for her. “Parang naging katulong nila ako. I had to wake up at four in the morning and take care of the kids. Even though I was good in my studies, I felt degraded because sa family side namin, yung father ko ay hindi nakapagtapos.  They looked at me like I was a low person,” she reveals.

Juggling her academic requirements and household responsibilities, coupled with their condescending treatment, became so discouraging that at 17 she dropped out of college and moved out from their house. With no one to look after her, Myra’s primary focus quickly shifted from studying to surviving.

Some of her earliest jobs included being a waitress and saleslady. “I lived in a bed space. Sometimes my only meal for the day was milk,” she recounts. In this time, Myra learned her father had passed away. Already at her lowest, Myra borrowed money to buy a plane ticket back to Bicol to attend his burial.

Her life started to change when she was hired as a bartender at Hooters. “Thank God I got employed there,” she shares. “I made money off the tips. I was good at it and that built my confidence.”

It was also there when she realized she had to get back in shape. “In Hooters, you need to look sexy. So I started going to the gym but had no idea what to do. I’d just run on the treadmill and stretch!  I was so focused on work that I forgot how to take care of myself,” she admits.

Frustrated by the lack of results, Myra enlisted an online trainer.  After learning different exercises and proper form, she became addicted to fitness. “I’d go to the gym three or four times a week and get so excited to work out. I wasn’t just working [to earn]. I was doing something for myself,” she explains.

Myra soon took her bartending skills to City Of Dreams, where she was eventually promoted to supervisor. While working at the hotel in 2017, she saw an ad for what became her first-ever competition: Gold’s Gym Philippines BodyCon. Her competitive side kicked in, and entering was life-changing to say the least. “I had to ask myself whether I was going quit my job to focus on the competition. I didn’t want to join just to lose or show up. I wanted to win. I already had savings, and I thought to myself, ‘Fitness is really for me. I feel like I have a place here.’ So I resigned from COD,” she says.

The decision landed her the Ms. Golds Gym Fitspiration crown in 2018 and influenced her to set her sights on bodybuilding. It was there where she was introduced to world-renowned mixed martial artist and fight coach George Castro, who is currently training her for the upcoming Summer Style Award. If Myra wins, she will represent the Philippines in the finals in Japan this August.

Thanks to Coach Castro, Myra also embarked on a new chapter in her life. Today she is a CastroFit- and HIIT-certified trainer, coaching personal training clients in the Makati and BGC area.

Coaching has given her both career stability and a sense of purpose. “Fitness is my job now. I enjoy helping people become better versions of themselves,” she beams.

Moreover, her approach to coaching isn’t solely on improving clients’ physical health. She values the personal relationships she forms with them.“Fitness training isn’t just getting someone in shape. It’s emotional as well,” she adds. “Minsan clients don’t come to you just to work out. If you know how to handle their whole being, they will appreciate it.”

This is just the beginning for Myra. Besides training, she wants to open up her own business and start a family with her long-distance boyfriend, Craig Jackson.

Through it all, Myra knew how to use her adversities to her advantage.  Her life experiences made her strong enough to face whatever problems come her way.  If there’s any lesson she has for aspiring athletes or anyone going through a tough time, it’s to not let struggles define them. “Even though may mga bagay na mangyayari sa’yo na hindi mo gusto, and the situation is hard, there is always hope. You can change your life. You just have to make a decision,” she advises.

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Violet Mendoza

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