My Push Up Journey

After 5 months of regularly exercising, my trainer posed a 30-day push up challenge. This pushed (haha) me out of my comfort zone since I wasn’t confident with the skill, and I’ve never done anything similar before. Towards the end of the 30 days, my knees were bruised, and that made me want to learn the full push ups. The quarantine rolled around, and this gave me more time to focus and hone the skill, which was not easy. Uncaptured in the video are the sore muscles and that feeling of being stuck in the middle of the rep. Looking forward to learning more push up variations and other skills soon! Thanks, Coach Daniel (@dantofitness), for the accountability, the corrections, the programs, and the challenge to keep pushing.

Sorry, no music. Kinda new at this editing thing lol


Instagram: @nicolelac_

Brand Ambassador

I’ve been chosen to be a brand ambassador for ACTA!

The clothes are still on their way, but I love what the company represents. Each purchase allots a percentage of the sale to a charity. You may choose to give to mental health, water shortage, hunger, and human trafficking. PLUS! All the sales of the Black Leopard Collection supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

Looking forward to trying their pieces knowing that I gave back to a cause about which I’m passionate!

Shop here and use my discount code: nicolelac to get 15% off your purchase!

Tag us on Instagram: @acta.wear and @nicolelac_

Quarantine (Days 30-60)

Quarantine (Days 1-28)


(Posted on Instagram on 11 January 2020)

People who’ve been close to me before September 2019 would know that physical activities were the bane of my existence—next to headaches, of course. Usually, people are quick to assume that I exercise solely to lose weight, but nah. Although I do welcome that with open arms, I choose to do this to push myself out of my comfort zone because I know that I tend to bask too much in the certainties of my excuses, anxieties (haha), and even my strengths.

Too much comfort leads to stagnation, and that’s exactly what I became physically and mentally. With the compliments that come with what people see on social media are deeper struggles that are often left in the dark to keep a strong front. I guess that’s okay to some extent, since the public need not know my dirty laundry, but the growth that I’ve achieved in the past four months is impossible to do alone. There are exercises that I dread, equipment that I frown upon, and unhealthy food that I yearn to eat, but the goals that I desire to achieve physically entail double the mental effort, which is why help is a necessity. Thanks, Coach Daniel, for helping me achieve fitness feats that I didn’t even know had names (lol) and for keeping my goals “smart.” A pull-up is in the horizon and more importantly, tangible with your guidance. Hahaha It has been a wild ride—this journey, but the results make it worth it. Always be #DTF.

The Beginning

(Posted on Instagram on 4 Nov 2019)

What made you go to the gym?”
“I had an exam coming up at that time.”

The lethargy brought by the sedentary lifestyle finally took its toll on me as I struggled to juggle work and reviewing because I was always so sluggish.

For context, I must say that I never had a good relationship with food. It was either I binged, or I barely ate for months at a time. Don’t get me started with exercise. I knew the benefits, but I always felt helpless. My body cried out for help through various ailments like cysts on my throat, PCOS, hyperacidity, etc. I resorted to endless excuses, nonetheless.

It’s been around two months since I signed up for a gym membership with a trainer, and I realized that the helplessness I felt stemmed from the fact that exercise is lightyears away from my comfort zone because I’m not the most coordinated person. I hated the feeling brought by learning so slowly. I get what I’m supposed to do, theoretically, but I hated that I couldn’t execute the tasks immediately, so I avoided it as much as I could. I wanted immediate gratification. I hated that my feet couldn’t keep up with my standards of how quickly I should learn.

Have I mastered all the exercises? I’ve barely scratched the surface. Growth entails a lot of discomfort, and the past two months challenged me to persevere in the seemingly mundane despite the pain. I underestimated the psychological benefits of exercise, thinking that results are mostly physical in nature, and it has been a humbling experience.

Accountability does wonders in growth, and every peso has been worth it. Had I decided to do things on my own, I probably would have given up at the end of Day 1 because of the “helpless” feeling. Thank you, Coach Daniel, for pushing me to go beyond my perceived capabilities. Your passion for fitness is contagious. Thank you for showing me that a healthy lifestyle is sustainable once I disregard my excuses. I know you’ll continue to broaden your reach given your knowledge, skills, grit, and compassion.

Short Story: Sudden Turn

I was reading through my journal and found this interesting entry from April 6, 2017.

I was feeling pretty uneasy for the most part of the day, but what else is new? So I soldiered through the day, managing  the jitters I felt during the 4-5:30pm class. I listened in class apathetically, but I was able to understand the lesson and answer my professor’s questions.

Smugly, I said to my seatmate, “see, I listen.”

After class, I talked to my professor about some academic matters in relation to the state of my mental health. I told her that I was a mess and that I don’t know how I endured 5 sessions of fieldwork. She was kind and considerate, and our conversation ended with her saying to me, “you’re getting by beautifully.”

That statement boosted my morale, and I played it in my head as I got home and planned for the rest of the evening.

My supposedly productive evening took a sudden turn when the jitters I’ve been suppressing turned to nausea that took me straight to the toilet bowl to throw up. After that, I fell on the couch and burst into tears as I cried out to God, kind of like David’s Psalms in the Bible.

My next thought was to try to stand up and go through the evening, but I couldn’t move until I fell asleep. After three hours, I woke up, and here I am at the end of the night, unproductive and lethargic.

Just a glimpse of a day in the life with mental health struggles.

Mental Health and My Faith

Disclaimer: this is my personal journey. What I went through isn’t anyone’s fault.

I was diagnosed with depression four years ago. After a few months, I started to feel better, so I stopped taking meds. I was well for a year, then the monster came back with a vengeance. (Lesson: don’t quit meds cold turkey.) I’ve been taking meds again for a year and a half now.

This mood condition has been harder the second time around. My old medicine stopped working and made me gain weight. I’ve had more panic attacks that would render me dysfunctional for days. Worst of all, my faith was shaken.

I reached a point where every morning was a cruel reminder that I exist. It was cruel in the sense that I couldn’t move and I couldn’t get myself to do anything, but I was still breathing. In those moments, I questioned everything—my existence, my beliefs, my purpose.

I wondered why I felt so alone but I couldn’t get myself to talk to people since I had no energy to do so. I wondered why the stigma towards mental illnesses exists. I wondered why the church doesn’t seem to address mental health but prays for physical healing all the time. In the few times that I opened up about what I was going through, I felt judged and reduced to lack of faith and willpower. I felt like I had to learn to just suck it up and move on. I stopped going to church for almost three months because the mere thought of going triggered panic attacks. I was scared of my second home, and I was scared of myself for reaching that point.

I toyed with the idea of abandoning my faith, but I couldn’t because of the encounters with God I’ve had in the past. I couldn’t deny the existence of God because He’s proven Himself to me countless times. In the times when I felt most alone, He would comfort me in ways that I can’t explain. God is real, and I wanted Him. I needed Him.

Where else could I learn about God when I was too sick to study His Word for myself? I knew I had to face my fears and apprehensions by going back to church. There’s nothing mystical about the church or the building, but going back was my way of saying, “God, I need You. This will be hard, but this is how badly I need You.”

Hard, it was. My mind would race or go blank. Everything and everyone felt foreign. I would even start to have rashes out of anxiety just by being in church. But that was my way of fighting this illness that has no hold over me.

It hasn’t been perfect these past months. My questions about the stigma and the church are still unanswered. I learned to understand that the church is people too. They may not deal with my condition perfectly, but I need them to remind me of God’s love. Maybe someday, I can help address the misconceptions towards mental health. I also realized that the church also has people who have helped me battle for the past four years, and I’m grateful for them.

This season of shaken faith left me with a stronger faith in God. Even though it’s difficult to live with a mental health condition, I know that God is real, and He will see me through.

Short Story: I’m Back

Today, I clung for dear life.

I was in the jeepney with two school mates at one of the busiest roads of the metro—Commonwealth Avenue. I was feeling pretty good about myself since I was on my way home from the last of a 5-session fieldwork.

We were traversing the long stretch at high speeds with the wind blowing on my face. I was seated right next to the doorless exit, and a sudden urge to jump crept inside me. It made my heart beat faster out of fear as I remembered how this urge would try to kill me in the tricycles of Katipunan Avenue, the pedestrian overpasses of Manila, etc.

I shuddered as I tried to shake this feeling off of me. I faced the inside of the jeep and tightly held the overhead railing with one hand and my bag with the other. I focused on taking deep breaths to distract myself.

“Malayo pa naman diba?” my schoolmate asked.


“Malayo pa yung bababaan natin.”

“Oh, yeah. It’s far pa.”

“Haha. Nakahawak ka kasi sa bag mo na parang bababa ka na.”

I smiled and looked away as I realized that she was oblivious to the turmoil inside me.

I survived, thankful for another day. I still couldn’t make sense of why this happens to me, and frankly, it frightens me knowing how gravely lethal this sickness can be, but I survived. I’m strong. I have a Protector Who keeps me alive.