Philomena: A rising star in women’s professional bodybuilding

Philomena Dexclyn Siar

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By Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, Jan 24: Philomena Dexclyn Siar has worked long and hard to achieve her dream physique, subsequently becoming a force to be reckoned with in the women’s bodybuilding arena.

The 39-year-old Bidayuh athlete is the eldest of three siblings and has been a professional bodybuilder since 2018.

Recently, she shared her enthusiasm for bodybuilding and physique-based sports with DayakDaily.

“It started when my goal of going to the gym was to lose weight. I ran for hours on the treadmill, did weights and hired a personal trainer to ensure that I trained right.

“Ever since I was scouted in 2018 by a local Sarawakian and Malaysian world class body building athlete Dr Malvern Abdullah, to participate in bodybuilding competitions, I have never looked back on what I am doing now,” she said.

Philomena revealed that her first competition was at the FM League Physique War & Muscle War 2018, Singapore.

“I placed sixth in the Bikini Model category,” she said.

Recently, at the World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Championships, Central Phuket, Thailand, in December 2022, she placed fourth in the Mixed Pair category.

She shared that her successes in bodybuilding made her feel stronger physically, increased her self-confidence and has helped her develop a more positive perception.

“I have a dream body. I am very satisfied with my body and my physique, especially when I wear dresses and casual clothes.

“But all these can only be achieved through a strict diet and training schedule,” she shared.

Philomena revealed that to maintain her physique, she has to endure strict training routines and schedules in different phases: maintenance, cutting and preparation.

Philomena does her weight training with her coach Dr Malvern. Photo credit: Aaron Chung

“During the maintenance phase, I do an hour of cardio in the morning and two hours of heavy weight training in the evening.

“At the cutting phase, I will increase the intensity of my training, such as doing cardio plus additional high-intensity interval training or circuit training in the morning, and two hours of medium range and high repetition weight training.

“Leading towards a competition, the focus will be more towards getting your nutrition and diet on point and a less intensive training frequency,” she further disclosed.

Philomena said that her workout regime these days is under the watchful eyes of fellow Sarawakian and world-class bodybuilding athletes, Dr Malvern and Buda Anchah.

“Dr Malvern is the main contributor to my training regime and diet nutrition plan especially getting my physique to be in the best condition on competition day.

Philomena also revealed that she has an “endomorph” body type – easy to gain weight, but hard to lose weight, and prone to storing fat.

“With this kind of body, I must work extra hard during training to build lean muscle mass. The body fat percentage must be at a desirable level for competition.

“My daily food intake has to be a high protein source, about 70 per cent of protein (chicken, beef, fish, beans), 20 per cent of fibrous carbs (veggies, oats, rice, sweet potatoes ) and 10 per cent fat (avocadoes, nuts, olive oils, eggs) source food per serving.

“These promote muscle growth, muscle recovery (protein), energy source (carbs) and hormonal functions (fat).

“Despite these strict meals regimes and lots of dietary supplements, it must be well-balanced,” she explained.

“Bodybuilding did change my life in many ways. My dedication, achievement and commitment to this sport have led to a better quality of life.

“My parents are my biggest fans. I have developed stronger friendships with my close friends and personal clients, whom I trained over the years.”

Philomena stressed that every State athlete who is talented in bodybuilding should get continuous assistance to expose them to multilevel competition.

“This will encourage their performance, especially if they have professional guidance from coaches and trainers.

“To me, such assistance given to bodybuilding athletes would contribute to continuing the legacy of Sarawak as a sports powerhouse for bodybuilding in the future.”

Philomena (left) shows her fourth-place trophy in the mixed category at the 13th world bodybuilding championship held in December 2022, in Phuket, Thailand, together with Dr Malvern Abdullah.

She thanked the Sarawak government, Sarawak Sports Corporation (SSC), and local bodybuilding associations for their assistance in terms of incentives and usage of sports facilities.

Philomena aims to be one day stand on the podium with a gold medal placed on her neck as the world champion.

Her next competition is the ASIA Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Championships in Kathmandu, Nepal, in September 2023 and the World Bodybuilding & Physique Sports Championships in South Korea in October 2023.

“I am ready and continue with my hard work. I train without fail to guarantee my progress, and one day soon I will become a champion,” she said. — DayakDaily