I am Bernardo ‘Bernie’ Lirag, a former accountant and banker, now, a businessman. I have been married for 40 years to Elizabeth Ver Romack with 4 daughters – Tina, Pia, Sarah, Nikki. I run two companies – Asia Pacific Medical & Diagnostics ( in Makati and OEM Audio Plus ( in Los Angeles, California.

Since these companies are in different time zones, my regular workday starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 12:00 midnight. I teleconference with the Chief Operating Officer of OEM in California and OEM Production Group Head in the Philippines. From 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. I focus on APMD. In particular, Monday is devoted to the Executive Committee and special projects, Tuesday to the Sales Group, and Wednesday to the Management Committee and Finance Committee. Sometimes I teleconference with OEM between 10:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m.


Having that hectic schedule every day does not make me lazy to go to the gym. I still work out 3 times a week: 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; and 12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. on Saturdays. As far as I remember, working out has been in my system for quite some time now. From my youth until my college days, I was always into basketball. I was very thin as a teenager (i.e. 115 lbs at 17 years old); so my mother got me a trainer – ELPIDIO DOROTEO (former fitness trainer of President Marcos, a former Mr. Philippines and founding head of SIGLAKAS). I gained about 10 lbs. of muscle in about 3 months. This was the start of my appreciation for formal fitness training. It wasn’t until 1981 when I turned 31 that I returned to the gym for serious training. This lasted 2 years.

In 2005 I returned to regular workouts at the gym purely for health reasons. I had seriously damaged my right rotator cuff playing my first love – golf – and my physical therapist advised me to continue strengthening it at the gym. I had been an avid golfer for over 20 years. I found my second love – Slimmers World Pasay Road Branch, Makati City. I have been a member since 2000 and have been regularly working out for the last 6 years with a fitness trainer – Carl Speras 2005-2006, Frank de la Cruz 2006-2008, Argie Samson 2008-2010, Mark Galvez 2010 to present.


Most people wonder how come I am so into this kind of lifestyle. Here are my motivations:

Reason No. 1: I want to live past 90. I intend to play with my grandchildren’s children.

Reason No. 2: There are millions of fragile senior citizens. I do not want to be one. I want the quality of my life to be much better. The only way to achieve these is to have a healthy lifestyle – enough sleep, proper diet (i.e. food, vitamins, and supplements), and proactive exercise (i.e. cardio and strengthening programs). Dr. Henry s. Lodge in his book “Younger Next Year” wrote: LIFE IS AN ENDURANCE RACE. YOU HAVE TO TRAIN FOR IT. CARDIO WILL IMPROVE CIRCULATION AND LENGTHEN YOUR LIFE. WEIGHTS WILL IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THAT LIFE.


With regard to my diet, I believe that too much of anything is not good for anyone at any age. We all basically know what food to avoid eating excessively. But to precisely know the specific type of food to avoid, one must have a thorough medical/physical examination. In my case, I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and soft drinks. My favorite drink which I take at least twice a day is kalamansi or orange juice. I use olive oil, diluted salt (i.e. Morton Salt Balance; Pan Salt), and natural sweeteners (i.e. Splenda, coconut sugar). My diet consists of steamed, stewed, grilled or barbecued fish and lean beef, and a lot of fresh fruits.

I eat 5-to-6 times a day – BREAKFAST, SNACK, LUNCH, SNACK, BIG MERIENDA, LIGHT DINNER (at least 3 hours before I sleep).

I SEQUENCE the meals – load up on carbohydrates before working out, consume low-calorie powerbars while working out, and NO FATTY, HIGHLY CALORIC FOODS AFTER 6 PM.

I don’t have a “CHEAT DAY” in the week. I occasionally have “CHEAT MOMENTS”, timed just before work-outs.


My decision to compete in Great Bodies was based on my unyielding belief in my ability (to improve my body and to tackle the Q&A) and my profound trust in my trainers (to provide guidance).

It’s 90% PLANNING, 10% EXECUTION; so I prepared – I got the help of CHARLES DE AUSEN to prepare me for the aero routine and creative posing; I endured his tough regimen of stretching and aerobic conditioning 2.5 hours a day, 3 days a week; my attendance was perfect – 6 days a week, alternating days for weights with Mark Galvez and cardio with Charles.

My RESTING HEART RATE prior to Great Bodies ranged between 58 and 60 BEATS PER MINUTE. Now it’s between 49 and 51 BPM.


I am preparing for the 2015 Great Bodies. I will be 66 years old. I am also developing a comprehensive program for 50-year-olds and above based on my personal experience, reference books, and experts in the fields of nutrition and fitness training. I plan to share it with my clients as a fitness trainer at Slimmers World International after I retire, hopefully by 2014.


During the 2010 Great Bodies competition, I said, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE. No matter what your age is. Have a thorough medical test done at Asia Pacific Medical & Diagnostics, get clearance to work out from your doctor, enroll at Slimmers World International and get yourself a personal fitness trainer now!


Galleries of the 2010 Slimmers World Great Bodies can be viewed here at this link