A day in the life of Chappy Callanta revolves around things he loves most: training people, working out, and family bonding. At 31, the father of three owns a chain of gyms around Metro Manila (have you heard of 360 Fitness Club?) and does human resources for the hip, celeb-owned restaurant Backyard Kitchen + Brew while having his two toddlers and infant daughter in tow.
Some would call him lucky—#lifegoals, even. As busy as he is, Chappy manages to do everything he wants without sacrificing the people that matter. And his loved ones, it seems, couldn’t be happier. We caught up with Chappy and learned we too can lead as much an inspirational, family-oriented life as he does.
What do you love most about being a dad?
"I guess [one] is travelling. Take Essy, for example. We were able to bring her to Palawan. Seeing how she reacts to the environment, how she sees the beach—you know, the innocence of it all. Ellie, our youngest, was so happy. People say it’s hard to travel with kids and it’s true. But those little moments that you get to experience with them everyday, when you go out of the country, when you go to the province… you really learn more about them.
Essy has her own world now. Before, she would love the knight in shining shorts (armor). But now I learned that she doesn’t like princes anymore kasi she thinks not all princes are good people. And with Luke, having an only boy is really a challenge, especially as a middle child. You know how they say there’s a middle child syndrome? It’s different with him. He’s still learning the language, so it’s interesting how that process is.
I’m also lucky to have a wife who supports what I do. I’m out of the house most of the day. I get to bring the kids and she trusts me enough to take care of them."
How do you normally bond with your children?
"We have a small rubber pool at home, so we try to swim as much as we can. They get an hour of TV a day, and then, we do chores together. Essy likes watering the plants. Luke likes cleaning up. Ellie of course is just sitting there.
Other than that, we like hanging out in the mall. We go to toy stores a lot. I have a couple of restaurants spread out. I bring them there and they see how it is. Ganoon lang."
Sometimes, before we sleep, we look at my feed. My daughter kasi likes looking at stickers. And then we play with filters.
What’s changed the most about you since becoming a dad?
"Time management. I didn’t have to think about anything else before but [myself], my wife, and maybe our eldest. It was easier to schedule things. Now I have to be more responsible. I’m a young dad with three kids. I had to progress rather rapidly in managing my time so that I’m around before they sleep. Parang, priorities changed. We also have to think about their future, so we started planning for college."
Are there stereotypes about dads that you think are false?
"I haven’t been a victim of stereotypes. Nobody has come up to me and told me, “Why are you being like this?” But it’s really an advocacy for me that you’re supposed to bring your kids to work. We have this notion na kids don’t belong in the workplace. And, you know, people disagree on that. Some get distracted, so I’m hoping that there will come a time when there will be a place for single dads or single moms, or even if you have a family, to fit kids in your work schedule. Kasi diba, even if there’s help, it’s hard leaving three kids at home with your wife. It’s easy for me because I can bring them. It’s my business; nobody can complain. But I also allow my coaches and everybody else to bring their kids to work, as long as they don’t get hurt."
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks ‘Girl Dads’: Are You Man Enough To Do These Activities With Your Daughter?]
Who is your role model?
"My dad. I literally followed his footsteps. He’s a strength coach kasi. His name’s Hercules Callanta, a fitting first name. He used to coach for the PBA. I grew up with the PBA and basketball so, parang siya yung naging role model ko, even when it comes to being a father because he was and still is a good father to us."
What tips would you want to give first-time dads?
"I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in four years. And I think that’s going to happen for four more years! So get as much sleep as you can before your kids come. Also, never forget your wife. It’s easy to get soaked up in the children because they’re so cute and cuddly. But your wife will be tired from taking care of them. Have weekly date nights and pamper her."
Describe your diet and workout.
We put the person who has limited time in mind when we designed our gyms. The workouts are really quick. You’re done in 30 minutes. But other than that, I don’t get stuck in a gym. There’s exercise available wherever you go. My advice for people: take the stairs. Walk instead of riding a tricycle. Just make sound, small, healthy life choices. As simple as that.
If you have kids, bring them out. Instead of going to the movies, maybe you can go to the park. We have lots of parks in Manila. Go out and fly a kite. Be active lang. It’s not really what you do in the gym; it’s more of what you do outside the gym that matters.
In the Philippines, we like rich flavors [and] salty food. We love eating rice. So because I’m also a nutrition coach, I just talk about portion control. The idea is keep your portions limited or the right size. Sometimes I ask clients to limit rice and red meat, and add more vegetables. But some get too hard on themselves. They try hard, they fail, and then they stop altogether. Just take it slow, one change at a time. Try to be conscious of what you eat."
[related: Workout Wisdom: Expert-Approved Alternative Ab Workouts You Can Do at Home]
What's your advice for staying stylish and kempt?
It’s very important, especially if you have a boy, kasi he tends to copy what you do. I see that a lot. I have a beard but I try to keep it as clean as I can. And my babies are used to it na. All of my babies had been born with my beard on. One time I shaved my beard and they went, “Woah! What happened? Where’s the beard?” They got mad at me. But other than that, you have to be clean. You have to groom yourself para your child or your children can follow in your footsteps.
It’s really monkey see monkey do. It’s as simple as hygiene, like brushing your teeth. Try to show your son or even your daughter that you’re taking care of yourself para they can take care of themselves also.
What do you normally post online?
Fitness and family, mostly. We go on a lot of trips, and we go out as much as we can. I like taking pictures and taking videos online.
What are the most touching comments you’ve gotten from your posts?
Oddly enough, the most heartfelt comments are about my wife. Kasi nga I try to take care of her, even if we have kids. The tendency is that you zone out; you just take care of the kids and let your wife be automatic about it. Or you expect your wife to take care of herself. I try not to do that. I try to keep her in mind. I get comments on how sweet it is and how it’s nice that we have these things. So, mostly about her and the occasional “Cute ng mga anak mo.” Ganoon.
In your opinion, has social media give people a better idea of who you are and what you do you?
"I’d say with my work more. You get to share your life and you get to share your routines for fitness. It helps me get clients. Simple as that. With my family, it’s really just my way of sharing a little part of my personal life. I’m not sure if it has helped [us] grow stronger, because we don’t really rely on it for that."
Anything planned for Father’s Day?
"I just want to relax. It’s a Sunday, so we’re probably going to go out and have lunch. I have a big family. On previous Father’s Days we’d get the whole family together and have a barbeque. Laid-back lang. Father’s Day is a chance for dads to just kick back and enjoy a beer."
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Produced by Julia Arenas, Angela Sy, & Barry Viloria | Cinematography: Jana Jimenez and Gio Vibar | Photography: Vyn Radovan | Production Assistant: Chloe Ramirez | Grooming: Julia Arenas | Styling: Barry Viloria | Shot on location at 916 Luna Mencias St., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City | Special thanks to: @TimHortonsPHL, @ChefClassics, @GoodyPH, @UniqloPHOfficial, Trisha Naguiat of @SpectreMNL, Ivan Cabral and Tiff Uy of Campaigns & Grey, Apryl Galang of ODV, Danica Gigante of EON, Jenna Sy, & Jed Macaraya of @VIVAArtistsAgency