By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Healthy Hobby
After winning Sacramento championship, Delima has eye on the San Francisco prize
BodybuilderDeLima 1 copy
Ferdinand Delima scrunches his face tightly as he trains at Cal Fit Manteca using one of the gyms heavy weight exercise equipment. The bodybuilder is getting ready for the championships in San Francisco in October. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/ The Bulletin

Ferdinand “Ferdie” Delima’s face is tightly scrunched, and his biceps bulge like balloons as he mentally counts while each hand firmly holds on to a 30-pound weight.

He repeats the nerve-crunching muscle-building exercise several times more. Each time, his face is scored with deep long lines, like that of a fanned origami, from the extreme physical exertion. His pectoral muscles, like his biceps, swell into a pair of tight muscle mass transforming his physique into something that is reminiscent of the comic book’s Hulk minus the green tinge.

Three days a week, Delima runs his body through the same arduous drill using different bodybuilding equipment at Cal Fit Manteca (California Total Fitness gym) on North Main Street. Each physical training lasts a minimum of three hours.

This dedicated training rush is for one reason only. The 44-year-old avid bodybuilder has his eye on the top prize at the NPC (National Physique Committee) San Francisco Bodybuilding Championships in October. His goal is to match the accomplishment he achieved in the Aug. 4 NPC Bodybuilding Championships in Sacramento. He won the first prize trophy in the Men’s Physique 40+ category.

Delima’s mentor is Manteca dentist Sean Sangalang, himself an award-winning bodybuilder.  The doctor is not entering any competitions this year.

“He has a lot of potential,” Sangalang said of Delima. Both men are 44 years old. But unlike Delima who took up bodybuilding just last year, Sangalang has been into it since he was 36.

Sangalang said Delima “knows how to train already,” so the mentoring that he is extending to the bodybuilding rookie is primarily focused on nutrition. At this point, Delima needs 70 percent nutrition and 30 percent physical training, Sangalang said.

“He checks in with me once a week,” he said. Delima sends him photographs of himself and his current weight which Sangalang then analyze.

As a rule, Delima checks his body weight every week.

When someone like Delima is getting ready for a championship competition, the object of the training is to lose all the body fat and maintain all the muscles, Sangalang explained. Food intake must be strictly observed at the same time. His diet must include high protein to build muscles, foods that are low in fat and just moderate starch.

He eats just a half-cup of rice with his regular meals. Lean red meat, chicken breast, green vegetables such as broccoli and green beans, oat meal and egg whites are some of the food that he incorporates in his diet.

Bodybuilding as a healthy

lifestyle; paying it forward

Delima said it was Sangalang who got him started in bodybuilding.

“He inspired me,” said Delima who, from the get go, took up the hobby like duck to water. He even quit his job at Swiss American Sausage in Lathrop after working there for eight years just so he can maintain a “consistent workout” at the gym. The Manila-born Delima, who studied hotel and restaurant management at Adamson University in the Philippines, now works as a machine operator at California Natural Products in Lathrop.

“It’s a lifestyle,” Sangalang said, referring to bodybuilding.

Some people like to hit the greens for a round of golf as a hobby. They go to the gym and work-out, he said.

“I like the way we can change how we look, and it’s a healthy lifestyle,” Sangalang said, naming two of the many reasons why he enjoys this hobby.

While he is focusing on his championship training right now, Delima is paying forward what he has learned, and is learning, from his mentor. He himself is now serving as a mentor to Manteca High School sophomore, Stephanie Zamora, 14, who also trains at Cal Fit. She is the daughter of Delima’s friend, Nancy. The Buffalo student said her purpose in this physical training is to become a better swimmer. She is a member of her school’s swim team.

To contact Rose Albano Risso, email or call 209.249.3536.