Two-time Ironman World Championships qualifier and triathlon coach Ani de Leon-Brown is a firm believer in the power of having a winning mindset when training for an athletic event, which is why we look to her for gems of motivation and empowerment especially in the area of women and sports.
To celebrate Women’s Month, as well as the grace and strength of Filipina athletes around the world, we spent an afternoon with Coach Ani, talking to her about fitness, life, and what she means when she says something. She even recalled how it wasn’t easy entering the sport at first, because she wasn’t taken seriously. “They thought that I was not serious about my work. But now, they know that I mean business.”
“I always play mental games with myself-some call it “positive self-talk.”
Echoing Lifestyle Network’s #WeMeanIt statement, Coach Ani emphasizes the power of intention, especially in the often grueling world of a sport such as triathlon. Every inch a badass coach and triathlon royalty, she declares with conviction: “When I say ‘let’s do this,’ that means you better be ready!” Pertaining to the discipline and excellence she expects of the athletes she trains, Coach Ani reminds us that winning entails hard work, dedication, and a whole lot of eagerness to get better.
In this article, we pooled a few questions from our followers–marathoners, weightlifters, aspiring athletes–and had Coach Ani give them her advice and perspective on certain issues.
Q: Any sporting event is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. How do you push yourself when you feel tired or disheartened during any part of a race?
A: I always play mental games with myself some call it “positive self-talk.” I know that in every challenge, there is a way to get through it. Also because of my years of experience, I learned that whatever the challenge, I know that “this too shall pass.”
Q: What are your top nutrition tips, especially when preparing for a big race?
A: Practice what you plan to ingest on race day. You have to train your gut. In terms of every day nutrition, plan your meals around your training sessions. You have to eat appropriately, according to what your workout is–for example, heavier meals with protein and carbohydrates post-training, and lighter meals with mainly carbohydrates beforehand.
I also like to monitor the quality of my food source (Is it raw or processed?) and the method of preparation (Is it streamed, blanched, baked, boiled, grilled, or fried?).
Q: Can you tell us a little about your 2017 Kona race? What was the most challenging part for you and how did you handle it?
A: The race, in my opinion, was made harder by the unrelenting winds along the bike course. It was just overpowering sometimes, so I had to be patient, and I had to manage my energy especially since I still had to think about running a full marathon after.
Q: The world of sports has often been sexist, but you and your athletes continue to prove that women can be excellent triathletes. What can you say about female performance in this sport?
A: I think we continue to focus on our work either way because we have goals we want to achieve. Everything else, including gender, becomes secondary.
Need more motivation? Watch Coach Ani de Leon-Brown’s YAS episode on TFC.tv (www.TFC.tv)