Filipina Ironwoman and National Triathlon Coach Ani de Leon-Brown Answers Your Fitness Questions

Written by: Shin Kitane/Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 05:44 AM

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. (Read her profile here.) 

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. They took me very lightly. But now, they know that I mean business." 

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 hardwork, dedication, and a whole lot of eagerness to get better.

"They thought that I was not serious about my work. They took me very lightly. But now, they know that I mean business." 


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.


Our #GirlPower Cover for #WomensMonth ❤️❤️❤️ #GirlPowerXKona @bernztan @celmamita #ActiveHealthPH #GatoradePH #CerveloPH #RaceDayMagazine: The Ironman Dream Aren’t we pushing our triathletes to go long too soon?” That’s what I asked Coach Ani De Leon Brown when I interviewed her for this issue. The context of that question was the profile of the athletes who registered for the first full Ironman race in the Philippines scheduled on June 3, 2018. According to a statement by its organizer Sunrise Events Inc., among all who registered, 147 have not even done a 70.3 (half distance). Now, anyone who’s been in this sport for some time will tell you that’s not the smartest way to earn your Ironman stripes. The concern was so real that Sunrise Events required, and rightfully so, all participants to demonstrate proof of a completed 70.3 before the June 3 race. My worry on the other hand stems from the fact that RaceDay might be complicit in pushing triathletes to go race a full distance because (1) everytime a group of Filipinos do a full distance race, we post a shout out and engage our community to wish them well and (2) we publish articles on the experiences of our athletes doing full distance races. So just to be clear, we’re not saying that doing a full distance race is the be-all and end-all of being a triathlete. Coach Ani explained it best in her reply to my question, “For me, if you have no desire to go that long, then you shouldn’t do it. You can achieve a lot and you can have so many different goals within the sport and not necessarily including an IM or not necessarily doing a long race even, not even a 70.3. You can aim to do an Olympic distance really well. A sub-2:30 for most age groupers is good. Those are really solid goals that you can work towards. So for me, just to be fast, mahirap ’yun. You don’t necessarily have to do the long route. It’s just something I personally enjoy but you should work with what you really like. Tinatanong nga ako ng iba eh, kailan kaya ako magiging or pwede mag-Ironman? Lagi ko sinasabi, don’t do it just because everybody else seems to be doing it.” (To read more, get your copy of the magazine now!) By @monchingteamph

A post shared by ANI DE LEON-BROWN (@anikarina) on


Need more motivation? Watch Coach Ani de Leon-Brown's YAS episode on (



About Shin Kitane
Shin Kitane writes to remember and believes that words have the power to heal, inspire, and move others. She dreams of a world where men and women are treated equally, where race, gender, and religion are not measures of one's worth in society. She is also a book-hoarder and a firm believer in re-watching Mean Girls and Harry Potter multiple times a year. Follow her misadventures @shinkitane on social media.
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