Getting to know Ariana Evangelista
Want to know more about the PH Queen of the Trails? We did a quick interview with Ariana Evangelista about her training regimen, self-care routines, and her personal preferences.
Photo credits to Pitik Maniniyot
What is the hardest part of being an athlete?
Trying to be consistent. Since the level of competition is high, you cannot have many days off. You're going to train really hard so you can be at the same level as the ones who are competing in world championships. You don't want to have days off because you know you have a lot of progress to catch up on. The day off that I have is just once a week, sometimes I don’t even have that! You cope with people’s expectations from you. A lot of successful athletes are able to just enjoy what they're doing without thinking of pressure. Athletes go through a lot of judgment and criticism. It could affect their mental health, performance, and physical condition. To be a successful athlete you need to be able to handle pressure.
What is the one tip you wish you knew before you started cycling?
If I were to go back to when I started cycling, I would tell my younger self to just enjoy biking. Have fun from the start. At the start of my career, I wasn’t happy, honestly. I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I’d like to. Right now, things have gone differently and I’m happier. Ngayon ko lang talaga na-enjoy yung sport. I believe I perform better when I’m my happiest self and right now, I’m that. I wish I knew that before.
What does a regular training day look like for you?
Since I have an international trainer, I talk to coach Javier Sola on Viber and he sends me my training program in a week. Usually, I train 16-20 hours a week. Every day he gives me a different training program. And 2-3x a week I have gym sessions in the afternoon. It really takes a lot of determination and consistency to keep up with the training program but I love what I do and I want to bring glory to our country. I want to get better everyday.
How do you maintain work-life balance as an athlete?
This part was quite challenging before but now I’m kind of OK. I live alone so I can manage my career outside of my sport. I try to plan ahead and take notes so when I look at my calendar, I can see what I need to do for the following day. We have to be organized to balance things. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your social life. My friends ask me to go out and I refuse them now because I’m always so tired and as much as possible I want to rest. This is because I have a big race coming up. My friends understand that I need to focus. I’m thankful to be surrounded by people who support me and understand what I go through.
Photo credits to Ma L Photography
What are your self care practices?
Being a girl, self care has always been there. Since I live alone and manage my own time, there are days when I allot extra care for myself. I go to the spa, get a massage or I go to the salon to take care of my hair. Since I’m an athlete I also have to take care of my skin and my overall health so those are the things I also research about. I have lovely people that I work with like my nutritionist. My coaches also help me practice self care in terms of recovery. Self care is not a chore for me. I love to do it because I love to pamper myself. It’s a reward for the hard work that I do. You perform better when you take care of yourself.
How do you motivate yourself when you're down?
How I was a year ago and how I am now is totally different in terms of mental and emotional maturity. When I feel down, I let myself feel down because I’m just human. We want to be positive or encouraging on social media but sometimes suppressing negative emotions is not good. Let your emotions out to the people that are important to you and understand you. Do not dwell on it. You let it out but you have to keep moving forward. After I let my emotions out, I analyze what went wrong. You always have to self reflect because in every situation you can learn something. I’ve gotten to this level of maturity because of the experiences that I’ve had before. I try to help other people as well. When they come to me, I try to help them.
What is a quote that you live by?
“Keep moving forward”. It’s from the movie Meet the Robinsons. It’s a movie from years ago, but that line really stuck with me the most because it’s something that I also practice. Whenever I feel down, it’s the one line that helps me get back up. You really do have to keep moving forward no matter what. You cannot dwell on a situation because it won’t do you any good. Keep your perspective positive. Whether good or bad there’s always lessons to be learned.
What is your favorite bike route/destination?
Any bike trail is my favorite destination because I feel most free when riding trails. I feel like I’m having a really great adventure when I get to explore the mountains and ride down trails. I really love mountain biking. I didn't expect that I'd be able to ride a bike on the mountains—jumping, being able to fly even for just a few seconds or going down rock gardens! Having the ability to do those is just mind blowing to me up to this day. The feeling of freedom while riding my bike on mountains and trails—it’s really nice. It’s something I’d love for other people to experience. I want to promote it in the future, even after my racing career.
Photo credits to Joniel Aquino
How do you usually spend your free time?
I rest most of the time. On a great rest day, I would just be in my room, watching Netflix, laying down on my bed. Turn the aircon on the whole day and eat good food! I don’t have a specific diet pero hindi naman ako pabaya with the food that I eat. In my free time, I prefer bumming around in my room. Other than that I go out with my friends or I go out to take care of myself. I love going to spas, doing my nails, my hair and getting a massage. I love to shop also!
Favorite post recovery meal?
Ramen, I love Japanese food. Any Japanese food is my favorite recovery meal. I love Japan! I love the culture, I love their food. My diet is based on carbs. I’s what my sport requires and I burn the calories anyway.
Favorite anime of all time?
Naruto Shippuden—that anime gave me a rollercoaster of emotions! I’ve cried a lot, I’ve cheered. I’ve been mad because of the villains. People close to me know Naruto is my OG anime.
Favorite Ciclo Jersey?
Of course it’s my Ariana x Ciclo Jersey! I love wearing it and I imagine myself being in the world cup racing abroad. Wearing the Ciclo jersey would be a great honor. It really looks nice.
Speed or Endurance?
Speed is everything! I train to be fast on the bike but of course endurance is a factor as well. If you’re able to endure a fast speed, then that would be the ultimate goal for me.
City or Nature?
Of course nature! That’s why I love mountain biking because I get to go out in the mountains and see beautiful views where there are no buildings, no cars. Mountain biking is an escape for me because I get to be with nature. I highly prefer that.
Stay in or Go Out?
Stay in! I’m always out training because my sport is outdoors. If I could stay in, I’d choose that.
Morning or Night?
I’m a morning person really. If I didn’t have to wake up early to train, I’d still choose mornings because I love being productive. I like to keep myself busy. To achieve my goals and dreams, I know that I have to keep moving. And I love breakfast! When I do feel tired, I don’t wake up as early. I like to see the sunrise.
Flats or Climbs?
I love climbs. If you’re strong with climbs, it’s going to be a great advantage for you. Most cyclists hate climbs. It doesn’t get easier, but you get faster. People think that when you’re fast on a climb, it’s still easy…no! It’s still hard but the length of time you endure the climb gets shorter as you get faster.
What are your upcoming races and how can we support you?
Here's the schedule of my upcoming competitions:
May 16, SEA Games, Vietnam
May 22, Yawatahama International MTB Race, Japan
June 1-3, Clark Pampanga event
June 12 Philippine MTB National Championships, Cebu
June 19 Secret Trail race, Imus, Cavite
Please order my official jersey, available only through Ciclo. It will go a long way in supporting my cycling career. Thank you so much!