Under Armour opens up the space for a heart-to-heart with Hidilyn Diaz

15 December 2022

One of my favorite things about my job is meeting amazing personalities that I wouldn't have had any chance to meet otherwise. One of these is Olympic Gold Medalist and over-all awesome woman Hidilyn Diaz, whom I met for the second time (the first time was at another work event years ago).

Kain, tulog, training. These three words are the summation of Hidilyn Diaz’s system built upon discipline and a testament to her commitment to achieving the impossible. But this is only a glimpse of her process, and recently, Under Armour brought together like-minded women from the media, wellness and fitness communities – including the UA run crew badge earners, for an intimate discussion with the elite athlete on what it means to be an empowered woman who also empowers others through sport and beyond.

The session was hosted by TV presenter Gretchen Ho, who is both a former volleyball athlete and a personal friend of Hidilyn’s, which made for a fruitful conversation on their shared experiences as women in their respective fields.

And with Under Armour, not only do they feel acknowledged, but also aided and enabled due to the advanced technology featured in the fabric of the apparels, like the Chestnut Red Women’s UA Rush Full Zip Hidilyn wore.

“Sa pag-gawa nito ng Under Armour, nagbibigayang inspirasyon at motivation ang mga kababaihan na sumali sa sports.” She said.

She was also in a noticeable rejuvenated state due to her Cryotherapy session she had moments before, at the venue’s ReGen+ facility, which helped everyone understand the level of rigorous training she undergoes every single day, especially, in a sport where off-seasons are non-existent.

“Kasi kung magrerest kami ng one month, back to zero kami. Mahirap ibalik ang lakas, mahirap ibalik ang muscle, mahirap ibalik ang muscle memory,” she shared.

Since earning the country's first Olympic medal in Rio 2016 after 20 years, she has also gone on to nab medals in the Asian Games, World Championships, and SEA Games. All before winning the coveted gold medal in Tokyo 2020. Then, named the Athlete of The Year in 2021 by the PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association). And to those who are wondering, Hidilyn assures everyone – she has no plans of stopping anytime soon. In fact, she’s already deep into training and plans to campaign for Paris 2024. But aside from her goal to win, there lies a mission to expand weightlifting’s reach within the country, to which Hidilyn explained, “Kung maipasok ang weightlifting, maraming mabibigyan ng pangarap, maraming mabibigyan ng oportunidad makapag-aral.”

On top of her preparation, she is already mentoring the next generation of weightlifting athletes, in partnership with the LGU, at her gym in Zamboanga. Where their skills are honed and their mindset as well as values are developed.

Despite more than a decade of experience in the competitive sport, Hidilyn still experiences trials that sometimes come in the form of doubt. This happened when she found out the organizing committee of the Olympics had agreed to postpone the 2020 Olympics due to the coronavirus. This put her at a crossroads, conflicted between two choices: give up or continue the training even if the future of the sport seemed dim.

“Kasi syempre mahirap isipin na nandoon ka sa pandemic, tapos hindi mo alam kung paano ka mag-tratraining.”

Fortunately, she had her Team HD by her side, including the two women who has always been her source of inspiration, sports psychologist, Dr. Karen Trinidad, and her nutritionist, Jeanette Aro, who both became instrumental in her decision to continue, with their constant reminder of “Kaya mo yan.”

So she did. And now, Hidilyn wants to extend that message and remind women that they can achieve greatness too, in whichever field they’re in, and said, “May mga time na may mga barrier tayo sa utak, or may mga taong nagbibigay ng barrier sa atin. Tignan natin ang outside that barrier, tignan natin ang opportunity outside that.”