For Vince Ang, triathlon became his saving grace

By Ea Francisco | Photos courtesy of Vince Ang

Anyone can fall victim to unhealthy vices, especially as confusing and experimental a time as college. For 21-year old Vince Ang, his bad vices are now a distant past, swimming, biking, and running away from it as far as possible. He may have done some things he wasn’t proud of, but after some treatment, he found another addiction that’s worth sticking to.

Tell us about your weight issues and lifestyle before your transformation

Literally unhealthy. I was hypertensive. At the age of 18, I was diagnosed with liver problems because of heavy drinking and sleeping late.

What pushed you to change your lifestyle? How did you find out about triathlon?

Actually, my reason is quite different from the others. Back in high school, I had dreams to pursue basketball, but I was bullied and mocked by my friend. But when I entered college, I was introduced to the worldly life: drugs, alcohol, smoking, gambling. My gambling addiction pushed me to change my lifestyle. Recovery is a lifelong journey. After getting out of rehab, I joined fun runs. Eventually, I saw videos about Ironman events. I became curious and I decided to try multisport. Then, I looked for a triathlon coach.

What was it like when you were looking for a triathlon coach?

When I looked for a triathlon coach, no one was willing to accept me because I had no triathlon background. It took me almost a month before a triathlon coach was willing to accept me. At first, I got really discouraged because I felt unworthy and unaccepted. But after several tries, coach Norman Pascual responded and instructed me to join his swim class.

What was it like when you first started training? What kind of lifestyle changes did you make?

It was really really tough at first. Waking up early to train compared to staying up until early morning to drink was a complete lifestyle change. I was blessed with this sport. Triathlon became my freedom and devotion to overcome my addiction. My only wish is to bring more people to this sport.

What was your first race?

My first race was a 3K fun run event last February and my first triathlon race would be Tri United 4 this coming Sunday.

What is it about triathlon that got you hooked into the sport?

The adrenaline rush. The sense of belonging, fulfillment, and achievement. The community is really growing recently. It’s not just a sport; it’s my devotion. A way to glorify God through this endurance sport. It taught me to never look back at my dark past. To keep moving forward and embrace the bright future ahead of me.

What was your biggest struggle?

Mental toughness. I tend to give up easily. My body usually controls my mind especially during long rides and runs. Many people probably don’t understand why I do this sport. I may not be the fastest triathlete out there, my achievements may not be as amazing as other triathletes, but it is the finish line that matters to me.

What is your workout regimen and diet like?

I follow my coach’s workout program. Diet? I don’t really believe in diets. I love eating. But, I still try my best to eat clean and avoid processed food.

Now that you’ve achieved quite a lot, how do you plan to maintain it? What are your next goals?

To train harder. To toughen my mind. I have a lot of things to work on. Now, I’m just beginning, but my main goal in life is to join marathons, ultramarathons, and Ironman events. My next goal is to conquer Ironman 70.3 races in 2018 and, hopefully, full distances in 2019.

Do you have any advice for people out there who are also trying to get out of their unhealthy vices?

Start being active. Do it now, not tomorrow. Don’t find excuses. Don’t procrastinate. The time is now. When I started being active, I slowly became addicted to this sport and eventually forgot these unhealthy vices. Triathlon is really a good community. It is not just a sport, it is also a lifestyle. I can’t live a day without swimming, biking, and running. I just simply want to share how triathlon changed my entire life—from being a couch potato to a triathlete.