How the advertising and fashion photographer turned from midnight owl to early bird for the sake of his health

By Rikki Suarez | Lead photo from

Xander Angeles is blessed with a successful career, receiving multiple awards locally and internationally for his edgy and captivating photographs. But the celebrity photographer status came with a price. This became his antithesis for a clean and healthy lifestyle. He would spend countless hours doing photo shoots, directing, and doing post-production work, at the expense of his health and fitness.

“I used to live a very toxic lifestyle. All day, every day, I had shoot schedules that required 10 to 16 hours of work. Then you have to do editing work after because you have a deadline coming up. Then you have to show up at some event to do PR work. If you get to sleep two to four hours a day, that is already a luxury. You get to spend quality time with your family only on the weekends. Not the glamorous life that you might think we have,“ Angeles says.


Determined to put a stop to this vicious cycle, he willed himself to sacrifice for the sake of his health and family, which eventually turned him into a morning person and a serious triathlete.

What time do you wake up during an early morning training day? Jumpstart and ready to fire all cylinders or snooze button first?

There is no other way to wake up but to jump out of bed every day with much gusto. During weekdays, I usually get up around 5am to wake up my two kids for school. Then I go straight to the restroom to unload all unnecessary crap in my body before my workout, at the same time waking everybody up in our Viber group.

Do you have any shortcut routine or prior preparations to hasten things up before heading for training?

I usually plan what I need to bring and wear the night before like checking tire pressure, making sure I have a spare tire and patch kit for emergencies, preparing my water bottles and mixing my Vitargo, and putting them in the freezer for long bike rides. If you do this daily, you automatically know what you need and find things easily.

Do you have some sort of habit that you automatically do right after waking up?

Yes, I usually drink a tall glass of water as soon as I wake up, post pics, update our crew’s Instagram account in the restroom, then it’s time for coffee.

What necessary food or nutritional supplement do you take before or during training session?

I load up the day before a heavy workout. It is better to nourish yourself properly days before and it’s important to eat after an hour or two when you finish a heavy workout so you can sustain yourself if you need to train again the next day.

Are you fond of training gadgets like GPS-enabled devices, power meters, and the like while doing your training, working in the industry infused with gadgetry?

Yeah, we need all the info and numbers that can help us with our training. Gadgets are essentials. We have limited time to train, only an hour or two in the morning. Smart watches like our Samsung Gear, speed/cadence sensors, and power meters leave out any guesswork.

What is your early morning training routine like and where are your usual training grounds?

MWF is swim day (swim-run), 6 to 9am at Amoranto or Valle Verde. TTH is brick (bike-run), 6 to 9am either at UP or Valle Verde. Saturday is a long ride, 5 to 9am either at Nuvali, Clark, Sierra Madre, or out of town. Sunday is a run day with the Run 365 crew around 6am. Sometimes we go to Subic for open-water training.

How do you prepare for the rest of the day after training or exercise? 

Stretching is necessary after every workout. We do a couple of hip flexor exercises before heading home. I then take a cold bath and a hearty breakfast. Usually, my studio knows my training schedule so they book my shoots starting around 9 to 10am. How I start my day after training really depends on my work schedule.