Twenty-six-year-old Hidilyn Diaz is proof that big things come in small packages. I was surprised to find that we are the same height, touching the five-feet high mark. But this woman can lift anything twice her weight. She is the first Filipina to take home an Olympic silver medal for weightlifting. Inspiring? Hell, yes. And I was losing a bit of my cool when I saw her this morning at the launch of Sofitel’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day specials. (Some picks in the menu are inspired by her high-protein, low carb diet lifestyle, in case you were wondering.)
It was then a must for me to get her to do the #PreenPopQuiz to learn more about this woman, how she’s never going to be stronger than her mom, and how she got through the Olympic diet and discipline.
How’s life after winning the silver medal?
At first, I found it difficult. As an athlete, I would just train and sleep. I then came back, the way people welcomed me became overwhelming. I also got a lot of invites so sometimes, I can’t dictate my own schedule.
Do you like the attention?
Before, I didn’t like it. But later on I realized I won and therefore, God gave me the responsibility to inspire kids. Even before the Olympics, that’s my advocacy. Before I would just encourage them to try weightlifting but now I know they see me also as an athlete in general so I have to show that it’s not easy to get there. You really need discipline and hard work.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Cake, sweets, and coffee. I like cappuccino.
You follow a strict diet, what’s in your diet that makes you feel a little better?
Nothing, really. I have to sacrifice a lot. Perhaps, coffee. [Laughs]
What’s a regular training day like?
I don’t jog anymore so I can wake up a little late like 8 a.m. I then workout from 9 a.m. to around 12 noon. I eat then train again at 3 p.m. I train every day except Sunday.
How did you get into weightlifting?
I was 11 years old. I was curious when I saw my cousins do it.
What are your diet tips for regular people who want to stay healthy?
Avoid junk food, fried food, and softdrinks. I haven’t had softdrinks since 2014. You don’t really need it but there’s a lot of sugar in it.
What do you tell yourself for motivation?
I go back to my goal. I ask myself why I do this. It’s all about inspiring people and one day I want to aim higher as an athlete. I also remember that there are a lot of people who pray for me.
Favorite out of Spiral’s specials?
I like the Ginseng Chicken soup.
What’s your favorite food?
Halo-halo. I’m a Filipino and I can’t help myself. But when I am able to stop myself from eating it, I feel so proud.
What’s in your makeup kit?
I love MAC. I love their lipstick, I like Twig. I also love brows, I use the gel on from L’Oreal.
Who would win in a fight: you or your mom?
The moment she cries, I lose. So I guess her.
What’s one thing your mom can do but you can’t?
Wash clothes. [Laughs] The way she loves and the way she prays for me and other people.
One thing women shouldn’t forget about themselves?
Being emotional is a strength. Women sometimes need to cry it out once and then they’re okay.
Art by Yayie Motos