Fitness takes determination and hardwork, says wrestler Babita Phogat
Wrestler Babita Phogat has won gold at the Commonwealth Games (2014 and 2018), silver medal in 2010 and a bronze medal at the 2012 World Wrestling Championships. The film Dangal was based on the lives of Babita and her sister. Now married to wrestler Vivek Suhag, the 29-year-old is competing in the 55 kg category. Here, she talks fitness, exercise, self-discipline and diet.
Fitness is about self-discipline, the willingness to push yourself to improve and the willingness make healthy choices. It takes determination and hard work.
It was my father who instilled good habits in me of healthy food and regular exercise. Today, I still eat home-cooked food most of the time. I don’t drink tea or coffee; I don’t eat junk food. I rarely ingest fried foods or artificial sugar.
I start my day with bananas, apples and fresh carrot and pomegranate juice. After a workout, I have a special drink made from 100 soaked almonds. Hydration is essential for the healing of the body so I drink sufficient water. For snacks, I eat dry fruit.
I have desi ghee every day, and drink at least a litre of milk a day too. When travelling abroad, I eat eggs and chicken once in a while, but largely it’s vegetarian food — dal, curd, sabzi and roti.
My guilty pleasure is aloo parathas with ghee, and puris with aloo sabji. Also, a little halwa (made with jaggery), which I indulge in about twice a month.
I exercise and train for almost five hours a day. In the morning it’s all about running, stretching, squats and weight-training for functional strength, stamina and cardiovascular endurance. In the evenings I practise wrestling.
I exercise rigorously for six days a week and rest on Sundays so the body can recuperate.
For a wrestler, concentration and focus are crucial, and for that one needs a clear and calm mind. I like to listen to Haryanvi and Punjabi music to unwind and de-stress. Chanting Om helps me to be calm and focus on my goals.
I like to scroll through social media on my phone. I find it relaxing, but maybe that’s because I don’t do it for long. I don’t spend much time with gadgets.