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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Timing is everything when it comes to keeping fit, says boxer Vijender Singh

Meditation and positivity, discipline and sleep are key ingredients too, adds the Olympian.

fitness Updated: Aug 16, 2019 16:52 IST
Pooja Bhula
Pooja Bhula
Hindustan Times
(Getty Images)

The first Indian boxer to bag an Olympic medal, Vijender Singh Beniwal, 33, is a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee and Padma Shri from Haryana, currently living in Gurugram. Beating Mike Snider at his US debut in July, Singh is now eyeing a world title in 2020. Here’s the fitness regimen that makes sure Singh’s punches are power-packed.

Hard work and discipline are the key to fitness. It’s not just about exercising, though; you have to eat, sleep and train on time. The truth is, that’s the easiest way to keep fit.

I work out for three or four hours a day — stretches, warm-ups, weight training, cardio, conditioning and shadow boxing. Sparring, once or twice a week. When the routine gets boring or when my body doesn’t respond to it, I introduce skipping, which I really enjoy. Treadmills aren’t for me, I prefer running in the open, but unlike in the UK and US, we don’t have good grounds and pollution levels are high, so I don’t run much here.

Before a fight, I follow a special training routine at the national camp for eight to ten weeks — Mondays are usually sparring rounds; Tuesdays, sprints, strength and conditioning, and reviewing the previous day’s boxing; Wednesdays, boxing and sparring again; Thursdays, swimming or running; Friday is a proper fight and Saturday, steps. Steps exhaust you completely, so Sundays are for rest.

People assume the arms are most important for a boxer, but the legs must be equally strong; the game requires lots of footwork and agility. Especially because I play defence.

Meditation helps you prepare mentally. I try doing 30 to 50 minutes daily. Meditation helps control your ego too. ‘You’ve won, now forget it’, I tell myself, ‘Do what is required to win the next one.’

You’ve also got to eat right. Breakfast is usually omelettes and seasonal fruit. I have some milk every evening. Lunch and dinner (I eat early) are regular home-cooked roti, sabzi, dal and rice and I make sure to drink 4 to 5 litres of water during the day.

As we’re vegetarian, I take protein supplements or sometime go out to eat chicken. At camp, the diet changes – there’s eggs for protein, some porridge for carbs; post-workout, a protein shake; lunch and dinner would generally have fish, chicken, broccoli and other greens, beans and brown rice. I have a weakness for sweets, but completely abstain when at the camp.

Fitness requires two more vital vitamins – a positive attitude and sleep. If you’re hung up on negative thoughts, your body won’t be responsive. You can’t party like in your teens either, as your body tires more quickly and takes longer to recover, as you age. After some family time, playing video games with my son and listening to Punjabi music, I sleep by 9 pm. But my mantra is ‘Dil hona chahida jawan, umaraj ki rakhiya (Your heart should be young, age is but a number)’ – a line from a Gurdas Maan song.

First Published: Aug 16, 2019 16:52 IST

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