By Atul Mishra Last Updated:
Hard work, discipline and perseverance- this is what the legends are made of! While some say it is their talent and luck which make some people successful and famous in their respective fields, it is actually their sincere devotion towards achieving certain goals and skills set which make them what they are. Well, one such living legend who is a perfect combination of all these qualities is none other than the cricket world’s champion Virat Kohli.
With his power-packed performances in all three formats of cricket and numerous records in his kitty, the Indian cricket team’s captain is an inspiration for all young aspiring cricketers out there. Let us have a look at his fitness routine, diet regime, what all he does to keep himself so fit.
The well-toned body that Virat Kohli proudly flaunts today was not always like this. During the initial years of his career as an international cricketer, he did not take fitness too seriously and was not as fit as he is today. One of the key turning points was a casual chat with Duncan Fletcher, former coach of Indian cricket team, which prompted him to take things more seriously. In one of his interviews with The Telegraph, Virat opened about this conversation with Fletcher. Here is what he said:
“Duncan told me once that he feels cricket is the most unprofessional of professional sports.”
Kohli further added:
“You can have the skill but do not think you need to train as much as a tennis player. But I realised if you want to stay on top playing three formats in this day and age, you need a routine. You need a set pattern of your training, the way you eat, how healthy and fit you need to be. Being fitter made me mentally stronger. It was like a direct connection.”
And, it was after a poor experience in Indian Premier League (IPL) series in 2012, he realised the importance of staying fit and hence, started taking things more seriously. He told:
“It changed in 2012. I had great tours to Australia and scored 180 against Bangladesh and went into the IPL thinking: ‘Wow this is going to be a great season for me’. I wanted to make it my tournament and dominate the bowlers. I really struggled.”
Telling the reason behind this struggle, he added:
“My training was horrible, I ate so bad, I was up until late, I was having a drink or two regularly. It was a horrible mindset. The season ended and I was so thankful it was over. I went home, came out of the shower one day and looked at myself in the mirror and said ‘you can’t look like this if you want to be a professional cricketer.’ I was 11 or 12kgs heavier than I am now, I was really chubby. I changed everything from the next morning from what I eat to how I train. I was in the gym for an hour-and-a-half every day, working really hard, off gluten, off wheat, no cold drinks, no desserts, nothing. It was tough.”
As Virat changed his lifestyle and started training, a new kind of struggle came in his life, which he explained:
“For the first two months, I felt I wanted to eat the bed sheet when I went to sleep because I was so hungry. I was craving taste. I was craving delicious food. But then I saw the results. I felt quick around the field. I would wake up in morning and feel like I had energy.”
Shedding more light on how this changed lifestyle improved his game, Kohli said:
“From 2015 I changed my training again. I started lifting, snatching, cleaning and dead lifting. It was unbelievable. I saw the result. I remember running after a ball in a Test series in Sri Lanka and I felt more power in my legs. It was, like, 'wow'. This training is addictive. It has taken my game to another level.”
Needless to say, Virat Kohli’s hard work and dedication towards fitness paid off well and today, he is one of the fittest cricketers in the world. Not just that, as the captain of the Indian cricket team, he even keeps motivating his team members to take fitness seriously, as it will help them up their game.
So, what exactly is the training schedule of Virat Kohli that makes him look so drool-worthy today? In one of the recent tete-e-tete with Gaurav Kapur, on Breakfast With Champions, Virat said:
"I'm very possessive about what I eat and how I train."
In one of his interviews, Kohli told that whenever he is at home, he goes to the gym five days a week and works out for at least two hours. Even when he is on a tour, he tries his best to take time out for exercise. According to him, it is the “eat, sleep, train, repeat” pattern that anyone needs to follow to remain fit.
In the same interview, Gaurav recalled an incident, when he called Virat and Virat told him that he is in the gym and asked him to call in 4 hours! To which, Virat replied:
"4 hours is usually when you combine two session together, which is off season. During season it's about an hour and a half. It also depends on your metabolism. If my metabolism was like Hardik Pandya or Shikhar Dhawan or like KL Rahul... they all have lean physique. It's not the same for me. If my diet is not controlled, all the hard work and training will go for a toss. Like in my much younger days, I didn't have a jawline. You can’t find it. - I tried finding it with my hand even then I couldn’t."
His workout routine is a combination of weights and cardio exercises. In another interview, Kohli revealed that it was former fitness coach of Indian cricket team Shankar Basu, who introduced him to weightlifting. He said:
“He (Basu) introduced me to weight-lifting, and that has made me realise what actually one needs to do. It's a thing that one needs to get a knowledge of. I don't do upper body. I only work on my legs for explosive power. He makes me do a crazy number of squats, close to a 100 in a session.”
The Indian cricket team’s skipper also keeps adding high-tech gadgets to improve his workout routine. One of the first high-tech gadgets to be added to his fitness routine was a high-altitude mask. The high-altitude or elevation mask improves one’s workout efficiency. Also, it conditions lungs because of which they are capable of working harder and hence improving one’s stamina and energy levels.
Another hi-tech equipment that Kohli is a proud owner of is Tecnoshaper, which is an ideal thing for sportspersons looking to work on their abdominals. It works around the abdominal area, helps in fat loss and hence provides a defined waist and firmer skin.
Other than excellent batting skills, Virat is really fast when it comes to running between the wickets and is a perfect combination of agility and speed whenever he is performing his duty as a fielder. As already mentioned, the legs exercises have helped him to be fast on field, whereas cardio exercises have helped him boost his stamina. In addition, regular workout improves his focus because of which he is able to exhibit alertness as well as great presence of mind on field.
In the Breakfast With Champions interview, when Gaurav asked him about his breakfast, Virat replied:
"My breakfast is set…I eat an omelette. Three egg whites, one whole egg. Spinach with black pepper & cheese, some grilled bacon or smoked salmon along with it. I eat papaya or dragon fruit if it's available, then watermelon. I eat a decent amount of cheese for good fats. I carry my own nut butters and I get gluten free bread from the hotels. And finally, a nice big pot of green tea with lemon. I drink 3-4 cups of that."
And lunch and dinner is all grilled chicken & grilled fish?
"When our trainer Mr Basu tells me to put on a bit of muscle then I increase red meat. Otherwise generally for lunch it's grilled chicken and mashed potatoes, spinach and veggies......and for dinner, it's seafood."
Then, Gaurav asked him:
"If you had one cheat day, that no matter what I eat, it’ll go down like it's broccoli, what would that be?"
To which Virat remarked:
"Ram’s chole bhature in Rajouri Garden (Delhi), 110%. That too you have to go to his shop and have it…...not take away. By the time it comes home it's not a bhatura anymore. It feels like stale bread. Fresh bhaturas where you pop a hole with your finger. Along with some onions, mint chutney, carrot pickle & some chili pickle."
You can watch the interview here:
A true-blue Punjabi at heart, Virat Kohli is a big-time foodie and loves to explore new cuisine wherever he goes. He himself has admitted this in various interviews that he cannot resist food. A great fan of seafood, his favourite cuisine is Japanese. In fact, many reports state that he prefers high-protein diet including options such as lamb chops and pink salmon, whenever he is on tour. Surprisingly, he does not really follow any specific diet plan. Here are the key notes one can take from his eating habits:
“People also suggest you shouldn’t make your body totally alien to this (junk) kind of food. Once you have a craving, it has a very bad effect on you so I try to have those ‘cheat’ days in between, but I don’t go overboard. The very next day, I make sure I burn that off.”
“I try to eat as light as I can for dinner. During game time, I have protein shakes with carbs. And I take my carbs from good sources. I don’t touch junk food unless it is in a place like Kochi where you are completely drained and it is a one-off.”
Phew, Virat Kohli has really put in lots of efforts to achieve a body that not only makes him extremely good looking but also makes him one of the fittest players of the world. Not to miss the sacrifices he has made by choosing health over taste. Truly, his way to fitness is an inspiration for every youngster out there and we hope you too took a lesson or two from this great sportsman, didn’t you!