‘Pre And Post-Training Food Is Of Utmost Importance’
Bengaluru-based Ryan Fernando of QUA Nutrition has been my nutritionist and food coach for the past six years. QUA Nutrition has customised meal plans and Ryan has curated a great diet plan according to what my body needs. When I realised that I am not moving fast enough, I started cutting down sugar and included more energy drinks. Earlier, I used to eat a lot of fried, oily foods, chocolates and ice cream, but have stopped eating them for the past two years. I do a weekly follow-up call with Ryan and he suggests if any changes have to be made.
I don’t have a cheat day, but have a cheat meal on Sunday it would be mostly chicken biryani or butter chicken made by my mother. If I am at home, I munch on homemade bajji or bonda. My favourite breakfast dish is appam with milk.
Since I have travelled to Japan earlier, I know the food available there. I love their miso soup, ramen, sushi and other Japanese specialties. I am not worried about the food they are going to serve at the Olympics Village. You will get all types of cuisines there continental, Arabic, Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, etc. Whenever I go to international competitions, I send a picture of the menu to my dietitian and he prepares a diet chart accordingly. For me, the priority is to have healthy pre and post-training food and make sure that I stay hydrated always.
— Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Table Tennis men’s singles
‘Snacks Made Of Nattu Sakkarai Satisfy My Sugar Cravings’
Arokia Rajiv, Men’s 4x400m relay
Any dishes made with a lot of masala and oil are a ‘big no’ for me. I eat a good amount of food for breakfast and dinner it will be loaded with vegetables, proteins and fruits. If I go to practise in the morning, I might be returning by 11 am. So, I need enough energy to run in the morning. Sometimes, races happen in the evening, so I don’t overeat during lunch. I take food according to my body’s needs. If I have less magnesium or vitamins, I take food to increase their content. I don’t gain weight easily, but that doesn’t mean that I overindulge in oily or sugary food. If I get cravings to have sugary food, I eat homemade snacks made with nattu sakkarai or palm sugar. This will satisfy my cravings. Honestly, I am worried about the food that will be served in Tokyo. But I heard that they will be providing Indian dishes as well. Though the food is good at the camp in Patiala, I miss my amma’s chicken biryani and naatu kozhi kolambu.
— Arokia Rajiv, Men’s 4x400m relay
‘Packing Garlic Pickle To Tokyo’
Subha Venkatesan, Mixed 4x400m relay
I am generally a bad eater. But now, I have started eating healthy. On the ground, I make sure to drink 4-5 litres of water every day. Staying hydrated is very important for any athlete. I also have fresh fruit juices, coconut water and lemon juice. My daily diet routine is simple I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. Every time I travel for games, I carry some pickles and podis with me. Because I am not sure whether I will like the food provided by the organisers or not. This time, I am planning to take garlic pickles. I heard that Arokia is bringing some homemade podis as well. Back home in Tiruchy, I love having sambar and potato fry made by my mother. She also makes amazing manga pachadi.
— Subha Venkatesan, Mixed 4x400m relay
‘Balanced Meal Gives Me Energy’
Dhanalakshmi Sekar, Mixed 4x400m relay
I have stopped eating oily and fried food for quite some time because it drains my energy. I drink fruit juices (apple/orange) and eat overnight soaked nuts daily. I also have protein shakes while practising. A balanced meal loaded with vegetables and proteins is good for my energy levels. I don’t eat anything fancy because it might upset my stomach. So, I stick onto idli, bread, rotis, rice, upma, etc. I don’t overindulge because it might affect my performance on the ground. I have non-veg at least five days a week. Sometimes, I miss my amma’s special chicken biryani and keerai poriyal, but for now, I am focussing on a healthy diet.
— Dhanalakshmi Sekar, Mixed 4x400m relay