Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nutrition and Diet from a Cricketers' Viewpoint

My first celebrity "Guest Writer" is cricketer Sridharan Sriram. Sriram is a left-handed batsman and a left-arm orthodox spin bowler. He played for India's Under-19 tour of South Africa back in 1992-93 and later in 2000, made his One Day International Debut (ODI) against South Africa. He has represented India in 8 ODI's. He's an out and out professional whose passion for cricket knows no bounds. He is also a fun loving person, with a flair to explore different cultures and cuisines.
I met Sriram through my friend Shiny Chandran,who also happens to be a Sports Nutritionist and the Dietitian for Sriram.

Sridharan Sriram
I'm no expert on Nutrition to be writing an article or anything,but I just wanted to share my thoughts on Nutrition as a professional cricketer.
Nutrition for me,or even for that matter,for cricketers in India is only a recent phenomenon. Fitness and nutrition came into prominence in India only in the early to late nineties before which cricket was a gentleman's game,played at a leisure pace over a long period of time,albeit with great quality. Before that time,I was only aware of the term "Diet" which I thought was to starve or eat less so that you don't put on weight. It was only after coming in close contact with my trainer Mr.Shanker Basu, and my dietitian Ms Shiny Chandran,that I was educated on the need of a proper,calculated food intake so as to enhance my skill productivity on the cricket field and also make me more efficient at training.
Training to me was just running laps around the ground(I couldn't run more than five at any given point of time). When my trainer started to push me in training, I found that I was getting very tired. He then put me on to my dietitian just to check if I was eating right and to my amazement I found what a profound subject it was and what sort of impact it had on my performance. I found out that I was eating all wrong for a sportsperson, right from 'appalam' to 'kozhukattai' to 'kuzhi paniyaram'. I never realised how harmful they were for me. I also used to add a lot of sugar to my tea and coffee and never knew that you could put on weight just having sugar. I wasn't even getting enough protein in my diet as I am a vegetarian,and that was hampering my muscle building.
My dietitian set everything right-she gave me a strict diet to follow, and asked me to include whey protein powder. I,on my part, followed her instructions to every letter of the word and found tremendous benefits in a short span of time. I was even crazy enough at one point to venture into hotel kitchens to inspect the amount of oil they used in their curries.
I found out that you had to eat little at regular intervals, eat a healthy snack in-between meals and drink a lot of fluids. I tell you,the difference was there for everyone to see. I am sure if you are fit and eat right regularly, the energy level or the vibrations you emit are something only to be seen to be believed.
I once read a book where Lance Armstrong used to measure every calorie he ate, to the amount he expended. That was the amount of professionalism he had. Even though we are nowhere near his level of commitment and intensity,we can take a leaf out of his book, stay fit, eat healthy and strive to achieve our goals and aspirations.


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