Being fit helps you to stay on top of all your commitments
Leaders need to be on top of their game because they are constantly taking care of internal and external issues at work
Raghav Verma, 31, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and the founder of Chaayos, a chain of chai-cafes, has always played sports since his childhood. But it was only in college, that he started working out. Before that, exercising for him meant playing football in the local park with friends in the evening or an occasional swim. In college, the exercise got more structured. “I began going to the gym and followed a better, more conscious diet. All this evolved slowly over the four years of graduation. It wasn’t a sudden decision. Along with the gym, I continued playing football and squash and swam regularly,” he says.
Discipline is the most important factor to achieve and maintain a high fitness level. “Challenging your body to do more and sticking to long term plans ensure that you have a goal you are working towards. I feel that planning for marathons and triathlons as long term challenges really helps keep one disciplined fit,” he says. Verma has participated in four half marathons and, last year, competed in an Olympic triathlon in Delhi. “I followed a nine months training plan to get into shape and had to learn to cycle better for the triathlon. It’s all about the discipline. In fact, my girlfriend and I run marathons and train together as well, which is fun,” he adds.
“I work out nearly 5-6 days a week during the morning (7.30 to 8.30am) at Warrior’s Cove, a mixed martial arts academy in Gurugram, when I am not travelling. I have been doing this for a year now,” he says. He finds the workout intense, but what is really exciting is that it gives him a chance to learn technical fighting skills in multiple disciplines like Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. “Having a trainer really helps as you need someone to push you to the next level and he or she focuses on the technical aspects,” says Verma.
The payback has been fabulous for Verma who feels he has become physically stronger over the last year and become more flexible. “I’ve also lost 4 kgs and developed lean muscles. Most importantly martial arts works like meditation for me, as it helps me focus,” he adds.
Verma started eating healthy towards the end of college, when he realised just how important nutrition was for his over all well-being. It was basically his game plan to prepare his body for the life ahead. “I stick to a high protein and low-carb, low-fat diet. No rocket science there, but this just works for me,” he adds.
Being in the hospitality industry, Verma ends up having to do multiple tastings for new product development, which he says sometimes, takes a toll on his healthy diet planning.
“I travel at least one week a month, some-times, even more than that. This does throw things in a bit of a disarray. But even when travelling, I try to stick to clean food and salads,” he says. He carries protein bars with him, which are a great meal substitute.
“I try to eat early, and avoid heavy food as much as possible. In fact, when I visit my own cafes, there too, I stick to healthy options such as fruit shakes, kala chana chaat, bun omelette, and the egg white chaat,” he explains. He also sips green tea all the time when in office and even more so, when he is travelling, to keep detoxing. He understands the importance of keeping up a fitness routine even while travelling, so he tries to get in basic workouts like a run and body weight exercises like pushups, squats and planks.
“I typically do a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. This is 20 minutes of fast paced body weight exercises like pushups, jump squats, lunges and shadow boxing. It has few breaks and it gets your heart rate up quite quickly. I am a fan of the Insanity workout series - a challenging HIIT workout programme designed by fitness trainer, Shaun T. If possible, I go out for a run. It’s always fun to take in a local setting on your run if the weather is good,” he says.
His fitness inspiration
“I am a big fan of what Yashish Dahiya, founder of PolicyBazaar, has achieved. He is an Ironman triathlete, and completed it in an amazing time slot,” he says.
Leaders and fitness
Leaders need to be on top of their game because they are constantly taking care of internal and external issues at work, solving both micro and macro problems and planning strategy. Being fit, helps them to stay on top of all their (many) commitments.
“It is difficult to execute that kind of a schedule without the support of your body - and by that I mean both mental and physical fitness,” explains Verma.
Finding fitness is a series that looks at how CEOs work at keeping themselves fit at home and when on the road.
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