The day Virat Kohli became mad about fitness

Virat Kohli looks supremely fit now, but that wasn’t always the case.

Every other cricketer that you see around the circuit in India nowadays is fit. Most of them have abs and look like proper athletes. However, this was hardly the case a couple of decades ago, when cricketers used to have chai breaks in the middle of training, accompanied by biscuits!

While the Indian cricketers have improved their standard of fitness in line with other international teams, and it had to happen sooner rather than later, a lot of credit for that goes to Indian skipper Virat Kohli. He has led by example and brought about a change in the way Indian cricketers train, look after their diet and maintain their health.

But it was not always that Kohli was a fitness freak. His early photographs, even as late as the 2011 World Cup, do not hide that he was a chubby lad. However, a couple of turning points in his life made him take fitness very seriously, and now, he is among the fittest sportspersons in the world and has become a fitness icon for Indians.

It was in 2012 when Kohli changed his fitness regimen. He had a good tour of Australia and had scored 180 against Bangladesh. Going into the IPL, he was looking forward to a great season. While Kohli wanted to dominate the bowlers, he ended up really struggling, averaging just 27.90 from 16 IPL matches that year.

“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’ “, Kohli said in an interview.

He was more than 10kg overweight at that point and was “really chubby”. A switch flicked from the next morning onwards. He was in the gym for an hour-and-a-half every day after that and went off gluten, off wheat, off cold drinks and off desserts.

The first two months were really tough for the Indian skipper. But when the results began to show, everything gradually fell in place.

From 2015, Kohli started lifting weights, snatching, cleaning and deadlifting. It not only took his fitness to another level but improved his overall game. His craze for fitness has rubbed on to not only his teammates but the entire Indian sporting fraternity, and the change is for us to see.

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