Sunil Chhetri

The footballer talks about quadriceps, loving carbonara and getting cranky when injured

90118158_1My mantra for life is to work really hard and be happy. It is important to be passionate about the sport you play and to be completely in love with it. You cannot ever guarantee a win, but it is important to have the will. Every time you go for a game, you have to push yourself hard to win and that is the attitude one should have towards life.

Being football ready
I love doing speed training drills, which is an important aspect of my game, and high-intensity workouts. They are also two major requirements for football. I train six days a week. Taking a day off allows your body to heal, as your muscles need to cool off.

My workout sets are different on the field and at the gym, but everything is specific to football. On the field, I work on shooting techniques. Game-related skill training, weights and cardio are important in the gym.

While I enjoy a good whole body workout, I personally love working on my quadriceps. Along with that, the other muscle groups I focus on are the hamstrings, abs and shoulders. This is also because those muscles get used the most in my sport.

Keeping it simple
I follow a strict diet plan. I have a pre-training meal of oatmeal with nuts, boiled eggs and fresh juice in the morning. After training, I have a protein shake, prunes or a banana and brown bread with peanut butter. Lunch consists of a plate of greens and boiled veggies and fish or chicken steak. That is followed by a mid-afternoon snack of fruits, some nuts and a glass of milk. Dinner is simple, with rotis, dal, a bowl of vegetables and chicken/fish/cottage cheese. I also have another chug of protein shake before bed. On my cheat days, I enjoy spaghetti carbonara or good biriyani. My favourite dish is the mutton curry my mom makes.

The winner takes it all
A lot of planning goes into facing the opponent. We watch their game videos and also train through the week as to how we’ll play against them. It’s important to win to keep motivating and encouraging yourself and the team. I’m not a good loser, and so I work really hard to be victorious. Of course, you cannot win every game, but I try to put my best foot forward and that in itself is satisfying too.

The importance of healing
I’m bad at dealing with injuries. I get cranky and irritable and hate the process of recuperation. But, now, I am learning to be calm and religiously follow the instructions of the doctors and the physiotherapist. Without adequate rest and massages, it’s almost impossible to improve as a footballer.

In my free time, I love to hang out with my team mates, play Fifa on the Playstation and go out for dinners and movies. I also love long drives and rides. They help me unwind and clear my head.