Whether it is his performance on the pitch, his lover affair with actress (and now wife) Anushka Sharma, his much talked-about #Virushka wedding in Italy, his fashion sense or his cool swag — Virat Kohli is perhaps the most popular cricketer the Indian team has ever had. Making his One Day International debut for India against Sri Lanka at the age of 19, Virat is considered one of the best batsmen in the world.
Currently, the captain of the Indian cricket team is a youth icon not just for his sporting abilities but his extraordinary fitness level. To encourage Indians to adapt to a healthy and active lifestyle, the young cricketer, along with Puma, introduced the #1MILLIONPUSHUPS initiative at the launch of Puma Trac app.
The initiative received an overwhelming response from fans and fitness enthusiasts alike. Cricketers like Suresh Raina, Aditya Tare and Mandeep Singh, television anchor Mayanti Langer, actress Leeza Mangaldas, musicians Hardy Sandhu and Behram Siganporia, nutritionist and fitness trainer Nidhi Mohan Kamal, and a host of other influencers joined the movement. They also called out to their fans to join the initiative on their social media platforms.
Here’s chatting up Virat more about the app and his fitness fundas:
Tell us about the initiative #1MILLIONPUSHUPS.
I believe that an individual’s physical health is very important. I have personally experienced the benefits of pursuing an active lifestyle, and strongly urge everyone to pay attention to their physical health. #1MILLIONPUSHUPS is an initiative that I led with Puma to encourage India to take the first step towards a fitter lifestyle. People always respond to goals and encouragement — this is exactly what we tried to do with this initiative. We received a great response — we reached our goal in just 18 days! This is a big milestone that the country has attained towards their journey to be fit, and a testimony to the fact that with right encouragement Indians are willing to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
The initiative has been aimed to encourage Indians to get into fitness and adopt an active lifestyle. What is your idea of fitness?
As an athlete, fitness is a key ingredient to my overall success. Physical fitness provides me with the strength, agility and endurance to better my performance everyday. An active life to me means a balanced mind and body that allows you to realise your full potential. I want to take this message to our people and help them understand the importance of leading an active lifestyle. I have made it my personal mission to motivate Indians to achieve better physical health.
The challenge was introduced on Puma Trac app — which acts like your personal trainer. What is your comment on the increasing demand for fitness apps? Which one is yours?
As fitness conscious Indians grow in number, the services, trainers and workouts quickly follow suit. Today, you can find a plethora of apps that offer a combination of workouts and diets to build your fitness ventures. To me, as a fitness seeker, what is more important is the fact that how well an app understands and keeps track of my personalised goals and guides me towards holistic growth — all the while keeping my motivation levels up. From my experience with Puma Trac, I believe my goals are well met and the app helps me keep in optimal shape on and off the pitch. What’s unique is the variety of workouts available, ensuring I never get bored.
What is your fitness regime like?
Every sport is evolving today; it needs you to be innovative in the way you plan your game, complemented with the right form to play. Therefore, one needs to focus on building and maintaining the body to function at its peak in every game.
I believe in striving for a high degree of lower body strength that allows me to be quick and responsive while on the field. Strength training at high intensity levels such as lunges, squats and jumping jacks along with weights help me stay fit and endure intense action all the while allowing me to stay at the top of my game.
What is your comment on the growing number of runners and cyclists in India?
I am very happy to hear that more people are opting for a fitter lifestyle. As a country, we are slowly growing more aware of staying fit — which has resulted in an increased number of fitness activities such as marathons and cyclothons. Running and cycling cater to different physical gains but importantly they serve one purpose — to increase your endurance levels. A vast population is taking to either or both of these activities in an effort to build or regain their fitness levels. I strongly encourage people to try these activities and include them in their daily routines.
You are also known for your impeccable fashion sense. How would you define your fashion evolution, both on and off the pitch? What is your own fashion mantra?
My sense of style has evolved over the years. I like to try out something different from time to time. Off field, I like to keep a neat look. I am fond of sneakers and mostly opt for white ones. On pitch, I am quite particular about my footwear. I prefer the traditional white colour while batting and I like to experiment with colours when fielding. evoSpeed one8 is the cricket shoe for which I’ve been involved in from the development stage. It is perfect for me to play in all conditions and all formats.