Fuel the Olympic Fire: How does PV Sindhu train and what is the star shuttler's diet?

PV Sindhu is the only female shuttler who is currently in contention to qualify directly for Tokyo 2020
By Olympic Channel Writer

PV Sindhu is without doubt one of India's greatest badminton players. She is, in fact, the only Indian to win a World Championship gold.

Having won the Olympic silver medal at Rio 2016, Sindhu will be hoping to do one better in Tokyo. Placed at No. 7 in the Race to Tokyo rankings, Sindhu is the only woman from India currently entitled to a direct entry into the Tokyo Olympics.

She started 2021 with a quarterfinal finish in the Toyota Thailand Open, followed by an impressive outing in the Swiss Open where she finished runner-up after losing to Carolina Marin in the final. After reaching the final in Basel, expectations were high from the athlete at the All England Open. But she lost in the semi-finals to Pornpaweee Chochuwong.

She is supposed to return to court at the Malaysian Open scheduled later this month but since the country has imposed a travel ban on India, there's a question mark over the participation of Indian shuttlers.

Let us take a look at how she keeps herself fit by going through her diet and training routine.

Balance between carbs and proteins

Sindhu rarely deviates from her diet plan that is prepared a month in advance. She tries to find the right balance between carbs and proteins so that she can keep her energy and endurance at an optimum level. In fact, the quantity of food is measured and monitored.

And Sindhu takes a blood test every two months to monitor her vitals so that her diet can be tweaked accordingly.

Ideally, the breakfast is loaded with proteins including milk and eggs. Fruits are also something that she likes to have in the morning. During training, she usually has a snack in between sessions which is generally dry fruits and an energy drink to keep her fresh.

“For lunch and dinner, I eat meat with vegetables and rice. Also, I never leave for my workout without a snack in my kitbag - this is usually a small bowl of fruits, a few dried nuts and a bottle of Gatorade (energy drink). All of them help me keep up my energy and provide me with endurance. Matchday typically involves exercises that help me warm up and nothing too tiring. My diet for match day is calculated based on the match timing," she stated to Vogue.

Lunch and dinner usually consist of vegetables and grilled chicken. She completely avoids junk food and sweets, which means ice cream and chocolates are strictly off the table!

Insane fitness & training regime

Sindhu's workout sessions are also planned a month in advance focusing on her back, abdomen, shoulders and knees.

She starts with stretching and ends the pre-workout with a run which helps her gear up for intensive sessions. Cardio is her most favoured form of workout. Sindhu tries to do high-endurance workouts that pushes her limits. Apart from this, she does 200 sit-ups and 100 push-ups regularly besides yoga and swimming.

Sindhu also focuses on cooling down after a strenuous session as it stabilises the heart rate and clears the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.

She also advised,"Don’t skimp on stretching before you work out because you will have to pay for it later. Keep yourself hydrated while exercising.”

Though she uses her height to kill those overhead smashes, it also gives her the wingspan to put lot of shuttles back into play. Sindhu's work rate on the court is one of her biggest strengths.

Her training session starts at seven in the morning and goes on for five hours till 12 noon. Then she heads home for lunch and rest. But at four she will be back in the academy for endurance training before finishing her day at 7 pm. After having dinner within an hour, she is off to bed by 9 pm.

Cheat Meals

After getting back from a tournament, she usually has a cheat meal. If that doesn't happen, then she takes a day off once a month from her prescribed diet. Hailing from Hyderabad she is an avid biriyani lover and during that cheat meal biriyani is a must.

“Hyderabadi biryani is one dish that is always on my list of cheat meals.”