Picture by Athletics Federation of India

Fuel the Olympic Fire: What is Harmilan Bains' 'no-Chapati' diet?

The National Record holder is a developing prospect to represent India at Paris 2024.
By Samrat Chakraborty

Ace Indian runner Harmilan Bains is in the news after breaking the national record in the 1500m. She will have qualification for Paris 2024 as one of her key aims in the future. After making the 1500m national record her own, at the 60th National Open Athletics Championships at Warangal earlier this month, she has shifted her focus to qualify in the 5000m and 1500m events for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) in 2022.

"The plan is to try and not perform at my peak at Federation Cup (next year) but to ensure that I qualify for the Commonwealth Games (CWG) and Asian Games in 2022," Bains told Olympics.com.

"We will look to enter the top rankings through the Federation Cup. At CWG, the focus will be on 5000m and 1500m and after that the Asian Games will be closer, so we will work on our endurance for it," she added.

Incidentally, Bains also clinched a gold medal in the 800m event at the 60th National Open Athletics Championships, but will not look to qualify in the category for marquee events as she believes that her best timing of 2:02.57 is not good enough to challenge athletes at world level.

Harmilan Bains in action
Picture by Khelo India University Games

How does Harmilan Bains adjust her diet and what is her cheat meal?

Bains adjusts her diet according to her training regime. She, however, admits that it was difficult for her to maintain a strict diet being a Punjabi, in the beginning, as their staple meal includes several milk products and ghee (clarified butter).

Her body, moreover, gains fat quickly and as a result, her coach Suresh Kumar Saini, helped her prepare a special diet plan and maintain it. But she can hardly run through the day without the consumption of tea or coffee.

"It is strictly no Chapatis (wheat flatbread) for me. I have boiled eggs in the mornings, when my workout goes for a long time. Apart from that, dry fruits are there after work out but I cannot live without tea or coffee. Even though I have left the consumption of milk; tea or coffee is something I need to have before working out," Bains said.

The Punjab-born athlete admits to being lazy at times when she is off the track!

"I'm very lazy and prefer to sleep a lot. No one can predict that from my ground time and training that I'm this lazy. I keep a three litres water bottle filled near my bed so that I don't have to get up and fetch it (from the kitchen)," the 23-year-old said.

"I am very lazy but I like cooking but I can't stand and cook for more than three hours. At night, I prefer to have dal (pulses) and sabji (vegetable curry) or fish and chicken," she added.

But amid the monotony of the strict diet, Bains also loves to have chocolate truffle cake or pizza as her cheat meal at least once or twice a week.