With strict diet plan, fitter Surya shed 15 kg post surgery to get in shape for World T20

06:20 PM Jun 01, 2024 | PTI |

New York: Suryakumar Yadav is looking leaner and fitter than ever since his comeback to competitive cricket and much of it could be attributed to a regimented diet plan along with rigorous strength training to cut at least 12-14 kg he had gained after sports hernia surgery.


World’s No. 1 T20 batter Suryakumar was out of competitive cricket for close to four months after undergoing an ankle operation in December last, followed by a sports hernia surgery.

For an elite sportsperson, coming back to peak fitness is always a challenge and a strict diet plan is foundation to that.

“If you look at him, he is looking much leaner and stronger and little muscular, and diet was planned with supplementation to achieve that goal. Coordination between recovery rate and muscle gain rate, so we adjusted to achieve that in record time,” dietitian Shwetha Bhatia, founder of ‘Mind Your Fitness’, who has worked on Suryakumar’s nutrition for some time, told PTI during an interaction.

“Overall by now, 14-15 kg, there was slight increase in his weight after surgery, which is a natural medical reaction not because he was off diet,” Bhatia explained.


“Out of 15 kg that he shed, Dexa machine will confirm that 13 kg will be fat,” she added.

At the National Cricket Academy , there is a Dexa machine to check a player’s body composition and that gives break-up of amount of muscle mass gain and fat loss and amount of abdominal fat.

A strict diet plan in place

As much as one indulges in rigorous S&C training, one needs to also keep an eye on diet and that’s where Bhatia came into the picture.

“Post his injury, we made his diet plan a bit stricter, because when there is no activity, you don’t increase food directly like that but there was more focus on his recovery with vitamin supplements,” she said.

“He was at National Cricket Academy, more strength training was incorporated so that he has a better comeback. We don’t get into his rehab programme but we need to co-ordinate with NCA in terms of his recovery rate because if it is going slow then it is falling short somewhere. “Mutually it was agreed that strength training would be the focus and cricketers don’t get a lot of time for strength training when the season is on and usually get time when matches are not happening and mostly they practice their core skills.”

More than calories, normally the amount of protein, carbs and fat that the athlete needs is computed. In recovery phase, the athlete needs an increase in the calorie intake and specially the protein has to match, because activity levels go up.

“The calories are increased keeping in mind that you don’t want fat gain to happen during that period, to make sure muscle mass is maintained,” Bhatia explained.

So, how was Suryakumar’s meal structure?

“Basically, he was on three-meal structure and three went on to became four, when activity resumed.

“All meals had good quality protein like eggs, meat or fish and he is not fond of dairy products and that was excluded. When activity was much lesser, we had reduced the amount of carbohydrates, grains, dals were lesser, it was low carb diet.

“He doesn’t eat rice and uses substitute flour for his rotis. He eats nuts and seed based low carb flours. Vegetable and fluid intakes were high with soups and chaanch. Nuts and avocados based on availability was also in his plan.”

Of late, players like Suryakumar, Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant have had personal chefs accompany them on various tours as more and more players are being careful about their meals and would consciously avoid hotel food.

The elite athletes are now spending significant amount of money from their own pockets to have their respective chefs on board and also book them apartments where they cook their meals and bring it for the players at the team hotel. The practice is more prevalent on long tours.


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