In a post-match interview after Team India emerged as the winner of the T20 World Cup last week, cricket superstar Virat Kohli was asked why he “did not break a sweat” throughout his innings.

The former Indian captain attributed this unusual physical state to his carefully tailored diet. He said, “I think diet is probably the most important part of things as far as I am concerned. At my age… at 34 going into the mid-30s and late 30s… I think diet for me is the most important thing.”

He added, “It’s making sure you have the right nutrition, not just in terms of controlling your weight and fat percentage but also the kind of stuff that gives you energy on the field.”

So, how does a well-balanced diet impact one’s overall performance and endurance during high-intensity physical activities?

Kanikka Malhotra, consultant dietician and certified diabetes educator, explains, “A well-balanced diet rich in macronutrients improves performance and endurance during high-intensity exercise. Carbohydrates are the main substrate for the creation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body’s primary cellular energy source. Adequate carbohydrate stores, particularly muscle glycogen, delay exhaustion and maintain power output.”

Protein promotes muscle protein synthesis and repair, she says, which are essential for post-exercise recovery and adaptation. Healthy fats serve as a supplemental energy source during prolonged activity and help regulate hormones, which improves overall performance. Furthermore, optimum hydration promotes optimal blood flow, which delivers nutrients to active muscles while also allowing waste product clearance, both of which are essential for maintaining exercise capability.

Festive offer

Can certain dietary regimens contribute to an individual’s ability to not break a sweat even after intense physical activity?

Malhotra reveals, “Dietary interventions have little effect in reducing sweat response after intense exercise because thermoregulation is a primitive physiological mechanism. However, a well-balanced diet High in complex carbs can improve energy deliverythereby postponing exhaustion and enhancing exercise tolerance.”

virat kohli diet Kohli focuses on whole, unprocessed foods such as whole grains, veggies, and legumes. (Source: Freepik)

This, in turn, may contribute to a sense of tranquility by decreasing the body’s stress response to exertion, she says. Additionally, appropriate hydration ensures optimal blood volume and thermoregulatory function, which may reduce exercise-induced discomfort and anxiety.

Foods or dietary habits that people can adopt from Virat Kohli’s diet to enhance their performance and stamina

Malhotra agrees that there are some elements of Virat Kohli’s diet that can benefit people looking to improve performance and stamina in daily activities:

Focus on Whole Foods: Kohli focuses on whole, unprocessed foods such as whole grains, veggies, and legumes. These give prolonged energy release and necessary nutrientsas opposed to refined choices, which can cause crashes.

Prioritize Plant-Based Protein: While Kohli follows a vegan diet, you don’t necessarily need to eliminate all animal products. Including lean protein sources like chicken, fish, or lentils can ensure you meet your protein needs for muscle function and repair.

Minimize Added Sugars and Fats: Limiting sugary drinks, pastries, and fried foods helps regulate blood sugar and avoids energy crashes. Healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and avocados are still important for sustained energy and hormone production.

Hydration is Key: Just like Kohli emphasizes water and green tea, staying well-hydrated is crucial for optimal performance. Water transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, and lubricates joints, all impacting stamina.

Malhotra cautions, “Remember that everyone’s body responds differently. It is best to contact a qualified dietitian to customize these guidelines to your personal needs and activity level. They can assist you in developing a specific plan for optimal performance and general wellness.”