Like most people, Rahul “The Kerala Krusher” Raju has been spending the past two months at home because of COVID-19.
And the temporary closure of his gym – Juggernaut Fight Club – has brought many changes to his daily training routine.
“I definitely miss the gym and the atmosphere of being around everybody,” Raju said. “That is, of course, the best part – your friends and training partners.”
As much as he misses human interaction, Raju equally values the importance of staying in shape, even without the comforts of his gym.
“It’s an adjustment, especially for athletes, where we now have to think of ways to continue our training,” he said. “The gym is no longer available but you still have to adapt. It’s our responsibility as a professional athlete.”
To start the day, “The Kerala Krusher” commits to an hour of exercise, preferably outdoors if the weather permits.
He cycles through bodyweight exercises, lunges, squats, and burpees designed to activate his kinetic chain. On some days, he supplements his workouts with plyometrics like push-ups to build explosiveness.
After getting his blood flowing, Raju eases into a stretching and meditation routine for 45 minutes.
“It’s just a span of time to unwind, physically and mentally,” he said. “Regular exercise can make your muscles stiff, so stretching helps to get rid of those knots. I feel a lot more fresh and nimble after.”
With his body in a state of calm, he then goes on to fuel up for the day.
“Of the three meals a day, I always cook one main course. For the other two, I just [buy them] from outside and eat at home now because of the quarantine,” he said.
Before he retires into a quiet evening, Raju spends some time on his latest hobby – audiobooks. Listening just a few minutes each day, the Indian athlete has already picked up knowledge on topics like sleep cycles, rest, and recovery.
Alternatively, “The Kerala Krusher” whips out his phone and scrolls for mixed martial art and jiu-jitsu videos. A lifelong student of “the gentle art,” he enjoys watching technique breakdowns from past matches.
“It’s exciting whenever you learn something new from video, it’s just the feeling of wanting to get back to the mats and try it out!” he said.
“But of course, it’s a learning moment, and in jiu-jitsu, having knowledge is the first step. Practice is key as well.
“Until I can get back into the gym, I’m saving all of them up in my head.”
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