To picture Rahul Chaudhari as an overweight child, struggling to get around -- as light-footed children often do -- is difficult to fathom. Yet, that's how he was in his early days, far away from the nimble raider that he is today.
While his almost superhuman ability to put in raid after raid has earned him the nickname of Raid Machine, Chaudhari admits that a clean diet was not always on the top of his list of priorities growing up.
"When I was young, I used to eat a lot of unhealthy things. This included anything I could find, even if it was dirty or full of mustard oil," recalled Chaudhari in an exclusive interview with prokabaddi.com.
Naturally, this unhealthy diet led to a number of complications in a young Chaudhari’s life which ultimately led him to him becoming very obese, reaching life-threatening levels.
"My parents took me to see a doctor when I was about 7 or 8 years old and he said that I may not live long. It is only by the grace of God that I survived," said Chaudhari.
Relieved, his parents there immediately started to control the kind of food Chaudhari ate as well as the amount. They even ensured that he was given a lot of dairy products to increase his protein intake.
That change in lifestyle has stayed with Chaudhari and he is now one of the fittest players on the mat. This has even ensured that while others from the game may be held back due to injuries, Chaudhari is able to score consistently owing to a relatively injury-free career.
Chaudhari prides himself on his fitness levels and never misses his practice sessions, and that complements his diet perfectly.
"I put in a lot of hard work into my fitness," narrated Chaudhari. "I practice twice a day - mornings and evenings - for at least an hour each. I continue to raid till the end of the practice session no matter how tired I am and that is what helps me become a better raider."
The raider also controls his own diet now and makes sure he feeds his body just enough to make it perform at its peak.
"I eat a lot of dry fruits. I have stopped eating rice and eat very few rotis," concluded Chaudhari.