Diet like a warrior – breaking down Rahul Raju’s diet routines
One of the challenges of staying fit and ready for competition is maintaining a specific diet to provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs.
For ONE Championship lightweight competitor Rahul "The Kerala Krusher" Raju, eating a balanced diet helps keep him in shape and allows him to make simple dietary modifications as he heads into training camp for a three-round bout.
This is one of the reasons why he was able to accept a match on four days’ notice and push former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio Banario to the limit at ONE: Conquest Of Champions this past November.
“The diet I have when I’m heading into a fight is a little different compared to a normal day,” he shares. “I will start adjusting my diet a couple of weeks to four weeks before a match.”
When he isn't training for a match, the Singapore-based Indian works as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts coach at Juggernaut Fight Club, which helps him stay fit and battle-ready at all times.
Now, the 27-year-old gives us a closer look at his regular diet, as well as his diet for when he is preparing for a match inside the ONE cage.
For the most important meal of the day, Raju always starts the morning with a complete meal.
“On a normal day’s breakfast, I would have rice, chicken, and some vegetables,” he says.
“When I’m closer to a match, my diet consists mainly of the same, but the portions would be different.
“I would include more protein and vegetables, and decrease the amount of rice, or I will try to add more brown rice than white rice.”
The quantities are not the only adjustments “The Kerala Krusher” makes during training camp. He also changes the time of his meals and adds some recovery options to help keep his energy levels up.
“When I’m closer to the fight, there will be a strong training session in the afternoon, so I will grab lunch after training,” he explains.
“I will have to recover as soon as possible, so straight away I will have some protein shakes or some BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) for my recovery first. Then, I will go for lunch after an hour.
“That means my lunchtime will be around three or four in the afternoon. The same goes for lunch — more proteins and vegetables, and less carbs.”
At night, Raju has his final meal of the day. However, there is more of a science to his supper plans.
“For dinner, some days I will have rice and chicken or rice and fish. Some days, I will have maybe noodles. I will add more fruits, and do a fruit blend or something like that,” he says.
“Night training is always the hardest for me. I will put a lot of effort into my night training, so that means I need to recover well for the next morning.
“I will do some protein shakes first, then I will have some proper carbs. There will be a little more rice compared to breakfast and lunch. I will also have some protein, but I will avoid some oily food even for vegetables.”
When Raju is out of competition, he sneaks a few snacks into his diet. But once he is in training mode, those snacks become a lot healthier.
“On a normal day, I will usually add more sweets because I have a sweet tooth. I’ll have some chocolates or cakes in between,” he confesses.
“If I have a fight coming up, then I will avoid those kinds of stuff and will have some healthy nuts like cashews or almonds so I will not be that hungry. I will also add some fruits like grapes and blueberries, or something like that in between.”