The fifth season of the Indian Super League is about to get underway and all the teams have started training in earnest. Experienced striker Robin Singh is excited for the new season, turning out for a new team under a new manager. Speaking to MH from FC Pune City’s training camp, the Indian frontman shares details about his fitness philosophy, training regime, nutrition and all things football.
MH India: We already know you have to be supremely fit to play football at such a high level, so what’s your personal fitness regime like?
Robin Singh: For me, fitness is something that requires constant preparation because it involves both the mind and the body. Luckily for me, I’m someone who can’t sit still so I’m always working on my fitness in some way. It’s important to address the areas in which you think you’re lacking because the idea is to stay injury-free which allows you to serve the team in the best way possible. That’s where the role of the team’s fitness staff comes into play.
We usually train for about two to two and a half hours in a day and spend the rest of the time resting and preparing for the games ahead. The coach decides what to focus on in the training sessions that involve the whole team. These sessions last at least 75 to 90 minutes. All in all, there are two sessions conducted by that staff—two hours at the ground and two at the gym. This is followed by any extra training you’d like to throw in on your own, which is also recorded by the staff. I personally like to work on my finishing after I’m done training for the day.
What are some of your personal favourite exercises or forms of training?
I like to focus on my core since that’s a big part of being a striker—you need to be able to shield the ball from defenders who want to take it off you! I also prioritise flexibility, which for me covers everything from head to toe. I also like to take some time to work on becoming mentally tougher, and also recognise the importance of staying hydrated and leaving enough time for my body to recover.
How does your gruelling fitness regime change during the off season?
For me there isn’t really such a thing as an off season, which I think is the case for any footballer. However, off seasons are more focused on recovery from the season gone by and maintaining a certain level of fitness which makes it easier to hit the ground running when the new season starts. Like I said before, I find it hard not to stay active so I’m always busy doing something even during my time off.
I like to stay active by playing a lot of five-a-side football and also hitting the gym regularly. I do HIIT thrice a week and work on flexibility for one or two days. I also keep trying to mix it up in order to stay active—sometimes I play badminton, sometimes it’s table tennis.
Who would you say is your fitness inspiration?
I would have to say it’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Not many people can do what he’s done—the fitness levels he maintains at the age of 33 are simply amazing. He’s maintained the same high level of performance over the years across different leagues which is a remarkable achievement. It’s not just his fitness levels but his mentality as well. He’s simply, and I’m sure many footballers would have the same answer to this question.
I won’t even try to deny it, I’m 100% team Ronaldo (on the Ronaldo vs Messi debate).
Is your nutrition regime as impressive as your fitness schedule?
At the moment I’m on a no dairy diet, a directive I’m following religiously. It’s high on protein and low on carbs. I like to include different proteins like fish, eggs, and chicken along with lots of veggies. I also really love coffee and I need my morning cup of coffee for sure. It helps that it’s also a fat burner!
My breakfast consists of eggs, a handful of dry fruits and that cup of coffee before training starts. The morning sessions are usually much harder and more intense, which is why I use lunch to replenish my carbs. After the evening training sessions, which are more tactical, I finish the day with some protein and veggies, adding a cup of green tea as well.
You spend your time off working on your fitness in other ways, but do you allow yourself some relaxation in your diets during the off season?
I really love food but I try to keep cheat meals to a minimum. I guess if I were to allow myself a cheat meal it would be waffles even though it’s been a while since I’ve had some. But I’m a foodie, so just give me food!
What football and fitness advice would you like to pass on to youngsters who dream of making it big in the sport?
I would say dream big—if it doesn’t scare you, your dream isn’t big enough. On a more serious note, I would recommend they take their fitness and nutrition seriously, stay away from fast food, eat healthy and work hard. A hard worker always gets results!
And finally, any fitness advice for our readers?
Fitness is a very broad term and means different things for everybody. However, it’s important to stay fit and remain active, even if it’s something as small as going for a healthy juice instead of a soft drink.