Ankit 'V3nom' Panth
© Ali Bharmal

How Ankit Panth stays fit for his sport

The Indian esports athlete explains how an early foray into fitness has helped the longevity of his career and helped him stay at the top of his game.
Written by Sean Sequeira
8 min readPublished on
Ankit ‘V3nom’ Panth is one of the best-known esports athletes from India.
From his early days in Counter-Strike titles to leading the pack in the new FPS favourite Valorant, Ankit has been a stellar name in Indian gaming.
His career has spanned over 18 years of regular gaming, making him one of the few among the pioneers to still be actively pursuing the competitive scene.
And Ankit credits his dedication to fitness for being able to sustain his career at the top for such a long period while many of his contemporaries branched into other streams.
Here he speaks about why he is glad to have taken up a fitness routine early in his career, how he adjusts his workouts when he faces physical challenges, and what targets he has set for himself in the next few months.
Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

© Ali Bharmal

How fitness impacts gaming

There are very few competitive gamers who started around the time that Ankit did and are still actively pursuing gaming as a profession. And one of the reasons for that has been fitness.
“I've seen people of my age who have had to retire from gaming because their eyesight took a toll. Then there are others who have had health issues from sitting in one spot, gaming for so much of their lives. They never thought fitness was necessary because everyone thinks, ‘It’s just sitting in front of a PC and playing games.’ They think it's not a physical activity. But honestly, it takes a toll on your body. So I’ve always felt that it is important to strengthen your muscles if you want to have a longer athlete life,” says Ankit.

Direct impact of fitness for Ankit

While he has witnessed several others complain of different ailments, Ankit is glad to have not felt any adverse effects of gaming.
“I had a strategy planned for my fitness in relation to gaming. I didn't know it would work so well that I would be 33 years old and not have any significant physical issues after gaming regularly for 18 years,” says Ankit.
Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

© Ali Bharmal

When Ankit kicked fitness into high gear

“I started gaming in 2006, when I was 15 years old. When I would be practicing, my parents were always concerned because I was sitting continuously at a computer for 10-12 hours. They kept saying I would have back pain or my eyes would get weak from staring at the screen.
“But I told them that we shouldn't blame the profession for people’s problems. Just because they heard stories of people having back pain from gaming, that doesn’t mean it will apply to me. I told my parents that if they were scared for my physical fitness, I would take care of it by going to the gym. And that’s how I started my fitness journey with my gaming journey. At first it was on-and-off, but I was doing regular gym sessions by the time I was 18 years old in 2009,” says Ankit.

Ankit’s personal fitness objective

While Ankit works on his fitness to make sure he doesn’t have any problems while gaming and also to sustain his career for a long time, his fitness objective is lifestyle oriented.
“I want to have a healthy lifestyle, even after I retire from esports. This is the end goal. I want to be able to walk on my own, bend to pick up things when I'm old, and I want to be able to stand tall. So this is the end goal – I want to stay fit enough to always have an active lifestyle where I can do basic everyday tasks without struggle,” says Ankit.
Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

© Ali Bharmal

Types of fitness that Ankit focuses

While he spends several hours at his game, Ankit never feels like fatigue is a factor. He only focuses on strength training.
“It's only been about strengthening for me when it comes to gaming. I made my fitness plan according to my lifestyle and my career. I sit for 9-10 hours in front of a computer, maybe even 12 hours sometimes. So I know for me it is about strengthening my hip muscles, my lower back, my wrists and shoulders, neck muscles, etc,” says Ankit.

Physical challenges that Ankit faces in gaming

For the most part of his career, Ankit has been healthy and injury-free. He has only had small niggles, which he has taken care of with fitness.
“I don't experience any pains or aches from gaming because I started fitness very early in my career. But a few years ago, I started noticing stiffness in my forearms. It would happen after gaming for four-five hours straight; my forearms would feel stiff and I would have trouble moving my hands smoothly. The stiffness sometimes extended to my shoulders and biceps also. I realized it was because I was at the computer continuously for many hours. So I started getting out of my seat after every match to do some stretching, take a break for five minutes, and even shut my eyes for a bit or stand by the window and look at trees outside.
“Additionally, I also have the Hypervolt from Hyperice India, and I use that to massage my forearms, or any other part of my body when there is stiffness or soreness. Whenever I use it on my forearms, hands or shoulders, all my muscles start moving freely again,” says Ankit.
Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

© Ali Bharmal

Ankit’s fitness strengths and weaknesses

“When I started working out in the gym, I made it a point to do a lot of forearm exercises and back exercises, because I knew that sitting in the same position all the time could cause issues in future. So I thought to strengthen these muscles first.
“I mostly use a flick movement as part of my game, which needs good mobility from the shoulder down to the wrist. So I needed to make sure my wrist and forearms were strong. And because I’m sitting for eight hours in the same spot in a chair, I knew that my posture would be very important, so I made sure my lower back was also strong to be able to handle the weight of my body,” says Ankit.

Ankit’s fitness regime

Ankit goes to the gym five days a week and rests on Saturdays and Sundays. He also alternates between going for a run and doing additional ab exercises every alternate day.
“I wake up at 6:30am and eat egg white omelettes with bananas. Then I go for a short run or cycling session. Once I’m back home, I eat a big breakfast. Then I check my emails and respond to fans on social media. Then I go to the gym for my main workout of the day, which lasts about 70-80 minutes. Post the gym, it is back home for a big lunch, and then either practice sessions with the team or my personal streaming. The team usually has eight-hour practice sessions from 12pm to 8pm; if the team is not practicing, I use the time to stream. Once I’m done with that eight-hour session, I eat dinner and then go to sleep,” Ankit says of his daily routine.

Ankit’s most favourite and least favourite workouts

My favourite exercise is biceps curls. My least favourite are leg exercises – that’s probably why my legs are very skinny. Mostly, I hate weighted squats,” says Ankit.
Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

Ankit 'V3nom' Panth

© Ali Bharmal

What’s in his gym bag

Ankit carries a fixed set of items for every gym session.
“I always carry my gloves, my shoes, my water bottle, a hand towel, a deodorant, my Hypervolt massager, and a can of Red Bull. I only drink the Red Bull when I am low on energy before a gym session.
“Red Bull is an energy drink and I want to use it how it is meant to be used – to help me when I’m low on energy. I don’t want to use it like water or as a hydration substitute, because it is not meant for that. I want my body to produce it’s own energy, and on days when it can’t, a can of Red Bull can help give me that energy boost,” says Ankit.

Aspects of mental fitness

When asked if he feels the pressure of the sport and what he does to relieve it, Ankit said a little downtown always helps.
“I don't know if this would be considered meditation or not, but before a big match I always go to a quiet place and listen to music. Then I stop the music, close my eyes, and think about mountains and beaches, and me walking in nature. It helps to keep me calm before a big match or tournament,” says Ankit.

Ankit’s New Year fitness resolution

Having added running and cardiovascular activities into his training regime only a few months ago, Ankit is keen to improve on his current performances in the new year.
“My target for 2023 as a whole is to improve my stamina with running regularly. Right now I can run for about 20 minutes without having to stop for a break; I want to make that 40 minutes in January, and then eventually make it 60 minutes,” says Ankit.

Part of this story

Ankit Panth

One of India’s most popular Counter-Strike gaming professionals.

View Profile