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Manpreet Singh etched his name in Indian sporting history as he led the men’s hockey team to a historic medal at the Olympics this summer. India ended a 41-year Olympic medal drought as they won a bronze at Tokyo 2020.
The Indian team’s fitness was one of the key reasons for their success in the Japanese capital. And Manpreet led by example in that department. Ever since he made the India debut in 2011, the midfield maestro has complemented his sublime stick work with an exemplary work ethic.
The 29-year-old was honoured with the Khel Ratna award this year for his contribution to Indian hockey. A quiet leader, Manpreet will hope to carry the momentum into 2022 as well. Ahead of another busy hockey season, the India captain talks about his fitness targets for 2022 and how he hopes to achieve them.
My fitness goal for January
Well begun is half done. Indian captain Manpreet Singh wants to make sure that he focusses on key fitness markers in his sport in January to set the tone for the rest of the year.
“My fitness goal for January is to focus on strength and weight training,” says Manpreet.
“On the ground, I want to focus on running and follow the diet plan strictly. If I can do that, it will be a good start to the year and I will be able to perform well throughout the year.”
My fitness goal for 2022
Modern-day hockey has become as much about speed as about skills. Players have to run up and down the pitch and be prepared for quick turnarounds and change in directions. As a midfielder, Manpreet’s focus for the year is on fitness that will specifically help him in his sport.
“I want to work on my strengths. On the ground I am going to do a lot more sprints and sides, and I want to improve my running,” he says.
What I want to achieve in my sport this year
After a landmark Olympic year in 2021, more glories await the Indian hockey team in the New Year.
The Indian team is looking at a packed summer as they will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and get ready for the Hangzhou Asian Games, which double up as Olympics qualifiers.
“We have a few important tournaments this year, like the Pro League, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Asia Cup. I want to work on my fitness and make sure we perform well at these tournaments and bring back medals,” says Manpreet.
New training I will add to my routine in January
Professional athletes like Manpreet always have to stay ahead of the curve. It is especially true in a fast-evolving game like hockey. To keep pace with the rest, Manpreet wants to make sure that he takes his game as well as fitness level up a notch.
“This year I am going to bring in some new training routines for myself,” he says. “I want to work more on my stick work and build strength in my upper body. I want to be fitter than last year, because hockey is all about fitness. I want to make sure my lower body stays strong as well.”
Who will motivate me to achieve my fitness targets
Hockey players are some of the fittest athletes in the world. While a lot of people will be looking to India captain Manpreet Singh for motivation, he draws inspiration from football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, who is playing in the upper echelons of European football at an age many would consider past prime in the football world.
“I follow Cristiano Ronaldo,” says Manpreet. “I would love to train like him. He is 36 years old and he is fitter than most players. His fitness level is a motivation for me.”
How am I going to clock my progress
Though Manpreet has physios and trainers monitoring his progress, he likes to keep a close eye on his fitness too. The India hockey captain tracks his workouts through Strava.
"I am using the fitness tracking app Strava,” he says. “You can monitor your heart rate and distance while running. It is very helpful for me. I would like to suggest that fitness enthusiasts use it. Most athletes use some kind of apps to track their fitness.”
If you are ready to step up your fitness game, take the January Jumpstart challenge on Strava where you need to complete at least 10 hours of workout activity registered on the app through the month of January. Read more about it on redbull.in/januaryjumpstart.
When will I need wiiings
Manpreet loves drinking Red Bull, especially during very tiring workout sessions.
“I drink Red Bull when I am very tired and need energy. It gives me a boost. After a tough training session, I drink Red Bull which pushes me to work out harder and run more. I am used to drinking Red Bull after a tough training session,” he says.