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From the set to the stadium

Updated on: 24 April,2024 05:09 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sonia Lulla |

Arvind Krishna, the only Indian actor in international basketball leagues, pulls off physical transformations for films while dunking the ball. He tells us how he juggles both worlds

From the set to the stadium

Arvind Krishna

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From the set to the stadium

In describing his training as part of his association with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), Telugu actor Arvind Krishna paints the most accurate picture of sport-specific training. Being on the field and competing with players significantly taller than him, he discusses the need to maintain his balance when shoved by opponents, leap high to dunk the ball while being dragged down by his competitors, and display commendable agility to navigate them on the court. 

If you’ve rarely been introduced to the fascinating science of how sports training is designed to make an athlete shine during the game, Krishna shares a glimpse. “I’m surrounded by guys who are 6 feet and 6 inches tall. So, for me to pull my shot, I need to jump really high and hold myself in the air for a longer period. This ‘hang time’ is dependent on your core strength. So, I have to make sure that I train my core. Ours is a physical sport involving contact. So, to gather ourselves after we are pushed by opponents, we mimic the movements in the gym to build efficiency. For instance, while training, we will have people thrust us with huge sandbags as we try to resist the push. This mimics what we endure on the court. You’ll also see us train with heavy bags on ourselves, and this is because, when we jump to [dunk the ball], we’re jumping with not only our weight but also the weight of the players around us who are attempting to resist us. To mimic that force, we train accordingly. We also train with ankle weights, because that teaches [us to balance ourselves]. When we land, we may land on a player’s foot, and this practice teaches us to deal with that imbalance,” says the athlete-actor, who has starred in Rushi, Lots of Love, and A Masterpiece, a superhero venture.  

Krishna, 39, is the only Indian actor who has played in the NBA. Considering that he trains for the sport across the year, we assume he refuses to take up acting projects that require him to undergo physical transformations. He, however, disagrees. “I signed a superhero film recently. While I was 92 kilos, I had to drop it to 80 to fit into the costume. And though I cut my calories down from 3,200 to 1,800, I had to do it in such a way that I could retain my strength for my games. In fact, I played a tournament in Japan while shooting for it.” Apart from travelling with a chef who understands his needs, Krishna, who is also vegan, meets his nutritional needs with supplements. His B-Tech degree, he admits, gives him a fine understanding of the supplements that can enhance his performance. “It is because of that that I can sustain energy despite not consuming too many calories. I also do not consume gluten, because both gluten and dairy have been shown to cause inflammation. As an athlete, the less inflammation you have, the better you can perform. Tackling inflammation has also made me look better on screen.” Krishna admits that in bridging his two worlds together, he also hopes to spark a love for basketball in the hearts of his fans.  

The Cheats: Shruti Haasan

Shruti Haasan

What’s your cheat meal: 
Rice, potatoes and South Indian dishes like sambhar.

How often do you indulge:
Once or twice a week.

Cheat meal vs cheat day:
Mostly, it’s just one big cheat meal, but if I’m on a vacation, it’s a cheat week.

Do you compensate for it:
When I’m training hard, I tend to be more particular with my meals. [I’ll compensate] by eating a light dinner, like soup or salad. 

In Mahesh Shetty’s Fridge

Mahesh Shetty

Bengali sweets

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