Name: Niyati Bharucha
Age: Older than you think
Height: Taller than you think
Current weight: Heavier than alternative rock but lighter than heavy metal
Current city: London, England
Occupation: Discontent Explorer of the Universe
What made you get started with playing sports? HAS IT ALWAYS BEEN A PART OF YOUR LIFE?
I’ve been into sport since I was born. Probably both my parents played sport when they were in school and college and they both still play, gym and live very healthy and active lives!
I started with swimming and tennis, but football caught my eye at the age of 8 and I’ve been playing football since then, for my school, college, district and state.
I also played for Kenkre FC – an elite i-League club in Mumbai.
Who has been your biggest influence/support in your life and how did they affect you?
Myself. People can tell you a bunch of things, but it’s always up to you to wake up and make the choice to do it or not. I learnt that the hard way.
Have you had any significant setbacks? How did you deal with them and overcome them? Or How do you deal with a lack of motivation on days when you feel out of it?
Many MANY injuries. They’re the worst thing for an athlete because you suddenly have to change your entire life for the time that you’re in recovery!
It’s more mentally challenging than just physically.
And as for motivation, setting a goal is a great way to stay motivated, can be short or long term, but again at the end of the day YOU have to convince yourself of how much you really want to achieve that goal.
Have you always had a love for soccer over other sports? How did you passion for soccer come about?
PLEASE don’t call it soccer. It’s football. ONE country in the whole world calls it soccer, and I think even if people from that country read this, they’ll know what football means!
My love for football started through my brother, we would watch the matches on TV whenever they were on and once I started playing, I realized that’s just where I belong. Nothing feels more like home than wearing my studs, having a football at my feet and being on an open pitch.
I love ALL sports though, and have great respect for anyone who’s an athlete at any level. There’s an amount of hard work that you have to put in to be good at any sport and that’s something that I love about it in general.
Tell us a bit about where you grew up?
I grew up in Bombay and mostly refuse to call it Mumbai. I use ‘Mumbai’ only when answering interview questions (haha). I didn’t move to London, I went to Loughborough University (in Loughborough, Leicestershire, which is a county around Leicester) to do my MSc in Sport Management.
That’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and saw the opportunity and just took it. It’s been an amazing journey for me and really opened my eyes to many different aspects of the sports industry globally.
Does football there have enough ‘popularity’ that you can see yourself playing professionally full time?
I’ve already played professionally for a while, but even in countries like the US and the UK, women can’t do sport professionally full time. There’s a huge conversation on gender wage gap in various sports going on currently and I feel that’s a topic for another type of discussion on another day!
But I can say this, nothing worth fighting for is ever easy, and good things come only to those who fight in this day and age!
How did you get into modelling and what sort of modelling do you do and would like to do?
I don’t actually know! Some very close friends were photographers or worked in the fashion industry and just put me in touch with people or put them in touch with me and the rest is history.
I’d love to do more work with designers and some very out-of-the-box editorial work, or just work with some brilliant photographers. They can be so creative, it’s so interesting to try new things. Fitness and sports related shoots are also an obvious favorite.
Take us through an average day of yours:
I do wayyyy to much in my day to answer this right now! I’d say just catch my Instagram and I try and share as much as I can of my life there :) It involves a lot of coffee, cats, workouts, and anime!
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your diet:
My current diet plan is “Don’t be an asshole”.
If I see food that will cause some amount of crap to happen to me, I avoid it. It’s like avoiding sh*tty people. You don’t want them in your life, so just say no!
What are your top Nutrition tips for staying healthy, agile and gaining muscle?
As a sports nutritionist, my first and main tip is:
- EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
- FIND WHAT SUITS YOU
- GET PROFESSIONAL HELP ACCORDING TO YOUR BODY AND WHAT IT NEEDS.
- Which leads me to my second one, IDENTIFY WHAT YOUR BODY NEEDS AND WHAT YOUR MAIN GOALS ARE.
Some people put on muscle with less calories in their diet, some people need way more. Nutrition is so subjective that I mostly refrain from offering generic advice, and it’s also why I don’t offer consultations. I give my friends advice because I know them and I know how their lives are, their allergies, etc.
But otherwise, I really believe people need to introspect more to understand what kind of fuel their system requires.
Do you count your calories? Do you think it is necessary?
I count on the days I’m eating badly so I don’t overdo it, but otherwise I don’t really count. And again, it really depends on your goals. Some people get too swept up by it and overdo it, and end up either under-eating or just eating badly to reach their caloric limits.
There’s a conception that leading a ‘fit and healthy and lean’ life has to be so strict and boring in terms of diet and training. Do you think this is true to achieve it?
Absolutely not. The days I don’t lead a “healthy” life, I’m bored and demotivated out of my skull. I feel like crap, have bad moods and honestly don’t know what to do with myself.
Working out and training release the best hormones your body and mind can ask for. I don’t understand why people consider that a bad thing! It also makes food so much more worth eating!
A great meal after a great workout is such a feel-good experience for me.
Do you do anything specific leading up to a match?
Always. More water the day before. A little more carbs on the day of. Also depends greatly on the weather and where I’m playing and at what time. These are all basic things a coach would tell you and I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing and knowledgeable coaches guide me through understanding all of it!
Psychologically, I have a bit of a routine as well, and I really recommend this for anyone playing sport or even people who don’t enjoy working out as much. Have more conversations with yourself about it instead of relying on some fitness blogger to tell you what you need!
Give us a brief description of your philosophy on your training/training schedule and on average how long do you workout for?
This is a tough one to respond to! My approach to my training changes constantly but my principles remain the same, hard work, consistent work, NO EXCUSES.
I train way more than people should as well. It comes from needing constant improvement in what I’m doing and balancing my anxiety and depressive phases by channeling it into training and working out.
That for me is really really important. If I had to average it out, I work out for about 45 minutes to an hour almost everyday. But there are days where my leg sessions or back sessions will go on for 2 hours! It just depends on how much I have to do that day, how long I take to warm up, how much I need to stretch or foam roll before or after, and I also incorporate some amount of physio work for my ankles and knees on some days.
Do you incorporate a lot of weights in your workouts? Does this help with the soccer?
Yes and yes. I mostly weight train. I don’t know why people don’t. If you’re not strong, how are you going to kick the ball anywhere across the pitch while fending off a defender or attacker or a goalkeeper?
How do you expect your body to be an athlete if it isn’t strong enough to do it? Also, cardio does break down muscle. I’m not going to go into the nuances and science of it, I’d really recommend to people to read up on this A LOT.
romanfitnesssystems.com and muscleandstrength.com do some brilliant articles on these things. There are also websites where you can find scientific research and articles. But if you’re playing sport, that’s mostly cardio, and if you’re losing muscle when you do it, you need to gain that muscle back to improve your sport.
In my opinion, it’s a very simple, fundamental requirement to keep your game in balance.
Are you quite flexible? and Do you stretch often?
I wasn’t before but I’ve really worked on it and I’m quite alright now, though I constantly aim to achieve better flexibility. I do a lot of guided yoga, a lot of basic stretching for sports people, and as much as I can try and do it every day.
Youtube really helps with this, but nothing is better than going for a class once in a while where someone corrects your form and posture, and really pushes your limits too!
What are your essentials that are always in your gym bag?
Headphones. And water. BUT MOSTLY HEADPHONES. I can’t workout without music. I have 6 different playlists for the gym. I’m extremely obsessive and different workouts have different music!
Do you have any fit fashion tips for the ladies or any specific gym fashion trends that you love?
Why just the ladies? Men look their best at the gym too! I honestly just think if you wear whatever you want, something you’re comfortable in and (hopefully for everyone else) it covers your butt crack, it’s all good.
Even if it doesn’t cover your butt crack, if you’re okay with that, who cares. Just wipe the seat and don’t overdo the makeup. Makeup while working out is poison to your skin. People need to read up on that as well!
And for the guys?
Sorry for before, I didn’t see this! Men should come to the gym wearing nothing. If they can objectify us and stare at women’s asses while on the treadmill, I think I can totally do the same.
But on a more serious note, NO ONE SHOULD TELL ANYONE WHAT TO WEAR! I REFUSE TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS SERIOUSLY.
What are your 3 favorite exercises?
I hate the word “exercise” because people consider that to be equivalent to a chore.
BUT my 3 favorite things to incorporate in my workouts are SQUATS, SQUATS AND MORE SQUATS. I have bad knees so I can’t do them often enough but nothing feels as good!
Which body part is your favorite to train and what are some of your tips and favorite exercises to training it?
LEG DAY EVERYDAY but I can’t because D.O.M.S. so legs and back. I love a little biceps and shoulders too.
I just focus on the muscle group that’s the weakest and try and strengthen that every week. While I stick to almost the same routines for 3-5 months at a time, I like to switch it up once in a while by changing my grip or making it a little more dynamic or adding some mobility into the routine.
If I’m doing planks on back day, I’ll try and do plank rows with weights… stuff life that.
Do you do a lot of cardio with your training? How do you schedule cardio and when? Or do you incorporate any other forms of training?
I do cardio almost every time I weight train. Either before or after. The skip rope is my best friend and the treadmill is my greatest opponent!
At gym I stick to HIIT with cardio, because that’s what’s good for my sport, and do a 5 km run once a week or whenever I can. I swim a lot, that’s my favorite form of cardio and it’s so good for the whole body.
Favorite male icon(s)?
Too many. And all from different walks of life, athletes, actors, my own friends, musicians, photographers… it’s interesting to see how people with such busy lives and jobs and professions make fitness such a great part of their daily routines. I find that very inspiring!
Favorite female icon(s):
Even more than male icons! Every female footballer, especially Indian women, all Indian women athletes, and the women that defy all the backward societal norms and conformities. It’s nice to see such a large wave of this globally.
“Death doesn’t happen to you, it happens to everyone else.” ~ Sherlock Holmes
Dark, but the profundity of the statement was like a slap in the face for me when I first heard it and it just stuck.
What is the most common question you get asked?
“Are you single” and it pisses me off so much. How I live and love isn’t anyone else’s business and if I wanted people to know the answer, I think they would already know!
Where can people get hold of you?
I am @ninjabharucha everywhere. Part of my belief in consistency! My Instagram is most active, but it is definitely just a keyhole view of the labyrinth that is my life.
Thank you for this!