Our 7th Interviewee for “Meet the BITSians in Sports” series is Praneeth Subramanya (2005C6PS582). Praneeth completed #IronMan this year and is also a recipient of BITSAA 30 Under 30 Award.
After graduating from BITS in 2009, Praneeth joined Infosys and has been with the company for nearly 7 years now. He moved to the US two years ago as a Project Lead.
In an exhaustive interview, Praneeth shares his food habits, workout details, fitness mantras and Ironman experience!
Name: Praneeth Subramanya
BITS ID: 2005C6PS582
How does it feel to be named among BITSAA 30 under 30?
When I registered I only had a few marathons and half Iron distance races. I completed the Ironman after registering for the BITSAA 30 under 30. It was a very good feeling when you get recognition but with an almamater like BITS, it was very special. I am one of the very few Ironman athletes in India. The numbers are growing by the event and I’m glad to see so many people picking up the sport.
Sports/activities involved in and how did you get into playing these sports?
Swimming, Running, Cycling and strength training mostly. I have done a good amount of hiking, climbing (not in the US yet though), off road/terrain biking, long motor-bike rides before I started endurance sports.
I started off hiking at different places and bouldering, climbing pretty quickly after that. I fell in love with climbing and being a fat guy almost all my life, it was very important to me to get fit. With this urge to get fit, I started biking to work daily, a few 30-40 milers a month and eventually picked up running as just biking wasn’t giving me enough results. I did a few marathons along the way and had to move to Chennai on a work assignment. There I saw a call from Chennai Trekking Club for a half Iron distance race 3 months out. I knew about Ironman as I had read the story of the first Indian Ironman, Anu Vaidyanathan and was inspired. Infact I had a Barney(from how I met your mother) style challenge with a friend that I’d finish an Ironman before 30. Now, my only dilemma was swim – could I learn to swim in 3 months? I consulted a few friends and signed up. I kicked off from there and eventually completed an Ironman race last September.
You recently completed Iron Man. How did you train for it? Could you please share your workout details?
The most important thing I learned from a full Iron distance race was discipline. You have to make a plan and stick to it. I didnt have a coach or paid for any specific training plans. I hired a fitness coach however for the last month to correct some posture issues. The event I picked for Ironman was Lake Tahoe. The course is one of a kind at high altitude with a lot of elevation gain over bike course and one of the toughest North American races. I reviewed the course and made intermediate plans inline with the course. Being in the bay area has offered ample opportunities to train right for the race. I followed a simple 3 workouts/discipline a week rule. two intermediate distances and one long distance. I used the Aquatic Park swim area at San Francisco as a open water workout and finished a swim to Alcatraz and back (same distance as Ironman 2.4 mi) which was one of the highlights of my training. I have documented the whole experience with training details and the event itself here : https://www.facebook.com/notes/praneeth-subramanya/my-first-ironman/914301698617923
What was most challenging thing during your preparations for Iron-man?
The most challenging portion was getting out of bed in the morning to workout. Once you get out of bed, everything else is simple. The first step from the bed is the hardest. Then, there is a time commitment you need to maintain. I used to workout 10-15 hrs a week mostly with highest going to I think 22 hours on one weekend with around 9 hours on a Saturday(my longest brick). The other challenges were managing work and workout schedule especially with an offshore team not to impact either and missing out on rendezvous with friends over weekends.
Does Fitness comes naturally to you? How much time did it take you to prepare for Iron-man?
I was never fit my whole life. I was healthy but obese. When I left BITS I was a little over 90 Kgs. I liked playing but never to get fit interested in gym which I still hate but see as a necessary evil. I was a foodie and still miss out the good old rabdi from BITS :). Climbing had become my passion once which was the first time I had a reason to get fit. But once I started cycling and running and learned to swim it was an amazing feeling and there was no reason to look back. My swim from Aquatic park to Alcatraz and back is one of the best things I have experienced (I have done a lot of hikes, seen very beautiful places, did quite a few adventure sports). Time it took for me to prepare from an Ironman is a very tricky question. I signed up 3 months to the event but I was always doing something – running a marathon/riding my bike for pleasure/having a fun swim. It’s not just that – I can feel the benefits of fitness oriented lifestyle from the confidence it provides and how your day grows more brighter with a good workout to start your day. So though I trained for only 3 months a very huge mistake for a race like Ironman, I was into the triathlon sport for past 2.5+ years
Any major injuries that blocked your preparations and progress? Any recommendation/advice on how to avoid such injuries?
I never faced any injuries as I am yet to do a “race” than just complete the race. Injuries have some underlying problem – incorrect posture/improper diet/over training/lack of sufficient sleep and many more. You get symptoms before injuries which you should heed to or as people say – listen to your body. It worked great for me. I don’t strain my body more than it can handle. That is not to say that I don’t push during my interval workouts, but, I dont try and run a marathon at 10K pace.
What kind of food/diet you usually consume while you are working out continuously for 10-12 hours during events like Iron-man?
My on course nutrition is still a work in progress and no where near good. Nutrition is often referred to as fourth discipline in ironman which I’m yet to perfect. There are methods which can help you calculate precisely what you need and when you need them on course. Proper hydration, electrolytes, carbs/proteins constitute the main requirements of oncourse nutrition. Then there is pre-workout nutrition with carbs, proteins and a bit of fruit and post workout recovery food which I mostly include a bit of protein and a lot of fruit
Could you please share your Iron-man experience in form of a short blog? Atmosphere, people, memories, challenges?
I have my full experience documented here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/praneeth-subramanya/my-first-ironman/914301698617923
What do you like the most about Swimming, Running and Cycling?
Each of them have their own individual place for me. I started out long distances as a runner so I like running. Biking gives you a unique experience of a place. I love climbing even on the bike. Biking provides you with spectacular views which you otherwise would miss out on. Swimming in a pool is boring for me but open water is liberating and unique each time and each place. The birds eye views are majestic. I lean towards swimming may be because of open water experience or the fact that I’m still not very good at it.
Do you take special care of your diet in everyday life?
When you pursue a sport like Ironman it sends its good vibes through the other areas of your life. A part of it was food. I was a vegetarian all my life. I became an eggetarian to fulfill my protein needs. I have a lot of fruit (3-4 kinds a day), oatmeal, yogurt, South Indian thali, salads mostly. I fell in love with salads especially due to freshness they provide and ample nutrition with them. My main change was switch to brown rice from white, have a protein supplement and include eggs in my diet.Another change which happened without my notice and what my mom noticed and told me about was I eat dal and curry like rice and vice-versa which meant I switched to include lesser carbs and more nutrition with each meal. I gave up soda and softdrinks 3 years ago and don’t miss them. I gave up refined sugars for jaggery, honey and natural sweeteners like agave for which I’m more than happy. I also make my own fresh juice than resort to preservative infested juice packs as much as I can. I however still indulge in the guilty food pleasures once in awhile like eating fries and a good bowl of ice cream.
What’s your next goal for your game(s)?
I have signed up for one half iron distance race, 3 full races and another shorter tri from alcatraz next year. Two of the full iron races are a week apart. So my immediate challenge is to complete both. At the Tahoe finish line, I was smiling and as one of my friends said, I looked as if I was out of a comedy movie. I intend to finish both races with the same smile on my face. I am also going back to a vegetarian diet as I found more than enough options to fulfill my protein concerns.
Any advice to the BITSian community on how to stay healthy and fit?
Fitness is a very individual thing and each has their own goals. For me fitness has become an important regimen. Basic fitness is simple and not very hard to achieve if you really want to be fit. You don’t need drastic changes in your lifestyle to become fit. Just a few simple changes like – include a 30min – 1 hr of any physically active activity in a day, have anything on moderation than binge eating, reduce/avoid refined sugars with healthier options, include fruits into your diet, get enough sleep, reduce on screen time. These are some small changes which tend to snowball and provide very noticeable effects on your health and fitness which I think in turn push you into the next level once you start noticing the benefits.
Interviewed by: Robin Garg (2007A3PS161P)buy ambien online without prescription