BENGALURU: Being the CEO and founder of Zerodha, one of India’s biggest stock brokers, means Nithin Kamath often has to clock in 12-14 hours a day. Such hours can take a toll on anybody but Kamath has found a way to stay sane through it all: By taking up challenges and setting goals for himself.
While he has always been a fitness buff, especially when it comes to swimming and cycling, this year, the 39-year-old is preparing for the “torture” of a half-Ironman, a triathlon that comprises a 1.2 mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56 mile (90 km) bike ride and a 13.1 mile (21.1 km) run. Completing the triathlon can take anywhere between four to five hours, so Kamath spends at least an hour a day training for it. “I’ve been swimming and cycling for seven years now and have always wanted to do the half-Ironman. Zerodha was started in 2010 and I didn’t have the time then to practice for this,” he says.
From Monday to Friday, his workouts begin at 7 am and include either swimming or cycling, while Sundays are reserved for combinations of both. Kamath often heads to the outskirts of the city to cycle and reveals that he has completed 400 km trails in his younger days, making him at ease about the sport.
Despite being able to swim for an hour non-stop, the businessman is concerned about this aspect of the triathlon since it involves swimming in the open. “It’s harder to swim in the open than in a pool. There are also thousands of others taking part at the same time and since Bengaluru has no sea, I have no choice but to practise in a pool,” he says.
Besides paying attention to his workouts, Kamath has also tweaked his diet in order to prepare himself for the triathlons in Bintan Island in August and another one in Bali in September. He is trying his best to avoid bulking up, even if it means saying no to protein and yes to more carbohydrates in his diet. “I had a habit of snacking and it was difficult to stay away from it a full-time job. So I took up intermittent fasting and don’t eat anything from 8 pm to 10 am. It’s not just about looking fit, I also want to be fit internally,” he explains.
Kamath is a man who loves his chocolates and whiskey, so he does allow himself cheat days. That said, he does admit that his morning workout can make or break his day, helping him stay more focused and energetic at work, while also helping him control his diet through the day. “It’s similar to what praying in the morning does for a priest. If I don’t workout in the morning, I can immediately feel it after-effects through my day at work” he says.