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Being a mother is harder than being a world boxing champion: Mary Kom
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Being a mother is harder than being a world boxing champion: Mary Kom

Mary Kom has played a significant role in creating heart health awareness among women and busting the myth that coronary diseases only affect men and older women

Mary Kom

MC Mary Kom, a six-time world boxing champion, thinks she is lucky to have pursued a career in boxing largely through her determination and family support. The mother of four was in Bangalore recently to participate in Shakti Conclave 2.0, which focused on heart health in women. In a conversation with Happiest Health, Mary Kom recommended that women exercise regularly and not ignore any underlying health issues. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:

Q1: How has the journey been for you? What drives you on?

A: I don’t know where my hunger comes from. Some of the athletes in the young generation are satisfied after one or two medals and are not able to perform further. Performance peaks and sometimes suddenly drops down. I feel so hurt and pained at times. If I compare my journey, I have sustained my performance even after my marriage and kids. When I could, why can’t others? I feel that God has been kind to me, and I have that ‘extra’ energy and hunger.

Q2: Tell us about a typical day in your life. How do you train? Tell us about sleep and  training schedules.

A2: On most days, I sleep by 10.30pm, latest by 12am. I am up by 6.30, or 7am at most. But even if I get sound sleep for 3–4 hours, it is more than enough. I do morning exercises and kitchen work and send the kids to school. After that, I work out for one hour. I sweat out and that’s how I refresh myself. This could be a 10k run in one hour where I burn 700-800 calories and fill up (eating to my heart’s content) again. I enjoy my workout. When you sweat that much, you feel very happy and good. I start my session with the trainer at 11am. My evening session without the trainer is around 7pm, after I am done with cooking. If I am not satisfied with my workout for the day, I go for a third session, too.

Q3: What do you avoid in your meals every day? Can you tell us about any restrictions that you follow?

A: I eat everything. I am a rice lover and a non-vegetarian. I prefer boiled food. The food preparation is very simple. I prepare my food without much oil or masala

Q4. Tell us about Mary as a mother and world champion.

A: I start my session after sending my four kids to school. There are efforts that every family and mother put in to motivate kids and provide them with good food. You must make them understand that only with good food will they have the energy to perform and focus on studying. It is easier to be a world champion in boxing than to be a mother. When kids understand, it is easy to handle. But sometimes kids don’t — that’s just kids being kids. I love being a mother and am happy about it. But it is hard work to continue being a mother and a world boxing champion. After marriage and kids, how many have taken up their sports career?

Q5: What would you like to tell women?

I want all women to be like me — strong and hardworking. Eat healthy food and enjoy exercising. It need not be high-intensity exercises, but exercises that keep you healthy. You feel good when you notice the difference before and after exercises. Only when your health is good, you can do anything. Do not ignore your heart health. If in doubt, consult your doctor. One must know that coronary artery diseases are not just men’s diseases, and the fact is that women are equally vulnerable. It is a myth that only elderly women are at risk.

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