* You are now a youth icon in India. Do you think India is changing in the way it is now recognizing the achievements of sportspersons other than cricketers?
Definitely! And I've always said it's because of how well we are doing in other sports as well. People are recognizing other sports now a days because they are doing so well on the world stage. So I hope it continues and all sports are given as much importance as cricket in the country.
* How can we take squash a notch higher in India?
I think a proper schedule needs to be in place to help the sport grow. A lot of junior programmes need to start happening. We need a lot more international coaches to come in and help create a structure for squash in this country.
* As a sportsperson, fitness has to be given top priority. But people tend to lose motivation when it comes to workout and following a fitness regime. How have you managed to keep yourself motivated?
I think that's why it's important to do stuff you love. You have to wake up every day wanting to do it and automatically the motivation will come. I've never been someone who has lacked motivation, but motivation comes from having goals and being hell-bent on achieving them.
* What is your fitness regime?
I think it's important to stick to things you enjoy and look forward to do them everyday. As an athlete, my fitness consists of a lot of running, strength work at the gym and rehab because we play so much on a daily basis. I also do pilates and yoga which has been an eye opener in the last one year.
* How would you rate yourself in fitness on the scale of 10?
Probably a 6 or 7/10. I do want to be fitter than I am now. I know there's scope. So probably a 6/10.
* The fittest person you know or whom you idealize?
I think I've never really idolized anyone be it for squash or life. But I always admire people who are not only for physically but mentally fit as well. I truly believe that if you eat healthy, sleep healthy and breathe healthy, you will lead a balanced life.
* You are the face of Pond's new skincare range designed for pre and post workout. How important t is to take care of the skin while working out?
It is very exciting that Pond's is introducing a high-performance range like Pond's Skin Fit that is designed for a work out session and identifies the needs of athletes and fitness enthusiasts like me. While this is a unisex range, women will understand the need for skincare more. For athletes, it is easy to maintain an intensive training programme but also easy to forget to take care of your skin. But now, with products specialized for my needs, I know I can take care of my skin better. I have been using the Pond's Skin Fit cooling gel that restores moisture in my skin. Also, after an intense workout, the body is heated up and we feel dehydrated, so this range has actually helped me calm and cool down. I love it!
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)