The secret to Mirabai Chanu’s Olympic success and fitness

The secret to Mirabai Chanu's Olympic success and fitness

Chanu Saikhom Mirabai, the woman who achieved the Olympic silver medal in weight lifting is an inspiration now in India. This has been a proud moment for India. So first let’s dedicate a salute to the Indian weight lifter Mirabai Chanu for making India proud at the Olympics. 

Today’s article will be focused on how Mirabai Chanu achieved this success on such a big platform and how you can even reach such a big platform with rigorous training, dedication, and concentration.

Mirabai Chanu is not only famous for Olympic weight lifting but also has achievements before the Olympics. Be it commonwealth games or Asian games, Mirabai has always followed the path of success. But this path was never easy and she had to go through severe training and workouts on a regular basis. 

How is the weight lifted calculated in Olympic weight lifting?

There are two main lifts in Olympic weight lifting. The first is snatch weightlifting and the second is clean and jerk weightlifting. In both these lifts, you have to lift the maximum weight (1 RM) and perform in front of the crowd. And when you perform this weightlifting in a valid way the total weight is calculated.

Mirabai Chanu achieved a 202kg weightlift in the Olympics (87 kgs in snatch and 115 kgs in clean and jerk). This was enough for her to win the silver medal in the Olympics. 

How did Mirabai Chanu achieved this success?

The journey to success of Mirabai was not at all easy. It took her several years and hard work for this preparation. Her weightlifting success depended on several factors. Out of which we will be mentioning 3 main factors which are necessary for the preparation of a complete athlete and reach his/her ultimate success point like Mirabai Chanu. 

1. Genetic potential

When you dream of playing a sport at an elite level your genetics play an important role. For example, Mirabai Chanu comes from a humble background, from a small village in Manipur. The women who belong to this village generally travel a lot in the forest to gather wood for cooking food. They have a habit of carrying high loads from the very beginning.

Mirabai Chanu being a part of the village is not an exception. So this acted as an advantage for her. If you already have a challenging background from your childhood days it makes you physically tough. This improves your physical condition to a great extent and gets carried into your genes altogether. This is the sole reason why Rock-climbers, sherpas are naturally well-built. So, initially, if your genetics are like this then you already have an upper hand in such sports. 

The next genetic advantage that Mirabai got was her short height. Whenever we are talking about weightlifting the smaller are your limbs the better results you can get. This is because while lifting the barbell travels a shorter distance which acts as an advantage. 

2. Training

The next thing that comes is your training, rather this is the most important point for any athlete to reach his/her success. It is mandatory for an athlete to get proper coaching and guidance in order to reach the top. Whenever you are into any physical sports be it bodybuilding, powerlifting or weightlifting you need proper coaching. Mirabai from her initial stages got the proper coaching that she required. 

Her recent coach Vijay Sharma, is a weightlifter himself and has major experiences. While I was doing research on him I found out an excellent fact about him. When he joined in 2014 he convinced SAI (Sports Authority of India) to build a separate kitchen for bodybuilders, weight lifters, and powerlifters. A separate kitchen is necessary because these types of athletes need more protein. 

When you are into skill-based training in physical sports physical therapy is very important. How to train yourself during injury, how to train yourself after recovery, what are your weak points can only be known through proper physical therapy. Mirabai took training from Aaron Horschig. Stiff shoulder, mobility work, hip mobility work, flexibility, increasing range of motions were all the points where this physiotherapist helped Mirabai. This takes a lot of time but increases your stability while doing the major lifts. 

So when you are taking these physical therapies from specific coaches the technique of your major lifts improves. Your weak points can be corrected if exposed. And ultimately your overall lift improves. 

3. Right nutrition and diet

I have already given you a glimpse of how the right nutrition and diet plan are necessary to reach your goals. In Mirabai’s case, there was a separate dietician for her. Her diet was made balanced in such a way that it would maintain her weight throughout (49kgs). A specific diet is necessary for this to work because as you start aging the food requirement by your body increases. The strength increases and the muscle size also increases. Under such scenarios to maintain the weight with the same food is very challenging. 

While I was doing research on her diet chart I found out that her breakfast was the key. Her Morning breakfast included 1 whole egg, 2 slices of bread, and 5 different varieties of fruits which includes avocado as well. If you playing any sports at such an elite level you need to consume such high-quality foods. A high-quality organic food will always help in increased performance levels in the field. 

Her lunch included fish and pork belly. These kinds of high-quality protein foods such as tuna fish, salmon fish, and pork belly are necessary especially if you are an athlete. If you are on a restricted diet these high-quality foods are necessary to get the required amount of nutrients. 


When we align all these factors together along with willpower, consistency, and mental balance a champion like Mirabai Chanu rises. You have to focus. You have to have the willpower to not give up. You need to develop the athlete mindset. 


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