Chennai

Back from the brink

Prasanna Karthik sews up a recollection of two medical crises with how he recovered from both, not just by pills, surgical threads and plates, but also wafer-thin carbon wheels.

Prasanna, who suffered a cardiac arrest on December 30, 2012, snuffed out 43 candles on his birthday cake this week, on October 19 — so, imagine the shock the medical event nine years ago would have brought to his kith and kin.

Prasanna would ensure their eyebrows went further up, the brows furrowed this time with pleasant surprise.

Post-recovery, he took to running and shed 22 kilogrammes but an almost equal amount of flab remained before he finally achieved a healthy BMI.

In 2014, acting on a friend’s suggestion, he jumped into cycling for heart health. It however went beyond the natural blood-pumping machine and captured his whole being, soul and sprit added for good measure, and made an endurance cyclist out of him, not to mention a “fitness trainer”.

Absorbed in randonneuring, he would go on to win four senior-randonneuring (SR) titles (for an SR title, one has to complete 200, 300, 400 and 600 km Brevet de Randonneur Mondiaux or BRMs in one year). He capped off the 2019 season with participation in the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris brevet, which happens once in four years. Besides, he has done one Les Ranonneus Mondiaux (LRM), a 1,000 km ride.

“Considering what I had gone through and recovered from, some people started looking up to me. As I did not want what had happened to me happen to them, I started getting familiar with diets and workouts.”

The consultations on diets and workouts come gratis. Prasanna explains: “The training helps me enhance my knowledge about diets and workouts. I spend quality time on them learning about all these things.”

It is essentially about sharing with others how he undid the effects of unhealthy eating and working behaviours.

“When I had the cardiac arrest, I was into lifting weights, but not cardio. I was leading a sedentary life, and knew nothing about healthy diets. And the stress of running a business also took a toll on my heart,” says this Velachery resident.

Prasanna admits he is not a certified nutritionist, but having shed around 42 kg twice — after the cardiac event and later, following an accident that rendered him hors de combat for months on end — “I do know how the body reacts to various diets”.

Besides voracious reading about these twin subjects, he wrangled enough time from his property development business for a kettlebell certification programme, which helps him while writing out workout regimens for his friends.

Around three years after the cardiac arrest and his transformation into an endurance cyclist, an accident set him back significantly and he had to start afresh almost from square one.

It was a cycling accident that happened while riding the cycle downhill, and the brakes gave way.

“I broke my wrist — it collapsed completely. I broke my collar bone. I was out of action for six months. A plate had been put in my shoulder and another in my wrist, and during my recovery period, I was not able to hold the handlebar. I had also put on considerable weight.”

He repeated the cycle of recovery and restoration and transformation, losing over 40 kg again.

When he returned to his business he was faced with paucity of time, and was forced to cut down on the time he could devote to guide others. Prasanna now focusses only on helping people on diets.

“Currently, I am guiding six people with diets.” When it comes to workouts, he helps others with basic techniques such as posture correction. He points out that he would somehow create time for volunteering at randonnering events. A member of Madras Randonneurs, he is part of the ride responsibility. Though volunteering takes much out of him as it requires him to keep shuffling between control points — “Volunteering is more taxing than riding” — it does puts enough back in him, in terms of fulfilment, for him to

continue with it.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 4:50:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/back-from-the-brink/article37148281.ece

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