Heena Sidhu may hold a degree in dentistry and express her artistic side through painting and sketching, but the Herbalife-sponsored athlete from India is known throughout the world for her excellence in an entirely different and unique endeavor: pistol shooting.
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Shot at Greatness
Highly accomplished in her sport, Sidhu is the current world record holder in the 10 meter air pistol event and was the first Indian pistol shooter to be ranked number one in the world in 2014. Her strong interest in shooting at an early age came as no surprise, as her father was a national level shooter in India and her uncle was a gunsmith. She started out shooting for fun, but as her interest in the sport grew and she progressed, her family helped motivate her to take her interest to the next level. Her uncle, one of her biggest supporters, even helped her to fine-tune her equipment so that she could perform at her very best. Though competitive pistol shooting has not gained widespread popularity yet, according to Sidhu, there are many opportunities for the sport in India. “Shooting is gaining a lot of attention and growing at a good rate here,” she says. “Plus, the consistent achievement of the Indian Shooting Team in both the national and international arena ensures that the sport gets its due recognition. Shooting is also a top priority for the government of India and with many private sponsors funding the training of talented shooters, things are better than ever before.” However, for anyone who thinks they can simply pick up a pistol and master the sport, they better think again.
“There are unique challenges to pistol shooting, from both a physical and mental perspective,” says Sidhu. “Though it may come across as an easy sport – just stand, aim and shoot – being able to hit a small target at a distance of more than 30 feet while under pressure is challenging. Your muscles need to be strong and have the endurance to hold your body and your gun still. You need to be able to find a mental zone in which you can focus and make the shot you need without outside distractions. And you need to do it in repetition.” In need of both physical and mental stamina to perform at her best, Sidhu focuses on full body conditioning when training, with added focus on core and back work, which is critical to her stability. Stretching is also very important to keep her muscles supple. As for the mental aspect, “I work with a sports scientist and we do a lot of breathing exercises, which helps me take in more oxygen and stay calm in stressful situations,” she says. “I also work on being able to multitask, as taking a good shot involves aligning many different elements of the shot simultaneously. Aim, stability, breath, trigger manipulation and much more all need to come together for a great shot.”
Armed with Nutrition
As any athlete competing at the highest level of their sport would, Sidhu pays close attention to what she consumes. “Nutrition is critical to my performance, to get the desired results from working out and to allow my body to recover in time for the rigors of the next day,” she says. So what made her choose Herbalife® products? “I had long been aware of the Herbalife commitment to providing quality nutrition to athletes. Then I got to experience the benefits first hand, in both training and recovery. Also, when traveling, I noticed a big impact on my diet – Herbalife provides me with the macro and micro nutrients I need to stay healthy and energized.” Sidhu takes Herbalife® Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix with an extra scoop of Herbalife® Protein Drink Mix post-workout and as a meal replacement when she’s traveling. She also uses Herbalife® Formula 2 Multivitamin Complex and Herbalife® Afresh Energy Drink Mix (available exclusively in India and similar to Herbalife® N-R-G Nature’s Raw Guarana Tea), the later especially after intense training sessions in hot weather. “My goal with Herbalife is to build and maintain a long-term partnership where we help each other excel in our fields of expertise,” she says. “I want Herbalife to help me be fit so I can compete for longer and I want to give Herbalife my feedback so they can continue to evolve and help top athletes to succeed. Together, we need to educate athletes, as well as society as a whole, on the importance of good nutrition and living a healthy, active life.”
Among Sidhu’s other goals is to constantly try to improve and master her sport. “I enjoy the process of training and improving more than the actual victory,” she says. “I never let my achievements make me complacent. My attitude has helped me to get to where I am today. It’s an attitude that will hopefully allow me to enjoy every moment at the world games in Rio and win multiple medals.”
Heena Sidhu Medal Record (partial)
- Asian Shooting Championships (2015) – Women’s 10m Air Pistol – Gold
- Asian Games (2014) – Women’s 25m Air Pistol (Team) – Bronze
- ISSF World Cup Finals (2013) – Women’s 10m Air Pistol – Gold
- Commonwealth Games (2010) – Women’s 10m Air Pistol (Team) – Gold
- Commonwealth Games (2010) – Women’s 10m Air Pistol – Silver