Meet Chatrapati Aryan Tandon, an inspiring 21 year-old who went from being an overweight kid who dreamt about making a career in cricket to pushing his physical and mental limits as one of India’s top triathlon racers. 

Here’s a peek into his exciting journey:

As a kid, were you always into some kind of fitness/sport?

Yes, I always wanted to get out and be athletic. I had been trying out various sports since I was six and was particularly keen on becoming a pro cricketer. However, my lack of preparation coupled with my overweight physique and uninspiring skill-set prevented me from making any sort of breakthrough.

How did you get into Triathlons?

To elevate my fitness and athleticism, I took up running and swimming. And as a result, I not only became fitter and more but also started winning medals in intra and extramural games for my school, Modern Vasant Vihar! I remember when I won my first ever medal at the age of 13, what a gloriously grand feeling that was. That was the tipping point. There was no looking back.  I went on to win more than a dozen medals each year in swimming, running and multisports. 

The next test for me logically seemed to be triathlons. So, at the age of 16, roughly a decade after I had started playing sports, I qualified for my first ever National Championship and made my debut at the Triathlon Nationals in Pune.

Did you leave everything behind in your pursuit for triathlon glory?

I have always pushed both on the track/field and academically. Yet, despite my parents’ initial hesitation, I have always pushed towards creating a career in sport for myself. I could relate to my parents’ fears as sports was an unstable and unstable field to be in at the time, but the idea of working in another field simply frightened me. 

Yet, I have managed to turn my passion into a profession by spending my entire high school doing internships, part time jobs and projects with sports and fitness firms. I started with Foreverfit itself, where I found a mentor in Ilan Bhatia and gained a lot more than just work experience!

Incidentally, I have been accepted at over 20 of the best business schools in India and established myself as one of the best Triathlon racers in the nation. My dream came true!

You said you are working in sports. Can you elaborate?

Yes! I am the EKIN (product specialization and retail training head) at Nike India and an athlete in the Indian National Triathlon Team. EKIN incidentally is NIKE spelled backwards. I entered the Nike ecosystem as a Regional Training Manager (Product Specialist) for North India. 

As EKIN of India, my role is to inspire people through the power of sport!

Mantra in life:

There are various principles and virtues that I live by, and inculcate in myself.

But the one thing that defines me and helps me overcome obstacles is doing whatever it takes and staying positive in negative situations.

I cannot let the storm overpower me, because I am the storm!

Who pushed you and made sure you kept going:

Undoubtedly, my mother! I have had various pacers and leaders on the track and field, but the one person who has always had my back in each and every aspect of my training and life is my mother. She has stood by me like a rock and seen the world through my lens. She has trusted me, backed my dreams and helped me chase them down. Words cannot define the contribution she has made to my success. Love you ma!

For all those looking to get fit, what are your suggestions?:

I am particularly inspired by two lines:

  1. If you can’t take the heat, don’t light the fuse.
  2. Find your Ikigai. Do what moves you!

I believe that if you set out to accomplish something and are motivated by temporary and materialistic fuels such as jealousy, ego or any negative thoughts, you will not be able to last long. Each step, each mile is going to feel like a burden. Eventually you’re going to burn out and throw in the towel.

However, if you truly believe in something and are willing to put in the discipline required to accomplish your goal; the journey will be way more fruitful and the process will sublimate you. Like a diamond that becomes supremely lustrous and unbreakable after years of embracing the heat. It will not matter if you’re going through fire, because your melting point will be too high to give up.

“I still have a long way to go and am hungry for so much more. But if Chatrapati from a decade ago knew where he would be standing today, he would be boundlessly ecstatic.”