One would seriously wonder if they are seeing the same person when they look at Neil D’Silva’s old pictures. Even for those who have known Neil (such as myself) since high school, he is most definitely unrecognizable now. His frame which was once rather chubby back in school, is now lean and fit and perhaps put a Milind Soman in doubt.
He has had a rough patch through his teens, where he fought with drug and smoking addiction. After about four years of addiction, it was Neil’s father who discovered that Neil was an addict and took him to rehab. His parents were utmost shocked to learn this about him. His family went through a really difficult time as his mother was then diagnosed and undergoing cancer treatment.
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It is beyond any of our comprehension, to understand what was going on in his mind during this time. They say that life is not often fair to everybody, but it is what you choose to do with what you have that matters. And that is exactly what got Neil on a path that led him to his life’s calling, of chasing the high of fitness and success.
He took up running as an activity, which became a serious commitment and he got coaching from professionals like Daniel Vaz and Melvin Crasto. He bought a cycle then and ran a 200km cycling event, gradually moving to attempt a triathlon in the next few months. He then chose on the Ironman 70.3 event in China, held in November 2016 and started training for that.
Neil has participated and won several national and international championships. He won the first place at Pune triathlon 2018 as well as Deccan triathlon 2018, second at the Jaipur international triathlon 2018. Apart from these he has also participated in triathlons in the US, China, Turkey and Sri Lanka. We ask him what is the one inspirational advise he lives by, he says it’s a simple ‘one day at a time’ routine.
Neil emphasizes on fitness and says that even a person with a nine to five job should exercise no matter what. “Health should be given paramount importance by everyone. It is not difficult to spare a minimum 30-45 minutes towards any fitness activity of choice – it could be yoga, swimming, running or gym. Everyone can use a bit of dopamine at the start of the day,” he says. He begins his day at 5 am and has 2-3 different workouts for the day. “I have a work from home that allows me to recover well from my previous workout session and work on the next ones as well,”
For those who are struggling to find their feet Neil has a piece of advise, “Find your own reason to not get back to the substance of your choice. Find a reason strong enough which will keep you away from addiction good just like I found my reason on this sport,” he says.