If anyone should be the spokesperson for fitness, it should be Dara Torres. As a 5-time Olympic swimmer and as, at age 41, the oldest swimmer ever to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team, Dara is, undeniably, in better shape than most (if not all!). And there is no end in sight. Rather, this mother, model, motivational speaker and author is back in the waters again, having just completed the swimming Grand Prix (the event that qualifies a swimmer for next year’s Olympic qualifiers)! So, naturally, we wanted to know how Dara, at 43 years old, maintains a body that 18 year olds dream of and a passion for fitness that even the gym-buffs among us envy. Thankfully, she was willing to share her secrets!
Dara Torres’ Fitness Tips
Your body is coveted by women of all ages – but obviously a lot of work! What is your typical workout routine like?
I’m back training in the weight room and the pool 4-5 times a week with coaches that push me and teammates that encourage me. I do spent a lot of time taking care of my body, whether it’s working out or resistance stretching, but a lot of people forget that it’s my job.
How do you keep your workouts exciting and prevent your body from hitting a plateau?
Having great people around me (like my strength and resistance coach Andy O’Brien, my stretchers Anne Tierney and Steve Sierra and my coaches). Everything is built uniquely for their athletes and not the concept of the athlete.
What are your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks/meals?
I usually have a health shake in the morning before I start working out and I love to drink chocolate milk after my workout ends. I also always make sure to take my Fitness Nutrition Amino Acids to recover faster and easier.
Diet is clearly a large part of your athleticism; do you follow a particular diet plan?
I don’t follow a particular diet. I make sure that what I’m putting in my body is giving me the proper nutrients and vitamins that I need and I try to stay away from processed, salty foods. One rule I have is to never deprive myself of something. I love sweets, so when I have a craving for something sweet I make sure to let myself have a few bites – for healthier sweets I use SUSTA, an all natural sweetener. But not depriving myself is important because if you try to deprive your body of what it wants, you’ll be more likely to overindulge when you finally give in to that craving.
For women who “don’t like working out,” do you have any words of encouragement or mantras you use on those days you don’t want to hit the gym?
If you find yourself losing steam or coming up with excuses not to work out, then pause for a moment and focus on the negative thought that’s developing. Once you become aware of it, give yourself the opportunity to make a choice: am I really too tired to hit the gym? Is my goal not one that I want to work at achieving? I think if you’re dedicated to achieving your fitness goals, answering these questions helps motivate you. Also, make sure you’re having fun with your workouts! Work out outside instead of hitting the treadmill, take a dance class or go on a long walk with a friend.
If you could teach your daughter one thing about body image and fitness, what would it be?
Because I did experience having an eating disorder at a very young age, I recognize that there is a real need for communication between parents and kids on the topics of body and fitness. The only thing I would teach – and do teach – my daughter Tessa is that you are beautiful inside and out, and others people’s views don’t matter.