Sports fans in the U.S. and around the world will soon be introduced to an American Olympic swim team that is without Michael Phelps for the first time since the 2004 games in Athens. There will certainly be other impressive American swimmers to keep an eye out for when the Tokyo games commence this summer. Up-and-comer Caleb Dressel is considered one of the athletes to watch at these Olympics, and has already broken some of Phelps’s records; Michael Andrew should also be a stand-out on the men’s team; and on the women’s side, the dominant Katie Ledecky will be looking to collect more gold medals. For his part though, Phelps is retired — and this time, he truly seems to have left the pool behind (at least in a professional sense). He has started a family, having Nicole Johnson on the cusp of the 2016 Olympics and subsequently had three children.
He’s become a busy mental health advocate, primarily through a partnership with Talkspace. And he’s even found new competitions to get involved with. Phelps has publicly (if playfully) let it be known that he’s looking to improve his golf game. He’s also become known for his poker prowess, and is now counted among fellow athlete poker stars like soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo and ex-NBA great Paul Pierce.
Given all of these new pursuits, from family, to advocacy, to competitive hobbies, it’s safe to say Phelps really is done with the Olympics. Even with this being the case though, it’s hard to imagine that the presence of the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history won’t be part of the summer games.
Phelps will be referenced consistently (and we imagine possibly interviewed), such that the Olympics will once again remind us how incredible he was to watch in his prime.
In other words, he’ll continue to be an inspiration. So as we inch toward the first Olympics without him in quite some time, we thought we’d take that inspiration in a practical way, and look back on some swimming and training tips we’ve gleaned from Phelps over the years.
Phelps has talked about the importance of preparation outside of the pool, including maintaining the right diet to maintain muscle and energy, and keeping the mind sharp. Swimming is also good exercise for the body.
But according to his old coach Bob Bowman — who was instrumental in the Olympian’s astounding success — Phelps also trained every single day. This can be a combination of endurance training, strength traing and a healthy amount of yoga to keep the flexibility levels up. Granted, most of us aren’t chasing down Olympic medals, so the occasional day off. But the real lesson to learn is that consistency really does pay off.
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Fred Felton is a copywriter, editor and social media specialist based in Durban, South Africa. He has over 20 years of experience in creating high end content. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. Currently Fred specialises in the adventure watersports space, focussing on surf, kayak and rafting. He is also a keynote speaker and has presented talks and workshops in South Africa.