Healthy Lifestyle Tips from a World Champion

Interview with Dara Torres 

Dara Torres broke barriers when she competed in her 5th Olympic Games and became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympics in 2008. Aside from her amazing accomplishments in the pool, including an incredible 12 medals, Dara has talents on dry land too. She won the ESPY award for “Best Comeback” and was named one of the “Top Female Athletes of the Decade” by Sports Illustrated magazine.

How do you stay motivated?

I’m a big believer in doing stuff all year, rather than waiting for one day a year, for the next Monday, or for the next start of the month. Personally, I think it’s more motivating to continuously set goals. This way, if you deviate a little from the new years resolution you made in January, you can always restart again without feeling guilty. It’s always great to check in with yourself at quarter or mid-points through the year to see how you’re progressing and if you’re not, you don’t have to wait until next January to recalibrate – it’s just fine to create a fresh start at any time.  

Is there any issue or difficulty you’d like to leave behind last year?

Like many people, I had a lot of ups and downs in the last year, including dealing with a devastating blow to my family when my brother passed away from Covid. If this last year reminded me of anything, it’s that we have to learn to go with the flow. Some things you just can’t control and one thing that was always instilled in me by my coaches is that athletes, in particular, need to constantly adapt and learn from experience.

What do you hope to change or develop in the next year?

I just want to continue evolving and trying different things. There are always new opportunities out there and I want to be sure to evaluate them all. It’s never fun to get stuck in a rut.

I’ve always appreciated the opportunity to work with Can-i Wellness and that whole experience has been huge. I’m looking forward to more television opportunities and some exciting things ahead. In particular I feel very blessed to have had opportunities to work on projects like WE NEED TO TALK, the first-ever all-female national weekly sports show.

If you only had 30 minutes to work out each day, what would you do? What do you think is the fastest way to get fit with minimal effort?

One thing I always suggest is to plan your workout at the beginning of the day, because as the day goes on and things get more busy and stressful, dealing with kids and work, it’s very easy to get tired. Often, it just gets harder and harder to stay motivated as the day winds to an end. If you don’t procrastinate with your workout, you can get it over with and feel much better and more energetic throughout the day. To stay motivated and keep things interesting, try mixing up your fitness routine. Even if you don’t have a lot of time or access to high-tech equipment or a gym membership, you can always do push ups, situps, go for a walk, or use cans of food to do simple tricep curls or bicep curls. No matter what your situation, there are always lots of things you can do instead of making excuses.

For someone looking to drop a few pounds, what are a few small dietary changes that you’d recommend?

I’m probably the wrong person to ask about nutrition because I just had nachos for lunch. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years is that it’s all about moderation. Everyone knows that eating too much sugar and fried and processed food is bad and that eating more fruits and vegetables is good so no one really needs to be reminded of that. But sometimes we do need the reminder that it’s all about moderation. If there’s something you’re craving, take a few bites and give it to someone else. Your body will always have cravings and it’s okay to indulge them but don’t overdo it. If you are a person who tends to over indulge in unhealthy foods, sometimes it helps to think about what you’re feeling or why you want to eat that thing. Maybe you overeat when you’re stressed or bored or upset. If there’s something else driving the behavior, becoming aware of that is the first step to changing it. And maybe you can find a healthy behavior to substitute instead.

You look fantastic in your 50s. What’s your anti-aging routine?

Working out is huge and I really think that staying fit is the absolute best anti-aging strategy there is. I also moisturize my skin and stay out of the sun. A lot of my career was spent outside in the sun so I’m sensitive about not doing further damage. If I go for a run, I put on a visor and manicure gloves to protect my face and hands.

How do you avoid failing on your new year’s resolutions?

We all fall down. No one’s perfect. It’s about that next step to get back up again. Sometimes you do something that deviates from the path you planned but that’s okay. Dust yourself off and reset. Get back up and try again.

What strategies do you use to relax and stay centered especially with all the craziness going on in the world?

A lot of people like meditation. It’s not me. I go go go all day and then I hit a wall and I sleep. My favorite technique for relaxation is exercise. Or, sometimes I like to do something silly like read gossip online and just turn my brain off for a few minutes. Walking my dogs also helps me relax. Sometimes it helps to try doing something that’s not normal in your day or even just watch a fluff TV show to reset your brain and turn down the stressors.

Do you set personal or business goals each year?

I definitely know what I want to do. This year, I’m going to be working with Mariel Hemingway and doing speeches about women our age. I’m continuously evaluating whether stuff in my life is going in a positive direction or not and assessing how I can make a difference. 

Also, I always make it a goal to make time for myself, which is really the most important thing. As parents we do so much for everyone else and we need to remember to do things for ourselves. That will make you happier and your family happier.

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