Olympic swimmer, Dara Torres, who turned 45 last month is pushing hard to make her sixth Olympic team. This, she says, has been the hardest attempt by far due to an aging body, but she’s not letting that stop her. Instead of giving up, she’s getting smarter about building a stronger body to keep up with swimmers half her age.
When doctors confirmed that the production of hormones like testosterone and growth hormone in Torres’ body were on the decline (something that happens to all of us as we age which, like it or not, means we can’t maintain the strength and endurance of our younger years), Torres worked with a team of medical and fitness experts to help her stay in kick-ass, Olympic-worthy shape.
As Torres explained to the Washington Post, there is not a lot you can do about those decreasing hormones:
That’s probably the biggest thing I’m [in trouble] on. They took my levels, and they’re just low. I’m a middle-aged woman: They’re low. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do about it.
As a result, Torres now has her team focus on the reason that aging slows us down–and then working around that. That means, working from the inside out, strengthening her cells, brain activity and neurons–not just her muscles and heart. The result? She’s stronger than ever.
It’s all very, very science-oriented Before, in ’08, it was all about my body. Now it’s what’s going on inside my body.
All of this doesn’t come without a price though. Since the 2008 Games, Torrest has had three knee surgeries, a hernia and two operations on an injured shoulder. Not to mention, plenty of aches and pains:
It seems like I’m sore every freaking day. You never get a day where you’re like, ‘My whole body just feels really good.’
Torres went on to say that this has been the hardest training season yet:
This has definitely mentally and physically been the most challenging Olympics I’ve ever trained for by far. It’s only been four years since the last one. I don’t know why I’m suddenly feeling the effects of age now, but I am.
Torres is definitely an inspiration to all of us, proving that age isn’t a reason to settle for a less-fit body. She’s also an inspiration to keeping it real and eating more than just salads. After a two-hour swim workout and two-hour-plus weight-training session recently, the Post reported that Torres went to a local diner and ordered three eggs, bacon, cottage cheese, toast and fruit. She then requested more bacon when her plate arrived with just four slices.
Take a look at some of Dara’s super-charged workouts and be inspired: