Today we are talking with one of the most accomplished Masters swimmers and coach, David Guthrie. He holds over 70 individual records, 11 world records, and has been inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014. Let's hear from David about his current training and nutrition plan to keep himself at the top of his game!
David, thanks for talking with us today. Tell us how you got started in swimming?
When I was a little kid, we lived next door to a community athletic center with a 50-yard pool. That is where I learned to swim when I was 3 or 4. I was not too interested in staying on the surface, preferring to swim along the bottom. Swimming underwater, breaststroke came naturally. My older siblings all swam on the local club team, and I joined them for summer league for a couple of summers when I was 6 or 7. When I was 8, we moved to a remote village in Newfoundland where there were no pools. For the four years we lived there, swimming remained mostly on hold.
Wow, that sounds like quite a transition. Share with us your current fitness routine?
I try to train 5 or 6 days a week in the pool and one hour twice a week in the gym working one on one with Darren Williams, my strength and conditioning coach. Weekdays, my swim workouts are usually 45 minutes, with longer sessions on the weekends. I do a lot of race pace sets, especially when preparing for a taper cycle. My bread and butter set is 4x (4x50) breaststroke on short rest, holding my 200 race pace.
I really try to make my time in the pool count, and avoid piling on yards for the sake of achieving some total distance. I never count my yardage. Instead, I focus on what I need to do to achieve my goals. Recovery is just as important as work. Shorter more intense sessions allow me to recover from day to day. I do feel broken down with fatigue at times, especially from strength training, but I try not to dig too deep of a hole.
You're obviously a master at managing race-day stress and have achieved quite a bit. Any tips or tricks you have for performing at your best under stressful situations?
That is great advice. What records or accomplishments are you most proud of?
Being named one of Swimming World's Masters World Swimmer of the Year and being inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Frame are two of the greatest honors a swimmer can receive. Winning two NAIA national titles while representing Hendrix College is among my proudest achievements because that was a real psychological breakthrough.
Awesome! Tell us about your nutritional plan.
I don't have a "plan" or strict diet. I rely on a consistent, sensible, healthy menu with organic protein and plenty of fruits and vegetables, and supplement with P2Life products like the Nutriboost Shake, Essentials Kit For Men, Powerboost, EnduroBoost Adaptogens and Men's Multivitamins. After a lifetime of neglecting nutrition, I made a decision to consciously improve my eating habits in 2012, replacing unhealthy foods with healthy options and saw a dramatic improvement in my fitness both in and out of the pool. The key for me was replacing unhealthy choices with nutritious foods that I really enjoy so that I'm not struggling with deprivation. Pining for what we can't have erodes our willpower, leading to a slide backward into old patterns. I stay focused on enjoying the healthy things that I can eat rather than dwell on the things I "can't" have. And by establishing a pattern of healthy eating habits, there's practically nothing that I can't have now and then.
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