Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gold Medal Fitness by Dara Torres

"I love the excitement and rush of pushing myself to the edge. But more than anything, I love a good race. That was true when I was eight years old, and it's still true now at forty-three." -- Dara Torres in Gold Medal Fitness

I was invited to be one of the stops along the Dara Torres blog tour for her new book, Gold Medal Fitness. I was happy to do so because I was interested in the book and wanted to check it out. And, let's be honest. Dara's in her 40s. She's a mom. She's competed in five Olympic Games. And have you seen what she looks like???

"Tone your muscles . . . at any age" -- hey, sign me up!

So, last week the book arrived and I read it, paying close attention to the chapter titled "Your Inner Athlete" since that was the topic I was invited to write about.

Now, let me go on record as saying that even though I am a 40-year-old pregnant mom, I believe that my inner athlete is simply on hiatus. I'm convinced that I still have MANY years of high-quality running in me. In fact, I hope that within a year after my baby is born I will be posting some PRs in local races. Sure, I'm aging but I'm also dedicated and I have a real desire to run well.

So, it's with that perspective that I approached Dara Torres' book.

Dara writes about how she's seen some women stop playing sports after high school or college and what a bummer that is. By dropping out, these women are missing out on the positive effects that sports can have on self-esteem and general success (in school and work). She writes:
". . . it gives me pause to think of all that is lost when girls become women and stop running around playing sports and enjoying their physicality.

"This is one of the major benefits of getting in and staying in shape: The more active you are physically, the more you will feel connected to your body. You will take better care of yourself, your health will improve, and your self-esteem will increase. So even if you have lost that playground spark, it's not too late to get back out there and make physical activity fun for you."
I agree. I was involved in sports on and off during high school and college (never very seriously) and then . . . nothing. Just stopped. Sure, I worked out. I joined a gym, took some classes, lifted some weights. Big whoop. It wasn't until I started running that I started enjoying exercise. And it wasn't until I started entering races that I started feeling excited and joyous about running.

Running in races -- finding the right race, developing and following the training plan, setting a goal, attempting to achieve it -- has helped me to tap into my inner athlete. In Gold Medal Fitness, Dara Torres strives to help those who've either lost touch with that inner athlete or never thought one existed to begin with, do the same.

The chapter contains some good tips and establishing goals, tapping into your confidence and creating your own winning support team. She also talks a lot about mental strength and offers advice on how to develop it:

Mental Strength
  • Keep your focus.
  • Stick to your routine.
  • Practice.
  • Do your best.
  • Manage the pressure.
  • Develop a strategy.
  • Be efficient with your energy.
  • If you feel tired, ill, or injured, back off.
  • Create your own support team.
  • Relax and have fun.
Each of the bullets is explained more in the book.

In the rest of the book, Dara discusses strength, stretching, cardio, recovery and nourishment. She provides examples of the various exercises and some sample meal plans. Overall, I enjoyed the book and plan to incorporate some of the exercises that she lays out in her five week program into my routine. And I'll dream that when I hit 43 I'll have muscles half as toned as hers.

You can learn more about Dara at her web site: and you can purchase Gold Medal Fitness at Amazon (linked) and other major book retailers. The suggested retail price is $25.99 and it is listed at Amazon for $17.15.

Review disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book to review. I was not compensated and the opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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  1. Great review! You totally can come back leaner/meaner/faster after pg in your 40's!

  2. I am not quite in my 40s yet and don't have abs quite like hers but I am on my way and have had 4 boys and am leaner and stronger than before.
    Her advice sounds great.
    Best of luck with the book!