Since winning a record eight gold medals at this summer's Olympic games, Michael Phelps has rocketed to international stardom with an appearance on Saturday Night Live, tons of endorsement offers, and an impressive list of pro-athlete pals. Lucky for us, Phelps dropped by the Men's Fitness office to give MF the lowdown on his training, supplements, and what he's been up to since making history.
Have you done much swimming since Beijing?
Nothing. I've never taken a break before. I've gone 12 years of pretty much straight work. My coach said after 2008 I could do whatever I want. I was like, 'Alright, well, I'm not going to swim for a few months then.' It's tough. It's weird. You go from having something as a part of your everyday life to waking up and doing absolutely nothing. I'll wake up and say, 'Hmm, what am I going go to do today? Lets see what's on TV.'
Do you have a time-line for when you're going to start training again?
Oh, I don't know. Just getting back in shape is the biggest thing. January or February is when I'll start. It's weird, because I go from swimming pretty much every day of my life to not really doing anything. It's a little strange. I kind of miss having some kind of routine. I used to wake up at 6:30 every day and go work out and then come back and go to bed. Now I don't get up until noon and don't really have a set schedule.
Do you plan on going back and doing the same type of training?
No. We're going to do completely different event training. We're throwing everything out, and we're going to start from scratch. We're going to try different events. I won't swim all the same events. I won't swim nearly as many events.
What's the reasoning behind scaling back on the number of events you swim?
I think the older I get, the more challenging it really is to put my body through that kind of training. I've been in the same mode of training for 10 to 15 years. It's tough to put your body through four more years of that. It's tough both mentally and physically. There are specific goals I want to accomplish and it's going to involve me focusing on a few events and not worrying about whether my back-fly, back, breast, and freestyle are all getting the same attention.
So what are you watching on TV with all your downtime?
It's football season and that's my favorite sport to watch. I'm a huge Ravens fan. We finally have a good quarterback now. I just got season tickets, so I hit the games on Sundays when I'm home.
Men's Fitness recently profiled Ray Lewis, you know.
Ray and I worked together a few times. He's a cool dude. I like him a lot. I was in the locker room two or three weeks ago, and he was singing and getting in the zone. I just started getting chills from being around somebody like that who's so powerful and so electric. He's a real nice guy and an amazing athlete. When he comes out of the tunnel for the games, there's nothing like that. Absolutely nothing like that.
How does it feel to be a big star?
We just ate lunch, and I got up to go to the bathroom, and overheard people say, 'Oh, that's Michael Phelps.' I think it's hysterical. It's something you get used to. I've never been in this situation, but I think by meeting some of the people I've met I've been able to learn how to handle it.
Who are some of those people?
Anyone from Demi Moore to Peyton [Manning] to Baron Davis. I haven't really talked to Kobe about it, but I'm sure if I have any questions he wouldn't mind. We've shot texts back and forth the whole time. The thing about those guys is they're all down to earth. We're all just the same. You can tell that. They've definitely helped me a little bit just by giving me their two cents.