Five Questions With Olympic Bronze Medalist & World Champion Brent Hayden

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Olympic bronze medalist & world champion Brent Hayden talks training, nutrition and motivation.


What does your work out routine consist of?

My workouts now are very different than when I was training for the Olympics. Back then each week consisted of 20 hrs in the pool, 2 x 2hr weight training, 1 x 1.5 hr hot yoga, as well as core conditioning, massage, chiropractic and physiotherapy. Now that I'm not training for the Olympics anymore, my workouts are more weight/strength training focused. It generally consists of a split routine to give my muscle groups ample time to recover. I put a lot of focus into my tempo, especially the eccentric, and always making sure to vary the rep range depending if I'm bulking or cutting. Three days a week I follow up my weight training with 25 min low intensity stair master just to shred some of that fat that might be lurkin around somewhere. 

What does your weekly diet prep consist of?

I don't really do too much prepping. I just make sure that my kitchen is always full of food, such as: eggs, various meats, bananas, and loads of veggies. A typical day would look like:
Breakfast/Pre-workout - Tall glass of ice cold water on empty stomach, 1 cup of eggs scrambled (2 whole eggs topped up with egg white), whole apple, 2 strips of turkey bacon
Post-workout - 2 scoops protein, handful of almonds
Lunch - Tuna & kale, spinach, or other mixed greens salad
Snack - Smoothie
Dinner - Chicken breast, quinoa or wild rice, side of veggies
Snack - Greek yogurt with almonds, blueberries, cinnamon and drizzle of maple syrup (I'm Canadian...)
Because my wife Nadina is Lebanese (the best kind!) dinners are sometimes substituted with something more mediterranean style. 

How do you stay motivated to train?

I stay motivated to train by thinking about how thankful I am that I have been born in this body. It is the only body I am ever going to have, so I am going to treat it the best possible way I can. By having a workout routine to follow, I get a daily sense of accomplishment whenever I finish my workout. That wasn't there when I was showing up to the gym with even just a general idea in my head of what I was going to do because without a definitive finishing point, I could just end my workout whenever I wanted to. Also keeping track of my body weight, fat percentage, and daily dose of reflections in the mirror, I am able to keep track of my progress. And being the competitor that I am, it's nice to have somebody to compete against, even if that person is myself. 

What is your tip for people who are having a hard time committing?

Give yourself daily reminders of why you are committing to fitness. The reasons can be whatever you need them to be but they need to be specific. Speaking generally like "to be fit" is a very relative goal. Reminding yourself with something like "to be strong enough to pick up my child" or "to fit in a my wedding tux or dress", or just having a specific weight or body fat percentage goal will work. And if you're still finding it difficult, get an accountability partner. Journeys are always more motivating when you're doing it with somebody, even if it is just checking up on each other on Facebook if you can't be at the gym together. 

What is your most important goal for your health and how did you set it?

The most important goal for me is to live a long and healthy life. I want to be able to keep up with my future grandkids one day. But that's probably the boring goal for you readers. There is another, somewhat vain goal I have to admit. Being a swimmer, I pretty much spent my whole life in speedos. First I grew up being teased because they weren't the most fashionable swim wear (at least outside of Europe). Then when I retired, a lot of people were telling me I was going to get too fat to wear them anymore. It's no secret that swimmers eat a lot, so it should come as no surprise that after retiring, a lot of swimmers put on the extra pounds. I promised myself after I retired following the London Olympics, where I won my Olympic Bronze Medal, that I was going make myself look even more "Olympic" four years later when the Rio games come around. Since London, I can say I've added nearly 20 lbs of muscle, and my speedos still fit.

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