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Episode 494 of 524

#494: Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett — Two Legends on Competing, Overcoming Adversity, Must-Read Books, and Much More

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Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett — Two Legends on Competing, Overcoming Adversity, Must-Read Books, and Much More | Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and ButcherBox premium meats delivered to yo
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Michael Phelps and Grant Hackett — Two Legends on Competing, Overcoming Adversity, Must-Read Books, and Much More | Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover sleeping solution for dynamic cooling and heating, and ButcherBox premium meats delivered to your door. More on all three below.Michael Phelps (@michaelphelps) is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time. He captured 28 medals, including a record-setting 23 gold medals, and set 39 world records over the course of his career. Michael utilized his performance bonus for winning eight gold medals in 2008 to establish the Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes water safety, healthy living (physical and mental), and the pursuit of dreams. The Foundation’s signature program — IM — is a learn-to-swim, healthy living, and goal-setting curriculum based on the principles and tools Michael utilized in his swimming career and is available through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Special Olympics International. His advocacy for water safety and mental health has earned the recognition of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (Champion of Youth), American Image Awards (Humanitarian Award), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Special Recognition Award), The Ruderman Family Foundation (Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion), and PR Week (Health Influencer 50 and 2020 Communicator of the Year), among others.Michael served as an executive producer and featured talent in the HBO documentary The Weight of Gold , which explores the mental health challenges Olympic athletes often face. In addition, he has published two autobiographies, No Limits: The Will to Succeed and Beneath the Surface, that were New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, and one children’s book, How to Train with a T-Rex and Win Eight Gold Medals.Grant Hackett (@grant__hackett) represented and captained Australia in swimming at the Olympic Games. He collected a total of 58 medals over the course of his swimming career — with 26 gold at Olympic, Commonwealth, and World Championships levels — along with 16 world records. He remained unbeaten for 11 years in his pet event, the 1500m freestyle. Grant also received prestigious honors such as the Order of Australia, Centenary Medal, and Australian Sports Medal. Grant is a member of the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and International Swimming Hall of Fame.His qualifications include an executive master's of business administration with first-class honors, a diploma of business law, and a diploma of financial services. Grant is the CEO of Generation Life, an Australia-based investment firm managing more than $1.3 billion.Please enjoy!*This episode is brought to you by Eight Sleep! Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro Cover is the easiest and fastest way to sleep at the perfect temperature. It pairs dynamic cooling and heating with biometric tracking to offer the most advanced (and user-friendly) solution on the market. Simply add the Pod Pro Cover to your current mattress and start sleeping as cool as 55°F or as hot as 110°F. It also splits your bed in half, so your partner can choose a totally different te
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legend, innovation and new things being brought to the sport. What what else did you notice? What were some other examples that you saw in Michael or through Michael? Michael is a sort of guy that you never ever want to say that he's not going to do something. You never want to be critical of Michael because he will stick it so far up your It's not funny. And not many competitors to that. If I actually said something about one of my competitors or try to intimidate them a little bit, not even meaning thio half the time it would get under their skin, you know, it could almost go into their performance in a negative way. Do that to Michael and improve his performance by that 400%. That was very early on, even when we played golf. Today. If I'm betting on him on the last hole, it's slightly intensity of focus and athletic prowess and everything else you can imagine that makes you great just comes into play, even if he's had the worst 17 holes beforehand. So from a 20 handicap to zero in no time and just one hole just to stick it to him. Yeah, and I keep testing it right because I'll start jean him up before that whole just received. My theory about him is correct, and 100% of the time I'm proven right. So that's probably one of the other things about Michael. And you know, that's that's an interesting characteristic that I haven't seen in many athletes across a lot of sports that are able to have that ability to increase performance to that extent because of maybe a slight bit of criticism or questioning. So that that was one of the other things I really noticed about him very, very quickly. Have some additional questions about that. But I'll hit snooze on those. Michael, what did you notice about Grant? What were your some of your first impressions? I don't know if you guys are, the listeners can pick up, but I mean, as a kid growing up like I was a massive swimming geek, I was a nerd. Like I was. I was very into it. I was trying to learn anything I possibly could, but also like I I disrespected. You know, other great athletes, other great summers and and growing up idolizing, You know, some of the greats that walk before hacky and I, you know, I just I learned so much history. So being able to understand swimming from a global level very early on, you know, through my sister. Or in a way, and I just really connected with him and and as you as you heard with with Thor Pia's Well, those two guys were probably the two closest swimming friends that I have to this day. You know, I feel like I was closer with with the Aussies that I was really with the Americans. And so it was kind of strange, but, you know, like I I do remember those 2000 and three days. You know, Bob and I were going back thio some of those old sets a few weeks ago, hacky and pretty good seeing some of those kicking set some of the polling sets, the underwater stuff that we were doing with fins. I mean, just everything. And that's what I mean, like, you know, there aren't many athletes that can really take it to that that level back to back days. And you know, that was something I that I saw in Hackey and and obviously I respected the hell out of. And you know the chance that we got toe to spend together. It was always very special, always very meaningful. And, you know, obviously he turned into, you know, more of a brother than anything else. And it's been cool to see it's been Oh, my gosh, unbelievable. So many great stories. I'm a scatterbrain. So I'm popping all over the place and I feel like I'm gonna take Samir questions. Oh, I saw I'll stop. Feel free to bounce around scatterbrained that I've made an entire career out of it on this podcast. So feel free, Grant. I want to ask you about intensity, and I'm going to do it in a somewhat sideways fashion. But both of you are known for being beasts in training and having just ungodly work capacities. And I don't know if I'm getting the hours right. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but 30 to 40 hours of training a week, maybe mawr at times I want you to correct that in your in your answer if need be. But it seems like the combination of that volume, plus the intensity that you're both famous for would drive anyone into the ground. And I'm just curious how you prevented that from happening. If maybe you could speak to that Grant. Yeah, I think you know, first and foremost around the 30 or 40 hours That's right. We would train anywhere from kind of 5 to 7 hours a day, six days a week. I know Michael would do seven days a week. I think he trained, like, 535 140 days straight into Beijing. So he knows all about patient. Yeah. What was that? A little more than that. But it's OK, e 55 or six straight years. Yeah, So I mean, that degree of application is one thing, but you're right. You have to be doing a better father harder than the guy on the other side of the world. And on, I think, the goal. The outcome was just so strong. The desire? Andi, I think when something is so meaningful and purposeful Thio to you as an individual, you're willing to to do anything. And it's funny the body does get used to it to an extent you get used to getting up at 4 45. You know, doing that eight kilometers doing it to the intensity that you need to then going into the gym for 90 minutes doing that, then going back in the afternoon and doing it all again, so on. But it's amazing how much more you can absorb thing what you give yourself credit for. But one of the things I always tried to do is whenever my coach would set something like insanely hard set, and if I finished it, I would do one or two more reps. And he was known as you know, having one of the top three intense programs in the world from a lot of the physiologists out there. So I always just try to take it to the next level every single time. I knew with my event, which probably is different to some of the finesse that Michael had in his events in terms of his underwater and skills for May was about being tough and and he's trained with a great 1500 m swimming called Eric Van, so he knows Thean intensity and the mindset, and I was very similar to Eric in terms of if you have to pull me out of the water after this session and put me in an ambulance. I do not care as long as I get every outside of myself and you've got a show up with that attitude every day because that's how tough you guys are that you're racing and it's just it's just the way it is. And I think when you get the winds, it keeps you going right. It keeps you going to the next step. It makes the bits a little bit more digestible, and I just love that feeling.
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well in the top of all sports probably really have any idea what we're talking about. It's quite it's quite funny, I think just when Michael was talking and I just think of the movie days of thunder when they're in the wheelchair in the hospital and they come up e push forward and then the other one pushes forward. That's exactly how Michael and I trained together. It's just just constantly pushing each other and trying to take it to the next level. And you just disregard the pain and that the goal is always more important. The outcome is always more important than what you have to go through. I think that's the way we always approached it. I'd love to you as background for people listening provides some context on how the two of you know each other, and those in the swimming world will know the history and thes similarities in trajectory and so on. But either of you could take a stab at this S s so I'll let you know, maybe Grant if you wanna go first just to describe the back story. How did you guys get to know each other? It's really funny. I remember hearing Michael. I mean, there's a lot happening in our country right now because there's a 20 year anniversary since the Sydney Olympic Games. So there's plenty going on. And that was Michael's first Olympics. And I remember when you got fourth, I think in the tournament to fly, there was like a 15 year old on the street now from team. What was the fifth? E o. That's quite the fourth. So make right Next o e, remember just thinking Wow, what a freak of 15 year olds gonna feel. Ah, wonderful. Ever hear of him again? So and then, the next year, when he broke the tournament a butterfly world record of the world championships Was that 1 52 Am I right on that? No. 54 was 46 50 year? Yeah, 46 54 9 and spring. So and then I couldn't believe that a 16 year old actually did that. And I got Thio, you know, sort of know Michael from from that moment moving forward and then you know, Then we got to train together, and I think I just saw eye to eye on Michael on things like the approach towards swimming the approach towards competition. How did you end up training together just for for those who might say, you know, you both sound like you have strong New Jersey accents, but I suspect you from different places. How did you end up training together? Back in 2000 and three, Michael and his coach Bob just came over to Australia for a coaching conference and eso he spent a few weeks in in Australia. So we ended up training then and I think at that point in time, we really got to know each other. And I saw Michaels level of application to towards his training and all the new things that he was trying to bring to the sport. Like the underwater, off every single war which you know, for your listeners, Tim not met. Too many people know when you're in the middle of a race and you're like the 203 140 m mark and then you try and push and go 15 m off the wall. It is one of the most difficult things that a person can ever do. It's like a free diver, right in the last little bit of holding their breath. It is tough, and Michael started doing all these sorts of things that I thought, Man, I wonder if that will actually work and and so I saw just how creative and innovative in the sport that he waas and he was just a great guy, like it was just a really I just enjoyed hanging out like we go out to dinner and do things together. And I think at that the basis of our friendship was kind of in 2000 and three kind of springboard from from there and and every time we saw each other it meets because we'd obviously be traveling all the time. We just always connected and got along well, we and we had a lot of mutual respect for each other on what each other was bringing to the sport. And also there was another, you know, sort of counterpart of mine and Thorpe, whose through that era and I think both Michael and I had a lot of respect for and so, you know, what'll spent a lot of time together and respect what each other was doing for the sport at that time, too, and you mentioned I'm going to do, Ah, follow up here with with you, Grant that I'm going to come back to you, Michael, to ask you what you first noticed about Grant to you, Grant, when you mentioned innovation and new things being brought to the sport. What what else did you notice? What were some other examples that you saw in Michael or through Michael? Michael is a sort of guy that you never ever want to say that he's not going to do something. You never want to be critical of Michael because he will stick it so far up your It's not funny. And not many competitors to that. If I actually said something about one of my competitors or try to intimidate them a little bit, not even meaning thio after time it would get under their skin. You know, it could almost go into their performance in a negative way. Do that to Michael and improve his performance by about 400%. That was very early on, even when we played golf. Today. If I'm betting on him on the last hole, it's slightly intensity of focus and athletic prowess and everything else you can imagine that makes you great just comes into play, even if he's had the worst 17 holes beforehand. So from a 20 handicap to zero in no time and just one hole just to stick it to him, yeah, and I keep testing it right because I'll start giving him up before that whole just received. My theory about him is correct, and 100% of the time I'm proven right. So that's probably one of the other things about Michael. And you know, that's That's an interesting characteristic that I haven't seen in many athletes across a lot of sports that are able to have that ability to increase performance to that extent because of maybe a slight bit of criticism or questioning, so that that was one of the other things I really noticed about him very, very quickly. Have some additional questions about that. But I'll hit snooze on those Michael, what did you notice about Grant? What were your some of your first impressions? I don't know if you guys are the listeners can pick up, but I mean, as a kid growing up like I was a massive swimming geek, I was a nerd like I was, I was very into it. I was trying to learn anything I possibly could. But also, like, I I disrespected, You know, other great athletes, other great summers and and growing up idolizing, you know, some of the greats that walk before hacky and I you know, I I just I learned so much history. So being able to understand swimming from a global level very early on, you know, through my sister, in a way. And I just really connected with him and and as you as you heard with with Thor Pia's Well, those two guys were probably the two closest swimming friends that I have to this day. You know, I feel like I was closer with with the Aussies that I was really with the Americans. And so it was kind of strange, but, you know, like I I do remember those 2000 and three days. You know, Bob and I were going back thio some of those old sets a few weeks ago, hacky and pretty good seeing some of those kicking set some of the polling sets, the underwater stuff that we were doing with fins. I mean, just everything. And that's what I mean, like, you know, there there aren't many athletes that can really take it to that, that level back to back days. And, you know, that was something I that I saw in Hackey and and obviously I respected the hell out of. And you know, the chance that we got toe to spend together. It was always very special, always very meaningful. And, you know, obviously he turned into, you know, more of a brother than anything else. And it's been cool to see it's been Oh, my gosh, unbelievable. So many great stories. I'm a scatterbrain. So I'm popping all over the place and I feel like I'm gonna take Samir questions that I saw. I'll stop, feel free to bounce around scatterbrain that I've made an entire career out of it on this podcast. So feel free, Grant. I want to ask you about intensity, and I'm going to do it in a somewhat sideways fashion. But both of you are known for being beasts in training and having just ungodly work capacities. And I don't know if I'm getting the hours right. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but 30 to 40 hours of training a week, maybe mawr. At times. I want you to correct that in your in your answer, if need be. But it seems like the combination of that volume, plus the intensity that you're both famous for, would drive anyone into the ground. And I'm just curious how you prevented that from happening. If maybe you could speak to that Grant. Yeah, I think you know, first and foremost around the 30 or 40 hours That's right. We would train anywhere from kind of 5 to 7 hours a day, six days a week. I know Michael would do seven days a week. I think he trained, like, 535 140 days straight into Beijing. So he knows all about Yeah. What was that? A little more than that. But it's OK. E 55 or six straight years. Yeah, So I mean, that degree of application is one thing, but you're right. You have to be doing a better far harder than the guy on the other side of the world. And on I think, the goal, The outcome was just so strong. The desire Andi, I think when something is so meaningful and purposeful Thio to you. As an individual, you're willing to to do anything, and it's funny the body does get used to it to an extent you get used. Thio getting up at 4 45. You know, doing that eight kilometers, doing it to the intensity that you need to then going into the gym for 90 minutes doing that, then going back in the afternoon and doing it all again. So Onda and it's amazing how much more you can absorb thing what you give yourself credit for. But one of the things I always try to do is whenever my coach would set something like insanely heart set, and if I finished it, I would do one or two more reps. And he was known as you know, having one of the top three intense programs in the world from a lot of the physiologists out there. So I always just try to take it to the next level every single time. I knew with my event, which probably is different to some of the finesse that Michael had his events in terms of his underwater and skills. For me, it was about being tough and and he's trained with a great 1500 m swimming called Eric Van, so he knows the intensity and the mindset. And I was very similar to Eric in terms of If you have to pull me out of the water after this session and put me in an ambulance, I do not care as long as I get every outside of myself and you've got to show up with that attitude every day because that's how tough guys are that you're racing and it's just it's just the way it is. And I think when you get the winds, it keeps you going right. It keeps you going to the next step. It makes the bits a little bit more digestible and and I just love that feeling. I just love that feeling afterwards, and, uh, and I knew when I rocked up to Race Day that if I'd done that work that no one was ever gonna touch me in my rice and that and that's like the thing, though, because it's like, you know, like their days. Obviously you don't want to go Grant right, like like every day. It wasn't perfect for us So it's like, you know, like on those days you have to be able to find that 10 2030 50% you know, instead of zero where you could just full on punt the whole day, the workout skip like, lazy, like do whatever the hell you wanted to. So it's like, you know, like to be the as consistent as we both were like throughout our career, literally, every every single session, every single stroke matter, eso you know, like that. That's like it's for like, for the listeners out there, like it was the smallest, finest details you could possibly think about. You know, we we had to think we're we we had to go through and fine tune daily like I like I almost talked to it is like you're going to college and and the top level is the 10,000 level class of the 1000 level class. Whatever the hell you want to call it, You know, if you skip a few of those classes like you're missing key steps that are gonna help you at the very top level when the lights are on when you know, you might have had a bad night's sleep or your roommate might be sick. Or maybe the food in the dining hall wasn't very good. Your air conditioning doesn't work, you know. So it's like all of the things that you're doing daily are prepping you for any kind of situation that you're gonna face at the Olympics at World Championships, whatever your big event is, totally. And I suppose that's that's something that wasn't in my mind when I asked the question. And that is, it's not just about developing more strength. It's not just about developing the brute attributes. It's also about thes smallest technical details that you have to trained to be second nature for competition. Just a quick thanks to one of our sponsors, and we'll be right back to the show. 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Their newest services called autopilot, and it can monitor any checking account for excess cash to move into savings or investment account. They've really thought of a ton. They've checked a lot of boxes. Smart investing should not feel like a roller coaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Goto Wealthfront dot com slash tim and open a Wealthfront investment account today and you'll get your 1st $5000 managed for free for life. That's Wealthfront dot com slash tim. Wealthfront will automate your investments for the long term, and you can get started today at Wealthfront dot com slash tim. Are there any particular Michael tools or techniques for recovery that you found to really pull their weight, so to speak and have an impact? Because as, ah, as a mirror, you know, 5 ft eight, uh, Meet Cube. I'm not really built for hydrodynamics. I think about training as you did for 5 to 6 years straight, and I just can't imagine human body withstanding that without some portfolio of recovery techniques. Was there anything that stands out? Way had to be like way had to be on top of everything. You know, like tryingto like I was saying before trying to do something that no one's ever done before, you know, have that give yourself the chance. It's like you, you you really have to approach it every single different way possible than ever has been done before. So, you know, there is no blueprint for it. So for us it was, you know, one step at a time, and for me to be ableto swim in such a high level every single day, I had to be on top of whether it's nutrition, sleeping, drinking water, you know, like I I treated my body like I was a Ferrari, you know, like I treated my body like I'm a high performance race car because I I'm asking it to do so many things. So, you know, I was sleeping probably 8 to 10 hours a night with a two hour nap during the day. I was eating 8 to 10,000 calories a day. Ice tub, massages. I had one set like PT strength conditioning guy for 15 years. That was, did all of my massages, all of my stretching, all of my grasp in all of my cupping. I I had to be super super anal about it because I I needed to ask my body to do so many things every single day. So I guess I'm kind of old school like I never really got into cry or anything like that. But but still to this day, like I I work out 67 days a week and you know, for me to be able to do everything I need to do from playing golf, having enough energy with the kids and and doing everything I need to do personally, I have to recover. So I am stretching probably 45 minutes a day. I'm probably just having once, maybe twice a week. I go toe acupuncturist cupping twice a week. So you know, I I think LeBron said something about it earlier in the year. He spends a million dollars a year on recovery and honestly, like that just makes sense to me. Because if he's like like, from what I just said, you know, he's asking his body to do so much. It's such a high level. It's like you have to treat it like it like it should be treated right. You know, you have to give it everything it needs on gets the very basic stuff. So I mean, I have all of my stats like blood work, sleep numbers, um, black tape numbers, anything you could possibly imagine about health or recovery. I have it logged for the last 15 years. 20 years of my career. So I was extremely, you know? Yeah. I mean, I was very anal about it, because I I needed to be I was selfish in a way. Yeah, that makes all the world of sense. And I think I think we're gonna come back to that that focus and the pros and cons of it. Grant, I'd love to ask you about anything you have found helpful for sleep and that that comes to mind because Michael, you just mentioned you also mentioned LeBron James, who's been on this podcast and has a number of different techniques, including using call map and other technological tools for helping with getting to sleep. Did you find anything in particular? I mean, aside from training many, many hours a day, which I'm sure helps for sleep during your training or post competitive career. Yeah, I always found you know, that some of the Absa grade I actually used to put on one of these APs that used to just have the rain water coming down and falling on the leaves and and those sorts of just coming type of things. Um, it's really funny today. The best way I find a fall asleep is just breathing exercises and and just focusing away from from everything that you know kind of matters in your life around work. And you know, the things that you're responsible for that you know, normally keep you awake at night. But it's quite funny. I'm Thio Michael's point just around recovery. You know, sleep is obviously the ultimate thing. Thio rest the body and I track everything. You know, I'm sitting here with, you know, one watch on one hand, another one. On the other hand, I don't even know if either of them tell the time, but they're tracking my heart rate variability. They sleep tracking the recovery, you know, and I check these stats like there's no tomorrow. Like I'm still a professional athlete. I think it's just hard wired to be like that, but, you know, and it depends what phase you're going through career. You know, those points where I had injuries and my shoulder would just be my shoulders would be aching at night. So I'll be sitting there with bags of peace on my shoulders just to get the inflammation down. And, you know, there's so many different sort of cycles throughout my career where, yeah, you have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I would feel that that the pressure too much coming into competitions after time for some reason, and, uh, and those are the difficult times where you know you need to recovery more than ever, but you're you're finding it hard to to be able to get that rest. So you know what's good for one person is not necessarily good for another. But what I know today is if I just did a lot more meditation, a lot more things of slowing down, a lot more mindfulness. Those are the sorts of things that would have helped me a lot more throughout my career because they're great techniques that are used today. And I probably sleep better today because of, you know, just the foundation of knowledge that I've been able to build over the time because we were just so anal and just so focused on recovery and trying to find ways to go. Okay, that the body is gone. How am I going to get it back to, to Michael's point that this is not a tractor, it's a Ferrari, and if a bolt a little bit loose, this thing will not perform, so everything is gonna be right. I usedto go walk somewhere. I would sit down as soon as I got there, just so my hip flexors wouldn't tighten up because I wasn't as good a kicker as what Michael was. Arian thought so I had to do everything on my legs. I was better on the upper body. I could do that. I could pull. It's it's called pulling. Just you know, you're tired, legs up and, you know, swim with your arms Only that was my strength, but my lover wasn't so. I used to just be fixated on that every minute of the day to make sure whenever I rocked up to training and particularly competition, my legs will lose my hip. Flex has had full range and and I was going to get the most out of them. So yeah, it's an obsession, and that's the way it needs to bay. Yeah, I was spending some time grant with one of our mutual friends, whose, whose deep in training right now and we were hiking and he said, This is great. I just can't do too much hiking And I said, Why not? He said, because I don't want my ankles to be overly stable or, uh, strengthened because I need the flexibility. I want the looseness in the ankles, and I was like, Wow, that's not something I hear every day, only sport where you want loose angle ankles. You look at tennis players. I got all the support in place. We're doing the opposite. We'll have a panel of wood where you know, you gotta strap across the top and you chuck your foot in there and you're leaning back to try and create more flexion and angle. And that's the thing like Michael and Ian Thorpe, incredibly flexible and incredibly strong and incredibly mobile. And I didn't have that that last part around the mobility that these guys have, because think about it. You'll feel like flippers in the water. So if you get that extra bit of angle and you get that flick right at the end, it's gonna propel you just that little bit Mawr. And you know, I'm sitting here at an Olympic Games that where I got two silver medals. I think it's over the course of about 1200 m of racing and thereby a 12000.2 of a second in total. So you know every little bit matters. Michael. I want to revisit a name that has come up a lot so far in this conversation, and that is Ian Thorpe, and it ties into what Grant was saying about using critical or negative or doubting comments as rocket fuel for your motivation in the course of doing homework for this conversation came across a note on Wikipedia that said, Uh, C h hey, has to go. Yes, so there's two of them that I remember. Go ahead. Yeah, 20. So Wikipedia feel free to correct any of this. It's not. It's not so much a direct quote. It just says. Thorp initially said that it would be highly unlikely for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2000 and eight Summer Olympics in Beijing. Phelps used to remark, motivation and tape the words to his locker during the games, so I just wanted to fact check that is, Is that true? 100%. Without question. What were the words that you put on your locker? You know, I think at that time, Bob and I were, you know, a lot of the A major chunk of my career. I'd say we we were big on, you know, highlighting different quotes or times, and you know that people had done or things that we were trying to do. So you know, like for me, like every morning I get out of bed, and I saw my goal sheet of the times I wanted to do that year or at the Olympics or whatever written down. So when I was getting out of bed, I was getting out of bed with purpose. Eso Then when I got to the pool, that's where that quote waas just honestly, if I if I was kind of having an off day, I used that as as Haqi said, a little extra fuel. That was something that if somebody did say it was impossible, I was gonna shove that so far up that I was gonna make him eat their words no matter what, like that was the there was no if ends about about it and again in 2016, I believe he said something along the lines of it will be impossible or almost impossible to see somebody over the age of 30 when an individual gold medal. And funny enough, I I was giving him shit about it after the Olympics in 16, and he goes, I know how you work, he said. So I was helping you give that, you know, get that extra fuel to really give you some extra motivation toe to really make sure you kick some ass. So, um, you know he you know, because, like, to grants point, though. Like I knew Grant probably better than any other athlete in the world. I knew Thor be better than any other athlete in the world. And you know the same way for them. You know, like we we just we knew about each other because we all were just trying to learn whatever we could and use it in tow. Our our everyday lifestyle toe. Help us accomplish the goals that we wanted Mhm and to To Ian's credit or defense. I will read one of the actual quotes citizen Wikipedia, in which he says, Quote, I am really proud of him, not just because you want eight golds. Rather, it's how much he's grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong, so ultimately was proved wrong. And as we're talking about this translation of using the negative of the critical into rocket fuel like you said, granted is a T least in my experience, which is very limited, but it's rare to see the one other exception that I can think of and and maybe you guys will have have seen. This is Michael Jordan in the last dance, where every episode there is an example of this and someone will say something to him and then they'll say, Fuck shouldn't have done that. And he comes back Break some universal record in the next quarter and it was so remarkably consistent. And yet when you flash forward and you are watching this, this current day footage of Michael, you can't help but get the feeling that he is still very angry. But he has lost target at which he can direct this anger. And so I'm curious to hear from you, Michael. I've lived in my life with a lot of anger. And have you found that to cut both ways? What has been your experience with anger during the competitive years or afterwards? I mean, naturally hack. You can agree. I I carry a lot of ah, a lot of anger on, and ah, lot of that, I would say, stems from my childhood and you know some of the things that I experienced. But I also think anger is is really, really What? What did feel me on those days where I just didn't want to swim? You know, those those were the biggest things. It was almost like turning a switch on in a way, you know, I'll say now, knowing what I know about depression and knowing what I know about anxiety, mental health and about myself as well, I know that I can't approach my life or anything that I do in my life like I did in swimming. Just because I guess I could say I was a professional where I was a doctor or whatever the hell you want to call me in in the swimming world for, like, I understood swimming, you know, I'd like to think almost better than anybody and, you know, definitely a feel for it. So, you know, I I don't have enough practice doing what I'm doing now in life. So, you know, I I do have to take steps back and take deep breaths or, you know, I I found that through Cove It my wife and I's communication level has gone up another level, you know? So it's like little things like that for me. I'm constantly learning more and more about myself and about why I am how I am. So, yeah. Do I still get angry? Of course. But I play a lot of golf. I You know, as I said, I work out six or seven days a week. I'm I lift weights three days a week, I for anywhere 60 to 90 minutes and then the other four days. I'm either swimming, um, riding a stationary bike or I am on elliptical. So you know those air kind of outlets for me, But it does get scary at times. And, you know, I will say Hacky has always been there for me through any single moment of my life through those dark times, you know? But I can also say, you know, during this quarantine, you know, it's been difficult for me. I've been very open about that recently, and and through all of this and and you know, I can imagine that it's been difficult for more and more people, and you know, I'll say the one thing you know to the listeners out there who are listening to it. You're not alone, you know, that's the one thing I truly, truly want to repeat. You'll hear me say a lot of times to this podcast. But you know, you you are definitely not alone with your thoughts, your emotions. But if you are afraid or you're scared or nervous, reach out to somebody for help A trained therapists or trained doctor, this is It's just a very uncertain time for everybody in the world. So that was a little rant, So e enjoy rants. That's why we have a long format. You mentioned dark times. I'd like to talk about this because I feel like both of you have been very open about this, which is a huge service. I mean, there's a huge public service to people who feel alone, and it's a huge public service to people who feel like they're uniquely flawed or are in a place of shame, because the mental health and depression and so on can be very stigmatized. Still, Michael, could you speak to when you knew you needed help or when you hit rock bottom? Could you just tell the story of that moment or moments? The first time I experienced depression, I'd say it was back in 2000 and four, you know, coming back after all that great success. And, you know, obviously you expected Thio continue and, you know, you get back and it's good for, you know, a week or so and then you kind of feel like you fall off the face of the earth. So for me, it was it was just beginning to open talk about these things. Honestly, Like I felt there was a weight lifted off my shoulders. You know, these were things that I carried for probably 20 years, 15 years. And, um, you know, when When I really do get into those dark times, I I basically isolate myself and give everybody the Heisman because I I almost feel like I am causing more stress to their life or I'm a burden or this that or the other. So, like, I, I go strictly internal and almost like I pick it scabs or like like internal scabs that you know, really hurts. Like I almost try to inflict pain but not literally inflict pain. So it gets bad. And when it does get bad, it really spirals. And I'll say one thing Hacky hacky was over here. I was that two years ago. Happy? Yeah, two years ago. 2018? Yeah. I mean, that was That was one of the scariest ones that, you know, I've really experience, and I honestly, I feel like I'm alone. I feel like everybody is attacking me, and it's just it's it's uncomfortable feeling, But, you know, I I basically I guess the easiest way for describing it would be like a turtle going back into its shell. I want more than anything to feel like I like I am a human being because I feel like that's what I am. You know, I feel like, yeah, you know, I had a great talent and, you know, I put my mind to something and she didn't give up. I went through ups and downs and, you know, I was ableto accomplished some pretty amazing goals. But you know, at times like, I feel like I'm you know, almost a piece of meat and and an object. And, you know, I think especially during those times when I start going there, when, when when I'm in dark times to start going there, it just it's just downward spirals. So that's why you know, I alluded earlier, talking about you know how much my my mind and my wife's communication has really just grown through quarantine because I would say I had a similar incident, you know, like I had in 2000 and 18 where, you know, it was very scary. And and, you know, I know Nicole is doing everything she could to help and, you know, we were almost forced to grow and to change has a couple because of the current situation and the situation at the time, it was difficult, but honestly like that. That's the coolest thing for me that that that I am so excited about with having depression or with having anxiety, you know, because it honestly makes me who I am and you know, it's I. I understand it's never going to be fixable, and and it's a part of me for the rest of my life. But you know what? I think it's It's something that I wanna learn more about and something I'm excited to wake up every day and have that chance to learn more about so, you know, like that's why I'm so you know, I've spoken about my wife and I just just communicating so much more. It's it's crazy toe even think that that was possible. But just going over leaps and bounds, you know, just learning more and more about how we both work and things we need to be careful of. So we don't trigger one another. It's been a almost a blessing in disguise for us. If I could just jump out. You said whatever, e And if if a misquoting please, please correct me. But for those who are familiar, could you describe what made 2018 scary? What was the experience? I mean, in 2018, I actually took a pair of golf shoes and I hit myself in the head with, um that was that was one of the very last times that I tried to inflict pain on myself. And I knew at that point like that was like that right there. I've never done something like that. I never thought about doing something like that. And the fact that I did that right there was a message for me. It was, you know, was a red flag. So, you know, coming back to the house and and you know, I had kind of a meltdown. But, you know, with Grant talking to grant talking Thio, you know, my wife, you know, like that was that was just a learning experience that there, like, for me, Like I basically, um, you know, a pot of water, like at the at the very last second, I'm ready to blow, and when I blow, it's pretty bad and it gets pretty ugly. You know, I was, I would say, throughout my career, I'm great. It compartmentalizing. I would say I could probably won a few more gold medals of that, but that's not something to be proud of. So you know. So So I think, like, you know, that's that's one thing that I've learned, you know, just just to really talk about. You know, I've learned more about my emotions. Andi, if I have something I don't like, I I talk about it, or I ask questions about it, you know? So I think, you know, with the experiences that I've gone through in the struggles that I've gone through, I feel like I have almost let my guard down in a way, you know, if that kind of makes sense, you know, like I dropped my shoulders like taking a deep breath and and, you know, just trying to relax, you know, because I think throughout my whole entire life, I've been trying to shave hundreds of a second off my time, right? And and now, for every day, life I'm I'm trying to slow it down. So it's It's crazy now for me to look at life. So it Z yeah, the last four years have been interesting, but But that in 8, 2000 and 18, you know that that to this day was one of the scariest times of my life. That and 2014 after my second d u i, we talked about sleeping earlier, and I have opened up more and more about this story just because it it za part of me. So basically, throughout the whole entire life throughout my entire life, I most of my swimming career I we were prescribed Ambien for traveling for trips, you know, toe try to acclimate to times. And that night after my do, I was happy that I only had two Ambien left. That was a sleep aid that I had and who knows what would have happened if I had more. You know, I think those two moments for me are the two scariest moments of my life and and, you know, recently, you know, I'd say within the last handful of weeks, like I've I've had a couple of real scary breakdowns where, you know, I almost really start shaking because I I just don't know what to dio. I don't know how to control anything and I yeah, that's about it. Thank you for sharing. Yeah, but it's like, you know, like like honestly, for me, yes, it is. It's It's wild to think about its wild to talk about, but, you know, it's it's It's what makes me me and and you know how If I can learn from just understanding why, why I am certain ways or why I react certain ways. Then I feel like I'm setting myself up to be a better person and and at the end of the day, that's all I want. I wanna learn more. You know, you've heard us talk about stats numbers like I wanna know stats. I wanna know numbers. I wanna know why. Like, I just I don't know why Why? Why? Every single question that you could possibly think about. So, you know, like, I I just I always know there's so many other options out there, and and, you know, if I come to a dead end, I can reach out to one of those options Or, you know, I can backtrack a few steps and and take a different route. And so yeah, you know, I I think really trying to simplify life and trying to slow things down for me is probably those are the two things that that I would say I focus on on a daily daily basis. Yeah, just to just to give myself a chance. Yeah. And, uh, Grant, I'm going to come back to you in in just a minute because I want Thio do a similar expedition into some of the dark chapters to hear your stories. Before we get to that, I am looking at just a paragraph from on ESPN article that includes you, Michael and I want to read a small portion of it and ask a question. So here's the portion says in treatment, Phelps earned the nickname Preacher Mike because each day began chapter of The Purpose Driven Life, a book given to him by former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and good friend Ray Lewis. I don't know if you would still recommend this book or how you feel about it, But are there any books or resource is that you have found particularly helpful in your journey in experiencing these things? Eso I have, Ah, very close friend of mine. Who you know, I asked. I feel very comfortable opening opening up to and asking a lot of questions about, I think, you know, You know what I'm talking about hockey. Hey, passes me a bunch of different books and some of the ones recently, I guess, like I I was never somebody who like to read books, and when Ray gave me that book, I wasn't I wasn't spiritual in any way like I had, You know, I wasn't religious, but, you know, I think through my journey I I 100% and spiritually without question, there is a power that is greater than me. I don't know what it is, you know, but but through my journey, I feel like I've learned so much from the books that I have received the purpose driven life is one amazing one. The power of now is an amazing one. Ego is the enemy is one that I go back to a lot. The subtle art of not giving a fuck is a great one. I loved it. Takes what it takes. I thought that was a great one. Just little things like little books like that where I can, you know, for me when whenever I'm listening, I tend toe do audibles. And you know what? I'm listening to it. I really just It's what we offer, what we're all supposed to do. But I love just taking little small pieces that that are similar to things that I did in my career. You know, like for me to be as efficient as I was in swimming, I had to learn the absolute bottom line of every single stroke, right, Like I had to be as efficient as I could with my body that I was given. So it's like I've almost done that in ways it's opened my mind and Cem really interesting new thoughts it's giving me, you know, new journeys toe travel down roads to go down. But yeah, I mean I I would say I I cycled through a lot of those, depending on Aziz you heard before the dark moods that I'm in. I went back to the sub sort of not giving a fuck just because I felt like I was just attacking myself too much and and I just needed to get a handle of of a few things and do what I'm teaching my kids, you know, take a line breath, take a deep breath every once in a while and relax. You know, it's not. It's not, You know, it's not about racing the clock, and every single thing that you do in your life s Oh, that's 11 big, big key thing for me is just trying to be a simple in every form of life as I possibly can. And it's honestly, it's it's looking at my kids, and that's the greatest example, you know. I mean, we were talking about it earlier. My my two oldest boys were playing with a metal trashcan the other day. You know, one of the trash cans where you step on it, a lid pops up. One of them is banging. One is banking on the top likes a drum, the other one is stomping on the lid. And I was like, Boomer, what are you guys doing? And without missing a beat, he looks over and said, Dad, I've never seen one of these things before And I couldn't do anything but start laughing. So I was like, All right, yeah, whatever. Like go ahead like Meanwhile, there's 100 different noises going on. Andi, like my I mean, I was going crazy, but I just I laughed at like I damn near fell on the ground, laughing. I was like, That's what kids are like. They are the best example of really living in the moment, and it's it's, you know, for me, I feel like having having the time that I have around around my kids during this quarantine. Like I I feel like I have a few things that I can kind of log into the memory bank and go back to when boomers pressing that red button that I hate to be pressed inside of me and he's trying to get my nerves and go crazy on me. So but kids are kids and and honestly, I've seen the and one of the coolest things is they wanna be us so bad. And honestly, they just love us and and you know it, Z, you know, for me. Told you I told you we'd get tears, Uh, for for me. Honestly, it's taken some of the dark times that I've been through. Um, you know, just, you know, just literally being crying and having your kids come up and give you a hug. Like those things. Like that right there. Um, you know, it's the greatest thing.
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