Michael Phelps shares his quarantine workout routine: 'I'm kind of learning this whole walking thing again'


The coronavirus pandemic has forced all of us into a state of pause where we can no longer put our physical and mental health on the back burner.

When we focus on practicing wellness in both our physical and mental spheres, we're able to become the best versions of ourselves to help best serve the people closest to us.

This rings true for 28-time Olympic medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps, who is a testament to the idea that prioritizing one facet of health often means inadvertently prioritizing the other.

This worldwide slow down has helped the athlete focus on continuing to keep his physical health in top shape, part of which includes monitoring what he puts into his body:

"I've always been super uptight about nutrition," Phelps tells AOL. "I treat my body like a high-performance race car, I've done it my whole entire life ... I'm not training like I used to, I don't need this crazy, high-caloric intake diet like I used to have. I wanted to try different ways of continuing to be as nutritious as I possibly can."

One of the ways the athlete has been fueling his body has been by switching up his diet to swap out dairy milks and yogurts and incorporate more plant-based alternatives.

"Silk soymilk [has] given me more energy and I think that's something that I'm so blown away by," Phelps says."With three young kids, one being pretty much crawling right now, I feel like I have more energy than I ever did before. It's been a great way to change a little part of my diet and incorporate some new things ... you're still getting the protein that you need -- that's something that I'm always looking for. I'm able to still build just as much muscle ... It's very easy to just pour a glass and have one after a workout, that for me is an easy way to get my nutrients back into my body."

Phelps partnership with Silk has helped aid in the donation of a whopping 1.5 million meals to Feeding America.

"This is a major, major crisis that we're all going through, and it's even more important for all of us to help everybody that we possibly can," he says. "It's a scary time and we just want to make sure we can help get everybody food as much as we possibly can."

The athlete is still "working out five to six times a week," and has been finding himself "back in the weight room again" for the sake of his "own personal health."

Luckily, the Phelps family was able to put the finishing touches on their at-home gym pre-quarantine, new cardio machines and a weight room that Phelps says has been "a lifesaver."

"There have been days when I have not wanted to go out there and do anything, I just want to sit on the couch," he admits. "But I know that if I don't get a workout in, then my glass isn't full -- I'm not able to help the other family members that are in this house to make sure that they can get through the day."

For Phelps, mental and physical health go hand in hand -- take away the ability to get a good sweat in, and your mental health will suffer as a result of it.

"I have to work out, that's a must for me, or me just to be me," he tells AOL. "Honestly, I feel like it's night and day difference, the person that I am if I don't get a workout in -- I'm very moody, edgy, I'm not a fun person to be around."

Quarantine and practicing self-isolation haven't been the easiest of times for the former Olympian, who will be the first to admit that the "last two weeks" of quarantine "have probably been the most challenging two weeks" that he's faced.

"I'm sure that there are a lot of people that are probably going through similar things," he continues. "If it wasn't for my wife, for my kids, for friends that I can call or FaceTime, I don't know what would happen. There have been some scary times and I'm just happy that I have great people around me to help me get through this."

Phelps and his family "go on walks every day" in an effort to stay moving and combat the anxieties that come with the current pandemic.

"I've started to walk backwards a little bit because that's then activating different muscles and helping me get everything kind of level. I'm a swimmer and I've swam probably more strokes in the pool than I've taken steps on earth so for me, I'm kind of learning this whole walking thing again," he jokes.

Phelps maintains that being active during quarantine isn't so much about upending your entire existing workout routine, but instead supplementing different moves or exercises based on what's available in your current circumstances.

"There are so many things that you can add to your workout routine that we have lying around the house," he says. "I'm sitting right here in my office and there's a handful of things that I can pick up and somehow get my body just active with. I think that's something that's so important.

Keeping somewhat of a routine is also crucial, Phelps tells AOL.

"I've been a regimented person my entire life, so for me to keep a schedule, it's pretty easy."

For him, this includes cooking three meals a day for his family and spending time playing outside in the yard or pool with his sons.

"We took an area of our front yard and made a little dirt track for the boys so they're out there riding on their bikes," he shares. "For me, just being around them and seeing their pure happiness, that right there is something that I love and it's honestly hard for me to put into words. It brings me the biggest smile absolutely possible. They're the ones that are saving me I think."

And for those that may not be as fortunate to be spending their quarantine with their loved ones, Phelps is adamant about the importance of reaching out.

"If you are struggling, call somebody, FaceTime somebody, go for a walk if you can, open the window," he says.

"Do something to give you some kind of change because there are so many of us that are struggling through this and we've got to be able to find things together that we can do to help each other."

Originally published