Amanda Beard is one of the most well-known Olympic American swimmers of all time. With seven Olympic medals to her name and the former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke, Beard also models, writes, is the face of Aqua Sphere swimwear and is a mom. Girlfriend is busy! We recently got to chat with her for her swimming tips, her workouts in and out of the water, and how she keeps a healthy body image no matter what swimsuit she’s wearing!
Interview With Olympic Swimmer Amanda Beard
- FBG: Why are you a fan of Aqua Sphere swimwear?
- AB: I like suits and gear that meet the needs of the everyday woman: fashionable, supportive and flattering, while also meeting the demands of competitive athletes, which Aqua Sphere does. Aqua Sphere has allowed me to enjoy my lifestyle as a competitive and recreational swimmer because their gear is made to help swimmers feel comfortable and at home in the water. I don’t have to worry about my goggles fogging up or creating marks on my face, or my suit becoming uncomfortable after hours of practice. This allows me to maximize my time in the water and really focus on training, working out or playing with my son in the pool.
- FBG: Do you have a favorite suit of theirs? Do share what it is and why!
- AB: The Lima is definitely my favorite. It’s sporty but also supportive and feminine, which gives you a boost of confidence and the peace of mind to know that you can be active without worrying about how you look. I am also a big fan of the Kayenne goggles, which are some of the best goggles I’ve ever worn because of the clarity and comfort—plus, they don’t leave red marks on my face!
- FBG: Many are intimidated to get in the pool for a workout. Any advice (both on wearing a swimsuit and just the logistics of knowing what to do)?
- AB: First of all, it’s important to pick a suit that you’re comfortable in. Aqua Sphere’s swimwear uses Body Control System technology that supports and flatters a woman’s shape; anyone who’s ever tried on a swimsuit knows how important that is! To start off with swimming, pick a small goal and work toward that to start—for example, 20 laps. This will help you measure your progress and see how much your body is responding to your new workout routine. As you become more comfortable, you can increase your goals to master a stroke or enhance the number of laps you do.
- FBG: What are a few of your favorite swimming workouts?
- AB: My go-to strength building workout is the 18 × 100 breaststroke. Even though it’s a tough workout with short intervals between each repetition, I always walk away feeling energized.
- FBG: What are your top tips for getting a really great workout in the pool?
- AB: 1) Have a suit and goggles that fit and feel comfortable so you won’t be distracted or worry about having to adjust throughout the workout.
2) To meet your fitness goals, don’t just get into the pool and swim until you’re exhausted, and then get out. Instead, split your workout up into a warm-up, some higher-intensity laps and then a cool down—and feel free to rest in between sets.
3) Try out different strokes. Freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly are some basic strokes that all work muscles in different ways for a more effective, full-body workout.
- FBG: We heard on your blog that you’re a fan of CrossFit. How did you get into it?
- AB: I started doing CrossFit about two and a half years ago when I was trying to lose the baby weight after having Blaise. Given my time constraints as a new mom, CrossFit was the workout that gave me the best results. My trainer helps me maintain good technique in order to achieve maximum results and avoid injury, and he kicks my butt every workout—I love it!
- FBG: In your new book, you discuss how destructive the drive to be perfect is. What advice can you give women on how to give up to the desire to be perfect?
- AB: The drive to be perfect can be overwhelming for women, and through my struggles I’ve learned that “perfect” is not attainable—but “happy” is. Right now, I’m happy with my life and I don’t feel like I need to prove anything anymore. I would suggest that other women strive to be happy rather than perfect. Are they finding happiness in the activities they do? Do they have a support system? Those are the important things. I would not be where I am today without my son and my husband.
- FBG: In addition to being one of the best swimmers ever, you’re a model. How do you maintain a positive and healthy body image?
- AB: Becoming a mom made me look at my body in a whole different way; I’ve always been an athlete, but I have a new respect for the strength of women’s bodies after becoming a mother. I think my husband, Sacha, has also been a huge help in the journey for me to accept myself because he’s always accepted all of my flaws without question. He’s my other half who saw everything I was and still loved and supported me, which has helped me to better cope with the pressures in and out of the pool.
- FBG: Tell us about your son. How has being a mother changed your life and how do you find the time to take care of you?
- AB: Having Blaise changed my perspective on life in general and my attitude about swimming. I used to get stressed about little things and feel unnecessary pressure, but with Blaise, I strive to maintain a positive attitude because I want him to be proud of me and to follow his own dreams someday. Being a mom is so rewarding; my world records don’t even come close to the hard work and rewards of motherhood. I am very busy and it’s sometimes difficult to find “me” time, but I’m always keeping the big picture in mind, and trying to find the perfect balance between swimming and family life.
Love her honest answers! How many of you love swimming as a workout? Have traded “perfection” for “happiness?” Let’s hear it—and thanks to Amanda for the interview! —Jenn