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Olympian Dara Torres Offers Health, Fitness, Parenting Tips

February 16, 2011 10:11 AM

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102898126 102 Olympian Dara Torres Offers Health, Fitness, Parenting Tips

She’s competed in five Olympic games (it’ll be six in 2012), won 12 medals, written two books, and is raising a four-year-old daughter. Oh, and she’s got a set of 6-pack abs that would make one Jersey Shore star question his “situation.”

Olympic swimmer Dara Torres recently appeared at New York City’s Yale Club for a “Stay Fit in 2011” event, hosted by NXT Nutritionals. After leading attendees in a light workout, she filled in CBSNewYork on some of her best tips for living a happy and healthy lifestyle as an active mom.

By Julie Parise, CBSNewYork.com

Keeping Your Children Active

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Torres’ daughter Tessa will be five this year, and she’s already learning to be active like her superstar athlete mother.

“She does about 30 to 45 minutes of something after school, four out of the seven days of the week,” Torres said. “Ice skating, swimming, and tennis, and gymnastics.”

But she’s not pinning any gold-medal hopes on her young one – yet.

“You never want to live through your child,” she said. “Swimming, I’ll always make her do, at least for now. It’s just something that’s great exercise, and I want her to do it. The other [activities], she picks.”

RELATED: Staying Active As An NYC Family

Developing Healthy Eating Habits

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Swimming is something that may come naturally to this soon to be 6-time Olympian, but learning how to teach her daughter healthy habits is something that she’s taking one day at a time.

“I’m still learning as we go along,” she said. “She’s very picky.”

Torres admits she doesn’t have any proven tactics for encouraging her child to eat healthy.

“I wish someone could tell me, cause my daughter is the pickiest daughter in the world,” she joked.

SEE ALSO: How To Teach Your Family Healthy Eating Habits

Stick to the basics. Find ways to incorporate healthy choices into your son or daughter’s favorite meal.

“[My daughter] likes chicken fingers, pasta,” she said. “I always try to add some kind of fruit and vegetable for her.”

Her Go-To Snack & Curing Cravings

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Dieting is difficult – especially when you’re on the go. Fight off ferocious cravings by leaving healthy snacking options at your desk and in your purse so you’re never tempted to hit the vending machine — it’s tough to make nutritious choices with that bright yellow bag of peanut M&Ms staring you in the face.

Torres noshes on macadamia nuts when she’s in need of a fast bite.

“I keep them in my car when I’m driving, because they’re just a healthy, good snack,” she said. “It seems to help my cravings.”

Yes, even though it’s not exactly evident when you take a look at the body of the 43-year-old, 12-time Olympic medalist, she claims she still has her weaknesses when it comes to sweet treats.

Which ones, exactly?

“Recently, vanilla cupcakes,” she said. “I am the worst, I try to be good. I’m just like any human being.”

Her biggest tip? Don’t deprive yourself of the things you want – it only makes the cravings worse.

“I try to limit my intake of bad food or unhealthy food,” she said. “If I do have a craving, I try to take a little bite of whatever I crave, so I don’t get in trouble down the road.”

Indulge, but don’t overdo it.

“Have a little bit and then move on,” she said. “The more you have, the more you’ll get yourself in trouble.”

Working Out

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Torres follows a serious training regimen – she works out five days a week – but wants to make it clear that her lifestyle is far from the norm. She often reminds those asking for fitness advice that exercising like her and resembling an Olympian is an unrealistic goal for most of us.

Instead, find way to make fitness a part of your everyday routine.

“It just depends on your schedule,” she said. “[Work out] a few times a week, you can even do stuff with your kids. Go to the park, go for a walk.”

You can even work out while you’re standing in the kitchen.

“Take cans out of the pantry and do bicep curls,” she suggested.

What are you waiting for? Grab that can of cranberry sauce — you could be an Olympic gold medalist in no time.

Julie Parise is the features editor for CBSNewYork.com.
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