The eight-time World Champion, Olympic gold medalist and two-time world-record holder is the favourite heading into this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Here’s how the 26-year-old prepares both mind and body for world-beating success.

15 Mins With...Record-Breaking Swimmer Adam Peaty | Men's Fitness UK

Peaty celebrates winning gold and setting a new world record in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke Final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games | Photo: Getty

At the start of lockdown I had a Jacuzzi Swim Spa set up in my garden.

It’s like a treadmill for swimmers. You’re tethered in place and swim against the current, adjusting the setting to increase the challenge.

I was out of a pool for 16 weeks, so that set-up was a huge asset.

When I first returned to the pool it was hard – I’d pretty much forgotten how to swim in one!

But as the technique returned I actually came back stronger.

I competed again at the Manchester International meet in February and posted some really good times. Now I’ve got the Olympic trials coming up.

I have to believe the Olympics will go ahead.

We have warm-ups after the Olympic trials, including the Europeans, scheduled for May.

My focus is on training, but I’m keen to get my life-balance right with the new family, too. [Peaty became a dad last year.]

15 Mins With...Record-Breaking Swimmer Adam Peaty | Men's Fitness UK

While the gyms have been shut, I’ve prioritised my wellbeing, nutrition, psychology and resilience.

As well as home workouts, I’ve also done yoga and a lot of cycling – up to 60k a day.

I do gym work before I swim so that I don’t end up in hypertrophy.

Us swimmers do like to lift like we’re weightlifters, but we have to pair that with performance in the pool.

I’ll do back squats, cleans, hang cleans or chin-ups one session, and on another day it’ll be bench-press, reverse lunges and pull-ups.

But we do a lot of muscular endurance, or ‘maintenance’ as we call it, too. That’s where we do core and shoulder rotations, and a few minor things like dumbbell prone rows.

I don’t want to grow big muscles. If you can make yourself as strong but as speedy as possible, that’s perfect. It’s why I don’t really go beyond five reps.

We train six days a week, with Sundays off, but to be honest there’s not a lot of recovery time. We actively recover through the week, using nutrition especially, to help repair and restore the body.

If you’re taking the right supplements and hydrating around the right meals, you can strike that balance.

15 Mins With...Record-Breaking Swimmer Adam Peaty | Men's Fitness UK

Peaty competing in 2019 | Photo: Francois-Xavier Marit/AFP via Getty

Pressure is a motivation for me – that’s why I’m so hard on myself.

If I’m .5 or .3 off my target in a session, I’m tearing myself apart because that standard is just not good enough.

It’s almost obsessive, and some may consider it unhealthy, but it enables me to get that optimal performance.

Fatherhood has made me a better person.

I hope it’s not a cliché to say, but it has made me want to make others proud.


Adam Peaty was launching the new SIRO hotel brand, the latest innovation from Kerzner International


Interview: Rob Kemp