2019-02-12 10:00:00 CET

How Big Phil keeps fit

Ever wondered how the Thin Beast keeps in shape?

Phil Dalhausser might be 39 - but would you bet against him winning a gold medal this season?Phil Dalhausser might be 39 - but would you bet against him winning a gold medal this season?

It’s pre-season. A time when the beach elite are back on the sand, limbering those limbs up for competitive and demanding season ahead of them.

Not only has qualification begun for Tokyo 2020 but there’s the small matter of a World Championships in Hamburg to look forward to. Win that, and you’ll be jetting off to Japan automatically. Exciting times, huh?

So with huge amounts of hectic volleyball on the horizon, you’ve got to get in shape to be able to fend off the challenges of those staring you in the eye from the other side of the net.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in your 20s, 30s or 40s. You’ve got to put the time in.

Just ask American legend Phil ‘The Thin Beast’ Dalhausser.

The former Olympic and World champion is 39-year-old, but still a giant of the game. Indeed, at 6ft 9in tall, his slim frame enables him to leap at the net to such affect he’s been named the FIVB’s Blocker of the Year a record seven times. It’s a weapon that helped the Beijing 2008 gold medalist, and teammate Nick Lucena, become the United States’ number one men’s team.

With a host of up-and-coming talent in beach volleyball waiting to stake their claim as the sport’s number one team, veterans Phil and Nick are constantly looking for new ways to cement their position as the world’s number one team.

Phil (right) springs into action the net - a trademark move from the Thin BeastPhil (right) springs into action the net - a trademark move from the Thin Beast

That’s why the Thin Beast, a family man with a wife and two children, now utilizes techniques including mediation to help him maintain his performance and his position as the world’s best blocker.

“I read about a Dutch guy called Wim Hof, who is known as the Iceman,” explains Phil. “He sets records like hiking up Everest in shorts, setting world records for spending time in the water in the arctic.

“He is able to control his breathing through a number of ways, including mediation, and he can basically control his immune system when it comes to pain.

“I read about him and he happened to be at a seminar in LA, I went to that and I bought into the theory.

“I’ve been taking cold showers – I have a daily routine of about 20 minutes that also includes breathing exercises and meditation. I find the meditation help me to be more focused on court.

“Why do I do it? Well, I might be the best blocker in the world but there’s always room for improvement. Even the slightest improvement in percentages can translate to a point here and there throughout the course of the season.”

The off-season is also has its dangers. For Phil, that comes in the shape of one thing: chocolate. For any athlete, diet is of vital importance. Especially for those players who are of a certain vintage, like Dalhausser.s

So while choc tests Phil’s discipline, he makes up for it by religiously having one half of every meal the color green. Spinach, salad leaves, you name it, if it’s green it’s on the plate every meal time. The 2017 World Tour Finals champ is candid in his feeling towards keeping fit at his age.

“There are definitely days when I’m on court, or in the gym, when I say to myself ‘I don’t feel like sweating or breathing heavy today,’” jokes Phil.

“It’s most difficult at the end of a season where I can’t have too much time off otherwise my body will hurt and I’ll feel out of shape. Now I need to stay loose to avoid that in the off-season. You just have to look after your body.

“The good thing is when you’re winning, you’re confident to say to the competition ‘I might be in my late thirties but I’ve still got it and I’m still going to beat you.’”

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