Michael McDowell is the person to beat this Sunday on the Nice American Race. In 2021, the NASCAR Cup Collection veteran grew to become the 63rd winner of the Daytona 500, driving his No. 34 Ford Mustang for Entrance Row Sports activities.
Along with exhilarating competitors behind the wheel, the 37-year-old understands that failing to arrange is like making ready to fail, so forward of this yr’s Daytona 500, M&F sat down with the champion and Celsius athlete to learn the way he trains for all times within the quick lane.
Daytona should be fairly the adrenaline rush?
It’s insane. I’ve by no means been a fighter pilot, however that’s what I evaluate it to. You keep laser centered on the duty, and also you don’t actually have an entire lot of additional capability to be fascinated about the rest, you’re simply fixated on what you must do within the automobile — actually to remain alive, proper? I imply, it’s simply loopy. You’re three, 4 [cars deep], 200 miles an hour, inches aside, and also you’re making decisive and calculated strikes with solely a matter of inches away from catastrophe. You simply keep so intense and so centered that even when the race is over, it’s exhausting to unwind since you’re simply in that mode of battle or flight for therefore lengthy.
How do you’re feeling about returning to Daytona, to defend your championship?
This yr it’s been superior. I believe it’s enjoyable, you understand, to go there this weekend and be the reigning champion. Coming again to a spot that was actually particular for us final yr. There’ll be quite a lot of buzz, quite a lot of hype, and quite a lot of enjoyable. So, I’m simply taking it in and having fun with it. I’m additionally realizing that we now have the chance to do it once more and to go back-to-back. We’re all the time grateful for the outcomes and the accomplishments that we’ve achieved, however we’re all the time in search of the subsequent one, too. So, no higher option to kick off the season than to try to go back-to-back at Daytona.
Has racing all the time been your sport of alternative?
I raced BMX bikes rising up, so yeah, I’ve all the time been racing one thing.
You spend time in areas with scorching climates. Does that show you how to to arrange for driving 500 miles on a damp course?
Dwelling in North Carolina now, and being from Phoenix, are like fully completely different heats. In Phoenix, you have got that dry-hot, 125 levels — not that a lot enjoyable. So, they’re each scorching. I discover the East Coast is nearer to what it’s like contained in the racecar. The warmth contained in the automobile has that “exhausting to breathe” type of warmth to it, whereas within the desert, it’s identical to, you’ll be able to’t contact something.
It seems like there’s no substitute for acclimatizing to the precise warmth contained in the automobile?
You’ll be able to prepare within the offseason all you need, however nothing trains you for the race automobile just like the race automobile itself. Simply the [race] length and all these issues. These first 5 races [in the winter months] are fairly delicate temperatures, so it’s straightforward to get again within the swing after which then as you get into the late spring and early summer season, all of it begins to ramp up. It will get fairly troublesome, so the warmer it’s, the more durable it’s for certain. Truthfully, not turning on air-con once I get in your automobile is one thing that I do. I simply actually sweat it out to get used to the warmth.
Do you prepare bodily within the warmth, too?
I try to get out through the hottest a part of the day. So, most individuals get up and do their exercise within the morning, or they do it within the night after work. I attempt to do mine at midday, you understand, within the summertime, within the hottest a part of the day. Whether or not that’s cardio or biking or working … simply attempting to be in, you understand, high-intensity conditions whereas it’s scorching. The sauna, steam room, all these issues assist.
How do you gas your physique?
These lengthy length races are over 4 hours. So, you’ve bought to gas your physique properly, and you must perceive your physique to know what your physique must maintain power for that lengthy.
For me, it’s simply discovering natural meals, nothing processed. It’s been a little bit of a trial-and-error course of … as a result of you understand, you don’t wish to go into the race so loaded up that you’re feeling sluggish and torpid. However, you additionally have to have sufficient meals … so at the same time as loopy as sounds, simply having the fitting physique fats share and never being too lean for me is a large factor. Once I get too lean, I’m good for about two and a half hours however the final hour and a half, I’m actually struggling.
How typically do you’re employed out?
You already know, I awakened this morning and took the youngsters to high school, had a Celsius on the best way to the gymnasium. My spouse and I did a type of cross coaching session, bootcamp fashion, for pace, agility… type of fast-paced stuff. At present was squats, soar squats, deadlifts, hamstring curls, leaping lunges, reverse lunges. Two or three days out of the week will probably be one thing like that. After which for the opposite two or three days, I’ll both cycle or run outdoors.
Do you discover that coaching together with your spouse lets you keep accountable?
Jami is beast mode. She’s extremely aggressive, and tremendous Match. So, she retains me motivated, for certain.
Racing requires such quick cognitive expertise. Do you do any sort of reactive drills?
We do completely different coaching all year long and within the offseason. We’ll do hand-eye coordination coaching and simulation. While you’ve so long as I’ve accomplished it, and also you’ve seen quite a lot of completely different conditions, you simply depend on intestine, and it’s normally the perfect choose of what it’s good to do. However staying sharp and staying centered is a large a part of our sport, for certain. While you keep sharp, you keep centered and also you keep wholesome. You’re in a position to attract again on these experiences in half the response time, and have that hand-eye coordination and have the ability to course of issues at a faster fee. So, I believe it’s a mixture of coaching and expertise.
The type of coaching that you simply do is placing your self in these sorts of depressing conditions, whether or not it’s coaching whereas fasting, you understand, doubling exercise durations and issues like that, during which you simply actually really feel such as you don’t have any extra power to go, and also you’ve simply bought to have the ability to discover that further gear.
Psychological toughness should be non-negotiable if you end up within the midst of an extended race?
I’m astonished with simply how exhausting you’ll be able to push by means of issues. So, I really feel like for me, so long as I don’t ever get to the purpose the place I’m going off [mentally], and it’s scorching, and even fascinated about being drained; I’m positive, I can push by means of it. However as quickly as you begin fascinated about these issues, you’ve already misplaced the battle. So, it’s simply conserving in the fitting state of mind and conserving your mind fixated on the fitting stuff.
Do you’re taking Celsius with you into the automobile?
I drink it earlier than the race, and that simply actually helps with getting the readability and focus, and power, that it’s good to get going and to be sharper… to be able to go. I exploit it the identical manner as I’d as a pre-workout.
So how do you relax in your downtime?
For me, it’s looking. It’s the other of what I do for a residing. Like, you’ve bought to be nonetheless and quiet and you’ll’t transfer quick. I believe that’s why I do it a lot, as a result of it’s actually stress-free.
Comply with Michael McDowell Right here!