I’m heading to Dahab in 5 weeks.
I’ve been preparing already for 5 weeks, following a training schedule I designed myself.
How am I getting on? 








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In preparation for my summer trip to Dahab I’ve been following a (relatively) disciplined training and lifestyle routine, here’s how it’s going so far!


Now I’m in the fifth week of a 10 week preparation for deep training (and teaching) in Dahab. I’m generally happy with how things have gone, there are many positives at the moment. There are also a few things I need to work on, and at the half way point I’ve run into some health issues.

Below you can see the schedule for the first three weeks to give you an idea how I planned my training and my days. In grey are the tasks/activites that I completed successfully. In red, the ones I skipped for whatever reason.


Donny Mac training log


The first week was quite tough! I had just taken a couple of weeks off after training for and competing in the Taiwanese Cup depth competition. I hadn’t done any hard strength workouts for a few weeks, either, since I was diving deep several times a week, so I knew I had go through a period of adjustment now, being sore for a week or two!

On top of that, I had a booster vaccine on the first weekend. While the first two vaccine shots (AZ) had given me only a very mild headache and flu-like symptoms, the booster (Moderna) hit me a little harder, so I had to take it easy for a couple of days that weekend.




My strength training was going well for the first 3 weeks. I was doing two, full body workouts per week, 2 SAS (straight arm strength) sessions and I threw in a kettlebell circuit if possible. I train almost to failure on each set, as long as the form is perfect, with the goal of stimulating muscle growth.

The workload became increasingly easier through the first 3 weeks, in week 4 things started to get more difficult. I started teaching a freediving course so workouts started to slip from the routine, or be moved around. It is very challenging to do a full day of freediving coaching with 4 students and then finish the day off with a hard workout!

My favourite workout of all, the SIT (sprint interval trainings) are producing the quick, effective engine building capacity I knew they would. I think I’m ready to move from 3 to 4 sprints, after the deloading week I’m in now. At some point I’ll write up an article on how I perform this short workout, and why.

I haven’t done as much stretching, mobility or locomotion as I would have liked, but I’m doing my best.




Since the competition is over there is a lot less demand to rent the boat for deep diving. Dive buddies are now getting busier, starting to teach courses as we come into the hot season here and the water becomes truly tropical again. I have set aside two days (Tuesday and Thursday) for depth training, if the boat and buddies are available. If not, I substitute those sessions with Dry Dynamic sessions (simulated deep dives and RV dives with apnea walking). I’ve also set aside Saturday for some Dry Static. I haven’t dived as much as I would have liked, but to be honest, after the competition I needed a break.

Too early to say how effective the dry sessions are but my performances are improving gradually in them. Hopefully next week I’ll get to do some deeper dives again.

The goal pre-Dahab is to be able to comfortably maintain 70m in FIM. Moving up to 65m CWTB would be nice to, but depends on having enough deep sessions.




Morning practices refers to whatever combination of yoga, meditation, etc I’m doing first thing after I have my coffee. I see this less as training and more as my ‘spiritual’ practice. It brings me back to myself and what I understand myself to be, away from the contructs of the ego, the personality, the profession. I spend this time, from 30 minutes to 2 hours in as much presence as I can muster, putting aside (as best I can) thoughts of the coming day or weeks or life in general, working on both the gross and subtle aspects of who I am.

After coffee I start with anapana meditation,  now at 25 minutes, sometimes with strong concentration, sometimes just reminding me how fractious my mind is.

Kriya, asana and pranayama routines are short, but consistent. I know that I need to fix my evening practices in order to improve my morning practices. More about that, and food, later.




Leading up to this block I knew my sugar consumption was getting out of control. I go through periods where I binge on chocolate, cookies, ice cream etc. It’s an addiction! It’s not unusual for me to put away 1000-2000 calories like this in sitting. The effects on mood, sleep, recovery, energy, productivity and performance are profound and cumulative. I’d let myself go in the last weeks during the competition training because I knew I was burning huge amounts of energy, but also thought I ‘deserved a treat’ just about every day!

I began another sugar free run on April 1st. My goal was to achieve 90 days without any sugar binges. Of course, in the first few days I felt better and better, but the cravings were something I dealt with each day, especially in the evenings. They never really subsided. I made it to day 14 when I decided I deserved a ‘cheat session’. Then I cheated for 6 straight days! Feeling worse and worse each day…

I am always surprised how hard it is to quit sugar. Even with my worst periods of alcohol abuse, after 3 or 4 days of quitting, the worst of it was over and after a few weeks the thought of drinking doesn’t really arise in the mind anymore. Not so with sugar. The cravings are persistent and didn’t get easier after 14 days. I believe a few days of water fasting will allow the insulin/sugar situation to sort itself out, so that is planned for week 5.

I’m carrying about 3-4kg of fat that I don’t need or want right now. It’s almost the heaviest I’ve ever been. My runs are slower, my joints are weaker, I want to loose that extra fat to function optimally.




So today is Friday the 6th of May. I’ve just passed the half-way mark, a little less than 5 weeks to go before I leave for Dahab.

In the last week my mood, energy and general physical condition became quite poor. On the one hand, I was definitely needing the deload that I already had scheduled for this week, but on the other hand I know that something is just not right inside. I also know it’s to do with food. Still bingeing on sugar but also making too-rich evening meals, too much melted cheese, too many hash browns and comfort foods. Also too much strong coffee. I’m inflamed inside, my joints feel weak, my mind is clouded. I need to fast.

I had scheduled a 3 days fast this week to try and reset my hormones and insulin levels. The first day I failed, the day was too challenging. The day after that I felt so poorly I thought I might have COVID, I even did a test! No fasting then. I spent that day (yesterday) mostly in bed, napping and watching shows on Netflix.

So today I still feel pretty tired, but I’m 14 hours into the fast and committed to going at least 48hrs, maybe 72 hours on water only. It’s pretty challenging because I have a student arriving tomorrow to do his Masters course! So I’ll need all the stoic discipline I can muster to stay fasted through the next two days while also talking a lot and diving. I have fasted several times and know the enormous benefits coming to me if I can stay strong, and if I can break the fast sensibly and reintroduce the right kinds of food when I break the fast.

Emerging from this fast I will be ready to drop into the next 5 weeks of preparation!