10/08/2008 at 02:00 PM EDT
You can't blame Olympic medalist Michael Phelps for wanting a break – he's got some special inspiration: Turtle from Entourage.
Talking up his forthcoming guest-spot on the hit HBO show, Phelps says, "It's cool, because it's definitely my favorite show on television right now. I think my favorite character is probably Turtle, because he just sits around. That's what I love doing the most!"
It might be hard to believe that the über-athlete makes like Jerry Ferrara's slacker Entourage character, but Phelps, 23, says he's only worked out "three times" since winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics.
"I'm taking a break [until training for the 2012 games] in February," he says.
Phelps's new laid-back attitude was also reflected in his new facial hair: the swimmer debuted a scruffy goatee while hitting the lanes at Manhattan's Bowlmor bowling alley.
The reason for the beard? "Just laziness, to be honest," he said with a grin, clad in a simple Armani button-down and Lacoste cap. "I'm just enjoying being lazy these days. Sitting around, doing nothing, traveling here and there, not working out."
Phelps also says he's spending quality downtime with important people in Baltimore: "There's no better place to be than back in my hometown, back with my family."