Olympic Diets

The night before and the day of a road race or even before jumping in the pool to swim a mile, I usually stick to a known diet.  Maybe a turkey sandwich and a side salad for dinner and toast with nut butter and a piece of fruit for breakfast.  But if my diet varies a bit, not the end of the world.  For Olympians, their diet could mean the difference between gold, silver, bronze, or not stepping up on the podium.

I have a hard time believing that Michael Phelps really eats a 12,000 calorie diet/day.  Wouldn’t he sink?  How long does he have to wait after eating to swim?  During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it was widely reported that this was his typical training diet:

The 12,000 Calorie Diet

Can you imagine washing down all of that pasta and pizza with energy drinks?  Me, not so much.  He does swim about 50 miles a week and throws in resistance training so he does need to fuel his workouts.  I’d like to volunteer to send him a care package of homemade granola, muffins, and calzones.  Less processed, healthy food.  I’m not judging, though–clearly his methods work!

Now how about Olympic diets that are healthy?

Swimmer Janet Evans (who didn’t make this year’s Olympics but did make a valiant effort at the trials) has a family history of heart disease and maintains a diet that fuels her swimming and protects her heart.  She includes a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables (apples are a favorite of hers!), healthy fats (avocado), and Greek yogurt.  (Source)

Did you know she’s 40 years old? (Source)

Meet Merve Aydin–she is a 22 year old Turkish middle-distance runner and will compete in the 800m race in London.  She maintains a 3,000 calorie a day diet.  Here’s what that looks like:

Grains, protein, healthy fats, water, dairy

What do you eat to fuel your workouts?  

*Note:  This is not a post meant to critique athletes’ diets or even suggest calorie counting/restriction.  It’s just a day in the life of these amazing athletes!

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9 responses

  1. Peanut butter on a piece of toast has been my best fuel to date! I instantly feel stronger and not weighed down. I’m now scared to test anything else and screw up the system!

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