A ton of calories
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has stated that he eats a jaw-dropping 12,000 a day! This is a great deal more than the average person, for example he will often eat an entire pound of pasta in just 1 sitting! This is because swimming, like cycling and skiing, is an endurance sport which means the athletes need a huge energy source.
Some may eat a lot less
On the complete opposite of the spectrum, we have our aesthetic sports that include sports like wrestling, fencing, gymnastics or diving. Those who perform in these types of sports will need a lighter body weight so that they can quickly maneuver themselves around. Typical calories for an aesthetic athlete is around 2000 calories a day.
Breakfast is key
In interviews, every Olympian will agree with one thing – skipping breakfast is never an option! It’s what is in the breakfast that athletes may disagree on. Snowboarder, Chloe Kim, starts her day on chocolate pancakes and biscuits, whereas Olympian Lindsay Vonn has scrambled egg and veggies.
Power up with protein!
Olympic athletes must be a lot stronger than the average person, so in order to achieve this. they require high-quality protein in their diets. This will promote muscle growth and give them essential amino acids for recovery after their performance. Heptathlete, Katrina Johnson-Thompson, stated “I try to have 70g of protein a day”.
Some athletes carb-load
Carbohydrates convert glycogen in the body, which then provide the body with a source of fuel. Our body cannot store that much glycogen in our muscles, so when it runs out, it turns to less sufficient sources of energy. This is why athletes ‘carb-load’ as it aims to store extra glycogen in the muscles to extend their strength during training.
Healthy fats are important
Fat is just as important for a healthy diet as protein and carbs are. This is because fats are crucial for athletes to achieve their best performance as fat is directly related with steroid hormones that will aid performance and recovery. So, if you are wanting to follow an athlete’s diet – don’t cut out your fatty foods!
Clean eating is the standard
The reality is, however, that athletes eat extremely clean. This means they that are thinking more about what they put in their bodies to go hand-in-hand with their workout regime. Clean eating doesn’t just mean focusing on calories, it’s also the nutrition that food includes. This means eating plenty of fruit and veg and smoothies.
Junk Food isn’t completely off the table
Don’t forget, athletes are human too! They also love their junk food. Therefore, they do often look forward a monthly cheat meal or celebratory sweet. For example, Bobsledder Aja Evans stated she carries her favorite chocolate bar with her for after the race, and heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson says Doritos are addictive.
Hydration is essential
Adequate hydration is crucial for minimizing muscle cramps, supporting immune defense, and enhancing mental function and motor control. Therefore, hydration is essential for athletes. To increase their fluids, it’s recommended that athletes drink at least 2 cups of water for every meal.
Moderation is sometimes key
Volleyball star, April Ross, explained that she tried numerous fad diets and eating routines, however the moderation approach was the most effective. I mean it makes sense, eating in moderation means you receive everything you need, whilst continuing to be healthy.