What do Olympian athletes eat?
What are they eating?
In 2008, gold-medal-winning swimmer Michael Phelps made headlines when details of his 4,000-calorie breakfast were made public: Three fried-egg sandwiches, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast, and three pancakes with chocolate chips. Indeed, a typical meal for endurance athletes can resemble an episode of Man v. Food, says Gretchen Reynolds at the Times. An athlete might sit down for dinner and inhale a pound of pasta cooked with olive oil (800 calories), a dozen eggs (840 calories), an entire cheese pizza (2,000 calories), a pint of Ben & Jerry’s cheesecake-brownie ice cream (1,000 calories), and beer (about 150 calories per bottle).
Why not eat healthy food?
“You can only eat so much oatmeal and tofu,” says Dr. Joyner. And the calories don’t add up. A bowl of oatmeal gives you just 150 calories, while a cup of tofu only boasts 175. But processed junk foods — candy bars, cookies, Pop-Tarts — provide more energy-replenishing calories per gram. Even when restricting their diet to pizza and ice cream, some athletes still shed weight. Of course, not everyone agrees with Dr. Joyner.
Here’s an example of a healthy 6,000-calorie diet for high-endurance Olympic athletes that relies on lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Of course, it requires athletes to eat six times a day.