You don’t win gold by snacking on chocolate bars and sipping beer all day. The elite athletes of the Rio 2016 Olympics are on daily diets that have been carefully crafted with the help of dieticians and nutritionists, who take into account levels of training, calories and physical requirements.
According to TIME, Olympian diets are different depending on the kind of sport they’re competing in. For swimmers who train for longer distances, carbohydrates are required straight out of the pool to make up for calories burned. For sprinters, protein is needed to refuel and replenish muscles that have depleted their energy supplies in such a short amount of time.
Here are a few examples of what a typical day of fuelling an Olympian looks like:
Seth Weil, U.S. Rower
6am – 2 cups of coffee, peanut butter and jelly in a flour tortilla
6:30-9am – 50oz of water, 30oz of Gatorade before, during and after practice. After practice a bacon, egg, cheese and avocado bagel with a side of fruit and another 15-16 ounces of coffee.
Mid-Morning Snacks – Dried cranberries, pretzel chips, 5 ounces of hummus and another 30-40 ounces of water.
11:30am – A vegetable snack e.g. arugula salad with cucumbers, red bell pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Noon – 3 carne asada tacos with cilantro, onion, lime and 20 ounces of water
2pm – A Cliff Builder Bar. Before, during and after second practice 60-80 oz of water and 20 ounces of Gatorade.
4pm – After practice a protein shake with 20 ounces of water and a bowl of cereal.
6:30pm – Shredded kale salad with chick peas, carrots, red onion, lemon olive oil and vinegar dressing, salt and pepper, along with a bowl of bowtie pasta topped with 2 chicken breasts and 20 ounces of water. Ice cream for dessert.
9pm – Trader Joe’s 3-layer hummus and 10 Altoids arctic mints throughout the day.
Shalane Flanagan, U.S. Long-Distance Runner
6:30am – Oatmeal with almond butter, bananas, berries, nuts, honey and dried fruit, 2 cups of coffee with cream.a
11am – After workout, a 16-ounce smoothie with beets, frozen blueberries, almond butter, frozen banana, coconut water and ginger.
Noon – A hearty grain salad with quinoa, veggies, nuts, cheese, and olive-based dressing, topped with a hardboiled egg, leftover chicken or another protein from the night before.
4pm – A pre-workout snack of ‘superhero muffins’ made with almond flour and butter, carrots, zucchini, maple syrup for sweet energy and eggs for protein, plus coconut water combined with sparkling mineral water and fresh lemon.
6pm – Red meat like quarter-pound bison or grass-fed beef burger with sweet potato fries and salad.
8:30pm – Herbal tea and homemade cookies made of sweet potato and oatmeal.