Michael Phelps’ Olympic achievements is legendary… and so is his diet.
The most decorated Olympian of all time says that his current diet is far from the crazy amounts of food he wolfed down as a 23-year-old.
It was revealed in 2008 that the now-23-time Olympic gold medalist was devouring a whopping 12,000 calories per day, or 4,000 calories per meal, to fuel his rigorous training schedule.
He’d start off with egg sandwiches loaded up with all the fixings, ranging from cheese to fried onions to mayo. After that, he’d go for chocolate-chip pancakes, French Toast, grits, and a five-egg omelet (gotta get that protein). Lunch would include a couple ham and cheese sandwiches, energy drinks, and a pound of pasta to top it off.
For dinner, he’d down a whole pizza. And yet another pound of pasta.
“Eat, sleep and swim. That’s all I can do,” Phelps said in 2008. “Get some calories into my system and try to recover the best I can.”
That Phelps is gone. Now an engaged new father, he is enjoying life and he has ditched his Olympic-sized meal plan.
“I don’t eat many calories a day,” Phelps claims. But let’s face it, he’s still piling on enough burgers and chicken to feed 5 full-grown adults.
As you can see in the graphic below, he’d still consume a ton of calories — that “lighter” dinner was often two plate loads — but he’s still drastically cut back from that 2008 peak.
And on this diet, he took home a crazy amount of medals: four golds, two silvers, a feat that made him the most decorated Olympian ever.
Does a diet like this make sense even for a calorie-incinerating human swimming machine? Usually, we normal folk would worry about eating fewer calories than we burn off exercising.
But a super-athlete like Phelps, who exercises nonstop, has to worry about eating enough to replenish the carloads of calories he’s burned. If he doesn’t, his body and muscles will not be able to recover.
The decrease in caloric intake could be due to a number of factors: He’s down to training two to four hours per day from his five hours, six days per week average before the Beijing Games.
He’s approaching 31, and no longer possesses a 23-year-old’s metabolism, as he did in 2008, and he’s making better food choices when he eats, in addition to cutting alcohol completely from his diet.
Basically, it sounds like Phelps has upped his protein intake and isn’t consuming quite the same number of carbs. But that doesn’t mean he’s gone low carb or anything.