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What Elite Athletes Eat: Michael Phelps

Elite athletes get a lot of support, including access to world-class nutritional advice, so you would expect that they do the right thing nutritionally. However, that is not always the case. Following the diets of your heroes is not always the best advice, but looking at what they eat and what they do may still be interesting and educational.

Ex-Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has given some insights into his diet and pre-competition routine.

Athletes who train for hours every day need a lot of calories to provide the energy for all that activity. There is an oft-repeated story about the number of calories that Phelps consumed around the time of the 2008 Beijing Games. He was reported to consume an astonishing 12,000 calories a day, which he later said was a myth.

swimmers need to consume a large amount of caloriesswimmers need to consume a large amount of calories

Phelps was asked what he eats before a big swimming meet in the morning, and how long before the meet that he eats that meal. His reply? "I usually try to eat a lot of calories. With so many events it is important to sustain a high level of energy through the entire meet. I usually eat two hours before a meet." Depending on the size of the meal and what food is eaten, you should eat from half an hour up to four hours before competing. Check out our articles on pre-exercise nutrition.

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Sports Nutrition Extra

Athlete nutrition isn't just about weight loss. It is important to fuel the body optimally before, during and after exercise, as well as to stay hydrated. Supplements may also be required.

Weight Loss Extra

There are no simple answers. You should keep a healthy weight, consider one of these diets, though exercise is also important.

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