Pizza, beer, and ice cream are actually staples for some elite athletes, who gorge themselves on mountains of unhealthy food to meet 6,000-calorie daily quotients
Most of us have to carefully count calories and convince ourselves that salad is rewarding if we want to avoid obesity. Not so for Olympic-level endurance athletes like distance runners, cyclists, triathletes, and swimmers, who burn through calories so fast they have to consume piles of junk food to ensure they have enough fuel in the tank. So instrumental is food to an Olympian’s success that many Muslim participants are planning to postpone their annual Ramadan fasts when the games begin on Friday. Here, a guide to the “insane” diets of Olympic athletes:
How fast do athletes-in-training burn through calories? Lickety-split. Normal people are told to consume roughly 2,000 calories or less a day. But elite athletes can burn through 15 to 20 calories in a single minute, Dr. Michael Joyner tells The New York Times. At the peak of their training, athletes work out for four or five hours every day, which means they’ll have to replenish some 4,000 to 6,000 calories if they want to “train again the next day.”
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…
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