By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
I would’ve expected the summer Games to be great motivation to get out and start moving, but instead I’m finding myself logging more hours in front of the TV and tweeting about my athlete crushes (hello Nathan Adrian) than at the gym. Not to mention my sleep schedule is now ruled by the Fab 5 (aka the women’s gymnastics team). But as I watched them, it got me thinking: What do those super athletes eat to fuel their gold-medal bodies? Four years ago in Beijing it was major news that Michael Phelps ate an astounding 12,000 calories per day. Here’s what I found about our other favorites:
On the official website, gymnast Aly Raisman says watermelon and yogurt are her favorite foods. Raisman also made a video for Yahoo where she talked about the importance of nutrition and her post-workout staple – chocolate milk. Chocolate milk is a common athlete favorite (Swimmer Dara Torres swore by it too) because of it’s carb/protein ratio and vitamins for muscle recovery.
The rest of the Fab 5 eats healthfully too — Jordan Wieber says her favorite food is hummus; McKayla Maroney loves sushi, strawberry, and mangoes; Gabby Douglas loves Mexican and Italian food; and Kyla Ross swears by salmon.
Beach volleyball player Kerry Walsh sticks to almond butter and honey sandwiches before she competes. The sugar from honey is immediately energizing while the protein and fats in almond butter help sustain that energy boost.
Polo player Ryan Bailey (another cutie) says his power breakfast is gluten-and-dairy-free buckwheat banana pancakes with fruit, while gymnast John Orzoco swears by the protein-packed Greek yogurt before workouts.
Ryan Lochte definitely tosses beer kegs for training, but he isn’t throwing back the drinks right now. He might seem like the laid-back swimmer but he says he’s gotten very serious about his eating; Lochte quit fast food and started focusing on protein and carb ratios. He says that his ideal post-swim recovery meal is “two grilled chicken breasts with Alfredo sauce, whole-grain spaghetti, and salad with lemon juice and olive oil”.
So who are your favorite athletes? What do you eat before or after you exercise?