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Fuelled for success: Olympians' diets revealed

02 AUGUST 2012

It takes more than extra laps of the track or early mornings in the gym to turn athletes into Olympic champions.

Their finely tuned bodies require a carefully controlled diet – which could ultimately make the difference between standing proud on the podium and going home empty handed.

 

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CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL FOOD GALLERY



The astronomical 12,000 calorie-per-day diet that swimmer Michael Phelps reportedly enjoyed whilst training for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games is all but a myth. The American swimmer, with eight Olympic gold medals to his name, recently admitted in an interview that it was "pretty much impossible" to eat such great quantities.

So what do London 2012's athletes really eat?

Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy is said to consume 6,000 calories daily and kick starts his morning with a super breakfast of cereal, banana and honey, orange juice, coffee, a fruit smoothie, and a protein shake.

British swimmer Rebecca Adlington revealed that she eats the same as normal people, "just a lot more of it", and is a fan of Italian dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise and risotto.

She snacks on fruit throughout the day and confesses a love for pears

Heptathlete hopeful Jessica Ennis speaks of home cooked evening meals, revealing that she enjoys chilli con carne or a stir fry – and will treat herself to a glass of wine outside of competition season.

 

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It's no wonder that athletes have to consume around three times more than the average daily intake. They need it to fuel them through gruelling training schedules in preparation for race day.

But all sports and athletes require different diets. Whereas the average Olympic rower may consume up to 6,000 calories a day, a boxer might be limited just 1,500 to help him slim down for his big moment in the ring.

Lizzie Armitstead flew the flag for vegetarian athletes this week as she pedalled her way to a silver medal in the road race – and she isn't the first veggie to reach the top of her game.

Two time Olympic 400m hurdles gold medallist Edwin Moses stuck to a meat-free diet, as did Paavo Nurmi, who racked up a total of nine gold medals during the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.

Something that all Olympians have in common is their high fluid intake. Their food diaries feature gallons of water, juices and energy drinks from dawn until dusk.


Eat like an Olympian with one of their favourites:

Honey and garlic chicken stir-fry

British asparagus and pea risotto

Risotto with peas and crispy bacon

Blueberry and banana smoothie

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