Diet of Olympic athletes: check out curiosities

Often, when we follow the performance of Olympic athletes only in moments of competition, we do not imagine the true dimension of preparation that lies behind these performances. In this sense, Olympic athletes have extremely regimented routines for training, sleeping, and of course, eating.

After all, competitors need a lot of physical conditioning, so it’s only natural that nutrition keeps pace .

The first curiosity is that these diets are highly personalized for each athlete, so no trying at home, see?

Now, let’s get to the fun facts about the diet of Olympic athletes!

Olympic athletes need to eat a lot

A very common mistake is to think that Olympic athletes eat little to stay in shape. In fact, the opposite extreme happens in most cases.

High-impact physical activities require a lot of energy from the body, which means that you need to nourish your body very well to stay healthy and in balance.

Dishes for athletes are beyond hearty, but always with strictly controlled nutrients.  

Diets up to 10,000 calories a day

Speaking of extremes, hypercaloric diets call attention. This type of food plan usually has eight to 10 thousand calories ingested per day. This corresponds to almost five times what is recommended for an adult male.

Athletes who follow the hypercaloric diet range from weightlifters to swimmers, like Cesar Cielo.

The Brazilian swimmer shared his diet experience with  Globo Esporte : “Swimming is a sport where we train a lot, it’s a lot of volume. To do two training sessions, it was three to four hours a day in the water, plus a one-hour, one-and-a-half-hour bodybuilding session. And even eating six thousand calories a day, we didn’t gain weight – sometimes we even lost it. I tried this high-calorie diet to gain a little more structure.”

On the other hand, the British swimmer stated in an interview that a wrong eating plan was to blame for her losing the 2007 world championship: “In my modality, what makes the difference is what you eat two days before the competition. You have to load up on carbs, which I didn’t. Eating a mountain of rice or pasta is not as fun as it sounds.”

The importance of hydration and the use of isotonic drinks for Olympic athletes

It’s not news that hydration is essential in any food plan. In the specific case of Olympic athletes, the calculation used is 55 ml of ingested fluids for each kilogram of body weight. A common indication is to consume 500 ml before the start of training and maintain the intake of one liter for each hour of exercise. Low hydration levels can cause dizziness, headache and muscle cramps.

It is very common to see athletes drinking isotonic drinks. These drinks fulfill the function of replacing natural electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, which are lost with sweat. It is possible to make this replacement with coconut water, but industrialized isotonic drinks are more used because they have a higher concentration of electrolytes.

However, moderation is needed. The consumption of industrialized isotonic is only necessary when the athlete loses at least 2% of his body weight during training. Control in Olympic athletes is done with weighings that monitor weight loss before and after training.

After all, balance is the key to health.

It is important to emphasize, however, that these specific diets are used for limited periods and always with professional supervision.

Above all, the ultimate rule is that athletes are not machines, but people who need balance to maintain mental as well as physical health, as these extremes can cause long-term damage.


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