We’ve all heard stories about peculiar diets when exercising. It’s certainly true that different activities need different intakes of calories and protein to build muscle and maintain stamina. The success of the athletes of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics wasn’t just down to the training regime. Diet was key too. So what did they eat? Today we will cover about the dietary secrets of top athletes.

There was no set plan for each Team GB athlete even in the same sport. Each athlete had a carefully worked out diet which they had to stick to. Some will have eaten as few as 1500 calories a day, akin to a weight-loss programme, others as many as 6000. Examples of such diets can be found here.

Swimmers

secrets of top athletes

The swim squad were in the high calorie category, consuming between 3000 and 6000 calories a day. It’s a highly intensive aerobic activity with long periods of training, up to two hours in the pool twice a day plus one hour of land training. They needed high calorie snacks and protein filled meals between training sessions.

secrets of top athletes

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These secrets of top athletes needed to have the reserves for short bursts of power. Their diet therefore needed eating plans packed with protein to give energy without the weight gain associated with calories. Keeping well hydrated was also important so they could stay focused making quick decisions in the water.

Sailors

If there’s a sport with no set eating plan it’s sailing. Races can be short and sharp or last for hours in difficult weather conditions. Some boats such as the Finn class would require a sailor to be strong, generating power whist performing tactical moves whereas the crew in the 49er needed to manhandle a faster boat so they needed to be agile and athletic. All sailors need good cognitive function and make quick decisions, having energy but remaining lean. Many therefore took in extra protein such egg whites as part of exercise to boost energy without gaining weight. Athletes of all standards benefit from egg whites because of their high protein, low calorie content and find using a liquid egg white product a convenient way of taking in what they need.

Boxing

The boxing team needed to build up strength, agility and a sharp mind to be prepared for the challenges in the ring. Therefore protein and stamina were required. White meat, fruit and vegetables, plenty of water and good fats were the order of the day. The week before the fights, the boxers underwent a focused tapering programme which is effectively a rest period before their performance, similar to that of marathon runners. During this time their diets had to adapt again to ensure they didn’t gain weight but maintained the strength they would need for the challenge ahead.
There is much more known now about the links between diet and athletic performance. Finding out the dietary habits of our top athletes can inspire us to work out our individual needs for our daily activities. If people made the connection between what they eat and their daily activities the benefits to health would be substantial.