Tokyo Olympics 2020: What Does an Olympic Swimmer’s Food Diet Look Like?

Published 07/14/2021, 2:47 PM EDT
The giant Olympic rings are seen through a tree in the dusk at the waterfront area of Odaiba Marine Park, before the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games that have been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato


Food diets for athletes are an important aspect for them to be successful, along with workout routines. Without the proper nutrients, athletes won’t be able to meet the needs required for their workout routines.

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Different athletes follow different diets. LeBron James follows the Paleo diet, while a lot of athletes have turned to vegan diets to enhance performance and longevity. Likewise, swimmers follow separate diets to complement their training and this helps them to get the energy while training.

Tokyo Olympics 2020 is around the corner and many swimmers have different diets altogether. The proper food diet helps swimmers to replenish their energy while training for major sporting events.

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Swimmer’s food diets before Tokyo Olympics 2020

According to a recent report, an average competitive swimmer burns around 5000 calories in four hours. Hence, proper nutrition is important to help them recover, as well as to perform well in training.

While many swimmers are prone to eat a lot, the number of carbohydrates and proteins to be consumed are in different proportions. The potential of swimmers depends on their food diets while working out with their different routines.

Natural health and fitness expert, Bruce Baker, spoke about how much a professional swimmer needs to eat. As they train intensely for over two hours a day, swimmers usually take four to seven light meals in a day for enhancing their performance.

Foods that are easy to digest are recommended. However, many athletes have different ways of eating and it is down to personal preferences as well.

Carbohydrates are some of the most common nutrients for a swimmer as they need that energy to work their muscles out. This makes up for half of their diet. Rice, cereal, pastas, potatoes are rich in Carbs which helps the swimmer to get the fuel they need.

Healthy fats, proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts, vitamins make up for the other half. Lean meats, fish, eggs also are some of the major sources of protein, for a swimmer.

Even though these are the standard diets for many swimmers, Michael Phelps had a unique diet.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: Michael Phelps of the United States celebrates winning gold in the Men’s 200m Butterfly Final on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Michael Phelps’ insane food diet

Despite the regular diets which are followed by swimmers, Phelps had other ideas. By consuming 12000 calories a day, Phelps used this fuel to help him perform well for training sessions.

The recommended calorie intake for a man is 2000-2500 calories. However, Phelps ate 4000 calories per meal. It’s quite astonishing, but the results are there for people to see.

On an average daily intake, he ate three fried egg sandwiches with different vegetables, two cups of coffee, five eggs, one bowl of porridge, three slices of sugar-coated French Toast, and three chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

Lunchtimes are not different either while he had half a kilo of pasta, two large ham cheese sandwiches, and another 1000 calories by consuming energy drinks.

Finally, for dinner, he ate the aforementioned foods plus a large pizza instead of the two sandwiches. This incredible diet got him 23 gold medals in the Olympics.

Even though those swimming hours went for more than five hours, there is enough food to make a normal man obese in a few months. However, Phelps’ workout routines needed this diet, and to sum it up, he became the greatest Olympian of all time.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 13: Gold medalist Michael Phelps of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay Final on Day 8 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 is the latest edition of the greatest sporting event on earth. Athletes from different parts of the country have different approaches to food diets.

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But the determination to succeed lies in every minute detail. Hence, a food diet proves to be the catalyst for swimmers to follow during their workouts.

WATCH THIS STORY- 5 Biggest and Most Shocking Upsets in Olympic History

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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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