Guardian writer Jon Henley tries the Michael Phelps diet
The Guardian, Thursday August 14 2008
Michael Phelps in action. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
US swimmer Michael Phelps made history yesterday when he scooped a record-breaking 11th Olympic gold medal. He has now topped the podium five times in Beijing. After his latest victory, he revealed the secret behind his six-days-a-week, five-hours-a-day training regime: an extraordinary 12,000-calorie daily diet, six times the intake of a normal adult male. This is a typical day:
Phelps kick starts his day and his metabolism with three fried-egg sandwiches, but with a few customised additions: cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and, of course, mayonnaise.
Amuse-bouche out of the way, he throws back two cups of coffee and sits down to an omelette – containing five eggs – and a bowl of grits, a porridge of coarsely ground corn. He’s not finished yet. Bring on the three slices of French toast, with powdered sugar on top to make sure there’s no skimping on the calories. And to finish: three chocolate chip pancakes.
With breakfast wearing off and the hunger pangs biting, Phelps downs half a kilogram – ie a whole packet – of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches. On white bread with loads of mayo on top. To remove any chance that his body will run out of fuel, he washes this down with about 1,000 calories of energy drink.
Time to load up on carbs for the next day’s training. Another half kilo of enriched pasta goes down the hatch with a chaser of an entire pizza and another 1,000 calories of energy drinks. And so to bed. As Phelps told US television channel NBC yesterday: “Eat, sleep and swim, that’s all I can do.”
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