While watching the 2010 Winter Olympics, I've been wondering if we can glean any diet and exercise tips from the athletes—not now, of course, because we're glued to our televisions. But when the games are over and we no longer have an excuse to be useless couch potatoes, is there anything we can learn from these impressive Olympians?
I'll tell you one thing we should not copy from Olympic athletes: Their diet. The typical Olympic athlete consumes anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 calories per day during training. And when I say "typical athlete, I'm, of course, referring to the speed skaters, the downhill skiers, the snowboarders, etc. The figure skaters? Well, from what I've read, they're another story...
According to U.S. News & World Report, this is what an Olympic athlete eats in a typical day of training:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal; Banana yogurt smoothie.
- Snack during workout: 2 energy gels
- Lunch: Hummus sandwich on whole grain; Banana smoothie; 2 cups soup; Fresh fruit.
- Snack: Apple; Energy bar
- Snack during workout: 1/2 energy bar
- Snack after workout: 1/2 energy bar; Banana
- Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with vegetables; 1 glass of milk; Almonds; 1 Egg.
- Snack: Homemade granola
Grand total: 4,067 calories.
Yowza. Do you see what I mean? Good thing I'm not an Olympic athlete—I'd be as wide as an 18-wheeler!
And, plus, I hate energy bars.
Calorie counting aside, however, it is important to note the content of the above diet: The foods are all healthy and well-balanced. And, in fact, there are a few nutrition tips Olympic athletes follow that we'd be wise to incorporate into our diet:
- Eat small meals—consisting of a variety of healthy foods—often throughout the day to keep energy up.
- Your diet should be centered on fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein sources, and "good" fats such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.
- Hydration is key. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, energy drinks, and/or sports drinks.
- Eating healthy foods 30-60 minutes immediately after working out is important for recovery. Good recovery foods can include: low-fat yogurt with granola, bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, apple and string cheese.