Here’s How Much Your Favorite Athlete Eats
As we watch the world’s best athletes compete at the Olympic Games—some of us with a bag of chips or bowl of popcorn in our laps—we may wonder, “just how much food does an athlete consume?” That depends on a number of factors—his or her sport, body size and type, and lifestyle, for example.
Of course, most world-class athletes follow a healthy diet—low in fat and sugar, plenty of whole grains and complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy. Many also avoid caffeine and alcohol. Athletes who benefit from having a small, muscular body-type—like gymnasts and divers—typically consume fewer calories. According to USA Gymnastics, the typical gymnast eats about 2,000 calories a day (slightly less for women, more for men).
Athletes whose sport requires them to expend short bursts of energy typically eat less than those who stay in motion for longer periods of time. Marathoners, swimmers, and long-distance cyclists often consume 5,000 to 8,000 or more calories on days they train and compete. Most other Olympic athletes eat somewhere in between 2,000 and 8,000 calories a day—it’s what they do with that energy that’s often simply amazing.
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