The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may be over, but that doesn’t mean athletes can relax. Many top athletes like Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky continue to train, especially when it comes to their diet.
While most people wouldn’t think of the diet as a workout, for top swimmers like Ledecky, it’s crucial for success. In an interview with NBC’s Michele Tafoya, Ledecky revealed what she eats before and after training.
Nutrition and Energy: Katie Ledecky’s Olympic Diet
“This morning it was oatmeal, made with extra milk, peanut butter and fruit for protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants,” Tafoya said, referring to Katie Ledecky. “She can snack on things like energy bars before the race, and she usually has a sports drink in hand until she leaves the prep room.”
According to Amy Goodson, RD, a Dallas-based nutritionist, Olympic diets in athletes are generally similar in their basic components. These diets include a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. “The more nutrient-rich the diet, the better able athletes are to recover after training,” she said.
Carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body, which it can then use for energy, while protein builds lean body mass and stabilizes blood sugar. Fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish or flax seeds, can help reduce inflammation and add calories. Vegetables and fruits can also add fiber and antioxidants.
The secret snack to boost recovery
Another of Ledecky’s Secret Salvage Snacks? Chocolate milk.
“It contains the four things you need after: carbohydrates, protein, fluid and electrolytes,” says certified dietitian Tara Collingwood, RDN. “Then follow this snack immediately after exercise with a meal full of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, and fat. ”
Ledecky typically drinks a 12-ounce bottle of low-fat chocolate milk right before his workout. She will also munch on protein bars and fruits like bananas to give her the extra energy and nutrition she will need. For the first few workouts, she could replace that cereal bar with peanut butter toast and a banana.
“These are great pre-workout options because they give me enough energy to do an early morning workout without feeling too heavy or full.” Ledecky said.
Keep a balanced diet
The amount of food is also important, because it all corresponds to the calories you eat. If you don’t use all that energy, it can easily build up as fat and lead to weight gain. However, with the intense training routines of most Olympic athletes, calorie intake and nutrition are balanced to serve as fuel for the athletes. Athletes of all levels of sports could use nutritional blood tests to adjust their diet to a good balance.
“Energy intake and needs vary greatly from athlete to athlete,” says Kacie Vavrek, RD, an Ohio-based sports dietitian. “Overall, an athlete’s energy needs will depend on their training and the demand for their sport, and can range from around 2,000 calories per day… up to 10,000 calories per day or more for themselves. train in a higher demand sport such as swimming.
Some studies also suggest that swimmers perform better when their body temperature is higher. It is usually in the evening, but for morning routines it is helpful to have a hot breakfast. This diet is something Katie Ledecky practices daily so she doesn’t have to think about it too much. When athletes dwell on their food choices, it can lead to problems down the road.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles said Women’s health that she tries not to follow what she eats. “I only eat what I know I can and should,” she said. Biles is also not too strict on her choices and openly admits that sometimes she skips breakfast completely before training. However, when she eats, she takes oatmeal or fruit.
All that glitters is gold for Ledecky
Ledecky is widely regarded as the greatest swimmer of all time due to her impressive victories in Olympic and national competitions. She currently holds 7 Olympic gold medals, as well as 15 world championship medals. Likewise, Ledecky holds records in several freestyle events, including 500, 1,000 and 1,500 yard runs.
Ledecky’s Olympic debut came as a surprise to many who watched the London Olympics in 2012. Among the swimmers was Katie Ledecky, 15, who competed in the 800-meter freestyle, in which she won the gold medal. Later, in 2016, she won the most medals among all athletes at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Maybe there should be a study on Colorado athletes too. Mile-High City produces the most Olympic athletes in the 48 contiguous states. This year Colorado sent 41 athletes to the Olympics in a myriad of categories. From archery to cycling, gymnastics and climbing, the “rocky” state sends 7.1 athletes per million inhabitants. Whether it is elevation or a special ingredient in their diet still needs to be investigated.