We like to think that our top athletes are macrobiotic men and women. They always make sure they eat all the right food and never put any rubbish into their bodies. However, some sports stars are quite relaxed about the stuff they put in their mouths and they still win.
When fractions of a second can mean the difference between success and failure most coaches insist that their charges eat healthily. Food provides the energy that enables the body to move so conventional wisdom would dictate that a top athlete should eat the right foods.
Yet these diets prove that you can have an unconventional diet and still be a success.
The chicken nugget and yam diet
After he won his 100m gold medal in Beijing the world’s fastest human Usain Bolt said to prepare for the race he, “woke about 11am… and had some nuggets. Then I slept for a couple of hours…got some more nuggets and came to the track.”
His dad said that his son’s success is built on yams. Bolt loved the starchy vegetable as a boy and his father believes it helped to build up the strength of the 6 foot 5 inch sprinter.
Living off McDonalds
Olympic legend Michael Phelps revealed that he eats 12,000 calories a day. For breakfast he has three fried egg sandwiches, cheese, onions and mayonnaise. This is followed by a five egg omelette, porridge, toast with sugar and chocolate chip pancakes.
Most people would need a first aid kit after a breakfast like that but he trained five hours a day, six days a week and could burn it off. He also has a very fast metabolism which burns off the calories faster than an ordinary man his age.
Part of his diet included McDonalds’ burgers and he celebrated his winning his eight gold medals in Beijing by paying a visit to the fast food giant.
Raw food diet
Marathon runner and triathlete Michel Arnstein does not eat cooked food. His diet consists of water and fruit juice in the morning and then after training he will eat one type of fresh, in season fruit for the rest of the day until dinner. In the evening he will have a salad.
He views eating processed foods as akin to drug addiction. He said, “I look at eating processed foods the same way I look at smoking a cigarette or doing drugs. In my mind there is no difference.”
It obviously works for him as he says he has not been injured since he started eating this diet and considering he runs ultra-marathons of 135 miles long you would have thought he’d at least have a bit of knee pain after running that far.
The right diet
Every athlete knows his or her body. If a tiny gymnast ate like Michael Phelps they would be injured and wearing an ankle support after the first somersault. Diets are personal and so long as the athlete can be the best that they can be that is all that matters.