I was a little surprised when I visited your site tonight and couldn’t find anything on Michael Phelps, or more specifically his much talked about 8,000-10,000 calorie a day diet.
Yes, he is an athlete who trains 5 hours a day and probably burns calories just getting dressed in the morning (due to his muscle mass).
But this “olympic phenomenon” could choose better/healthier choices than his daily consumption of 2 fried egg sandwiches, 2 pizzas, 2 ham sandwiches on white bread (the list goes on).
Yes, he is a mean lean calorie burning machine, but can’t these poor diet choices still lead to potential health risks such as high cholesterol.
Or what about his sugar levels with all those large portions in one meal?
And doesn’t his eating habits give substance to the public notion out there that you can eat whatever you want as long as you’re exercising?
Just curious what your thoughts on the subject are.
— Becky (last name unknown)
Via the blog
You raise some very good points, Becky.
By the way, for those of you not familiar with Phelps’ “diet,” The New York Post breaks it down:
“[Breakfast is] three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.
He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread – capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs – what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen – with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.”
Let’s keep a few things in mind.
We are not just talking about “an athlete.” Mr. Phelps is an Olympic athlete, which means heavy-duty, constant, hardcore training.
This is not someone swimming for 45 minutes three days a week at the local YMCA.
Mr. Phelps trains by swimming approximately five HOURS a day. Then there’s the additional weight lifting he needs to do to keep his muscles in top shape!
Add to that youth (he is, after all, 23 years old,) a super fast metabolism that is the product of genetics, and plenty of muscle mass (and very little body fat,) and you have a body that needs pretty extraordinary amounts of fuel (food) to operate the way it does.
I suspect that part of the reason why Mr. Phelps’ diet is low in fiber is to prevent him from getting full too quickly and not eating as many calories as he should.
I also suspect there are appetite stimulants involved here.
What also makes Mr. Phelps a special case is that although his diet isn’t necessarily “heart healthy,” his lifestyle certainly is.
Remember, physical activity — which Mr. Phelps is getting PLENTY of — increases HDL cholesterol, lowers LDL cholesterol, and reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
I certainly hope no one is taking away that you can eat as much as you want as long as you’re exercising. Mr. Phelps is not “exercising,” he is devoting every second of his life to an athletic career.
He is the very definition of a “special case.”