Most of you know it's the Olympics season, this means that the hype to understand what made the athletes be able to perform in these kinds of competitions. Being a successful athlete takes a lot more than the commitment of training. It is also about rest and recovery. 

The key to a good recovery lies in good sleep and a great nutrition plan. Here is what Olympians eat to perform and recover in the most optimal way. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that athletes focus way more on the calorie intake rather than the calorie outtake. It's also important to mention that these diets vary between sports; a short distance runner will have a different diet than a weightlifter. 

The expert Arj Thiruchevalem believes that 8,000 calories a day for athletes in sports like boxing, wrestling and lifting. He used the example of a water polo player who could not keep his weight up throughout his training camp. These is what he would eat: 

  1. Breakfast: Oats, peanut butter and orange juice. 
  2. Mid morning snack: Banana, toast and protein shake 
  3. Pre-workout: 4 waffles, protein bar and orange juice 
  4. Post-workout: protein shake 
  5. Afternoon snack: Peanut Butter & Jelly 
  6. Dinner: Roasted Chicken and a chocolate bar 
  7. Pre-workout: Cookies and Bread 
  8. Post workout: Protein shake and oats 

This diet helped him perform well throughout his camp and even gain a little bit of weight. After he finished the Olympics he went back to a less calorie intense diet and lost about 12 kg. 

Differing from marathon runners where nutrition is key before race day. Arj also says that the old myth of having to take enormous amounts of carbohydrates before race day is not necessary. He states that getting ready for a marathon starts about a week before and ends till you finish the race. He mentions the breakfast before the race should be light and that a runner should try to consume most of his carbs through drinks like NUUN, Gatorade or Protein Shakes. During the race it is important to keep glucose levels up to keep performing accordingly. 

Now we will give you some specific tips of how much food you should be eating even if you are not performing at an olympic level. 

  • Carbohydrates: You should add an extra 3-5 g to your daily intake if you are doing a bodyweight sport, 6-10 g if you are doing an endurance sport, 8-12 g if you are doing ultra endurance. All these should be added depending on your body weight. 
  • Fats: This tends to have a bad reputation, but athletes do not realize it is one of the most important things you should be consuming. Typically if you are an athlete you need to consume 25%-30% in fats everyday. Some healthy fats come from: avocados, almonds, olive oil, steaks and coconut. 
  • Protein: This is the secret to a speedy recovery from any athlete. Apart from helping you build more muscle which will make you perform better it will help your body recover easier. 
  • Micronutrients: make sure to add veggies to all your meals so you can get the most amount of micronutrients you can. This will make it so you do not have to take supplements. 

So make sure to remind your clients how important nutrition is for a speedy recovery and optimal performance.