He has already earned himself a record-breaking 16 Olympic medals and the world will watch as he propels himself through the water for gold in the next few weeks. But American international swimmer Michael Phelps works hard for the enviably strong physique that has garnered him an army of female fans as well as a closet full of medals. The 27-year-old athlete, whose arms span 6 feet 7 inches (201 cm)—disproportionate to his height of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)— maintains that his performance is down to his highly calorific diet, which sees him feast on a staggering 12,000 calories every day. He starts the day with a hearty breakfast consisting of three fried-egg sandwiches, three chocolate chip pancakes, a five-egg omelette, three sugar-coated slices of French toast, and a bowl of grits (maize porridge). His lunch doesn't get much smaller as he devours half a kilogram of pasta (enriched with vitamins and fibre) over lunch, two large ham and cheese sandwiches covered in mayonnaise and gallons of energy drinks. For his final meal of the day, he finishes off the remaining kilogram of pasta, followed by pizza and more energy drinks.
Fellow swimmer Ryan Lochte has an equally epic diet. 'After morning practise I have a big breakfast: pancakes, waffles, cereal, bagels, eggs, everything.' Personal trainer and nutritionist and weight management expert Jenny Dawes, who has trained athletes, rugby player and celebrities such as Ulrika Johnson, maintains that, although Michael's diet would be dangerous for a regular person, he needs that
amount of energy for training. 'I would recommend that a regular competitive male swimmer would need around 6,000 calories a day but because Michael is at Olympic level will be training so hard that he will be burning it straight off. 'His cholesterol intake is very high but by constantly swimming, there is no time for the cholesterol to stick to his arteries. His cholesterol levels do need to be checked regularly to ensure he
is not putting his body at risk for Jenny says that Michael's energy drink consumption is necessary for an athlete in order to keep his electrolytes balanced and his muscles hydrated. 'Carb and electrolyte enhance drinks should be taken to replenish glygogen stores in muscles and liver as dehydration can cause muscles to fatigue very quickly. I would always check the sugar content on the bottles.' Phelps's high-calorie diet clearly pays off as his international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the
World Swimmer of the Year Award six times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eight times. He has won a total of sixty-six medals in major international competition, fifty-four gold, nine silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. His unprecedented
Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine'sSportsman of the Year award. His hard work paid off at the Beijing Games where he took home Men's 200m Butterfly gold medal Source: Travelfwd