The 2012 Summer Olympics are in full course. McDonalds is one of the biggest sponsors of the games and has made sure to set up a 24-hour restaurant right where the athletes are eating.
With their sculpted bodies and their eyes on the prize, it’s doubtful that most competitors will choose a late night Big Mac the night before one of the biggest days of their lives. However, McDonalds is anticipating that it will be one of the busiest restaurants; perhaps as a reward for the sweat and tears that are sure to follow each event.
What an Olympic athlete eats is as varied as the sports themselves. You can view a slideshow of what the diets of Olympic athletes can look like here. These max out at 3,500 calories yet some Olympian diets can go quite a bit higher than that – up to 9,000 calories a day. Between training and refueling, this doesn't allow for time for much else.
Canadian shotputter Dylan Armstrong is in the 9,000-calorie category and says that he eats five to six times a day; high protein, low carb. Korean gymnast Son Yeon-Jae falls on the other end of the spectrum, and has her food measured in grams by her trainers. The slightest difference in her weight could affect her routines, but she admitted that she’d love to eat pizza.
The commonality in all athletes is liquids. The stereotype of athletes guzzling protein shakes is indeed true – most athletes feel it is an easy way to get calories and nutrition without weighing them down. And of course, water; the liquid we all know we should have more of but often forget. A recommendation for athletes is that they consume half of their body weight in water.
There are some athletes, however, who are more laissez faire about their eating choices. The oldest Olympian this year, 71-year-old Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu told the New York Times “For diet, I eat whatever I want to eat. I was born very lucky. I don’t get fat, even if I eat a lot.” He proves that we can all continue to dream big, but big dreams require fuel, so eat up!
Reaching for a Big Mac however, we’ll leave that up to you.
Courtney Sunday has two cats and a boyfriend who are very patient with her health and wellness obsessions. She teaches yoga, Pilates and indoor cycling and gives Thai massages through her Toronto business Om at Home Yoga. When she is tuckered out, she takes up the sport of sleeping.