Just watching an Olympian in action is enough to make most of us feel physically exhausted. From the grueling training schedule to the strict health and fitness regimen, athletes never seem to stop.
But have you ever wondered how they fuel such dedication? And does all that exercise mean they get to eat whatever they want? We quizzed the experts on the food habits it takes to become an Olympian.
1. They eat. A LOT.
According to Dr Helen O’Connor, a sports dietitian who was in charge of the nutrition kiosk at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, it can vary dramatically.
“Generally they’ll consume around 1600 through to five or six thousand calories daily, depending on the size of the athletes,” she says.
The average recommended calorie intake for women is 2,000 and men 2,500.
"Marathon runners who expend a lot of energy in distance and training will need more than, say, a shooter," Dr O'Connor says.
"Some athletes have to be more careful closer to the games as they have to 'weigh in' such as those competing in boxing, martial arts, lightweight rowing and even some sailing categories. While the latter don't weigh in officially, they like to manipulate their weight for balancing in boat to get the best result."
2. There is McDonalds involved.
After they've competed, of course. The best part? It's FREE.
"Walking through the front door [of the Olympic food hall] your eyes can’t help but dart directly to the free McDonald’s. At the beginning of the Olympics, the lines are short with a few weightlifters, track and field throwers and marathon runners frequenting the Big Macs," former Olympic swimmer Melanie Wright told news.com.au.
"But by the final few days when most sports are finished, they can barely keep up as each athlete lines up to order 27 cheese burgers, 40 chicken McNuggets, 12 sundaes and a Diet Coke before collecting the food and walking away without needing to pay." (Post continues after gallery.)