Athlete throwing shotput

Eat like an Olympian: Nutritional advice for competitive athletes

As the world’s most elite athletes continue their quest for glory in Rio, one thing is certain: The kitchen staff in Olympic Village must be very busy. That’s because high-performance athletes need a lot of energy for training and competition and that requires a lot of food.

"Food is fuel for the body," says Erin Coleman RD, CD, "and athletes in training need a lot of fuel to get through their day. Many of them have very strict caloric and nutritional needs, but they can get creative with how they choose to take them in."

Delish outlined a few Olympic diet plans of Ashton Eaton (no pun intended with the surname), as part of the 2012 games where he took home a gold medal in the decathlon. Eaton, who is also competing in Rio this year, said his daily quest for calories looks like this:

  • Breakfast - Lots of eggs, turkey bacon, whole-wheat toast, Greek yogurt with muesli.
  • Snack - Granola bar, banana and protein shake.
  • Lunch - Tuna melt on whole-wheat bread.
  • Midday (if needed) - A nice bowl of soup.
  • Dinner - Fish or chicken and a salad or asparagus or green beans.

Erin continues, "Swimmers, track and field athletes, weightlifters and volleyball players will all have unique food requirements. But, you'll always find a lot of veggies, lean proteins, complex carbs and a lot of water in their system."

While there are good tips for every Hoosier in an athlete’s diet, keep in mind this regiment is not for everyone. If you are not as active as a decathlete (and let’s face it, who is?) your diet will look a little different. But athletes and people looking to get a little healthier alike can both learn a lot from an expert nutritionist. If food is fuel for your body, you need to know which fuel will give you the best return.

To learn more about advanced athletic training and nutrition and schedule an appointment with a sports nutritionist, visit Community Sports Medicine.