Tuesday 19 September 2017

Rosa Prince: Can fast food really be the breakfast of Olympic champions?

USA's Michael Phelps after winning the second Men's 200m Butterfly Semifinal
USA's Michael Phelps after winning the second Men's 200m Butterfly Semifinal

AREN’T the fastest supposed to avoid fast food? Yet some famously eat junk to power their performances. American swimmer Michael Phelps favours chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Usain Bolt’s love of McDonald’s chicken nuggets is well documented. Some save it for after the event: after winning gold in Beijing, Rebecca Adlington said she was longing for burger and fries.

Phelps, who has 17 Olympic medals to his name, eats a whopping breakfast before a race: three fried egg sandwiches, with cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise; a five-egg omelette; three sugar-coated slices of French toast, a bowl of grits (a maize-based porridge), two cups of coffee – and three of those chocolate-chip pancakes. After a lunch and dinner of pasta and huge pizzas, his daily calorie intake is around 12,000 (the average man only needs 2,500).



So how can such a menu make you a winner? It’s probably just right for Phelps, who trains for up to five hours a day and junk carbohydrates provide the energy his muscles need. British swimmer James Goddard agrees, saying: “Before I race, I just want to throw lots of carbohydrates down me.” Croissants all round, then.

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