Revealed: The Diets Of Olympic Athletes Including Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt And Adam Peaty

Guess who's partial to chicken nuggets?

10/08/2016 16:31 | Updated 10 August 2016

Olympic fever is sweeping the world, with the world’s greatest athletes showing us what they’re made of. 

But what do these superhumans eat to sustain themselves?

Here, experts at Bupa have compiled a quick fact file on the diets of some of our favourite Olympians including Team GB’s world record-holding swimmer Adam Peaty and boxing star Nicola Adams, as well as USA swimmer Michael Phelps. 

Michael Phelps, swimmer, USA

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Diet: For breakfast, Michael will eat three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise, two cups of coffee, one five-egg omelette, one bowl of grain, three slices of French toast and three chocolate chip pancakes.

Lunch includes roughly 453 grams of pasta, two large ham and cheese sandwiches and 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Dinner is also made up of more pasta, pizza and energy drinks.

Calories consumed: 12,000 calories a day (during training). 


Louis Smith, gymnast, Great Britain

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Diet: He has a taste for exotic food and in the build up to the Beijing games ate only white meat, fish, fruit and vegetables with no carbohydrates.

Calories consumed: 3,500+ calories a day.


Nicola Adams, boxing, Great Britain

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Diet: For breakfast, Nicola eats a bowl of cereal and lunch will usually consist of rice with chicken and vegetables.

Dinner includes a bowl of soup and bread, although sometimes she likes a chicken fajita. Occasionally she will indulge in ice cream - specifically strawberries and cream or vanilla flavour.

Calories consumed: Around 2,500 - 3,000 calories per day.


Usain Bolt, track, Jamaica

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Diet: Usain loves chicken nuggets and wings in the morning before he hits the racing tracks. But yams (or sweet potatoes) are believed to be his secret sauce.

Usain achieves balance with a diet consisting of 60% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 10% fat. He also takes vitamin C supplements.

Usain’s daily meals include ackee and saltfish (a traditional Jamaican dish) for breakfast with dumplings, cooked banana and sweet potato.

For lunch, he will eat pasta and a chicken breast, and for dinner, he will have rice and peas with pork.

Calories consumed: Roughly 5,500 calories per day.


Mo Farah, track, Great Britain 

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Diet: For breakfast Mo will have coffee and cereal, normally Frosties. He eats small and frequent meals during the day.

Lunch often includes pasta, steamed vegetables and grilled chicken. This is repeated at dinner time too.

Calories consumed: Over 3,000 calories per day.


Mark Cavendish, cycling, Great Britain

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Diet: Breakfast might consist of bananas, muesli, croissants and pasta – foods that can be digested quickly and release energy quickly.

During a race, Mark will take in energy drinks, high calorie energy bars plus fruitcake and sandwiches.

It is only in the evening after a race that he can eat food rich in fibre along with meat and fish dishes.

Calories consumed: Up to 9,000 calories per day.


Adam Peaty, swimming, Great Britain

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Diet: Adam mixes up his proteins everyday ranging from steak to chicken. He also eats a lot of scrambled egg and piles of vegetables and rice.

Calories consumed: 6,000 to 8,000 calories per day. 


Gabrielle Douglas, gymnast, USA

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Diet: Gabrielle eats pretty lean only consuming oatmeal and bananas for breakfast, along with vegetables and lean proteins throughout the day, as well as some pasta for dinner.

She also has a sweet tooth and occasionally treats herself to a handful of almonds in two ounces of melted dark chocolate.

She credits lemon juice and melted chocolate for helping with muscle recovery.

Calories consumed: 2,000 calories per day.


Tom Daley, diver, Great Britain 

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Diet: Daley dines on beans on toast and fruit in the morning, snacking on cereal bars, soup, chocolate milkshakes and chocolate spread on toast throughout the day.

A typical lunch involves grilled chicken and a jacket potato while dinner features chicken, steamed vegetables and pasta.

Calories consumed: Around 3,200 calories per day.


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“An athlete’s performance, recovery and injury prevention is hugely influenced by what they consume,” said Dr Luke Powles, GP at Bupa Centre, Canary Wharf.

“Many eat significantly larger quantities of food than one normally would to provide energy for their increased activity levels during the day.  

“The maths is simple; you should only eat what the body needs – Michael Phelps, for example, needs a significant number of calories due to training and competing for many hours in a day.”

It’s worth noting that not all of these diets are particularly healthy - especially in the case of Usain Bolt who is quite partial to chicken nuggets and Michael Phelps who will eat large quantities of pancakes and french toast. 

Dr Powles added: “All of us, athletes or not, should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.”

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