Posted by FLATOUT JIM in Diet
That was the title of an article I read recently in “Inside Triathlon” magazine.
One of the more nutrition interesting articles I had read in a while, it was more a commentary of the dietary requirements of elite athletes than a how to, or a how much for weekend worriers.
The article started with a breakdown of the infamous diet of Michael Phelps. In case you missed out on the details, look at the pic at the top of the page. And keep in mind, this is not a one or other menu, he eats everything. I feel stuffed just reading about it.
What I took away from the article was that there are a group of elite athletes out there, who among everything else, can manage to eat whatever they want, including foods that would make a nutritionist have a heart attack, and still seem to excel in their sport.
In fact, the article goes as far as to say there is no real documented evidence to suggest an increase in performance with an enhanced or healthier diet.
But hold on before you stop in to Tim’s for a double dozen Boston Creams, the article does go on to state that even though this meal plan worked for Phelps at the last couple of Olympics, it won’t work for everyone.
The article is also careful to point out that although in some cases, a fairly crappy diet might not hinder performance, there are also health issues to think about.
The reality is that at that level of performance, the body burns so much energy, that it’s an absolute necessity to supplement the diet with calorie dense rocket fuel. Think about that last 1 hour long killer kick ass masters workout you barely survived. Now think about doing that same workout for 4 to 6 hours a day, every day, using a body that has been genetically designed to be a metabolic machine. Now those 12000 calories don’t seem so out to lunch, pardon the pun. Can you imagine trying to fuel those workouts on garden salads and tofu?
So in my own words, everyone is different. What works for MP might not work for Craig Alexander or Lance, and certainly not for me. Practice and experimentation is key to finding out what works best for the individual. Over the years, I have found that my body seems to be sensitive to an overabundance of carbs. When I bump up my protein intake, and supplement it with mainly veggies and fruit, and keep starchy carbs to a minimum of amount of high quality whole grains, my body responds positively with better performance and better body composition.
So unless you are a genetic freak, training 6 hours a day, don’t follow Phelps diet, and expect to win 8 gold medals at the Olympics. Stick with what you know.