Even the fittest athletes have their indulgent food obsessions, and for 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte it's... yellow Starbursts. In fact, Lochte is so obsessed with the sunny sweets, his personal chef has had to intervene. "I hide them from him around the house," says Glenn Lyman, who has cooked for LeBron James, Jeff Gordon, and other top athletes throughout his career.
"When I was a kid, all the other kids loved the cherry and the strawberry Starbursts, and the yellow ones were always left," Lochte says of his introduction to the confection, which he calls his "weakness." The athlete is currently in training for his next Olympic games in Rio this summer, and eats six meals—and a total of 8,000 calories—a day. However, not all of those calories come from the healthiest of sources.
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In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Lochte and Lyman dish on all of the the athlete's guilty pleasures and cheat day favorites. Every Friday, the Olympian pigs out on New York style pizza—Libretto's Pizzeria in Charlotte is a favorite—and chicken wings. To wash it down? A single Mountain Dew.
Lochte has vowed to keep up this pre-weekend tradition for life. "I've been in training for 22 years and it's my cheat day," the athlete says. "I've been doing it since I was 9 year's old. I've only missed it six times."
Lyman teased Lochte over his junk food habit, saying: "Imagine how many more gold medals you might have won had you not eaten pizza and wings every Friday for your entire life."
But Lochte has stayed loyal to the cause through-and-through. "No," he says, "I refuse to give it up." A devotion to pizza that everyone—sports fan or not—can no doubt applaud.