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Even experienced athletes treat themselves to junk food sometimes. 

Elisabeth Sherman
December 07, 2017

Strava, a social networking site for runners and bicyclists to track their physical activity, has released its Year in Sport USA survey. According to Strava, its users biked 709 million miles and ran 151 million miles in the United States alone. That level of athleticism takes a lot of hard work, dedication, sweat, and training. They deserve a reward. And give themselves a reward they did: Using the app, athletes tracked which foods they most commonly rewarded themselves with after an especially rigorous training session, a competition win, or even just a regular day of exercise.

According to a statement from the company, one million new athletes join the app every 40 days, and over 1,100 of the app's users are professional athletes. Of those users, the number one food that athletes ate as a reward is actually a drink: beer, with the app tracking 102,033 mentions of the beverage. After running a marathon, wouldn’t you like to sit down with your colleagues over a relaxing brew or two or four? Yes, this celebratory drink makes the ideal accompaniment to a post-workout meal. Another drink, coffee, came in second place as the most mentioned treat on Strava. Curious, because one might think that coffee might get you even more pumped after a workout, not help you relax. Still, as far as drinks that help even me—a person who does not regularly exercise—chill out, coffee does the trick.

However, Strava users also reported indulging in plenty of meals that some people might consider junk food or fast food: Strava tracked 24,788 mentions of pizza, 20,486 mentions of burgers, and 11,499 mentions of doughnuts. Even the people among us who are in the best shape know how to treat themselves to a greasy, sugary meal completely devoid of any nutritional value. They are only human, after all (except for maybe Tom Brady).