These Are the Extreme Diets of Professional Athletes
The US Department of Agriculture recommends that moderately active men eat between 2,200 and 2,800 calories a day, depending on age and moderate activity. But what about those who are ridiculously active, like athletes? Sports nutrition and supplement company Decibel Nutrition recently put together an infographic looking at the amount of calories, fat, protein, sugar and carbohydrates eaten by some of the best-known athletes in the world—names like 100-meter dash world record holder Usain Bolt and tennis player Andy Murray.
In fairness, as First We Feast points out, some of the info, pulled from sources like The Independent and The Huffington Post, represent extreme situations. For instance, the numbers used for Bolt come from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where the sprinter claimed to have eaten over 1,000 McDonalds Chicken McNuggets because he didn’t quite have a taste for Chinese food. As seen in the infographic, that diet resulted in around 5,453 calories a day. But keep in mind: All those nuggets weren’t consumed as part of an eating competition. No, they were consumed during a running completion—the same one in which he broke the world record for the 100-meter dash—so it’d be hard to claim he was just pigging out.
Comparatively, the diet of 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray was on while he was preparing for the 2014 event seems relatively tame as far as food is concerned—gobbling down items like smoothies, salmon and rice, and roast chicken with veggies and potatoes. It’s still estimated, though, that the tennis player was eating more than 3,100 calories a day—nearly 50 percent more than what is recommended for the sedentary types who prefer to just watch Wimbledon on TV.
The big dietary takeaway: If you’re the kind of person who really likes to eat what they want, just slip in a championship-level five-set tennis match somewhere in the middle of your day. Though maybe work your way up to that goal. You don’t want to get a cramp.