Rio 2016: An Olympian’s Diet

Road to the Olympics

As Olympians gear up for the games in Rio, intense workouts aren’t all they must endure. Experts we spoke with at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs tell us the athletes’ routines go much deeper.

On top of heavy lifting and lots of cardio exercises, another area where Olympic athletes must place their attention is their diet.

The nutrition team at the Olympic Training Center tells us it’s just as important as the physical training and that “timing is of the essence.”
 
“Making sure the athletes know how important it is to get carbohydrates and proteins in at the right times, which is as soon as possible, as soon as they’re done training,” Senior Sports Dietitian Alicia Kendig said.
 
Elena Pirozhkova is one of the wrestlers who will be competing in the upcoming Olympic Games. She says — as strange as it may sound — she’s almost too lazy to eat after one of her grueling workouts.
 
For this very reason, the Olympic Training Center has a recovery station in its dining hall so that athletes like Elena can get their fix in a hurry.
 
“It’s really great when you have a smoothie or some Chobanis, and can you can mix some things,” Pirozhkova said. “It’s really great that you can get that nutrition, and go get rest and get ready for your next practice.”
 
Believe it or not, some of the best food for some of the best athletes in the world is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches — Smuckers sandwiches to be exact.
 
“When we’re traveling down in Rio, we got the news that there’s actually going to be no peanut butter in the Village, due to they don’t want any athletes with nut allergies feeling like they can’t have free reign in the dining hall. So, there will be no peanut butter down there,” Kendig said. “So, we’re really happy to have Smuckers on board to help us fuel our athletes.”
 
In fact, Kendig says white bread and some of the more processed peanut butter is easier for an athlete in the middle of competition to digest.
 
Something else nutrition experts discussed was the difference between raw and cooked vegetables. Kendig says raw vegetables — like in a salad — make you feel full quicker.
 
Because of this, they feed a lot of the athletes cooked vegetables so they can take in more calories.

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