Do you think you could eat 12,000 calories a day?

Michael Phelps

Image via Wikipedia

A story in the New York Post describes Olympic history making Michael Phelps‘s diet and its a gargantuan 12,000 calories a day.  I absolutely believe it.

It’s probably tough for most to believe that a steady supply of mayo and fried eggs is conducive to Olympic Gold (Maybe Sumo Gold)…but the burn rate of calories in swimming is just unreal.

When I was training for the HyVee Tri, I was only swimming about 2800-3600 meters per session.  That was a lot to me.  If you read this USA Today piece on Phelps however, you’ll find that,

Phelps will swim at least 80,000 meters a week, nearly 50 miles. That
includes two practices a day, sometimes three when he’s training at

That’s over 11k every single day, 7 days a week.  I’ve heard estimates that men of roughly 170lbs can burn upwards of 700 calories an hour swimming.  I’m sure there’s a variation there but you get the idea. 

The bottom line is that he probably needs the fatty calorically dense foods just to meet a daily requirement and not begin to waste muscle or deplete glycogen stores in his muscles. 

If you start swimming to burn off that pizza and beer, just be warned that when you stop burning your 12k a day and stop swimming…you need to CUT BACK the eating.  It’s a very delicate dance indeed. 

Now go for a swim at the local Y and then head to the local Cracker Barrel and tell’em you want the "Lefty Special" (Chicken Fried Steak, 4 Biscuits w/Gravy, those incredible cheesy potatoes, 6 eggs, short stack, endless coffee, orange juice, and 12 pieces of bacon as an appetizer)  Not sure…I’ve just heard of this 😉

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