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Michael Phelps on 10,000 calories a day

(picture courtesy, Speedo USA/Michael Muller)

I’ve been reading and watching a lot on the Olympics lately and one statistic that I read over and over again (in articles like this: is the number of calories Michael Phelps puts down in a day. During training, he strives to get 8,000 – 10,000 calories in a single day. I doubt that some people get that in an entire week!

Of course, Phelps is training harder than you or I could imagine – swimming miles upon miles every week, in addition to supplementary dry-land work. If he didn’t consume this many calories, his body simply wouldn’t recover properly from this level of training.

And this brings me to the point of this post. Focusing on proper recovery is just as important as focusing on working hard in the gym. Many times this requires eating a lot of food. If your progress in the gym has stalled, look toward your diet and make sure that you’re feeding the machine that you ask so much from.

We don’t need complicated equations or scales to determine how much more to add, just simply eat an extra snack during the day, or add a 1/2 serving to several meals throughout the day. Keep these additional calories in your diet for a couple weeks and take note of your strength and energy levels, weight, and bodyfat percentage. You may be surprised in how your body reacts. A bit of extra food is often the “kickstart” your body needs to start back towards its goals. If nothing happens, don’t be afraid to add a little more.

This little experiment holds true for people building muscle AND losing fat! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a client come into the gym and when we go over their diet log, they’re hardly eating anything all day! (nearly always skipping breakfast) You’d think someone on a low calorie diet would be thin as a rail, but this is often not the case! The body will go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism. Your body doesn’t care that you want to look good naked, it’s just trying to survive!

And of course if you want to build muscle, you have to give your body the “bricks” it needs. Muscle doesn’t appear out of thin air from wishes and good intentions, we have to supply the body food!

So eat, drink, be merry, and eat some more!


Aug 12, 2008 | Category: Blog | Comments: none


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