Gold Medal Fueling Tips of Olympic Athletes
While unfortunately we cannot all compete as Olympians do, we can still eat like one! Below are some of the most primary concerns when it comes to fueling for winter sport, including some fun tidbits on what this year’s Olympic athletes are fueling up on themselves.
Winter Hydration: We tend to associate drinking more with warmer temperatures – when in fact, the likelihood of dehydration is accelerated in winter weather! On top of guzzling H20, Olympic athletes are encouraged to consume plenty of water-rich fruits and veggies such as apples, berries, tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Fruits and veggies are over 70% water!
Fun Fact: Snowboarder, Elena Hight, sticks to vegan, organic foods. One of her favorite meals? Vegetable stir-fry over quinoa. Check out her blog full of vegan recipes favoring hydration superheroes—fresh fruits and vegetables!
Pre-Competition Fuel: The food an athlete eats directly before training and competition are vital to performance. Thus, the right breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, especially since Olympic athletes typically start their day around 6 AM!
Fun Fact: American luger, Erin Hamlin, mixes Chobani Greek yogurt in her pancake mix for a healthier, more protein-packed breakfast.
Fun Fact: Angela Ruggiero, member of Team USA’s Women’s Hockey Team, eats a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and a piece of fruit.
Fun Fact: Female speed skating record holder, Catherine Raney, says that her staple snack before a game is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Beyond breakfast, Olympic athletes are constantly on the go, meaning they need portable options that are energizing and wholesome, too. Think homemade snacks and energy bars!
Fun Fact: Slopestyle Olympic Skier, Grete Eliassen, among many others (Todd Lodwick, and Chris Creveling to name a few), swear by KIND bars. They are all natural and made with wholesome ingredients like nuts and dried fruit.
Fun Fact: Luger, Erin Hamlin, skips the store and makes her own trail mix with nuts and chocolate chips.
Recovery Time: Athletes need carbs, proteins, and fluids to ensure the body can rebuild and restore muscle tissue following practice or competition. No matter what your workout of choice is, your body is no exception!
Try breakfast for dinner! Adam Korzun, the sports dietitian for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association, will from time to time prepare a carb-heavy recovery meal for diner. Often, it’s breakfast, such as French toast and pancakes, for some of his Olympic athletes.
Fun Fact: Alpine ski gold medalist, Bode Miller, is an avid believer in this model and enjoys a good pancake or two for dinner.
Don’t forget to pass the pasta, too! While most athletes stray away from the processed white pastas, whole-wheat pasta is a common meal staple in the active athlete’s diet as it is a good source of complex carbohydrates after competition and sometimes the night before.
Fun Fact: Hockey player, Zach Parise, loves his pasta. In fact, his wife, who has a degree in nutrition, helps him make wiser decisions when it comes to his food and will often prepare pasta for him the night before a game.
Fun Fact: The most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time, Apolo Ohno, shares that his favorite recovery meal after an intense practice or match is extra spicy coconut chicken curry. “It’s the perfect recovery food, with good carbohydrates from rice and potatoes and protein from the chicken.”