Posted by: 4pack | July 12, 2008

Profile: Michael Phelps At The Calorie And Metabolic Extreme

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte

 (From University of Miami School Of Medicine Interviw)

For endurance athletes, the generally accepted daily 2,000 calorie diet and carb-free lifestyle is akin to putting in a quarter tank of gas when you need to drive from Fort Lauderdale to Gainesville. It ain’t gonna cut it.

Try 6,000 calories a day. Or more. That would define Phelps’ diet, which on any given day finds the 6-foot-4, 195-pound jock chowing down on french toast, pancakes, cereal, omelets, steak, mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, ice cream and energy bars.

But that’s Phelps. While the average gymgoer or weekend athlete may burn about 200 to 700 calories an hour doing something like running, taking a Tae Bo class or spinning, Phelps burns at least 3,000 calories a day swimming up to seven miles in five hours — every day. That’s what helped place him atop the winner’s podium in Athens.

As a competitive swimmer from grade school through college, I can relate. Eating like that served me well. For awhile. But when I stopped competing, I discovered that, like most people, 2,000 calories is about the maximum to avoid packing on pounds.

”The key is top-conditioned athletes,” says sports trainer Brian Glaspy, coordinator of the Wellness Program at the University of Miami. ”When you are putting out that much more energy expenditure, the body needs to take in more calories for recovery and repair,” Glaspy says. Otherwise, one loses muscle mass. Carbs also help ward off dehydration in long workouts by retaining some of the body’s water.

Focusing on proteins and fats a la Atkins also will not likely put an athlete on the gold medal platform. Says Glaspy, “After high energy exercise activity the body has two hours to put carbs back in to the system to restore glycogen in the liver and then in the muscle itself because so much of it was burned off during the process to create explosiveness.”

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