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Michael Phelps' INSANE 12,000 calorie/day diet

skatey-mark's picture

I ran across this today, talking about what Michael Phelps is eating to fuel his olympic swimming performances.  A whopping 12,000 calories every day!




I know athletes at that level need a lot of fuel in the tank, but I would never have guessed that much!


- SM -



eebee's picture

24 hr skate calories

I don't know Skatey-Mark, I think you came close to burning/needing that many calories after your 24 hour skate!
skatey-mark's picture

I probably did burn that

I probably did burn that many calories, but that was 24 hours of activity! I think this article has to be exaggerated. I'm guessing with Phelps' muscle mass, he burns a lot more calories than most people. So let's estimate 3000 calories/day just for he base metabolism. I think it would be pretty generous to estimate another 3000 calories/day for swimming. The actual races aren't going to burn much, since they're so short. But he does a lot of warm-up and cool-down swimming. I think I read that he swims several miles each day in total. So even with the (probably overestimated) guesses here, that's only 6000 calories/day he's burning. Eating any more than that would just slow him down -- which is something he's not likely to do. His training has to be pretty scientific, so I have to think they know *exactly* how many calories he needs each day and he probably stays within 5-10% of that. Not to mention that I don't think his stomach could hold all that food anyway! If it did, he could go into competetive eating and dominate that (pseudo) sport as well! But it was still a pretty good read. Who wouldn't love to have a metabolism so high that they could eat a whole box of pasta and a whole pizza for dinner? :-) - SM -
johnnyChen's picture

Y, that's a bit hard to

Y, that's a bit hard to believe, unless he has worm stealing calories.

Most well-conditioned Ironman competitors use about 10000 cal for the entire race, encluding elites; which is spread through 3 diff events.  Phelp's upper body is well-developed for consuming oxygen, but it's unlikely the swim mulscle group outpump the elite triathletes' legs (swim is < 15% of IM).  

I'd like to think he could stomach all the food.  After all, Kobayashi and Chestnut routinely consume 10000 cal in under 10 min :)

I'm guesing the reporters added up the food Phelp told them and estimated everything on the high side (e.g., amount of mayo) for sensationalism.


roadskater's picture

I could use one of those

A calorie-stealing worm might be just what I need. I've been called that before, probably. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dara_Torres who was born tax day in 1967 said in a recent television interview that she is really enjoying being able to eat anything she wants in terms of calories while training. But yeah 12K is a lot! Imagine if training stopped and dietary changes didn't. This is what is called winter for roadskater.

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