Interesting article. Most of us will never worry about this. But,this is a real issue with the heavyweight athletes. Those who have to make weight in the lighter classes have the opposite problem. Personally, I have known several of these heavyweight athletes who drastically changed their diets after their competitive days ended and they were relieved to be able to eat more normal quantities.
Brazilian weightlifter Fernando Saraiva Reis eats seven meals per day, beginning with eight to 10 eggs. (Getty)
Olympians don’t have the same diets as the average person, but at least one athlete is getting tired of his ridiculous calorie intake.
Brazil’s Fernando Saraiva Reis, 26, is headed to his second Olympics as a weightlifter and eating enough food to keep on his weight is a full-time job.
“So much food, so much food,” Saraiva Reis said. “Food for me is not a matter of enjoyment. I don’t enjoy it at all because I have to eat so much to put weight on and maintain it.”
“For me food is a bit like gasoline. I have an engine that I have to keep filling and filling,” he added.
He weighs in at about 320 pounds, so keeping that gas tank full requires a lot of fuel. Sometimes he eats as many as seven meals in a day, beginning with “eight to 10 eggs for breakfast.” At one point in his weightlifting career, Saraiva Reis says he would wake up at 3 a.m. every morning just to eat a big bowl of pasta.
Other Olympians have high-calorie diets too, including all-time medals leader Michael Phelps, who took in about 12,000 calories per day during the 2008 Beijing Olympics before dialing it back a bit four years later in London.
[Related: Michael Phelps gets Olympic first]
Actor and former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson told Muscle & Fitness magazine that he eats 10 pounds of food per day split up over seven meals.
Saraiva Reis only has to endure a few more days of his grueling diet before he’ll try to get a medal in the +105kg weight class, but if he doesn’t it might be a few more years of food for the Brazilian.
“I don’t know if [I’ll win a medal] here [at Rio 2016], but if it doesn’t happen here, it will be the next one, or the next one, or the next one,” Saraiva Reis said. “I won’t stop until I have a medal.”
Let’s hope – for his health and his grocery bill – that he can get the job done this time around.
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