Athletes around the world have been training intensely in anticipation of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which begins on Friday. Many have changed their lifestyle habits, with most of them making adjustments to their diets. Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake revealed that he consumes 16 bananas per day, while American swimmer Michael Phelps says he consumes 12,000 calories every day. Keeping their bodies in superior condition is mandatory for athletes, especially when it comes to their diets. The T&T Guardian asked some local athletes representing this country at the Olympic and Paralympic games to give details on their diets. We chose one of the meals and challenged a non-athlete to try it.
T&T Guardian’s Marvin Smith attempted to eat Greene’s breakfast of one dozen egg whites per day. One egg contains six grams of protein and nine essential amino acids. Smith consumed just six eggs and could eat no more. He said the lack of salt made it too difficult to eat. Athletes eat healthier, not only because they need to stay healthy, but because it optimises the body’s performance and certain foods help different parts of the body perform efficiently. It may be hard for us non-athletes to forego ice-cream and cake in favour of fruits and vegetables, but if they can do it, we should give it a try.
Athlete: Jarrin Solomon
Events: Athletics, 4x400 relay.
Diet: I eat a lot of grilled chicken, broccoli and lots of brown rice and I try to get in a lot of carbs. I don’t really have special food cooked for me but my girlfriend does all of the cooking. I don’t drink soda or alcohol during the training season and instead of ice cream for dessert I have sorbet. I get in at least one fish dish a week to get the good omega-3 vitamins. I don’t take many supplements due to the ever-changing restrictions that anti-doping agencies place upon athletics but I do take protein and whenever I feel sick I take a vitamin called Nutrition from Genesis Pure and I recover quickly.
Athlete: Shanntol Ince
Events: (Paralympics) Swimming, 400 m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 100m butterfly stroke.
Diet: My diet isn’t exactly precise and I get most of my nutrition information from my parents, but it has changed drastically since before I knew I would be participating in the Paralympics. Before I would eat a Subway sandwich or KFC after training, now I can’t do any of that.
I fill up on ground provision, lots of dasheen and sweet potatoes. Sometimes I have fish broth and beet root punch.
I have been trying to cut out the snacks but it can be difficult.
Athlete: Cleopatra Borel
Events: Shot Put
Diet: I eat a balanced diet but I eat all day long, sometimes usually fruit or raw vegetables. I have “smallish” meals every two or three hours. I take protein supplements and ZMA Mayaro Fish Oil.
Athlete: Carlos Greene
Events: (Paralympics) Shot Put and Discus.
Diet: I stay away from oils and sugars and I eat a lot of grilled and baked fish and provision-type foods.
I eat five small meals per day but they aren’t always small. I don’t use any salt so when I season food I use fresh green seasoning. I’m 260 lbs so I try to take in about 7,000 calories per day but I don’t always get that from food. I do take vitamin and protein supplements. Every day I eat a dozen egg whites. I boil the eggs and remove the yolk and then I eat the whites, no salt included.