8

votes

Any Olympic Athletes eat Paleo or Similar Appoach?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created July 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM

Watching the 2012 Summer Olympics and, as always, amazed at the incredible strength and athleticism of the competitors. It makes me wonder what their diets is and if any of them eat with a more slant.

Does anyone know of any?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:25 PM

I think it's silly when couch potatoes blithely claim that record breakers, and others, are on steroids. One, who knows. I wouldn't say the bulk are. US athletes certainly aren't - they're tested! Two, even on steroids that does not take away one iota of the discipline, grit, and effort required by these people. I know lifters who've been on steroids and I've seen them work - they still put in the work and sweat. They much get additional reward from the work but those Gains are still paid for in blood and sweat.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:21 PM

That's the same as Olympians and athletes have eaten forever. Serious athletes have never eaten processed crap. That, however, is not paleo. That is just plain sensible eating (that I happen to agree with). Paleo is this whole eliminate grains legumes and dairy idea.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:19 PM

I'd agree that many equate paleo with LC. Hell even I pretty much do now. I mean, if so many people do then why fight it. I no longer claim paleo or any of that stuff - leave it to the LC folk. I'll just eat real food and call it a day. Even wih paleo incorporating high carb (like me) though you'd be hard pressed to find an Olympian on it. It's be just too much of the same food: sweet potatoes and potatoes day in day out. That's why I stopped. Too much of the same food can't be ideal. Grains bring in some variety for those of us looking high carb.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 30, 2012
at 05:09 AM

hurleystylee, I am completely with you on this. I think it's unfortunate that some people think Paleo = Low Carb but it happens all the time. I've seen questions here where people say they're eating "Paleo" but having all sorts of weird health issues, only to find out that they're eating a near zero-carb version of Paleo.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:50 AM

...no one on my team ever thought anything of it, cause they new how well I ate and how hard I trained. Olympic athletes train harder than anyone in the world. I give them the benefit of the doubt.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Agreed. Not fair. When I rowed lightweight crew, my practice was getting out at the same time football practice was, and it was one of the rare times we shared locker-room space. I was then accused of using steroids by some of the footballers. LMFAO. It was 140lbs. I took it as a compliment.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Agreed. Seriously unfair. When I rowed lightweight crew, I was accused of steroids by some of the members of the football team. I weighed 140lbs. LMFAO. I took at as a compliment.

A08b210e4da7e69cd792bddc1f4aae4b

(1031)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:20 AM

In Jimmy's interview with Prof Tim Noakes they talked about Ironman triathletes who are essentially Paleo, sorry can't remember their names and there's nothing in the shownotes but you can listen to the podcast here: http://preview.tinyurl.com/7v5hqrd

211ce7026d0c78a1d5aa23d2cfcc24dc

on July 30, 2012
at 01:44 AM

Nasty, lets stop the confusion - Paleo doesn't inherently mean low-carb.

C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on July 29, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Its a good book!! Recommended for sure.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I'm not sure about world records, but I knew several gold medalists who were clean. Additionally, have you looked at that list? How about Paavo Nurmi? What about the gymnasts? I just think it's horribly unfair to accuse everyone who breaks a world record of doping--regardless of sport. Sometimes the athletes really do just work their asses off and have a genetic advantage.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Did they set a new world record?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:11 PM

DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or, why you feel great after a hard workout and then like hell the next day)

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I highly doubt that most of the people on that list take/took steroids. I mean really? The distance runners? I also know plenty of elite swimmers who did not/ do not take steroids. I think there's always a temptation to do so, but I really do not think that the majority do.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:47 PM

I was flying next to a professional athlete who competes in all those world championships once in business class (by accident). I asked him if he ever took steroids. He told me that they all have to because it is humanely impossible to break old records and set new ones without some help. The trick is to get the one that is undetectable or the latest version that they have not developed the test to detect yet.

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on July 29, 2012
at 06:29 PM

What is DOMS???

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:10 PM

Any reason you're assuming steroid use in those athletes?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 29, 2012
at 04:33 PM

not diet-related but interesting about gymnasts, their awesome physiques and how some of that is earned: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_interviews/all_muscle_no_iron

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on July 29, 2012
at 04:20 PM

Pretty sure you aren't going to find any "low-carb paleo" Olympic athletes since carbohydrate restriction kills training ability athletic performance.

2c7026111493687e2d619c9e20e47915

(693)

on July 29, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Ha! like the wine for DOMS

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 29, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Lolo eats pretty much what I eat. So do the Chinese. It's prolly a good idea to bear in mind what these folk consume when over-thinking what we eat. keep it clean, keep it basic.

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7 Answers

6
Cfe88f41d0f90c6355a58eddbe78c9f8

on July 29, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Looks like Caroline Nichols of the USA Field Hockey team is on a paleo diet: http://robbwolf.com/2011/12/08/7004/

And here's an article about a former (winter) Olympic athlete touting the benefits of a paleo diet for healing her body: http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/05/18/healthwatch-norcal-olympic-athlete-credits-paleo-diet-for-healing/

Here's a pretty good breakdown of some of the foods (both ordinary and exotic) that Olympic athletes like to eat: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/24/olympic-athletes-diets_n_1696366.html

Here's a depiction of a typical Olympic diet: http://www.psfk.com/2012/06/olympic-athlete-diets.html

6
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on July 29, 2012
at 02:38 PM

Depending upon how accurate my Ancient Greek Philosophy course was sophomore year of college, the Greek olympians ate dried figs, cheese, fruit, honey, and meat.

Apparently also Hippocrates would recommend wine for hard-trained athletes who were experiencing DOMS.

Also, the athletes would avoid bread in favor of dried figs.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:11 PM

DOMS = Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (or, why you feel great after a hard workout and then like hell the next day)

93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on July 29, 2012
at 06:29 PM

What is DOMS???

2c7026111493687e2d619c9e20e47915

(693)

on July 29, 2012
at 03:20 PM

Ha! like the wine for DOMS

3
3a9d5dde5212ccd34b860bb6ed07bbef

on July 29, 2012
at 01:52 PM

I have not heard of any. Most are health concious though, and that can mean many different things with regards to what they put in their mouths. The best, are, not. here is what i have read in interviews:

Jonathan Horton's diet; - egg whites with a piece of toast - chicken sandwich with ranch dressing - meat, sweet potatoes, green beans - honey during training.

Lolo Jones: - oatmeal with fruit and nuts for breakfast - protein smoothie post training - and other things like Greek yogurt, veggies, eggs, and seafood.

Chinese gymnasts: - rice, vegetables, meat/fish- no added fats.

Swimmers and rowers have typically carb heavy diets.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 29, 2012
at 02:21 PM

Lolo eats pretty much what I eat. So do the Chinese. It's prolly a good idea to bear in mind what these folk consume when over-thinking what we eat. keep it clean, keep it basic.

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:40 PM

Lolo Jones - "I make a protein shake every day and put spinach in that. It's easy to get in the amount [of vegetables] you need that way," Lolo says in the August 2012 issue of Fitness. "I load up on chicken, fish, steak, and veggies. No bread and no carbs, especially at night."

http://fitceleb.com/olympic-hurdler-lolo-jones-talks-fitness-preparing-for-the-2012-london-summer-olympics/

Sounds pretty paleo to me...

1
0cdbc5008dc83a2fb8f718d24b3d3d78

on March 02, 2013
at 08:05 PM

Here are some Paleo/primal/ancestral elite athletes:

Olympic skier Eva Twardokens, http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2012/05/18/healthwatch-norcal-olympic-athlete-credits-paleo-diet-for-healing/

Olympic Hurdler Lolo Jones, http://fitceleb.com/olympic-hurdler-lolo-jones-talks-fitness-preparing-for-the-2012-london-summer-olympics/

The official diet of the US Olympic team at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/olympic-diets_n_1717713.html (All the foods mentioned are Paleo)

William Sichel World Record VLC Ultra Marathoner, http://www.williamsichel.co.uk/?p=8039 (he includes butter and cream in his diet)

NBA star Kobe Bryant (advised by Paleo/Primal nutritionist Dr. Cate Shanahan), http://drcate.com/sports-nutrition-is-going-deep/

Hunter Pence, an outfielder for the San Francisco Giants http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25605121&source=MLB

Elite mountain biker Greg Parham, http://www.livingpaleo.com/elite-mountain-biker-greg-parham-reveals-why-paleo-living-is-the-key-to-winning/

Caroline Nichols of the USA Field Hockey team, http://robbwolf.com/2011/12/08/7004

Professional snowboarder Iris Lazz, http://irislazz.blogspot.com/

2011 world champion surfer Kelly Slater, http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/vansworldcupofsurfing2012/video-view/the-morning-feed-kelly-slater

Eurymenes, an ancient Greek Olympic athlete, http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/porphyry_life_of_pythagoras_02_text.htm, http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Lives_of_the_Eminent_Philosophers/Book_VIII

They key concept of "Paleo"/primal/ancestral/evolutionary nutrition is not to avoid foods that you thrive on just because they're on someone's list of "forbidden" foods, it's to eat what you thrive on--the foods your body is best adapted to within the context of your lifestyle, to maximize overall health and fitness. Evidence from the archaeological record and observed hunter-gatherer and horticultural peoples are just clues in helping to form a basic template to start from, not final detailed answers for everyone.

1
45e51fee7d295e523ff4134f76c3ba05

(923)

on August 02, 2012
at 10:04 PM

I just read this article by the nutritionist for U.S. Olympic Committee, and most of the athletes are on a whole-food based diet that sounds very similar to paleo.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/olympic-diets_n_1717713.html

"We create a strict daily diet. Even though there are off seasons, most of them train and compete year round. They have a whole food-based diet that???s very, very natural: regular meats, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, veggies. These aren???t processed foods. That???s because it???s mainly the quality of food that???s how they???re getting their nutrients." Jennifer Gibson, from article linked above

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:21 PM

That's the same as Olympians and athletes have eaten forever. Serious athletes have never eaten processed crap. That, however, is not paleo. That is just plain sensible eating (that I happen to agree with). Paleo is this whole eliminate grains legumes and dairy idea.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:37 PM

I'm not sure about world records, but I knew several gold medalists who were clean. Additionally, have you looked at that list? How about Paavo Nurmi? What about the gymnasts? I just think it's horribly unfair to accuse everyone who breaks a world record of doping--regardless of sport. Sometimes the athletes really do just work their asses off and have a genetic advantage.

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:10 PM

Any reason you're assuming steroid use in those athletes?

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:49 PM

I highly doubt that most of the people on that list take/took steroids. I mean really? The distance runners? I also know plenty of elite swimmers who did not/ do not take steroids. I think there's always a temptation to do so, but I really do not think that the majority do.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:48 AM

Agreed. Not fair. When I rowed lightweight crew, my practice was getting out at the same time football practice was, and it was one of the rare times we shared locker-room space. I was then accused of using steroids by some of the footballers. LMFAO. It was 140lbs. I took it as a compliment.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 29, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Did they set a new world record?

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on July 29, 2012
at 06:47 PM

I was flying next to a professional athlete who competes in all those world championships once in business class (by accident). I asked him if he ever took steroids. He told me that they all have to because it is humanely impossible to break old records and set new ones without some help. The trick is to get the one that is undetectable or the latest version that they have not developed the test to detect yet.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Agreed. Seriously unfair. When I rowed lightweight crew, I was accused of steroids by some of the members of the football team. I weighed 140lbs. LMFAO. I took at as a compliment.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 30, 2012
at 02:50 AM

...no one on my team ever thought anything of it, cause they new how well I ate and how hard I trained. Olympic athletes train harder than anyone in the world. I give them the benefit of the doubt.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on August 02, 2012
at 11:25 PM

I think it's silly when couch potatoes blithely claim that record breakers, and others, are on steroids. One, who knows. I wouldn't say the bulk are. US athletes certainly aren't - they're tested! Two, even on steroids that does not take away one iota of the discipline, grit, and effort required by these people. I know lifters who've been on steroids and I've seen them work - they still put in the work and sweat. They much get additional reward from the work but those Gains are still paid for in blood and sweat.

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