As united state swimming sensation Michael Phelps to adjust his sights on an ext gold medal wins at the Beijing Olympics this weekend, the BBC"s Michael Hirst examines the component an particularly diet has played in the sportsman"s impressive success.

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If it is true that you are what you eat, then below is the suggested intake if you want to come to be history"s most successful Olympian.

For breakfast: three fried egg sandwiches, through cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, fried onions and mayonnaise, followed by 3 chocolate-chip pancakes; a five-egg omelette; 3 sugar-coated slices that French toast and also a bowl of grits (a maize-based porridge), to wash down with two cup of coffee.

For lunch: fifty percent a kilogram (one pound) the enriched pasta; two big ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread smothered v mayonnaise, washed down by power drinks.

For dinner: one more half-kilogram the pasta, perhaps with a carbonara sauce, adhered to by a big pizza and much more energy drinks.

That combination may no sound an extremely healthy, and at a staggering 10,000 calories, would feed 5 average males for a day.

But the food selection is reportedly all in a maintain day"s eating because that champion swimmer Michael Phelps, that won 6 gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics and also is aiming because that eight this time round.

"Eat, sleep and swim, that"s all I deserve to do," said the united state swimmer, after winning his 11th Olympic gold.

Judging by the amount the eats and swims, the is not altogether surprising.

Fruit and veg

Even despite the 23-year-old safety a solid 5 hours of each day burning turn off those calories, the diet still seems excessive. Is he complying with some sort of dietician guru"s programme?

Barbara Lewin, a nutritionist who has advised global athletes on their dietary health for virtually two decades, think not.

"Health-wise, if he to be eating like this long-term, he"d probably be having actually to view a cardiologist regularly," granny Lewin called the BBC.

She encourage cutting out the egg yolks, instead of the white bread v whole-wheat, throwing some fruit and also vegetables right into the mix, and also spreading the food out over the job with consistent snacking.

But when the top quality of the calorie consumed by the six-foot four-inch (1.93m) swimmer may not it seems ~ healthy, ms Lewin argued there are great reasons behind grandfather Phelps" diet.

"I"ve operated with much more than 1,000 endurance athletes - swimmers and runners - and also one of the most typical problems they have is glycogen depletion - the an outcome of not getting enough carbohydrates," she said.

"Nine out of 10 times the factor an athlete doesn"t reach their personal best is because they"re no getting sufficient carbohydrates and that"s what your muscles need for food."

Carb counting

Phelps winner his 6th gold medal in Beijing in the 200m medley ~ above Friday, and also will be aiming to equal fellow American mark Spitz"s document of winning 7 gold medals in a single Olympic gamings when he takes to the pool for Saturday"s 100m fly.

He will break Spitz"s 36-year record if his team qualify, and also go on to win, Sunday"s 4x100m relay.

The very procedure of difficult that record requires a hectic schedule the heats, semi-finals and finals.

With that sort of turn-around, topping increase his carbohydrate counting is key, ms Lewin suggested. The copious lot of refined carbohydrates spend in the bread and also pasta that eats will digest quickly and give the swimmer immediate energy.

Phelps, who weighs about 85kg (187lbs), understands this. Asked what was essential to continue his gold-medal to win streak, he claimed simply: "Get some calories into my device and shot to recoup the finest I can."

Keeping his carbohydrate topped up in between races, claimed Ms Lewin, is essential for staying clear of what athletes call "hitting the wall" - that phase in an endurance competition when the body has used up every its carbohydrate fuel (sometimes recognized as muscle glycogen) and also instead beginning the much less efficient process of burning fat for energy.

Fat pile-on

The Phelps diet is no recommended for everyone. As result of his muscle-intensive physique, the swimmer"s line - the procedure of converting food into power - far exceeds that of a more average man, claimed Jeff Kotterman, director of the US nationwide Association of sports Nutrition.

"It"s a combination of peak performance coupled v the reality that he has an massive metabolism - that burns more calories sitting at a desk than a lot of of world burn walking," grandfather Kotterman said the BBC.

He argued Phelps, v an approximated 8% human body fat, probably burns 1,000 calories per hour during his swimming training, compared to the tantamount exercise for an average human - vigorous go - that would burn between 170 and also 240 calories.

Consequently, trying come emulate the Phelps diet through consuming as much as 12,000 calorie a day in bespeak to acquire his physique would much more than likely pertained to a wobbly end.

One lb of fat has around 3,500 calories, for this reason an plain man might put on almost three pounds that fat a day.

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But then again, Michael Phelps - who has now winner the 400m medley, 200m freestyle, 200m butterfly, 4x100m free relay, 4x200m cost-free relay and also the 200m medley in people record time - is clearly no plain man.