How to Eat Like an Olympian

By: Lindsay Westley  |  July/August 2016

These gold-medal nutrition tricks will help get your body in gear this summer.
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For 17 days in August, all eyes will be on Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics as 10,500 athletes from 206 countries compete to bring home the gold. While you may not be lining up next to triathlete Sarah Groff True or hurdler David Oliver, you can still get inspired to get your game-face on this summer. These 5 Olympians share their nutrition tips to help you fuel up right.

Olympian Diet Tip: Make Your Own Fitness Snacks

Athlete: Sarah Groff True, Triathlon
Sarah Groff True swims 1.5 kilometers, bikes 40 kilometers and runs 10 kilometers for the Olympic triathlon—so what she puts in her body is key to getting her to the finish line. Her favorite snack during a long workout is a homemade rice cake with bacon or chicken sausage and a hint of maple syrup and soy sauce. "It has a balance of sweet, salty and umami, and the white rice is easy to digest and provides me with plenty of energy," she says. "I prefer to make my own training snacks so I know exactly what's in them."
Must Read: The Best Fitness Foods: What to Eat Before, During and After a Workout

Olympian Diet Tip: Get Bone Broth Benefits

Athlete: Shalane Flanaga, Marathon
Shalane Flanagan drinks long-simmered veggie or bone broth to replace fluids, minerals and electrolytes lost during a long run. "At first I felt like a Neanderthal drinking it—some recipes even include chicken feet! But it's nourishing, rehydrating and gets my digestive system going again," says the runner and co-author of the forthcoming Run Fast Eat Slow (Rodale, 2016). "I make it in my slow cooker."
Try it at home: Buy or make bone broth. Or give our slow-cooker chicken stock recipe a try.

Olympian Diet Tip: Get Protein from Quinoa

Athlete: Alysia Montaño, 800 meters
Alysia Montaño says "My favorite mid-workout treat is a homemade energy bar with quinoa, honey, dark chocolate and dried tart cherries. Quinoa is a good source of protein and it's easy to sneak bites of it without having the feeling of something heavy in my stomach while sprinting at full speed."
Try it at home: Homemade energy bars to fuel your fitness routine.

Olympian Diet Tip: Whip Up a Beet Smoothie

Athlete: David Oliver, 110m hurdles
David Oliver often whizzes up a pre-run beet juice smoothie plus a protein shake to help keep his body running "like a Ferrari engine." Research shows nitrate-rich beet juice may help improve speed and stamina by boosting your muscles' ability to take up oxygen and improving overall blood flow.
Try it at home: DIY Ginger-Beet Juice recipe (you can make it in a blender too).

Olympian Diet Tip: Energize with Maple Syrup

Athlete: Lea Davison, mountain biking
"I'm pretty much fueled by maple syrup!" says Lea Davison, who grew up (and still trains) in Vermont, the country's top producer of the sweet stuff. Maple's secret: sucrose to replenish energy on the go, Plus, it also has antioxidants, which are not typically found in commercial sports gummies or gels. Davison adds a generous pour to her recovery meal of yogurt, granola, nuts and fruit, but also enjoys maple creemees (Vermont's take on soft-serve) as a post-race treat. Davison shares her love of bikes (and creemees!) with girls ages 7-16 through Little Bellas , a mentoring-on-mountain-bikes program she founded with her sister, Sabra.
Try it at home: Granola, salads and more recipes with maple syrup.
To learn more about all Olympic hopefuls, visit teamusa.org. The Rio Olympics begin August 5 on NBC.