Sochi 2014 – Olympic Athletes Nutrition Tips

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What Can We Learn From Olympic Athletes Diet?!

Everybody who's practicing a winter sport can get inspired by athletes experience to increase their performance, particularly when it comes to nutrition! Olympic Athletes are fascinating! They train at a really high lever and to reach their goals they train like champions and... eat like champions!

What Would Their Nutritional Coach Tell Us

Mélanie Olivier, who's Canadian team's nutritional coach was interviewed and shared with us "the olympic athletes eat well, and they start eating better and better as their competition approaches". So based on athletes performances, we can improve our own performance by following some simple principles. "First of all, we have to adapt to the cold weather, meaning that the body has to produce heat to keep the body to the right temperature. So obviously, food is the source of energy that generates that heat".

How To Eat Accordingly To The Sport You Are Practicing

What you're going to eat before sport activity will depend on the length of the workout, the intensity and the temperature outside. But planning well means planning before, during and after the physical effort.

Before The Effort

The more intense the effort, the longer the digestion time you need to allow yourself. So for a 30 minute exercise, you should go with something quick to digest, so a liquid like a compote, a juice or small dried fruits. If you will train for more than 30 minutes you can go with an energy bar, a cereal bar or a fresh fruit like a banana. If you will train for more than an hour you can start adding proteins like a yogurt or a soup for example. And then if you will train for 2-3 hours you can have a whole meal.

Sport Nutritionist Mélanie Olivier, was asked in an interview with the french Canadian show "L'Épicerie" Q: "Before, in another era we used to eat a big steak before a big effort. Then it was a bowl of pasta. What is today's trick?".  

A: "Complex carbs! It can be under the form of pasta, bread, rice, quinoa or any other grain that we know. This is what will be easy to digest before a big effort." Some people, like myself, prefer oatmeal.

During The Effort

cross-country skiing

cross-country skiing - photo credit : Flickr

So bring enough to eat to sustain the effort and plan some extra, because in case of bad weather or broken equipment the physical effort could last longer than predicted.

So during the effort a rule of thumb is to plan 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour, 30 grams being a medium banana. So, if for example, you leave for a 15 km of cross-country skiing, you have to bring enough food with you to sustain the effort.

Also bring enough water and don't wait to be thirsty to drink. You can also add a little bit of salt and orange juice in your water but not too much (like 1/8 of orange juice) and that could be enough depending on your effort. 

After The Effort

Right away after the effort, preferably withing 15 to 30 minutes, take a snack that will contain 10 grams of proteins and between 20 and 40 grams of carbohydrates. That's what you would get in a chocolate milk or a yogurt with fruits. 


After all that effort in the cold, when we get back home we could be tempted to do something quite counter-productive... Yes, when we get back home, we're hungry! But unfortunately,  the energy expense is not necessarily equal to the hunger.

The moral is that we also have to train to eat less after the effort or it's our waste line that will increase instead of our performance. 🙂


Featured picture credits : Flickr. The picture was modified.

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Author: Myriam

Fitness passionate, civil engineer and now blogger. After losing 45 pounds in a year and maintaining for a few years, I decided to create my website to share my nutrition tips and workouts to help other people achieve their fitness goals and maintain it.

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