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How Allyson Felix Fuels Up on Race Days

October 1, 2012 | Featured in the Fall 2012 Issue

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Four-time Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Allyson Felix may only weigh 120 pounds, but she burns up so much energy through training and competition that she maintains a diet of around 3,000 calories per day.

“I love food,” she jokes. “I can eat quite a bit. I try and keep it really high-protein and eat things like grilled chicken and fish with the right amount of vegetables and fruits. I also keep a bunch of snacks around, healthy things that I can snack on throughout the day.”

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Felix was in the cafeteria every morning. No matter how early the race, she would always “try getting a really good breakfast in.”

The first meal of the day is key to fueling performance when you need to be at your best. Kim Stein, scientist at the Gatorade Sport Science Institute, recommends a good meal when you wake up. “First and foremost, eat breakfast. [You] absolutely should be getting up in the morning and eating breakfast with some complex carbohydrates and lean protein.”

Felix’s go-to breakfast is “just oatmeal,” but on race day she bumps it up with extra carbs or a protein of some kind. She says, “If I’m racing twice in a day, normally I wouldn’t have another meal, since we race only a few hours apart. But I’ll snack if there is a gap.” Snacking keeps Felix’s body flooded with nutrients and gives her the energy she needs to perform. “A granola bar fills me up if I’m looking for something to be a little more full,” she says. “But if I just want to snack on race day, I’ll eat something like fruit.”

Felix’s nutrient timing conforms to what experts like Stein recommend. “Athletes’ should never skip meals,” says Stein. “Three good meals a day, in addition to snacking throughout the day, is very important to athletes.”

Eat this meal in the morning and snack throughout the day to reap Olympic-sized benefits.

In the morning

Taking in carbs literally breaks your fast and provides the energy your muscles need to perform.

Oatmeal (1 cup made with ½ cup skim milk)

  • Calories 343
  • Carbs 33g
  • Fat 3g
  • Protein 11g

Whole Wheat Bagel (1 bagel)

  • Calories 270
  • Fat 2g
  • Carbs 55g
  • Protein 12g

Chicken Sausage (2 links)

  • Calories 100
  • Carbs 2g
  • Fat 7g
  • Protein 7g

Throughout the day

“I’m big into pistachios, I love those,” says Felix. “I also really like frozen grapes when it’s really hot outside. I like to keep those around. I also do things like granola bars.”

Pistachios (around 47 nuts)

  • Calories 160
  • Fat 14g
  • Carbs 8g
  • Protein 6g

Frozen Grapes (1 cup)

  • Calories 100
  • Fat 0g
  • Carbs 27g
  • Protein 1g

15 minutes before competition

G Series Prime Energy Chews

New G Series Prime Energy Chews from Gatorade make pre-workout fuel easy and tasty. Available in orange, fruit punch or cool blue flavors, each pack of six chews contains 100 calories and 25 grams of carbs – plus B vitamins, sodium, potassium and other electrolytes. Consume before training and your body will be primed to perform.

$2 for a package of six chews, Gatorade.com

Samantha Jones
- Samantha Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication and information sciences. Throughout her scholastic career,...
Samantha Jones
- Samantha Jones is a graduate of the University of Alabama, where she earned her bachelor's degree in communication and information sciences. Throughout her scholastic career,...
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