As a dedicated athlete who regularly checks out STACK's nutrition page, your daily diet may be better than some pro athletes. From the super healthy to the mildly strange to just plain absurd, here's a look at seven strange diet habits of some popular elite athletes.
We were blown away when Freeney told us how far he goes to make sure he's getting the right nutrition. The Colts linebacker is so particular about his food that he brings his own ingredients to restaurants if he thinks the establishment won't be able to accommodate his needs—like no oil, pepper or garlic. He also reportedly drinks only water, tea or grape juice. Freeney's fun food is a 12-ounce Buffalo Strip Steak, so we imagine he'd cringe at the food choices made by some of the other athletes in this list.
Phelps consumes an extraordinary amount of food while he's training. His typical breakfast is three sandwiches of fried eggs, cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayonnaise; an omelet; a bowl of grits; three slices of French toast with powdered sugar; and three chocolate-chip pancakes. In total, he'll eat 8,000 to 12,000 calories a day. We can't begin to imagine what his weekly food bill is.
Wheaties was not the breakfast of champions at LeBron James's house when the future MVP was growing up. Instead, momma poured her little future superstar a heaping bowl of Trix. LeBron's love for Twix followed him into adulthood, and his preference is so well-known that Nike created a Trix-inspired shoe for him. Other childhood eating habits that have followed LeBron to the NBA include asking for both his spaghetti and steak to be cut up in restaurants.
Popeye got his super strength from spinach. Seattle Seahawk Marshawn Lynch gets his from . . . Skittles! Yes, it's true, the habit was started by his mom back in his high school days (read the full story here). Lynch is regularly seen fueling up on the sidelines with a handful of Skittles. It's so notable that the candy company apparently installed a Skittles dispensing machine in his team locker. Other fans of tasting the rainbow are Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose, who also have their own candy lockers.
Like our friend Lynch, Felix is a big fan of rewarding herself for good performance with a tasty treat. Her main go-to is Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk ice cream. Felix told STACK that after the Olympics, she indulged in a whole pint. “I sat on my bed all alone and just pigged out,” she said.
Here's a joke for you: What's the only food Usain Bolt eats? Fast food! Okay, so the only thing lamer than that joke is the fact that what fueled Bolt's record-setting 100m in Beijing were McDonald's Chicken Nuggets. Well, McNuggets and trelawny yams, which Bolt's father revealed to the Daily Telegraph as the secret to his son's super speed. We're guessing local grocery stores in Jamaica are out of yams.
Gay's pre-race snack fuel is a precise science. The Olympian and his nutritionist have worked out a fine-tuned diet. The sprinter told STACK he will only eat exactly 20 almonds before a race or training session. The reason for the number? According to Gay, it's the amount that his nutritionist determined as the perfect serving to meet his needs.
In an unhealthier version of Tyson Gay's ritual, superstitious Brian Urlacher must eat two chocolate chip cookies before every game. No more and certainly no less. Urlacher is one of the NFL's most feared linebackers, so we'd hate to get between him and his cookies.
That's not lemonade
Finally, we bring you the weirdest of the weird. Feared MMA fighter Lyoto Machida is known as one of the UFC's greatest athletes, but we're not too sure about his hydration plan. If you ever see him chugging a yellow liquid, don't confuse it with lemon-lime Gatorade. As he was taught by his father/trainer Yoshido Machida, Lyoto drinks his own urine, because, he says, "it's sterile and I like the taste." The father/son duo reportedly think that the human body's waste and toxins possess some sort of natural medicinal qualities. Bottom line: if the Machidas ever offer us lemonade, we're running.