An Olympic athlete's diet

Here's an example of what a male Olympic heavyweight rower might eat when training three times a day.

An athlete eating this diet will consume around 6,000 calories a day.

This calorie consumption is not suitable for anyone except elite athletes who do very intensive training for competitive sport. Most people should stick to the official diet advice in the eatwell plate, making sure not to have too many calories.

Read about checking calories in food

7am: breakfast

  • large bowl of cereal, such as porridge, muesli or Weetabix
  • half pint of semi-skimmed milk, plus chopped banana
  • 1-2 thick slices wholegrain bread with olive oil or sunflower spread and honey or jam
  • glass of fruit juice
  • 1 litre fruit squash

8am: training 

  • 1 litre sports drink during training

9.45am: post-training second breakfast

  • portion of scrambled eggs
  • portion of baked beans
  • 1-2 rashers of grilled lean bacon
  • portion of grilled mushrooms or tomatoes
  • 2 thick slices wholegrain bread with olive oil spread
  • 1 litre fruit squash

11am: training

  • 1 litre sports drink during training
  • 500ml low-fat milkshake after training

1pm: lunch

  • pasta with bolognese or chicken and mushroom sauce
  • mixed side salad
  • fruit
  • 1 litre fruit squash

4pm: training

  • 1 litre water or sports drink during training

5.30pm: post-training snack

  • large bowl of cereal with half pint semi-skimmed milk, or 4 slices toast with olive oil or sunflower spread and jam with large glass of semi-skimmed milk
  • fruit
  • 500ml water

7.30pm: dinner

  • grilled meat or fish, such as salmon, tuna or chicken, or lean red meat
  • 6-7 boiled new potatoes, large sweet potato or boiled rice
  • large portion of vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, corn or peas
  • 1 bagel
  • 1 low-fat yoghurt and 1 banana or other fruit
  • 750ml water and squash

9.30pm: bedtime snack 

  • low-fat hot chocolate with 1 cereal bar

10.30pm: bed

Page last reviewed: 03/07/2015

Next review due: 03/07/2017


How helpful is this page?

Average rating

Based on 202 ratings

All ratings

Add your rating


Useful links

NHS Choices links

External links

Services near you

Find addresses, phone numbers and websites for services near you

How can I speed up my metabolism?

What you can do to give your metabolism a boost to help you lose weight

Find the sport that's right for you

Find out which sport you're best suited to, with this short psychological and aptitude test.

Find your sport

Health and fitness

Boost your health and fitness with fun and practical ideas to get active and improve your general health

Get fit with a new sport

Kickstart your active lifestyle with a new sport that suits you