What Olympians Eat

How Triathlete Greg Billington Eats for the Olympics

Image Credit: Tommy Zaferes

The Olympics are here — neither Zika, nor heat wave, nor presidential impeachment, nor plumbing woes could keep this age-old competition from moving forward. We're planning marathon Olympic-watching sessions, of course, but all these amazing athletes got us thinking about what it takes to fuel such terrific prowess — in the pool, on the field, in the ring. We asked 10 athletes to share what they eat on a daily basis. Here's what we found out.

Age: 27
Hometown: Spokane, WA
Event: Triathlon
Training Regimen: Up to 5,000 meters of swimming, 12 miles of running, and three hours of biking, six days a week. On Sundays, four to five hours on the bike.

Like a lot of competitive kids, Greg Billington had Olympic dreams, but his are actually coming true, thanks to years of intense preparation — nearly 20 years, to be exact. Greg completed his first triathlon at the age of 8.

And triathlon training is no joke. Think your workout is grueling? Try preparing to do a 0.93-mile swim, a 24.8-mile bike ride, and a 6.2-mile run back-to-back and as quickly as you can.

The good news is you get to eat a lot.

Greg's Daily Eating Routine

Greg starts a typical day with one or two pancakes, with eggs over-medium on top. "The yolk must be runny," he says. A few cups of coffee are also a must.

After he's fueled up, Greg will go for a run, which ends with a yogurt with granola and a bit of dark chocolate. Next, it's time to swim, with 750 milliliters of a sports beverage close by. When his morning workout is complete, Greg downs 150 to 300 calories' worth of a recovery shake.

Rice, vegetables, and chicken are on the menu for lunch — along with a bit more dark chocolate. Greg says he often indulges in an afternoon nap, followed by more yogurt and granola to prevent any calcium loss during his lengthy afternoon ride. "If it's a more intense ride, I'll have another cup of coffee," he says. "I'll consume about 200 calories an hour while cycling, counting drinks and snacks." After his final workout of the day, he has fruit and peanut or almond butter.

Greg's dinner is usually a big salad, sweet potatoes, and tuna, along with cooked vegetables. Before bed, he'll have another yogurt with berries and granola or even frozen yogurt. "If it's a long day, I'll add in some chips and guacamole to make up for the calorie deficit," he says.

Favorite Cheat Meal: Oreos

"I love me some Oreos," Greg says. "I wait all year long until the off-season to have some and then am super excited to see what new varieties they've invented — but it's hard to beat the birthday cake flavor!"

Rio Must-Eat: Pizza

"Last year, I enjoyed some pizza," Greg says. "I heard that they're famous for that and I can certainly agree that it was quite delicious!"

Watch Greg Billington compete in Rio, when the Men's Individual Triathlon starts on Thursday, August 18.