Being an Olympian is a full-time job.
When it's literally your job to perform at Olympic-level standards, staying in shape and eating right is just the baseline. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete that isn't used to two-a-days, with some even committing up to seven hours every day to their training. There's no room to mess around.
And while some mix it up with a variety of workouts, ranging from weight lifting to yoga, others stick to a strict groundhog day-like lifestyle. For a glimpse at their day-to-day, here's how some of the world's best athletes manage to stay on top.
Gabby Douglas is one busy teenager. Not only is she the star of her own reality show, Douglas Family Gold, but she is also a world-renowned gymnast. She recently shared her daily training schedule with Popsugar and it's grueling, to say the least. She starts her mornings bright and early with four hours of beam, vault and bar work. That's followed by a two-hour block for eating, then a two and a half hour afternoon training session. Unsurprisingly, the mini mogul has an early bedtime so she can be well-rested to do it all over again the next day.
Michael Phelps made national news last time around with his 12,000-calorie a day diet plan (which he has since debunked), but, regardless, his calorie intake is still far greater than yours. Just take that pound of spaghetti he ate after winning gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay this past week in Rio. For fitness, he's admittedly a bit more relaxed than in previous years, but he's almost always in the water (with his waterproof headphones on) doing underwater kicking drills and intense endurance training. He's also known to throw a little weight lifting in the mix, too.
It can be said with certainty that 12-time Olympic medalist Natalie Coughlin knows a thing or two about winning. When it comes to training, can you believe she's been doing the exact same thing every day for the past three years? She wakes up at 7 a.m., swims for an hour, naps before noon, focuses on her core by lifting weights for an hour and a half then swims again for an hour and a half. To end her day, the medalist has dinner by 5:30 p.m...but don't worry, there's wine.
After competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (where Phelps famously beat out Lochte), Ryan Lochte, who was attending University of Florida at the time, decided to get serious about weight training. He began working with a strength coach for the first time to build confidence and body mass. Fast-forward to today and he's hitting the weight room daily. A typical session (which ranges from plyometrics to interval training to boxing) lasts around an hour to 90 minutes with his infamous Sunday sessions lasting up to two and a half hours.
Leave it to Miles Chamley-Watson, part-time high-fashion model, part-time Olympic fencer, to spend seven hours a day committed to his craft. But we're not talking about modeling and, no, he's not just in the gym sweating it out, even though he's doing that quite a bit. The pro's biggest obstacle is mastering his mind. He's regularly embarking on mentally-taxing experiences to help control his emotions: from breathing exercises, to ice baths for regulating his body's response to stress to crying on cue.
Carlin Isles isn't known as "the fastest man in rugby" for no reason. After not making the U.S. Track & Field team for the 2012 London Olympics, he put all of his energy into building muscle and getting fit. Even after badly injuring his foot, Carlin was still putting in time and grinding at the gym. According to him, he's doing more weight and cardio workouts than he ever has in his life (and you can bet he's keeping his nutrition in check, too).
As you can imagine, Morghan King, the newly engaged Olympic weightlifter, is pretty serious about training. The tiny-yet-strong athlete's forte is dead lifts, (nutrition is a top priority as well), but she knows the importance of stretching it out. When she's not lifting, her days actually consist of a variety of lower impact activities: everything from using foam rollers to regular massages to personal training sessions and a healthy dose of yoga.