Park Tae-hwan's winning diet regime was revealed on Monday by Kwon Tae-hyun, Park's fitness trainer, as the star swimmer hopes to defend his Olympic crown in the 400-m freestyle race in London this weekend.
Park clinched the gold medal in the event at the Beijing Olympics four years ago, and his meal plan was formulated by Lee Myung-chun, an expert in sports nutrition at Dankook University.
Based on Lee's recommendation, Kwon made a detailed list of the food Park should eat until the day of competition and arranged his practice sessions around this.
According to the plan, Park has to eat up to six meals a day until Wednesday, including a snack before morning practice, breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a snack after lunch, and dinner. Calories-wise, breakfast and lunch each take up 30 percent, dinner 25 percent, and each snack five percent of his daily intake.
Meals are taken one to two hours before training, and three hours before competitive races. Before the training sessions, his sugar intake is suppressed as too much of it can cause fatigue easily by raising the blood sugar level.
From Thursday, two days before the 400-m freestyle competition kicks off, Park will eat fish, tofu, milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream which are rich in protein and sugar. On Saturday, when everything from the preliminaries to the final of the men's race will be held, Park's meal plan will aim to keep him hydrated and his blood sugar level stable.
Carbohydrates are essential to increase his endurance level, and snacks such as bananas, raisins and bread are kept ready at the poolside during training. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and coke are allowed in small amounts before 1 p.m. on training days to keep him energized.
But food is not the only aspect of Park's life that is being regulated as he guns to set a new world record in his signature event. Cold showers should be avoided as these can prevent a sound sleep, while power naps between midday and 4 p.m. should ideally be kept within 20 minutes, and definitely not last longer than 40 minutes.
"In order to produce the desired result at the Olympics, we listen to advice from many experts on even the smallest of details," said Kwon.