We've all heard of Michael Phelp's insane 12,000-calorie-a-day diet before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. That's right, Phelps ate 12,000 calories PER day. He would consume a pound of pasta and an entire pizza for dinner. So, how do the diets of  non-Olympic athletes compare to those of Phelps? The simple answer is they don't.  I spoke to four Emory athletes to see how their diets stacked up to Phelp's.

Male Swimmer: Alex Hardwick

apple, sandwich, toast, cheese
Molly Roberts

Senior Alex Hardwick explained how crucial eating a balanced diet is to swimming. While he needs to eat enough protein and complex carbohydrates to maintain his muscle and support his practice schedule, he has to make sure he isn't gaining too much weight. Weight as well as fuel impacts every swimmer's performance tremendously, and he is no different. "Diet is a direct link to success," he said.

To ensure his meals are properly balanced, Hardwick plans his meals and supplements out carefully with a nutritionist. An average day of food for Hardwick includes nine different types of supplements, a medium coffee, a plain bagel, two BurgerFi cheeseburgers and medium chili cheese fries. 

Female Swimmer: Phoebe Edwards

salad, chicken
Molly Roberts

Like Hardwick, junior Phoebe Edwards pays close attention to her diet, choosing to eat most of her meals at the DUC or Cox. But when Edwards has early morning practice and both dining options are closed, she makes herself a protein shake and has a bowl of Cheerios (or if she's worked extra hard, Captain Crunch). Avoiding anything too heavy for dinner, Edwards sticks to salads topped with lean protein, like turkey. 

Male Soccer Player: Michael Stier

salad, cucumber
Molly Roberts

Sophomore Michael Stier is a carb-lover. To support his defensive game, Stier eats a bagel for breakfast, a grilled chicken sandwich for lunch and pasta (sometimes) with vegetables for dinner. Pre-game, he is a fan of anything he can eat easily on a bus (think power bars and turkey sandwiches). And post-game, he usually replenishes with a double-wrapped burrito at Chipotle or a ham spinach-wrap at the DUC. 

Female Soccer Player: Kaitlyn Dorka

Molly Roberts
Junior Kaitlyn Dorka has played soccer since she was three years old, so she's no stranger to having her diet closely monitored. Both coaches and nutritionists constantly remind Dorka that what she puts into her body directly correlates with her performance on the field. With this in mind, Dorka makes sure to properly fuel herself, especially before practices and games (bananas and pb&j sandwiches are a go-to). Dorka stays away from sodas, choosing to drink a lot of water, orange juice, Powerade and chocolate milk instead.

Despite having diets nowhere near as impressive as Phelp's, these athletes should still be applauded for eating significantly healthier than most other college students (goodbye freshman 15!)