London-bound Olympic swimmer, Natalie Coughlin, recently divulged her passion for food and her typical diet–things she says are her secrets to success in the pool (and with 11 Olympic medals from the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Games, she should know). Unlike other kinda gross diets that fellow swimmers like Michael Phelps eats, we were pleasantly surprised–and inspired–by her “mostly vegetarian” diet.
Coughlin recently chatted with Relaxnews about her vegetarian ways and gardening in her California backyard:
I mostly follow a nutritionally dense plant-based diet. I have an extensive garden where I grow vegetables. I also have citrus trees and raise five chickens for their eggs. When I do eat meat, I opt for lean proteins, like fish or chicken, but I’m mostly vegetarian. And I love to cook.
Coughlin’s diet is well-balanced, nutritious and not full of filler calories, unlike the fried egg sandwiches and pizza that Phelps consumes (although anyone who is training that many hours a day and burning up to 12,000 calories can pretty much eat whatever they want). Some of her favorite meals include delicious-sounding gazpacho in the summer or hearty bolognese and risotto in the winter.
Another reason we love Coughin? She’s well-balanced with her training regimen too. Even though she typically trains five or six days a week, about five hours a day, Coughlin says not all of that is in the pool.
I usually spent about 50 percent of my time in the pool and 50 percent doing Pilates, yoga, in the weight room, or running. For Pilates, I do a combination of both mat work and the reformer. I also love the TRX suspension training system, which gives me a full-body workout using your own body weight. It’s awesome for small spaces, like hotel rooms, so I always bring it with me whenever I travel.
We love an athlete who sets such a good example and is still well-balanced with their diet and workouts. Go Natalie and go Team USA!