Food and Nutrition

The Gold-Medal Foods Olympic Swimmer Katie Ledecky Eats to Fuel Her Workouts

Emily Laurence

Emily LaurenceJanuary 6, 2020

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Photo: Getty Images/Harry Howe; Graphic: Well+Good Creative
Ever wondered what a CrossFit champion eats for breakfast? Or how a spin instructor powers themselves through multiple classes a day? Or how an Olympic gymnast snacks? Food Diaries takes you on an inside journey through the healthy eating habits of athletes at the top of their games because, admit it, you’re curious. See More

Swimming is arguably one of the most challenging sports there is. Not only does it work the entire body, but even breathing is difficult since you’re underwater so much. None of that has slowed down Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky even a little bit. At just 22, she’s already racked up five Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals—more than any female swimmer in history. (She’s also broken her fair share of world swimming records, too. NBD.)

Being the most decorated female swimmer of course takes dedication, both in the water and out. “I swim 10 times a week, including twice on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays,” Ledecky says. “I also lift weights on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and do Pilates on Thursdays.”

Intense, right? Here, in partnership with Built With Chocolate Milk, Ledecky shares what foods she relies on to give her the energy she needs—not only to endure, but to come out on top.

Scroll down to see what an average day of eating looks like for Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky.

swimmer diet breakfast
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Breakfast

“Normally for breakfast, I have oatmeal with a banana and berries,” Ledecky says. The oats provide some much needed protein (six grams per cup serving), while literally every part of her meal gives fiber. As for that banana, many say it’s the MVP of pre-workout snacks because it contains the healthy fueling trifecta of carbs, protein, and fiber.

swimmer diet lunch
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Lunch

For lunch, Ledecky again prioritizes getting carbs, protein, and fiber. “I usually have scrambled eggs with veggies on toast,” she says. Eggs are such a goldmine of health benefits that according to some research, eating one every day benefits cardiovascular health.

swimmer diet snack
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Snacktime

Obviously Ledecky is working out a lot, so it’s not a shocker that she keeps her gym bag loaded with snacks to sustain her between meals. “I’ll snack on either an apple, banana, or a granola bar throughout the day,” she says.

dinner
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Dinner

As with many of us, dinner is Ledecky’s biggest meal of the day. “I make chicken or steak with a side of salad or cooked vegetables, and also rice or pasta,” she says. The carbs, protein, fiber trio strikes yet again!

dessert
Photo: Stocksy/Monica Murphy; Graphic: Well+Good Creative

Dessert

After dinner, if Ledecky is in the mood for something sweet, she’ll reach in the fridge for a classic combo: yogurt with berries. Not only does it satisfy her craving, it also  gives her one last hit of protein for the day. As an added bonus, eating yogurt before bed is connected with better sleep. And with a workout routine like hers, that’s definitely a non-negotiable.

If you want to see how other athletes eat, check out Olympic gymnast Simone Biles food diary and this one from Team USA runner Colleen Quigley.

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