Born in Maryland, Michael Phelps began swimming when he was 7 years old, partly due to the influence of his older sisters and partly to burn off excess energy. Before he was 10, he already held a national record in the 100 m butterfly, and when he was 15, he entered his first Olympics. He did not medal at the 2000 Olympics, but he went on to compete in 4 more, winning a total of 28 medals, most of them gold. He retired after the 2012 London Games, only to come back for the 2016 games in Rio. He is the most successful Olympian of all time. He holds the world record in several events, including the 100 & 200 meter butterfly, and the 400 meter individual medley. He has won many other awards, including Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year and is considered to be the greatest swimmer of all time. After the 2008 Olympics ended, he started the Michael Phelps Foundation which focuses on promoting swimming and a healthy lifestyle. In 2009, Phelps came out with an auto-biography No Limits and he recently wrote a children’s book.Phelps has over 8 million followers on Facebook alone. He is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, weighs about 195 lbs. and has about 5% body fat.
Michael Phelps Diet
Phelps is famous for eating 8,000-10,000 calories a day while training for the Olympics, a lot of it coming from pizza, pasta and energy drinks. Back in the day, he’d consume a mountain of pasta along with numerous sandwiches, and just about anything else he felt like eating. He no longer trains as hard and has consequently cleaned up his diet. These days, he sticks with whole grains like oatmeal, lots of vegetables, and lean meats such as fish and chicken.
- Medium Protein 30% 30%
- Medium Fat 35% 35%
- Medium-High Carb 60% 60%
Once upon a time, Phelps would eat 3 fried egg sandwiches followed by a 5-egg omelet, French toast and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. He has since toned things down and now has a (large) bowl of oatmeal, a ham and cheese omelet, fresh fruit and coffee.
Pour On the Pasta
While training for the Olympics, Phelps routinely ate a pound of pasta at lunch and dinner, but that was just a side for his multiple sandwiches and/or whole pizzas. Nowadays, he’s down to one sandwich (from Subway, his sponsor) for lunch, and some lean meat, a couple of sides of whole grains and plenty of fresh veggies for dinner.
Energize With Energy Drinks
Back in the day, Phelps would guzzle energy drinks, adding up to about 2,000 calories to his daily total.
When he was young, Phelps said he ate pretty much whatever he wanted, no need to cheat. These days, he says he mostly eats clean, but sometimes a cheeseburger sneaks in. He’s also a fan of a Baltimore specialty: Berger cookies. One thing he hates? Pickles.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Phelps On His Old Diet
‘I eat pretty much whatever I want. I don’t have a strict diet. It’s all about cramming in as many calories into my system as I possibly can.’
Phelps On Eating And Training
‘I usually try to eat a lot of calories. With so many events, it is important to sustain a high level of energy through the entire meet. I usually eat 2 hours before a meet.’
Phelps On His High-Calorie Diet
‘Don’t believe everything you read…Still, it became a job.’
Phelps On Improving His Diet
‘Someone told me to think of your body as a car, and the better gasoline you put into the car, the better you’re going to perform.’
Michael Phelps’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Phelps has worked with Bob Bowman since he was 11 years old, following him around the country as Bowman worked as a coach for various universities.
Serious Daily Dose
While training for the Olympics, Phelps trained six days a week for 5-6 hours a day, broken into 2 session.
In peak training season, Phelps would log nearly 50 miles a week in the pool, sometimes at altitude.
Phelps would usually listen to music during his lengthy workouts to help keep him pumped.
As part of his training, Phelps would do a long list of drills and strokes: freestyle, butterfly, individual medley (IM), you name it, he did it.
For the London Olympics, Phelps says he trained for fewer hours, but his practice was targeted. For example, he spend a quarter of his training doing leg drills.
Phelps uses all different types of gear in his routines, such as snorkels, kick boards, training paddles and pull buoys.
Dry Land Drills
Phelps also did a weight lifting routine 3 days a week. He did things like weighted pull-ups and push-ups to build strength and endurance without bulking up.
A Michael Phelps Routine
Swim: 800 meters
Do a series of 25 m strokes to prime the fast-twitch muscles.
6 sets x 50 meters
20×100 on 1:15 min.
25 m fly
50 m freestyle
25 m fly
500 strokes: 50 kicks, 50 drill
2000 timed kick stroke: with kick board
4×100 IM drill
10×200 on 3 min.
4 Speed Sets
24×25 fly: 1-ez, 1-no breath, 1-sprint
Abdominal exercises: 500
800 mixer on 10:30
4×150 kick on 2:30 (50 stroke, 50 free, 50 stroke)
400 pull with buoy on 5:00 (breathe 3,5,7,9 per 100)
200 stroke on 3:00
10×50 in 45 min (2-25 kick/25 drill 2-25 free/25 stroke)
4×50 in 1:30
1×50 in 1:20
1×50 in 1:10
1×50 in 1:00
Long swim 100-200-300 pull (lung busters)
400 choice kick
300-200-100 IM drills
Speed & Endurance Training
Vertical kicking, Underwater kicking, Training paddles, snorkel, kick
board, Sculling, Sled Push, Sled Reverse Fly
Weightlifting 3x/week. Preferably Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Standing dumbbell press: 10-16 reps x 3 sets
Dumbbell front raise: 10-16 reps x 3 sets
Dumbbell lateral shoulder raise: 10-16 reps x 3 sets
Compound exercises for flexibility
Phelps On Winning
‘If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.’
Phelps On Powering Through
‘When I feel tired, I just think about how great I will feel once I finally reach my goal.’
Phelps On Sticking With A Plan
‘I found something I love, and never gave up!’
Phelps On His Trainer
‘Training with Bob is the smartest thing I’ve ever done..I’m not going to swim for anyone else.’
Phelps On Drills
‘For me, some of the most effective drills focus on vertical kicking and underwater kicking. It’s painful, but very effective.’
Michael Phelps’s Supplements
Phelps never copped to taking any supplements, but anyone who is serious about sports will probably want to consider a protein supplement to build muscle and shorten recovery time.
Creatine can help with short, intense activity, like swimming.
Vitamin C boosts immunity and also can help reduce muscle soreness.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can also help shorten recovery time.
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of other vitamins, and also contributes to strong bones and muscles.
Michael Phelps’s Lifestyle
High Tech Recovery
As part of his training, Phelps slept in a hyperbaric sleeping chamber which simulates a high altitude environment, decreasing oxygen and making the body work harder, which results in improved endurance. He was also in the habit of taking ice baths post-swimming to help with recovery.
Growing up, Phelps idolized swimmer Ian Thorpe. When Thorpe remarked that it would be difficult for Phelps to win 8 gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, Phelps taped the words to his locker as motivation to prove him wrong.
Built to Swim
Phelps has a wingspan of 6 feet, 7 inches (3 inches longer than his height), his legs are proportionately short for his height and his knees and size-14 feet are double jointed, essentially turning them into flippers.
Phelps has been arrested for driving under the influence and he was suspended from swimming for 3 months after a photo of him using a bong surfaced on the internet. He also lost his endorsement deal with Kellogg’s due to that photo.
Besides his Michael Phelps Foundation, Phelps also volunteers as an assistant coach with his former coach Bob Bowman for the Arizona State Sun Devils swim team.
Phelps On Swimming
‘I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That’s where I belong.’
Phelps On Recovery
‘Sleep is also a big part of my recovery. It’s really important that my body gets enough rest so that I’m ready to go for my next race or training session.’
Phelps On Being In The Public Eye
‘I learned how fast you can go from being an international hero to being a reference in a joke on a late-night talk show.’
Phelps on his DUI conviction
‘I let a lot of people in the country down.’
Phelps On His Foundation
‘There are too many kids who are drowning for lack of water safety. That’s something I’d like to do: teaching kids to live an active lifestyle.’
No Limits: The Will to Succeed
Beneath the Surface: My Story
How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals
H20 Audio waterproof headphones
Michael Phelps Push the Limit Xbox game