Ryan Lochte stole the show at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships. Six gold medals and he came within a few tenths of his world record in the 200 IM, with a Lycra suit on! It was a very impressive performance, indeed. So what was the difference? What enabled Ryan to have such a stellar meet? Nutrition.
Apparently Ryan has changed his eating habits and it shows. We heard he gave up eating a lot of junk food and it shows. Yes, he was lean and mean and fast. I didn’t speak to Ryan nor ask him about his nutrition, but here is what was reported.
In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, Lochte was quoted in the NY Times on line with the following. “Nutrition’s probably the last thing I worry about,” Lochte said. “It’s probably my downfall. I’ve been eating McDonald’s almost every meal here.”
This year, at the Pan Pacs, Lochte tells The New York Times, “I haven’t really been eating fast food. Before, I always thought it didn’t really matter what you put in your body because you burn so many calories. What I’ve learned is it does make a difference.“
Here is what he told USA Today earlier this month. “I’m definitely eating healthier,” he says, noting that he has more pasta, fruit, vegetables and lean meats. “After eating a good meal, I’m just happy. It relates to my swimming. I’m having more than just a couple good practices in a row. I’m having a week where practices are unbelievable, and I think it’s due to my diet.”
I believe the story. We had a very similar experience in 2000, when The Race Club was training 13 swimmers for the Olympic Games in Sydney. We thought we were doing everything right. Mike Bottom, one of the finest sprint coaches in the world, had carefully planned out their entire swim training and meet schedule leading up to the Olympic Trials. We had Tim McClellan, one of the best strength trainers anywhere, working on a rigorous dryland program. We used Dr. Rayma Sommer, a noted sports psychologist, to work on their mental training and visualization. We had a sports massage therapist giving massages to each athlete every other day for recovery.
One day, about a third of the way through the season, Mike came up to me and said, “They aren’t going to make it. They are swimming too slow in practice and not recovering fast enough when they do swim fast. We need to figure out what is wrong.”
So we retraced their steps, from the moment they awoke and got out of bed until they put themselves in bed for the night. Here is how it went. Morning: cereal…Sugar Pops, Fruit Loops or Frosted Flakes. Morning workout then lunch: McDonalds. Then nap or television, then afternoon practice, then dinner: McDonalds, then TV, then bed. That was pretty much every day except Sunday, when they just went to McDonalds then home.
“It’s got to be the food”, Mike said. Immediately he called his friend in California, Dr. Doug Herthel, owner and founder of Platinum Performance Products. Doug was on the next flight over to Phoenix to help resolve the problem. “Let’s start by giving them at least one good meal a day and put them on our supplements, and see what happens”, Dr. Herthel suggested after realizing what they were eating. So we did.
We brought in homemade chicken and beef pot pies and fresh vegetables for lunch after morning practice each day and placed them on several of Platinum Performance products, including Power, BCAA, Antioxidants and Immune. At least that way, we minimized the junk food. The response was extraordinary.
Within days, they started swimming much faster in practice and would recover quickly and be ready for another fast practice much sooner than before. The difference in training performances was incredible.
By Olympic Trials we were ready. Six of our athletes made the Olympic Team and won an astonishing 10 Olympic medals for the United States. Undoubtedly, this would never have happened if we did not figure out how important nutrition was to an athlete. It is vital.
Since then, we have placed every elite athlete in The Race Club program on Platinum products and have recommended a good diet. We also recommend Platinum products to all of our campers…or at least to the ones who want to swim fast. You are what you ingest.
It is important to know that nutrition and supplements do make a difference. It is also nice to know, when some swimmers have been suspended for taking products tainted with banned substances, that you have a nutritional company you can trust. Many of our athletes have been tested while taking Platinum Performance products. None have ever tested positive for any banned substance. The Race Club remains staunchly opposed to using any banned substances in sports. You can see all of Platinum’s products we recommend on our web store.
Yours in swimming,
Watch our interview with Ryan Lochte where he talks about the importance of eating healthy.