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How to Fuel like a World Champion

Since bursting on to the international swimming scene in 2014, Adam Peaty has left a lasting impression in the pool.

The collector of Olympic, World Championship, European Championship and Commonwealth Games gold medals and hoarder of 10 world records – the 24 year-old has reimagined what is possible in breaststroke.

As Tokyo draws ever nearer and the four year Olympic training cycle comes full circle, Peaty knows he’s a marked man. The hunter has become the hunted.

There will only be one man that the competition has their crosshairs trained on, and quite rightly too, Peaty is the reigning Olympic champion and current world-record holder in the 50m and 100m breaststroke.

Peaty’s fire burns brighter than ever, the Science in Sport ambassador confirms his hunger only grows stronger in the pursuit of more medals and world records.

We caught up with the breaststroker to uncover how he fuels this success and how others could learn from his experiences.

 

Talk us through your fuelling plan for your training?

Adam Peaty: In the morning I’ll have Weetabix, the normal high fibre, low glycemic food. Then towards the middle of the day I’ll have around 400g of chicken with a lot of vegetables and depending on what serving it is, maybe brown rice.

Towards the end of the day I’ll have a higher carb if I’ve had a harder session, or lower carb if not, sweet potato and quorn mince or lean chicken or a lean fish like sea bass. I’m then just active fuelling because I normally eat around every two hours anyway just to keep my metabolism going.

 

How do you incorporate Science in Sport products into your fuelling plan for training?

Adam Peaty: My fuelling plan for training is pretty reliant on SiS Hydration Tablets throughout the day to replace electrolytes because in the water you never know how much you are sweating.

It’s a big misconception for swimmers. We never really know our fluid loss and that’s when dehydration can kick in if you’re not replacing your electrolytes. I probably have three to four of the hydration tablets throughout the day and twice a day in two different bottles I put two scoops of SiS BCAA Perform just to keep muscle maintenance up.

Between my two swim sessions I have two SiS Whey20 and once a day I’ll either take SiS Overnight Protein or I’ll take SiS Advanced Isolate+. This is around my meals. I have a lot of chicken and white fish. I’ll always have SiS Protein20 towards the end of the day because I don’t need that sugar intake past say 6pm, it’s a really great addition to my training plan.

 

How does your fuelling programme change between training and around race periods?

Adam Peaty: Around training is a 7,500 calorie intake and then I halve that when I come to race. During race time I am very careful with my dieting because I’ve worked with nutritionists before where I’ve really cut my calorie levels too quickly and my testosterone levels have dropped so my natural reaction is to cut muscle. This is why using sports nutrition products is extremely important to maintain muscle mass and keeps your levels of amino acids and BCAs to enable me get the most power out of my training sessions.

 

For swimmers looking to improve, what should they be aspiring to in terms of body composition that is going to make them a better swimmer?

Adam Peaty: For younger swimmers I would say to keep very, very healthy. I’ve seen a lot of swimmers eating sweets before races which is definitely the wrong way to go. They should be replacing those post training meals with actual meals, not sweets. It’s important to not worry about your body composition at that age.

For older swimmers like me, I’d say train at a heavy weight and come down to a more natural lean weight over a six week period. Don’t starve yourself two weeks before a race because you’ll race like absolute rubbish. I’ve done it before and it didn’t work. I like to train quite heavy and then cut down six weeks before. I start replacing all my carbs with protein bars.

 

What do you think it is that sets you apart from your average swimmer?

Adam Peaty: The dedication to what I do in training, my focus and obviously genetic ability. I have massive hands which help me through the water and double jointed knees which enable me to go out more than the average person.

It’s important to understand that once you’re at the top you’ve got to keep that spot. I’ve been at the top now for five years, so it’s a long time to stay on top without getting beaten. You’ve got to find your own curve, find your routine. Every competition I go to everyone is trying to beat me so you’ve got to stay on top of your job.

Science in Sport
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Science in Sport