Since they look so fit and have to go to extreme levels of exercise during the Olympics, people may think that they keep their calorie intake to a minimum. False! Some athletes eat about 3,000 calories a day in order to get the “perfect body” and compete in the competition. Hit the jump

Steph Bassanini

While most Olympic athletes people see on television appear trim and often even slim, the road to the Games for many of them is paved with a stunning quantity of food rich in proteins and carbohydrates.
Turkish javelin thrower Fatih Avan says he is mindful of what he puts in his stomach while training for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
‘I may have become an elite athlete with my good performances but I can only be a great athlete if I can win an Olympic medal,’ he said.
Turkey is taking a team of 85 athletes to the Olympiad, a record number for the Eurasian nation of nearly 75million – and dozens of young male and female athletes around the country are now busily training, like Avan.
The 23-year-old complements his rigorous training schedule with a nutritional program which gives him a daily intake of 3,500 calories – mostly derived from protein.
‘A good diet is essential for power. A correct and consistent diet proves its value in my training,’ he said.
Taekwondo fighter Bahri Tanrikulu is a three-times world champion and an Olympic silver medalist. The 32-year-old has his heart set on a gold medal at the London Olympics that will kick off on July 27.

He supplements his 3,000-calorie daily diet with legal ergogenics – performance enhancing supplements – and multivitamins.
A firm believer in the merits of permissible ergogenics, Tanrikulu says: ‘If I did not take these supplements, I would have to eat several kilos of meat, and dozens of pieces of fruit to meet my daily protein and vitamin requirement.
‘If I had to obtain the calories my body needs through natural foods, I would have to spend all my time eating instead of training.’

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