Friday, August 15, 2008

Michael Phelps' "Special" Diet

Mainly, I've been in the camp that prefers that news articles/stories have as much information about the topic as possible. But I'm seriously considering setting up camp somewhere else because too many news stories are being infiltrated by idiots with valid credentials that give them some sort of credence to speak about the topics they're asked to comment on. The problem with that is that when you read what they have to say, it becomes obvious that they're idiots. However, it is not as obvious to the idiot that they are, in fact, an idiot. Actually, it would appear that they would think that you are the idiot after you read the "wisdom" that they contributed to the story.

An example would be this story about Michael Phelps. Phelps is the US swimmer guy who is going to break every world record in swimming at this year's Olympics. The guy is ridiculously fast. It's insane. (He also is without a nickname, which I find troubling. The closest thing to a nickname that I've heard people call him is "The Human Dolphin". What the hell kind of a nickname is that? Granted both Michael Phelps and a dolphin can swim really fast, can hold their breath underwater, are mammals, and have silky smooth skin, but it still doesn't justify a nickname like "The Human Dolphin". Besides, even if that was his nickname, everyone would just start calling him "Flipper".)

Maybe it's hard to come up with a nickname for him because he's not overly charismatic. Oh, sure, he seems like a nice guy and all, but there's nothing overly "special" about him. Unless you count that he looks like he might be kind of "special", but I don't think that you can have a nickname that was inspired by your looking like you should be at the Special Olympics instead. And it doesn't help that he's always interviewed right after he's done swimming (and breaking some record) and he's panting as he stands there and drips next to the interviewer. So he's looking a little slow and he looks like a mouth breather. Yep. Hard to come up with a nickname that isn't going to be slander-icious with circumstances like those.

According to Phelps, all he does it "eat, sleep and swim". That's it. And the eating portion takes up a substantial amount of time, given that the man consumes 12,000+ calories a day. A DAY. The normal daily caloric intake for a human that is not a "human dolphin" is somewhere around 2,000. So Michael Phelps' daily caloric intake is equal to around six days worth of calories for a regular person. A week's worth of food in one day. Every day. Holy buffet, Batman.

For breakfast, Phelps eats:
  • Three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayo

  • One five-egg omelet

  • A bowl of grits

  • Three slices of French toast with powdered sugar

  • Three chocolate chip pancakes

  • Two cups of coffee

I figure the coffee is to keep him awake after eating all of that. I'd be ready to pass out if I ate all of that (and probably because I'd finish it all two days later and that's enough to make anyone tired). That's just breakfast. Lunch is:

  • 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks

  • One pound of pasta with tomato sauce

  • Two large ham and cheese sandwiches (with mayo) on white bread

A POUND of pasta? Isn't that like the entire package? And those ham and cheese large is "large"? I'm picturing something at least the same size as his feet, which from what I can tell, are about two feet long each. And we still haven't mentioned dinner yet. Dinner is:

  • Six to eight slices of pizza

  • Another pound of pasta with tomato sauce

  • 1,000 calories of energy drinks

That is a ridiculous amount of food. But, hey, the guy is an Olympic athlete and seems to have no trouble burning it off. It's not like he's sinking to the bottom of the pool or anything. And considering that he's setting world records left and right, it would appear as if the energy is needed. Of course, that's if you look at it from a normal and rationale individual's viewpoint and not the commentary of someone asked by Fox News what they had to say about this incredible calorie intake by one person.

Fox News had a one Tanya Zuckerbrot (pretty name), who is a nutritionist and the author of some book called “The F-Factor” (I have no idea what it's about, but I have a couple of suggestions for that "F" word.) if Phelps' diet was "normal".

And before I get to what she said, let me point out how ridiculous that question is. Does he LOOK "normal"? Does he do things that are "normal"? No and no. So why would you ask if what he is doing is "normal"? It would stand to reason that it's NOT, but not "normal" doesn't mean "wrong" or "unhealthy" if there's a reason for the not "normal"!

But, Fox needs ratings or something, so they let her answer. (And really, look at her. She could have been speaking in tongue and people would have paid attention. At least if they don't make any sense, make sure they're pretty. I think that's a motto over there at Fox as they seem to be hiring female news anchors based solely on that principle.) She said, "Look at his picture, he’s completely ripped. He is clearly burning that many calories — if he wasn’t, he would look chubby.” Um, "chubby"? Listen hot lady, 12,000 calories a day if you're not Michael Phelps is going to have you looking a little bit more than just "chubby". You're going to be like that World's Fattest Man dude down there in Mexico who left his home the other day for the first time in five years in the bed of a flatbed truck. You're going to be more than "chubby" if you're eating 6 times more the "normal" amount of calories. (This woman wrote a book? That was published? For sale? Really?)

She adds that Phelps, "...probably doesn’t eat that many calories during his off-training season as his high-fat, high-carbohydrate diet would be dangerous to his health." Probably? You're not sure if he DOES or does NOT eat 12,000 calories a day when he's not training? Sooooo, maybe he does, maybe he doesn't, but he probably doesn't? Again, common sense (I know, I know, something clearly lacking at Fox) dictates that he doesn't eat that many calories when he's not training. Because why would he? How could he? They'd have to get a bunch of guys to roll him into the pool when it was finally time to start training again.

Continuing on with her useless words of blathering commentary, she says, "It’s interesting, if he wasn’t eating that many calories, he wouldn’t be winning, because he wouldn’t have the energy. The carbs is what the body uses for energy. You have to give the body glucose to fuel it. That’s why people on the Atkins diet (an all-protein diet) can’t work-out.” I'm sorry, did she just say that it was "interesting"? How is that "interesting"? That's not "interesting". "Interesting" would be if he ate a handful of dust and a roll of Wintergreen Life Savers before he jumped into the pool each day and green sparks flew out of his ass as he swam across the pool to victory. Now THAT would be "interesting". Hell, that'd be damn near "exciting" and I, for one, would pay good money to see it in person, too! The fact that his body, like everyone else's body, burns carbohydrates for fuel is NOT "interesting". (That this woman was asked her opinion is somewhat "interesting" as I'd like to know whose idea that was and what in the hell they were thinking. I find it "interesting" that that person even has a job.)

Now I'm sure you will be shocked, just shocked, to learn that "Zuckerbrot said she would not recommend Phelps’ diet to the average person who hopes to have a high intensity work out at the gym for an hour, but then sit at their desk all day." Yes, I was shocked as well. Did not see that one coming. Nope. Caught me totally by surprise. (NO IT DIDN'T!! Where did they find this soft head?!) She concluded with, “This is a diet created for an Olympic performer. Clearly with 11 medals under his belt, it’s working.” Well, at least she was consistent. She made sure that everything she said was completely useless to anyone wanting to know about what kind of a metabolism burns 12,000 calories a day or how the metabolism of a body is regulated or anything that might be relevant to Michael Phelps eating 12,000 calories a day.

Yes, she definitely made sure that everything she said was geared down to a level of someone who functions at the level that, um, well, that Michael Phelps kind of looks like he functions at.

Well, whether or not Michael Phelps is a 12,000 calorie eating, mouth breathing, special needs looking, dolphin like trait bearing, Olympic champion 11 times over (with more to come), I like the guy. Eat whatever the heck you want and keep winning.

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