A lot of athletes have meticulously laid out diets that were cooked up, no pun intended, by a nutritionist or doctor and are aimed at getting the maximum out of an athlete’s body. Athletes can eat to maintain weight, to bulk up, or to lose weight and their everyday food regimes are crucial to their success just as much as the training they put in. Just like how a car can start to run badly if it has the wrong fuel so, too can an athlete.
Across the world some athletes have also developed very unusual (and possibly crazy) eating habits. Here’s 20 of the craziest athlete diets:
20. CHAD JOHNSON | American Football Player
Chad Johnson has had some major ups and major downs in his career but the one constant has been is his epic love affair with McDonald’s. It’s what keeps him going and he has said in the past that he survives on it. He also said that if he were to be subjected to a random drug test, all he would test positive for would be Red Bulls and McDonald’s.
According to Johnson, people should be able to eat whatever they want to eat, as long as they work out properly. McDonald’s isn’t the enemy in Johnson’s book.
19. CARON BUTLER | Basketball Player
At one point in time Caron Butler was drinking up to two litres, or eight cups of Mountain Dew a day. He has since tried to kick that habit and has had some success in reducing his intake, but he can’t completely turn his back on his favourite beverage. “I can get away from the streets,” Butler said. “But I can’t get away from Mountain Dew.” Butler said he used to get flack from the guys, who would be drinking their fruit infused waters, while he was sitting on the back of the bus with his sugary addiction.
18. USAIN BOLT | Retired Sprinter
Usain Bolt likes to give some credit to his multiple gold medals to the power of chicken McNuggets. It was even reported that he ate around 1,000 nuggets in 2008 during the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Bolt apparently wasn’t a big fan of the local cuisine so he sought comfort and fuel in his favourite fast food dish. The Times even reported on his 100-nugget a day diet during the Summer Olympics. Experts are still baffled at his ability to win three gold medals on nothing but fast food, but the man is a legend for a reason.
17. KOBE BRYANT | Retired Basketball Player
Kobe Bryant and the L.A. Lakers may have had a diet that some would consider borderline ritualistic. It’s better known as the butter, bacon and broth diet. According to Ken Berger’s 2013 article, the food sources are all humanely raised and grass-fed and the plan focused on eating healthy fat as both a healing agent and an energy source.
They liked to dress their steaks with butter before throwing them on the grill and the team also drank up to two cups of broth that was made with the bones of grass-fed cows.
16. DWAYNE WADE | Basketball Player
A nutritionist suggested that he try adding copious amounts of chlorophyll to his diet in order to properly refuel and reset his body after games. Wade took the suggestion to heart and now unwinds after a game with a chlorophyll smoothie.
Wade developed his new meal plan when he hit his 30-year-old slump and knew that he had to make a big change if he was going to stay at the top. He’s still going strong at 35, so there must be something magical in those smoothies.
15. DWIGHT FREENEY | American Football Player
Dwight Freeney maintains his physique and athletic ability due to Sari Mellman’s Progression Diet which uses blood analysis to make bodies as strong and as fast as possible. The blood tests determine which foods he should be eating to maximize his inflammatory response and increase cellular functions.
Freeney is able to maintain a muscular build of around 250-300 pounds all while axing things like garlic, oil and pan spray from his diet. His fluids are also limited to water, tea and grape juice. His meals mainly consist of things like beef and pinto beans and nothing else. If Freeney goes out to a restaurant, he will bring his own ingredients and instruct the chefs on how to prepare his meal.
14. WADE BOGGS | Former Baseball Player
He LOVES beer. Wade Boggs’ affection for the beverage is so legendary that he apparently even managed to throw somewhere between 40 and 107 beers back in the span of 24 hours. The former third baseman also loves chicken. An insane amount of chicken. He claims to have eaten an entire chicken before every single game.
13. KAZAKHSTAN OLYMPIC ATHLETES
Back in 2012, it was reported that Kazakhstan’s Olympic team had horse meatshipped to London in order for them use it as their secret weapon. It turns out that horse meat is kind of a staple in the cuisine of their homeland. Kazy and karta, horse meat-based sausages, and caviar are traditional, indispensable Kazakh dishes. The team thought that eating these protein-rich foods would prove beneficial for its athletic performance and help them get a leg up on the competition. Whether it was the horse meat or not, they did manage to meet their goal of winning three gold medals and nine medals all together. It was probably the drugs though, since they had some of their medals taken away after urine re-tests were done and some came back positive for performance enhancers.
12. LAMAR ODOM | Basketball Player
Lamar Odom finds that the food that best fuels his performance on the court is sweet and full of sugar. In fact, the more candy the better for him. He liked to eat his candy right before games and in the middle of the night when he was feeling a bit peckish. The best example of his sugar-fuel addiction would be when he ate an entire plate of Starburst jelly beans right before a game.
11. JOHN DALY | Professional Golfer
In case you missed it, PGA Pro John Daly absolutely loves Diet Coke. At one point in time, he was downing 26-28 cans a day, but did get himself to cut back to 10-12. That’s quite a lot of aspartame. In addition to his beloved carbonated beverage, Daly also smokes like a chimney and can get 40 a day in. It’s safe to say that this diet doesn’t sound safe for anyone, much less an athlete.
10. JOHN NABER | Former Competition Swimmer
John Naber became famous when he broke records and won four gold medals in 1976 at the Summer Olympics in Montreal. He admittedly used to consume around 8,000 calories a dayback during his competitive years, because he needed a lot to get him through training. He would start off with scrambled eggs covered in honey for breakfast. He also enjoyed snacking on boxes of Frosted Flakes and having extra helpings of dessert.
9. ROBERT OBERST | Professional Strongman
When you picture the diet of a 6’8 strongman who weighs over 400 pounds, does it consist of buying the entire pork section out at the grocery store? For Robert Oberst, it certainly does. He likes to pair his massive amounts of pork with massive amounts of rice, but no dairy. He also aims to eat 20,000 calories a day. Yes, you read that right, twenty thousand calories and you won’t find him snacking on popcorn as he instead likes to snack on even more meat. The guy can log press 455 over his head so maybe he is on to something.
8. LAFFIT PINCAY JR. | Former Jockey
It’s no secret that jockeys needs to make weight in order to ride and therefore, lots of them tend to have some form of an eating disorder. On top of that, many of them also develop drug and pain killer addictions, mostly in part to the types of injuries they sustain and their inability to stay off of a horse for long.
Laffit Lincay Jr. had an even crazier diet than some of his peers. He was so serious about things that he would eat just half of a peanut for a meal. Of course, it isn’t as bad as the ones who would forgo eating or purge, but half of a peanut is pretty crazy.
7. MICHAEL ARNSTEIN | Long-Distance Runner
Michael Arnstein takes vegan to a whole new level. This long-distance runner likes to get his fuel via fruits and perhaps the occasional raw veggie. He is a self-proclaimed “fruitarian”and has said that he sticks to a diet that is 80% carbs, 10% fat and 10% protein. Of course, the source of all of those macronutrients is fruit and lots of it. In fact, it has been estimated by CNN that he packs away 25-30 pounds of fruit a day. That’s 175 pounds to 210 pounds per week. He will eat some raw fish twice a year, if that. Arnstein considers eating 20 bananas a day to be normal, but sees milk and cheese as poison.
6. LYOTO MACHIDA | Professional Mixed Martial Artist
The secret to Lyoto Machida’s UFC success is nothing other than his urine. Machida likes to drink his urine because he believes that it helps strengthen his immune system and get rid of toxins. The custom was passed down from his father, who had Machida adopt the urine therapy after he had a cough that wouldn’t go away for three years. Urine therapy also involves massaging one’s gums and body with their own urine. There haven’t been any medical findings to support the claims that urine therapy is beneficial.
5. HERSCHEL WALKER | Former American Football Player, Bobsledder, Sprinter & Mixed Martial Artist
This former NFLer and former MMA fighter has shown his ability to showcase his athletic prowess so it may come as a surprise that Walker is a vegetarian and hasn’t touched red meat in over two decades. If that isn’t surprising, maybe this next part is: Walker only eats one meal a day, skipping both breakfast and lunch, and it’s usually soup or salad with bread. One meal a day isn’t healthy for anyone, but especially not an athlete who would have be burning way more calories than they put into their system, but he’s still kicking, much to the disbelief of doctors. Walker also only got around five hours of sleep a night and had a daily regime of 750- 1,500 push-ups a day and 2,000 sit-ups.
4. MICHAEL PHELPS | Retired Competitive Swimmer
The most decorated Olympian of all time liked to train for over five hours a day, six days a week. So he obviously burns quite a lot of calories. In order to compensate for this, Phelps consumed around 12,000 calories on his training days when he was getting ready for Beijing. A sample of his daily menu would have looked something like this: three fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, fried onions, and mayo; two cups of coffee; a five-egg omelete; a bowl of grits; three slices of French toast with powdered sugar; and three chocolate chip pancakes.
3. DWAYNE JONHSON | Former Professional Wrestler
Upon first glance, Dwayne The Rock Johnson’s meal plans aren’t that odd. They have protein, complex carbs and lots of veggies. What is weird is the amount of cod that he has. He has around 30 ounces of cod throughout the day and then tops it off with fish oils at the end of the night.
Oh and his cheat days? They’re pretty epic and look like they could induce a diabetic coma in anyone. He likes to share his cheats on Twitter after a long, strict diet. The one that got the most hits was 12 pancakes, four double dough pizzas and 21 brownies!
2. DAVID CARTER | American Football Player
Have you ever heard of a 300-pound vegan? Well, David Carter is living proof that they do exist. While being a vegan isn’t out of the ordinary or very odd, the fact that he maintains that kind of lifestyle while playing in the NFL is worthy of a mention, especially since he’s a defensive lineman. He aims to eat 10,000 calories a day in order to maintain his weight and said that his body felt significantly better and less inflamed when he cut animals and animal by-products out of his diet.
1. BABE RUTH | Former Baseball Player
His play on the field was legendary, but so was his ability to eat. The Great Bambino loved to have a big breakfast, consisting of six eggs, a porterhouse steak and potatoes. As for his drink of choice in the morning, it wasn’t coffee. No, he liked to start his day with four cups of bourbon and ginger ale.
He also loved his hot dogs. So much so that he had to be treated for intestinal abscesses as a result. Despite his less-than-healthy approach to eating, which wouldn’t be taken so lightly in today’s MLB, Ruth managed to steal over 50 bases in his first four seasons with The Yankees.