Michael Phelps reveals how he managed 10,000 calories per day during his swimming career


Michael Phelps’ eating habits during his time competing are the stuff of legend at this point, and the all-time Olympics medal winner shared just how he was able to cram 10,000 calories in per day. 

The 39-year-old Phelps spoke with E! News at the premiere of his docuseries, “Fueled By,” where he shared how his diet was while swimming, and what it’s like now that he’s not going against the best in the world in the pool. 

During his training days, Phelps would (somehow) consume 10,000 calories per day, and he revealed that junk food helped him hit that goal.

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Michael Phelps victorious with medal during presentation ceremony after Men’s 100M Butterfly Final at the Olympic Aquatics Center. Phelps, Laszlo, le Clos tie for Silver. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Donald Miralle /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

“I probably eat cleaner now than I used to,” he said. “And that’s just because I’m not eating as much as I used to.

“There’s no way you can just eat clean and get all those calories. So, I was trying to cram ice cream and whatever I could into my system.”

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klete keller

Klete Keller, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay of USA celebrates after they won the men’s swimming 4 x 200 metre freestyle relay final on August 17, 2004 during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at the Main Pool of the Olympic Sports Complex Aquatic Centre in Athens, Greece.  (Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Eating junk food and not worrying about the repercussions sounds like a dream for most. However, Phelps viewed that 10,000-calorie-per-day system as a “full-time job for so long.”

Phelps revealed in a 2021 interview with GQ that it was “challenging” to eat post-career, referencing the job aspect of consuming food, which went on well before he became a professional swimmer. 

Phelps also noted gaining “30 to 35 pounds” after retiring from the sport in that interview. 

Feeling like eating is a job is obviously not what you want each day. Now, things are much less relaxed and enjoyable for the 23-time gold medalist when he sits down for a meal. 

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps attends the Harold & Carole Pump Foundation 2023 Gala at The Beverly Hilton on August 18, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Harold & Carole Pump Foundation)

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“Now I kind of just eat what I need and what I want to — not just pretty much devouring everything in my sight,” he said, via E! News.

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