As Michael Phelps prepares for his career swan song this summer at the 2012 London Olympics, the intense training that he is enduring includes both the expected and the extreme. As Phelps relayed to CNN'S Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes" this past May, after a self-imposed break when he questioned his fire for competition following the 2008 Olympics, the record-breaking swimmer ultimately decided to make the commitment to participate this year in London.
After a slow start, his training accelerated to full speed. The usual early morning workouts, the demanding coach, and hours spent in the pool are only the beginning of Phelps' preparations. Throw in the high altitude simulation chamber that he sleeps in (and would not allow to be shown), the swimmer's "treadmill" used to perfect technique, and the legendary diet that fuels Phelps in competition and the full picture of what is demanded of a world-class athlete becomes a little clearer.
Speaking of that 10,000-12,000 calorie diet, here is a closer look at what you should expect to serve if you happen to have Michael Phelps as a house guest for a day during the next month or so. Added all up, he easily eats between 6 to 10 pounds of food each day!
*Pancakes - Three pancakes with breakfast, and please make sure they have chocolate chips.
*Eggs - Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is where Michael Phelps really loads up. Three fried egg sandwiches, a five-egg omelet, batter for three pieces of French toast, and three pancakes means that you can say goodbye to about a dozen eggs before the morning meal is finished.
*French toast - Three fried egg sandwiches, three pancakes, and, yep, three pieces of French toast. Seems rather symmetrical, doesn't it?
*Cheese - Included on egg sandwiches, pizza, ham and cheese sandwiches, and in his omelet, Phelps definitely has a need for cheese.
*Pasta - Consider yourself a fan of pasta? The next time you cook 2 pounds of noodles, you will be looking at the total amount that Phelps consumes in a day (1 pound at lunch and 1 with dinner).
*Pizza - Pizza constitutes its own food group for many people, and Michael Phelps definitely consumes his fair share; each night he eats a whole pie as part of his dinner.
*Sandwiches - As mentioned, Phelps eats three fried egg sandwiches with plenty of toppings as part of his breakfast. Lunch includes two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo.
*Extras - Most food that Phelps eats has toppings and condiments, including lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, cheese and fried onions on his egg sandwiches; powdered sugar for French toast; chocolate chips with his pancakes; and toppings on his pizza.
*Drinks - Of course, eating all of that food without beverages would be impossible. In addition to coffee and water, much of the nutrition that Phelps ingests comes from high-calorie, easily digestible energy drinks.
For a look at what one-day's worth of nutrition consists of for Michael Phelps, check out this picture from "The Guardian."
The author enjoys the pageantry, tradition, and patriotism of the Olympics. A participant, coach, official and fan of various sports, he will be watching this summer as Michael Phelps attempts to set the career mark for total Olympic medals.
Other content by this contributor: