Courtesy of Jess Metson
Swimmer Adam Peaty is one athlete that nobody wants to miss, having become a household name after claiming the top 10 fastest times ever for the 100-metre breaststroke. So, what exactly does it take to become an Olympic and World Champion in the pool?
Peaty provided an outline of his normal day in the build-up to a race, including how he turns vegetarian as a way of hitting his optimum performance weight, and how it compares to his winter regime…
06:00 // For breakfast, I’ll probably have two protein bars before my morning session. If it’s a heavy day then I’ll have a porridge pot as well.
After training, I’ll come back and probably not eat until about 10 or 11am, so I’ve already gone through the phase of burning the fat and the fuel that I’ve consumed in the morning.
10:30 // At around 10 or 11am, I’ll have a protein and vegetable hit.
13:00 // For lunch, I’ll probably have something like granola. Maybe a protein bar again, just to make sure I’m getting enough fuel.
I don’t tend to eat meat when I’m in taper, as I’m trying to keep my fat down and cut out unnecessary stuff that I don’t need in my body.
Protein bars, protein shakes or anything like that is so important to me. When I’m on the go or at the pool all day, I’m trying to find those protein hits and when I’m not eating meat, I need to make sure I’m getting enough on board.
15:00 // I’ll leave the house around 3pm, to get to the pool for half past. I fuel myself depending on the day, so if I know I’ve got another big session I’ll have more carbs beforehand. If I haven’t got such a hard session, I’ll have more protein.
When I go to the gym, I’ll be in there for about an hour-and-a-half. Some of that will be bashing a few heavy weights, working on my power moves and doing some fine tuning.
I think of it like a race car: you look at the engine and the computer and you try and fine tune it to get those extra performance benefits.
In a heavier phase, I’ll probably do six to eight reps of the weight. I’m a massive hypertrophy person, so if I start to do over six reps, I’ll put on so much muscle.
Back in January or February 2016, I was around 96kg because I was doing about a 100 reps of squats each day. We learned from that process and we’ll keep learning!
I do a lot of bench press and pull-ups, and a lot of stuff with the medicine ball and the sledge.
When I’m home after an afternoon session, I’ll have another protein bar or some granola with a bit of Alpro.
The daily routine changes for an event. As swimmers and athletes, we are based around periodic changes, so in winter, my day completely different to summer. Going into a major meet, I’ll be a completely different athlete. I’ll start visualising and thinking about the race two or three weeks before, so I’m already engaging with the competition.
18:00 // From 6pm-6am I’ll have a 12-hour fast, so I get into the phase where your body is burning those fats after the six-hour mark.
The winter calorie intake is probably two or three times higher than it is in the build-up to a race – about 5,000-6,000. It used to be around 8,000, but I’ve cut that down because as the years go on, it starts to carry on your belly a bit more!
Training in the build-up to an event and aiming to strip fat, I’m on about 2,000 calories a day and, because I’m doing all of this stuff in the pool, that doesn’t really add up to much at all. You can feel a bit weak or tired but as long as you’re fuelling for the sessions and not your taste buds, it’s ok.
You’ve got to have that discipline and it’ll eventually help you when you go through the taper anyway. Every time you go through taper, you know you’re going to be a bit hungry but you’ll be fine if you keep yourself busy.
The week before a race, I’ll start to load up with carbs so that I’m not in that deficit and to make sure my glycogen stores are full. When my glycogen stores are full, I put on a bit of weight, so I need to make sure I’m under that weight, to compensate for when I’m fully loaded up with glycogen and fuelled.
It’s complex, and that’s what makes the routine so important, but when you’ve got such a great team around you it becomes easier! I just get told what to do and when to do it.
Discover more about Adam and other athletes’ training by viewing the #MyRoutine series.