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US Olympic Swimmer Natalie Coughlin Talks Health and Fitness

Natalie Coughlin is one to watch in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Natalie is on the US Women’s Olympic Swimming team. At the ripe age of 22-years-old, Natalie won five medals in 2004 in the Athens Summer Olympics. It was her first time participating in the Olympics and won a gold medal in the 100m Backstroke and 4x200m Freestyle Relay, silver medal in the 4×100 Freestyle Relay and 4x100m Medley Relay, and bronze medal in the 100m Freestyle. In 2008, she won six more medals to add to her collection. Already having 11 medals under her swimsuit she is determined to win more medals in London this summer.

In addition to swimming, Coughlin is focused on her health, the environment, and as a philanthropist, Natalie says health and nutrition go hand in hand. She keeps up with her fitness outside of the pool and eats healthy to maintain a well balanced diet. She embraces the green lifestyle, so much so that she has a garden in her backyard where she grows her own fruits and vegetables. She was recently introduced to Michelle Obama during a Let’s Move presentation, which is one of the charities she works with. She has also made donations to Right to Play through the Hearts of Gold program. It’s great to see athletes give back to the community.

Natalie is keeping a busy schedule preparing for the summer Olympics and all the other activities in her life. We are glad that she took some time out from her busy schedule to give us an interview!

Q: What does your calorie intake look like during training? In 2008 we heard that Phelps consumed something like 12,000 calories! 

A: I have no idea what my calorie intake is… I do my best to listen to my body and change the amount accordingly. During big lifting phases and competitions I tend to eat more, during lighter training phases I eat less.

Q: What are your favorite healthy snacks to eat before and after a workout?

A: I love eating bircher muesli for breakfast. I have a great recipe that couldn’t be easier. Because of the dried plums and whole oats, it keeps me satisfied through a long practice.

Q: What does your training regimen look like?

A: I do a combination of swimming, running, weight training, Pilates and a power circuit. Different times of the year require different amounts of each activity, but it averages out to 5+ hours a day, 6 days a week.

Q: For people seeking an “Olympic body” like yours – what are things they can do at home?

A: Since I’m a swimmer I need to be strong, but not bulky. Do whatever cardio suits you and strength training at least 2-3 times a week is important. I love the TRX suspension training system. You can get a full-body workout using your own body weight. I always travel with it since you can do it anywhere.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the London Olympics?

A: I still need to qualify for the team. A huge weight will be lifted once I’ve earned my spot on the team and know which events I’ll be competing in.

Also Read:

Michael Phelps’ Olympic-Sized Appetite

6 Ways to Feel Confident in Your Swimsuit

The Big Difference in Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks


First image via Mitchell Haaseth/ NBC Olympics; second via Time.com

May 30th, 2012

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