When it comes to physical fitness, what you choose to eat is just as important as the amount and type of exercise that you do. Professional athletes put a lot of strain on their bodies during training, so they develop strict diets to increase results, fuel their workouts and care for their bodies.
If you are looking to build some serious muscle or just get yourself into better physical shape, you should spend some time seriously thinking about what kind of diet will fit with your fitness goal, physical activity level and overall health. To help you develop a nutritious eating plan, we have compiled a list of top athletes’ diets, including Tom Brady. Stick to one of these plans or combine aspects of each to create your own diet.
1. Tom Brady’s Diet
As a now six-time Superbowl champion, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knows what it takes to cultivate a rigorous and effective fitness routine. Tom Brady has been very open about his diet and even dedicated an entire book, The TB12 Method, to teaching others how to follow a similar plan. Consuming mostly plant-based foods, he is often considered a pinnacle of healthy eating. According to his book, his daily diet relies mostly on protein shakes to acquire the necessary number of calories and protein.
He begins the day by drinking at least 20 oz. of water containing electrolytes and a smoothie made with fruit before hitting the gym. After his workout, like many athletes and fitness gurus, he drinks a post-exercise protein shake to help replace depleted energy and rebuild his muscles. Fish and vegetables make an appearance at lunchtime, and dinner consists of a variety of vegetables. Between his midday meal and dinner, Brady usually drinks another protein shake as well as a healthy snack like fruit, protein bars and nuts.
Though his diet sounds simple enough to follow and is an extremely healthy way to eat, if you want to try his method of eating for yourself, there are dozens of foods you should also avoid. Brady stays away from alcohol, white sugar and flour, most cooking oils except for coconut oil, artificial sweetener and products with high fructose corn syrup.
To achieve the life of nutritious eating that Brady regularly practices, you should also avoid processed foods and pre-made or frozen dinners. He is a great role-model for all athletes and has proven to not let his age define him after just winning his sixth super bowl at the age of forty one.
2. Venus Williams’ Diet
When it comes to diet, this tennis star places a strong emphasis on consuming raw plant-based foods, which has immensely improved her health since she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjögren’s syndrome.
In a 2016 interview with Self magazine, she said she prefers a liquid breakfast with a green smoothie packed with veggies, fruits and seeds, a protein drink or a selection of healthy fruits. After training in the gym or on the court, she consumes vegan dishes of lentils and quinoa, which are packed with protein and paired with veggies like kale, beans or sweet potatoes and a protein smoothie.
Throughout the day, Williams keeps her energy up with small but healthy snacks of nuts and kale chips, and dinner typically consists of grilled chicken over salad. Though she tries to consume mostly vegetables and drinks containing protein powder, if she does incorporate meat into her daily meal, it is usually grilled chicken or shrimp.
Because her body requires a high level of energy before games, she will try to eat a larger breakfast on those days and stock up on foods like sweet potatoes and rice to give her muscle the extra carbs to be converted into energy for muscles. Because of her rigorous schedule, it is vital to make sure her body is fueled and ready to work at its’ full potential at all times.
To follow a similar diet, you should incorporate a lot of salads into your meals and make green veggies or healthy fruits your regular snacks. Protein shakes are an important part of her morning routine as everyone should start the day off with this much-needed nutrient to fuel you throughout the day.
3. Conor McGregor’s Diet
Former UFC champ Conor McGregor is said to spend eight hours each day working out. Though he had not competed in the UFC for several years before his most recent 2018 fight against KhabibNurmagomedov, he continues to train and keep himself in shape.
In the mornings, he loads up on protein with an egg-heavy breakfast such as an omelet, or scramble, along with a cup of coffee. For his other two meals, he consumes a lot of meat but seeks out high-quality sources such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken and wild seafood such as salmon or tuna.
This can be combined with greens, fruits, and a grain. Like so many other athletes, McGregor has his protein shaker at the ready with a post-workout protein shake to help his body get enough protein for his intense training schedule and long days of working out. When training up to 8 hours a day, he has to keep his body fueled.
4. Dwayne Johnson’s Diet (aka The Rock)
Though Dwayne Johnson is often thought of as more of an actor than an athlete today, he was once a star World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler and continues to follow an extreme exercise plan to keep his well-recognized muscles in shape. While the daily recommended calorie intake averages between 2,000 to 2,500 calories, Johnson’s intense workout schedule and high body mass require him to consume closer to 5,000 calories in a single day.
If you are trying to reach The Rock’s level of gains, you will want to up your protein intake over time, but do not try to suddenly jump from 2,500 to 5,000 calories overnight. While highly effective, Johnson’s diet is not designed for those looking to lose weight as creating a calorie deficit on this plan would be immensely difficult.
For those looking to get ripped, try following a similar pattern of eating though likely on a small scale initially. The mainstay of The Rock’s diet is cod, consuming 2.3 pounds of the fish each day, which amounts to nearly 821 pounds of the fish each year, according to First We Feast. Throughout the day, he consumes seven different meals with many of them containing other types of seafood like halibut.
For other sources of protein, he eats grilled chicken and plenty of eggs. Sometimes just simply egg whites for breakfast.. His high-protein main courses are supplemented with baked potatoes, peppers, onions and mushrooms as well as green veggies and salads to ensure he is getting enough calories and fueling his body throughout the day.