Nutrition Philosophies with Ryan Cochrane

Nutrition Philosophies with Ryan Cochrane

- Kia Schollar

Eat, Sleep, Swim, Repeat.

The dream is reality in many, many, ways for long distance swimmer Ryan Cochrane. Not only has he competed in three Olympic Games and brought home two Olympic medals, but he also lives above a bakery. A Bakery! Now, when I heard this I figured I would need to train 6 hours a day like he does, to offset the number of croissants I would eat.

With croissants on the brain I thought I would ask Ryan what his nutrition plan, as Canada’s elite 400 meter, 800 meter and 1500-meter swimmer, looks like.

It may be surprising to hear but Canada’s most decorated swimmer in history, eats just like you and I – except a little more. Well, like A LOT more. Like double.

Ryan eats roughly 4,000 calories a day, typically eating 5 meals, strategically timed around his training. Eating healthy is not always easy. Even Ryan admits that when he makes a poor dietary choice he knows it. But we are only human, right? Well he may be a little bit more superhuman, but he started his healthy eating habits one day at a time.

When he began to look at nutrition and dietary requirements he admitted it was a bit overwhelming.

So, where exactly did Ryan start making those habits? He started one day at a time, slowly reducing the amount of sugar he was ingesting and replacing it with fruits and vegetables. Once one day became manageable, he worked his way up to eating this way 7 days a week.

Contrary to what one might think of an elite athlete, Ryan’s diet is incredibly simple. Simplicity becomes even more important when you’re arriving in Beijing, London, or Rio to compete at your best against the World’s best.

How though?

How in our busy, exhausting, and sometimes difficult lives, is it easy for food to fall by the wayside?

Ryan’s advice. Be prepared!

Meal plan. Meal plan. Meal plan!!! Thinking about your food and what you want to put in your body before your stomach is begging for all the treats in the grocery store is critical. Food can and should be enjoyable. The best way to make it enjoyable is to plan ahead.

Ryan eats vegetarian two to three nights a week and ensures he has critical carbohydrates for energy and healthy snacks.

It was at this point in our conversation we reminisced about being 16 years old and having just eaten 8 granola bars, while thinking “huh, I am still hungry” and then realizing that also equals to a whole day’s worth of calories.

What? I know, right!

I know you are thinking it, how can she finish without telling us what Ryan’s favorite treat is!

I wondered too – it’s pastries.

We decided broad was best. But more than the treats, the food habits we make are most important.

Food should be enjoyable, so try to be prepared and make getting in the kitchen fun!

To test your fitness against Ryan and other Canadian Olympians, register for RBC FANFIT here.