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Photographed by Felicity McCabe.

This Is What Female Olympians Eat For Breakfast

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How do you like to start your day? If you’re anything like us, you grab a coffee and a muffin on the way to work or plonk yourself down in front of your computer with some muesli. While breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, it’s rarely treated that way. Except for at weekends. At weekends, breakfast is of the upmost importance and you can find us face down in a full English or a pile of pancakes.

But what of female athletes? Those enigmatic beings who hide away for most of the year before they take to the stage to perform superhuman feats? What do they eat for breakfast?

In 2008, the American swimmer Michael Phelps made, ahem, waves, when the New York Post reported that his calorific breakfast included three fried egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, fried onions and mayo, a five egg omelette, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast and three chocolate chip pancakes. So do all Olympians approach mealtimes with such Homer Simpson-esque rigour?

After a bit of investigating, we discovered that, sadly, they don’t. Phelps was very much the 12,000 calorie-a-day exception. In fact, most female athletes reported to eating fairly standard breakfast foods. So we hired the very talented Felicity McCabe to recreate the dishes and photograph them.

First up, what does British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill fuel up with? A simple yoghurt mixed with muesli and pumpkin seeds, a banana, toast and jam and an orange juice for the woman who was the most Googled female athlete of 2012.
Photographed by Felicity McCabe.
Jessica Ennis.
Jade Jones, a British taekwondo hopeful, opts for six different fruits. That's the 5-a-day sorted.
Allison Stokke, a U.S. pole vaulter, takes toast with avocado, olive oil, sea salt and red pepper, scrambled eggs, and coffee to hit those heights.
It would seem those who spend all day in the pool have the biggest appetites: check out U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky's bacon, cheese, tomato omelette with hash browns and a bagel. Yum.
British 400m sprinter Christine Ohuruogu has yoghurt, fruit and nuts to get track ready.
Chicken, sweet potatoes, peppers, baby kale, spinach, eggs, and salsa might sound like a dream lunch but 30-year-old American weightlifter Morgan King has it first thing, every morning.
Marathon open water swimmer and British Olympic silver medallist, Keri-Anne Payne, enjoys two slices of unbuttered toast with raspberry jam before training.
One of the most surprising brekkies comes in the form of British boxing champion Nicola Adams' morning bowl of Frosties. She told her coach and nutritionist that they were "non-negotiable", according to The Guardian.
British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson will be hoping that her hot water with honey and lemon and toast with scrambled eggs will give her what she needs to come top of the scoreboard in Rio.
With the Olympic Village Kitchen making up to 60,000 meals a day during the Games, let's hope they can all get their breakfast of choice. Wonder if Nicola Adams is taking her Frosties with her...

Photographed by Felicity McCabe

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