Eat like an Olympian : Cross Country Skier – Endurance Athlete

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Cross Country Skiing is a purely endurance sport.  The average Olympic Skier (male) burns almost 2200 calories for the 30 kilometer classic race which usually takes an hour and 30 minutes.  For the longer 50 kilometer freestyle race, an athlete can burn up to 3600 calories!  In just one day of training the average caloric expenditure is 6000-7000 kcal/day which accounts for the athlete’s normal two-a-day routine.  Considering the amount of calories burned during an even and even during training, it is important for these athletes to take in at least 6000 calories a day if not more to maintain their muscle mass and weight.

The type of calories are also important.  For these skiers, carbohydrates are about 60 of their diet, the rest consisting of other important macro-nutrients, protein and fat.  Without the proper ratio, an athlete may be at risk of losing muscle rather than fat and therefore could experience a decrease of endurance.

Below is just a sample menu of a male cross country skier training for the Olympics:


2 cups raisin bran cereal
1 cup 2% milk
10 oz orange juice
1 bagel with margarine and jam


Morning Snack (during and after exercise training) 

2 quarts sports drink (6% carbohydrate)
1 cereal bar


1 cup vegetable soup
4 saltine crackers
1 sandwich: 2 slices bread, 2 oz turkey breast,
1 tbsp mayonnaise, sliced tomato
1 cup 2% milk
1 fresh pear
20 wheat thins
2 chocolate chip cookies

Afternoon Snack (during and after exercise training)
1-1/2 quarts sports drink (6% carbohydrate)
1 cereal bar
1 banana



1-1/2 cups won ton soup

Beef & vegetable stir-fry:

4 oz beef sirloin
1 cup broccoli
1 cup red & green pepper
1/4 cup onions
1 tbsp canola oil
1-3/4 cups brown rice
2 dinner rolls with margarine
Tossed green salad with dressin
10 oz 2% milk

Evening Snack

1-1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
2 tbsp chocolate syrup
1/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 large oatmeal cookie

Nutrition analysis: 6,070 calories

Nutrient % of Total Calories
920g Carbohydrate 60%
170g Protein 11%
190g Fat 29%

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