Olympic diver Tom Daley uses a simple nutrition rule called ’20-20-20′ to stay energized

The British diver Tom Daley is preparing to compete at his fifth Olympics.Daley described the “20-20-20” post-workout nutrition rule he follows to support his training.This story is part of “Road to Paris,” a series chronicling athletes’ and spectators’ experiences at the Olympic Games.

With four Olympics and a gold medal under his belt, Tom Daley was set on retiring. Then, less than a year before the 2024 Paris Games, the British diver changed his mind; his 5-year-old son had said he wanted to see his father compete.

Thanks to that push from his son, Daley — one of his country’s most celebrated and popular athletes — will become the first British diver to compete at five Olympic Games.

While juggling childcare, the 30-year-old is training hard and eating well to defend his title in the 10-meter synchronized diving event, in which he won gold in Tokyo in 2021.

He told Business Insider the nutrition principles he follows and how he deals with pressure ahead of the Olympics.

Post-workout protein and carbs

Speaking with BI as part of his partnership with the travel app Trainline, Daley said the way he fuels himself depends on his training, whether he’s diving or weightlifting.

No matter the workout, though, he follows what he calls the 20-20-20 rule: consuming 20 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein within 20 minutes of finishing a session.

“It’s the best way of being able to restore you and get you ready to recover for the next training session,” Daley said.

Nutrition experts recommend eating protein and carbohydrates after a workout. Carbs help replenish glycogen stores, while protein helps repair and rebuild muscle fibers. How much a person needs varies, though.

A large body of research has found it’s unnecessary to eat protein within the hour following a workout to achieve muscle gains. Dietitians previously told BI that overall protein intake is more important and spreading it out over the course of the day, including after a workout, is effective for muscle growth and recovery.

He prioritizes prepping meals and snacks

Daley said that to hit his 20-20-20 target, he eats convenient snacks, like protein bars or shakes, and whole foods, such as Greek yogurt and an apple. Sometimes he grabs boiled eggs or a tuna sandwich.

Daley said he’s a fan of simple recipes that don’t take too long to prepare and that his husband — the screenwriter, producer, and director Dustin Lance Black — and their two children will also enjoy.

“I do like to prep salads for the week every Monday,” Daley said. “So I go to the store, and I have mason jars that I fill up with a salad for each day when I’m training, just to make it super easy to stick to that routine and stay consistent.”

He likes to cook enough for the family to have leftovers to eat the next day, and he meal preps to support his training and schedule.

“If you’re able to just spend a couple of hours preparing what you might need for the rest of the week so you don’t have to do it every day, it’s those little things that, in the long run, will make it easier to stick to what you need to do,” Daley said.

Daley juggles training and childcare

Daley said that when he decided he’d compete in Paris, “there was a big ramp up from nothing to training again.”

As a dad of two young boys, Daley, like many parents, is constantly juggling tasks. While in his younger years he trained twice a day, he now does one 3 1/2-hour session six days a week to fit in childcare and school drop-offs.

At the Paris Games, Daley is set to compete in only the synchronized diving event, whereas previously he competed in the synchronized and individual events. He said that maintaining a consistent training routine helps him stay motivated, determined, and committed.

Daley said he was in the “home stretch” of preparations and had learned to train smarter, not harder, to avoid injury now that he’s older.

“If you need to make a training session a little bit easier because you’re not feeling it today, that’s totally fine,” he said.

Perspective helps Daley deal with pressure

Looking back at his first Olympics, in 2008, Daley said he felt he didn’t really know what he was doing and so simply enjoyed the experience.

He said that in 2016 and 2021, competing felt more “intense,” and he felt anxious about making mistakes.

“I spent lots of my youth really figuring out how to be able to deal with the pressure of a competition when you only get one shot every four years,” Daley said. “I was almost torturing myself through the whole experience rather than being able to enjoy the moment that I had worked so hard for.”

The roller coaster that was Tokyo 2020 — the events were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic — helped Daley realize there’s only so much he can control.

“I think the way that I was able to then perform at my best was to realize that I’m more than just a diver,” he said. “I’m a dad, I’m a husband, I’m a son, a brother, a friend.

“I like to knit, I like to crochet, I like to try and do as much as I can in the LGBTQ+ activism space, all of those things. When you realize that you’re more than just what you do, I think it allows you to be content with whatever happens in the competition.”

Additional reporting by Mykenna Maniece.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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