Remember five months ago when no brand would touch Ryan Lochte with a 10-foot pole? Those days have come and gone, and he’s back in the game … or should we say swimming pool … with a PowerBar partnership.
And it seems he’s found the right match; the 12-time Olympic medalist does eat between 6,000 and 8,000 calories a day, so he could definitely use some of those protein bars.
He’s bound to work up an appetite spending up to five hours a day in the pool—not that we’d know. We cannot relate to Lochte’s lifestyle in the slightest.
Of course, we can relate to the Adonis-like athlete and soon-to-be father’s imperfections. After a controversial Rio run-in in 2016, he’s ready to leave last year behind (OK, we can’t really relate, but we’ve made our fair share of mistakes).
“I’m putting 2016 in the past,” the 32-year-old told Paste Health. “I’m looking forward to 2017. My clean start is everything.”
So that’s the reason he gravitated toward PowerBar—the brand has a new Clean Start Pledge initiative spurred by their launch of Clean Whey products.
Starting the year off right with a resolution, Lochte pledges to swim faster. But that’s not the only thing he’s looking forward to this year and beyond.
What are your future competition plans? Will you be participating in the 2020 Olympics?
Ryan Lochte: I’m definitely going to 2020. There’s a lot more I want to accomplish in sports. I’m not done.
What is your training regimen now?
RL: I knew after 2016, I wanted to take a break. I didn’t really get that break, though, because I went straight into Dancing With The Stars. Putting a fish on land—it just doesn’t work. It was really hard for me, so I didn’t really get a break from anything. Now that everything has calmed down, I’m taking a little break. Working on my move—I’m living in Charlotte, North Carolina right now and moving to L.A., and that’s where we’re going to start our family out there. Once I get out there, I’ll get back in the water—which should be happening in a week or so.
When you’re in training mode, how many hours a day are you spending in the pool? How many hours are you spending cross-training?
RL: On an average day, every swim session is about two to 2.5 hours. Sometimes I do two-a-days, so I’ll go in the morning and then go at night. That’s five hours of just swimming in the pool. Then I do a lot of cardio. I’ll do an hour of abs, situps, running on the treadmill. And then I do weightlifting. I do Olympic lifting and Strongman workouts. It’s about 30-40 hours of working out a week.
What does your diet entail?
RL: I’ve been eating PowerBar ever since I started swimming. My fiancé, she’s a big health person, she eats healthy all the time. I was the opposite; as a swimmer, I was burning so many calories in the pool that I could eat anything I wanted—I just had to get the right protein. Now, I’m watching what I eat. A lot of things have changed in my diet. I’m no longer eating fast food. I’m making sure I have the right amount of calories each day.
Are you the type of guy to jump on a health or fitness trend, like going gluten-free or getting suck into SoulCycle?
RL: No. I have never adopted any major food trends. Because swimmers need protein, so it would be hard to become vegan or something. I have to have meat. I’ve never tried that gluten-free [diet], or anything like that.
What’s your cheat day meal?
RL: My cheat day is Friday. Ever since I was 8 years old, every Friday I’ve eaten pizza and wings. It’s a family tradition. I’ve only missed it, like, six times in my life.
You’re often compared to Michael Phelps, but what is something you always beat him at?
RL: Any land sport! I could put any [amount of] money [on it], I could beat him in basketball.
When you retire from swimming, do you want to stay in the fitness world?
RL: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m doing some movie gigs, acting and stuff like that. Whatever opportunity is presented to me, I’ll be more than happy [to consider]. The biggest thing now is my family—having a family of my own now.
What’s your advice for novice swimmers who use swimming as an exercise regimen?
RL: Have fun—that’s what life is all about. Life is too short. You’ve got to embrace every moment. Enjoy it. To me, swimming is so much fun. When I set foot in any kind of water, I’m just at home.
Hilary Sheinbaum is a travel, health, food and lifestyle writer.