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Hunter Kemper’s Olympic Diet

U.S. Olympic team member Hunter Kemper shares his Olympic diet with Esquire.com.

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U.S. Olympic team member Hunter Kemper shares his Olympic diet with Esquire.com.

This is going to be Hunter Kemper’s year. The 36-year-old American triathlete has spent his professional athletic career inching steadily closer to the Olympic medal stand: seventeenth in Sydney, ninth in Athens, seventh in Beijing. When Kemper dives into the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park next Tuesday for the first leg of the men’s triathlon, he’s out for hardware.

As you probably already figured, triathlon is an insanely demanding sport, requiring the athlete to condition his body for dominance in the three distinct disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running all at once. In Kemper’s case, this means keeping his body well-fueled for 5,000 meters of swimming, 10 miles of running, and 35-40 miles of cycling in a single training day.

Kemper says that, unlike swimmers, for whom a little extra layer of body fat actually aids performance by providing buoyancy, triathletes rely on a strict strength-to-weight ratio. This means eating to maintain a strong, lean frame. “I’m big on high-protein things, especially within 30 minutes after a workout, trying to help those muscles recover,” he says. In addition to lots of lean protein, Kemper’s diet is heavy on fruits and vegetables. He relies on natural foods whenever possible, though chowing down on sports bars is inevitable when you’re trying to get calories in on the go. Kemper likes to eat several small meals throughout the day, rather than a few big meals, in order to keep his energy levels constant.

Read more: Esquire.com