Eat Like an Olympian: Marlen Esparza
Ever wonder what it must be like to walk in the shoes of a professional athlete? We chatted with 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza about boxing and what it takes to eat like a champion.
Is nutrition an important part of your training?
Nutrition is an extremely important part of any athlete’s training. What you eat fuels your body for your sport, and if you want to be the very best and at the top of your game, you have to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible.
What are some of your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks?
Before workouts, my “go-to” is a smoothie with Nutty for ‘Nana yogurt from Chobani [Esparza’s sponsor], plus sliced bananas, organic honey, powdered peanut butter, chia seeds, almond milk and steel-cut oats all blended together.
One of my favorite post-workout snacks to cut down on cravings would be black cherry Greek yogurt topped with fresh raspberries, coconut flakes, dark chocolate chips (not too many) and sliced almonds.
How do you manage to eat healthy when on the road?
Eating healthy while traveling is harder to do, but it is definitely still possible. Be conscious of what restaurants might be nearby. Grilled chicken is always an easy go-to for me, and you can find it almost anywhere!
How has your previous Olympic appearance prepared you for training and competing at the elite level?
I think after going to the last Olympic Games and seeing all the other world-class athletes training just as hard as I was and watching what they put in their body gave me more confidence in myself and that I was on the right path and doing the right things to better myself. Confidence in yourself is key at the elite level, or any level, really!
Any sports nutrition tips for aspiring athletes?
My best tip would be: Let yourself have fun and splurge every now and then. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself after a great competition or match!
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.