How do you like to start your day? Many of us simply grab a coffee and a muffin on the way to work or plonk ourselves down in front of our computers with some oatmeal. While breakfast is supposed to be the most important meal of the day, it’s rarely treated that way. Except for weekend brunch. On the weekends, you can find us facedown in a pile of pancakes. But what about female athletes? Those enigmatic beings who hide away for most of the year before they take to the world stage to perform superhuman feats? What do they eat for breakfast? In 2008, Michael Phelps made, ahem, waves when the New York Post reported that his calorific breakfast included three fried-egg sandwiches with cheese, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayo; a five-egg omelette; a bowl of grits; three slices of French toast; and three chocolate-chip pancakes. So do all Olympians approach mealtimes with such Homer Simpson-esque rigor? After a bit of investigating, we discovered that they don’t. Phelps was very much the 12,000-calories-a-day exception. In fact, most female athletes reported eating fairly standard breakfast foods. To visualize them, we hired the very talented Felicity McCabe to re-create the dishes and photograph them. First up, with what does British heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill fuel up? A simple yogurt mixed with muesli and pumpkin seeds, a banana, toast and jam, and an orange juice for the woman who was the most googled female athlete of 2012.
Jade Jones, a British tae kwon do hopeful, opts for six different fruits.
Allison Stokke, a U.S. pole vaulter, eats toast with avocado, olive oil, sea salt, and red pepper; scrambled eggs; and drinks coffee to hit those heights.
U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky likes a bacon-cheese-and-tomato omelette with hash browns and a bagel. Yum.
British 400m sprinter Christine Ohuruogu has yogurt, fruit, and nuts to get track-ready.
Chicken, sweet potatoes, peppers, baby kale, spinach, eggs, and salsa may sound like a dream lunch, but 30-year-old U.S. weightlifter Morghan King has it first thing, every morning.
Marathon open-water swimmer and British Olympic silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne enjoys two slices of unbuttered toast with raspberry jam before training.
British boxing champion Nicola Adams told her coach and nutritionist that her morning Frosties were "non-negotiable," according to The Guardian.
British heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson prefers toast with scrambled eggs, as well as hot water with honey and lemon, to fuel her for the day.
With the Olympic Village kitchen making up to 60,000 meals a day during the Games, let's hope they can all enjoy their breakfasts of choice.