Michael Phelps Diet & Workout Routine (Swimming + Weights)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 6, 2024
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There is no doubt that Michael Phelps is not just the best swimmer in history but also possibly one of the best athletes of our time.

Over the years, many journals have been written explaining his daily workout routine, pool training, and diet. This has left many individuals curious about how to imitate such a lifestyle.

So, we spent days gathering all the information from interviews where he revealed his recipe for success that led to his 23 Olympic gold medals in swimming. We also studied his social media to learn about his training regimen and routines.

Here's what we found out.

Physical Exercise Routine

From a very early age, the Michael Phelps training routine was geared towards breaking the competition.


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A post shared by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00)

I remember reading one interview where Michael Phelps revealed that there was a 5-year period in his teens where he didn't miss a single day of training. That included birthdays, Thanksgiving, and even Christmas Day.

Here's what a normal Michael Phelps workout plan looks like:

  • 7-9 am: Swimming
  • 9-10 am: Weight training in the gym
  • 4-6 pm: More swimming

And yes, I said a normal day. This is not when he's preparing for major competitive events, where he might add another 2 hours a day of physical training and other workouts.

During those major preparations, he would also make sure that he didn't miss a single day in the water, which means that his single rest day per week doesn't mean he sits on the couch.

His coach, Bob Bowman, once said that they had calculated that this workout routine would give them at least 40 extra days of fitness and technical stroke training each year.

It certainly would explain why he was so dominant at the Olympics.
"If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren't willing to do."

-Michael Phelps, Olympic Swimmer

An Olympic Diet

When you look at the above Michael Phelps workout and the timing plan, you might think that there's plenty of scope for chilling out.

In reality, though, this time is needed for the Michael Phelps diet.

At one stage, it was rumored to be a 12,000-calorie diet, but with some clarifications, it's probably more like an average of 9,000 [1].

Still, that's a ton of food to chew through every day.

Here's what's typically on the menu for three meals a day.

michael phelps workout


  • Three fried egg sandwich with greens
  • Six egg omelet
  • One bowl of porridge
  • Three french toasts
  • Three pancakes


  • One pound of pasta
  • Two large ham and cheese sandwiches
  • Energy drinks and supplements to boost his calorie intake


  • One pound of pasta
  • One pizza or two burgers
  • More energy drinks and supplements

The one thing that stands out is that he doesn't seem to believe in avoiding things typically “unhealthy” like burgers and pizzas.

You also might want to check out Dr. Peter Attia's Diet and Supplement stack 

Mental Training

image of brain activity

Something else that Michael Phelps takes seriously is his mental training, which he claims helps him both in and out of the water. Mental training is a huge part of Michael’s workout.

According to his coach, it's his mental frame of mind that sets him apart.

From a young age, he would spend hours every night visualizing a swim race. He would do this from his own perspective, as well as imagining himself watching from the stands.

Through repeated visualizations, he would also prepare for mishaps like his suit ripping or the goggles coming loose.

And it seems like this visualization helped him win one of his gold medals in London 2012, where he had to swim blind for most of the race [2].

The Role of Goal Setting

Goal setting played a crucial role in Phelps' psychological toolkit. He set both short-term and long-term goals, which provided him with clear targets and a sense of purpose.

These goals were not just about winning races; they included improving specific aspects of his technique and maintaining a consistent training regimen.

Like Phelps, I found that setting goals was vital to my fitness journey. It's something that gave me clear targets to aim for and a sense of purpose. Achieving these goals, no matter how small, provided a significant boost to my confidence and motivation.

Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, helped him set these goals and ensured that they were challenging yet achievable, keeping Phelps motivated and engaged throughout his career.

Managing Stress and Expectations

The weight of expectations could have easily overwhelmed Phelps, but he developed effective strategies for managing stress.

One key approach was compartmentalizing his life, separating swimming from his personal life. This separation allowed him to focus intensely on training without letting external pressures invade his mental space.

Additionally, Phelps used relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and listening to music before races to calm his nerves and maintain a state of focused relaxation.

Rest And Recovery

every sets resting

Another thing that Michael Phelps has talked a lot about in recent years is the importance of rest and recovery.

Phelps' emphasis on rest and recovery resonates with me deeply. In my experience, balancing intense training with adequate rest and the right supplements is key to maintaining peak performance. It's not just about pushing your limits in training but also knowing when to step back and recharge.

This includes a serving or two of whey protein and creatine supplements every training day, which, according to a study in the National Library of Medicine, can enhance muscle growth and help with intense, powerful workouts.

After long days of fitness training and eating, he spends quality time with his family to try and switch off from his exercise drills altogether.

His spare time also involves playing golf and going fishing, where his number one rule is disconnection from the world by leaving his phone at home.

Bodybuilding Training Plans You Might Like:


  1. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/michael-phelps-everything-is-coming-back-to-me/
  2. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/swimming/9401518/London-2012-Olympics-Michael-Phelps-sets-minds-eye-on-triumphant-role-in-final-part-of-Lord-of-the-Rings-trilogy.htm
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
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Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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