Phelps talks post-Olympic ‘fat’ period

Joey Gulino

You know all those rumors about Michael Phelps and his 12,000-calorie-a-day eating habits? They're untrue. "People make a big deal out of what I eat, but it's not that crazy," Phelps told Details magazine.

At least not these days.

In the same interview, Phelps admitted that his weight ballooned after the Beijing Games in 2008:

I wasn't motivated. I did nothing, literally nothing, for a long time. I gained 25 pounds. A friend of mine and I were playing football on the beach in Miami, and somebody got a picture of us and put it all over the place. And he's like, 'Bro, you gotta start working out, man. You are fat.'

While it may be hard to picture an out-of-shape Phelps, it's much easier to understand where he's coming from. He's spent most of his adult life undergoing a rigorous training regimen designed to maximize his potential. Because of that, he's the winningest Olympic champion of all time, with 14 gold medals total and a record-breaking eight in Beijing.

Sue him if he wanted a few extra bites to eat.

[ Related: Phelps is a bigger threat with less events in London ]

Phelps isn't the first Olympian to have struggled with weight gain, either. Popular American gymnast Shawn Johnson dealt with body-image issues after her four-medal performance in Beijing, admitting that she gained 25 pounds and was hurt by the ensuing publicity about it.

She's since dropped the weight, thanks in part to a return to competition. The same went for Phelps, who got back in shape and is now aiming for seven more gold medals in London.

As he told Details:

I realized that I probably hadn't reached my full potential. There was still more in the tank. As I come to closure on my career, am I going to look back in 20 years and say, 'What if?' That's something I don't want.

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