So, what does it actually take to qualify for the Olympics? US Olympic swimmer Cammile Adams is headed to the 2016 trials now and has a lot to say about the matter. From her perspective, it takes hours upon hours of well-planned training, a protein-heavy diet, tons of sleep, some country music, a lot of coffee, and a little chocolate.
We chatted with the 24-year-old athlete, as she's just begun tapering her superintense training schedule in preparation for the Rio trials. Here's what her program has looked like — training, nutrition, and stress management.
Cammile has had a crazy schedule for her training — she referred to herself as an "OCD planner" and has her week planned out down to the hour. She's swimming every day, and three of those days, she doubles up. Three times each week she's also lifting at the gym, and when she's not lifting, she's getting a little cardio in.
Here's a look at a day in the life of Cammile.
- 7 a.m.: Rise and shine! Cammile wakes up early, but "not as early as the college athletes." This is a good thing, because as you'll learn, she loves sleep.
- 7:30 a.m.: Breakfast. Cammile eats a bowl of cereal and Greek yogurt with Blue Diamond almonds for a protein-packed punch. She also doesn't leave the house without a little caffeine. "I don't get far without a cup of coffee," she told us.
- 9:30 a.m.: Stretch it out. Cammile said that she and her teammates have a 30-minute "activate" session in which they "get sweaty" before they jump in the pool.
- 10 a.m.: Swimming time! She's in the pool practicing for two or two and a half hours.
- 12 p.m.: Breakfast, round two. After her first workout, she heads home for some more food and rest. This second breakfast is typically eggs, as she knows the golden rule of workout recovery: getting enough protein!
- 12:30 p.m.: Naptime. Cammile always takes a two-hour nap, which significantly aids in her recovery between her intense workouts.
- 2:30 p.m.: Lunch! Eating again to keep her body fueled, she makes a small meal to keep the energy up for her next workout. "Typically a sandwich or a piece of fruit," she said. "I'm big on fruits and vegetables."
- 3 p.m.: Another workout. For an hour and a half, Cammile hits the gym for some weightlifting and strength training. On days when she's not lifting, she loves riding a stationary bike for some cycling cardio.
- 4:30 p.m.: Back in the pool. For yet another two hours, she's back in the water, training away.
- 6:30 p.m.: Post-workout snack. "I try to never be hungry," she told us. "I'll have a Powerbar or a small bag of almonds." This helps hold her over (and promote recovery) while she cooks her last meal of the day.
- 6:45 p.m.: Cooking and eating dinner. Not only does this woman have a packed day of working her butt off in the pool and gym, but she takes time to make her own healthy meals at home. "I make lean proteins like chicken and fish, lots of vegetables of some sort, and I have a salad almost every night; I love putting fruit in my salad." She's good on her time management, too, and typically is done with cooking and eating by 7:30. "I've kind of nailed down how to cook quickly, which is great, because I'm usually so exhausted."
- 7:30 p.m.: Netflix and recover. Seriously though. Cammile hits the hay but unwinds by "watching Netflix or reading." She takes time to recover using a NormaTec device or by taking an Epsom salts bath.
- 10 p.m.: Zzz's. She always makes sure to get nine hours of sleep, which means a relatively early bedtime. The sleep, she said, is an essential part of making sure she has the energy and stamina to train as long as she does. We're guessing this also gives her ample time to dream of Olympic gold.
Total workout time: Six hours per day.
Eating the right foods is crucial to ensuring Cammile can train efficiently (and often) and also to keeping lean and light in the pool. Here are her key tips.
- Protein, protein, protein. As noted in her schedule, Cammile is consistent with her protein intake throughout the day and eats eggs, almonds, Greek yogurt, and lean animal proteins like fish and chicken.
- Small, frequent meals. Two breakfasts, one lunch, a post-workout snack, and dinner make up the five meals that she eats throughout the day to keep her body fueled on good nutrients. As mentioned, she makes sure to "never be hungry."
- Know what goes in your body. Despite her packed schedule, the Olympian cooks and prepares her own food and relies heavily on natural, whole ingredients.
- Chocolate milk. Cammile also emphasized that she drinks a lot of chocolate milk — this isn't the first time we've heard athletes and dietitians saying it's the ultimate recovery snack.
Recovery and Stress Management
As you might expect, gearing up for the Olympic trials comes with an incredible amount of pressure, both internal and external. We talked to Cammile about what she does to balance everything and stay sane. The key? Proper recovery, me time, and a bit of healthy indulgences.
- Sleep. Lack of sleep leads to increased stress. Cammile takes time for her naps and her nine hours of sleep at night not only to ensure proper recovery, but also to take care of her mind.
- Relaxation. In addition to being imperative recovery tools, the Epsom salts baths and massages Cammile gets allow her to unwind and decompress. She also takes plenty of time to watch her favorite shows on Netflix and read before bedtime. These elements of personal care keep the stress mitigated.
- Personal time. Even working out can be a way to let go of pressure and stress. Cammile's favorite bit of me time is solo cycling on a stationary bike in the gym. "I get there early, and usually there's no one there, so I can have some time to myself," she told us.
- Pump up the jams. Music is an excellent way to relieve stress — fellow US Olympian Simone Biles also told us that music was a key de-stresser for her. Cammile has a solid country music playlist that she listens to on and off the bike. Some of her favorite songs right now: "XO" by Kelsea Ballerini, "Heartbeat" by Chris Young, "Fight Like a Girl" by Kalie Shorr, and "Noise" by Kenny Chesney.
- Chocolate. Cammile's favorite indulgence happens to be a pretty healthy one. "I'm a big chocolate person, so there's always a good amount of chocolate around the house," she confessed. In line with the benefits of chocolate milk, chocolate on its own has magnesium, which is known to soothe muscle cramps. Beyond its medicinal benefits, it's just a downright comfort food and yet another way for Cammile to balance her insanely intense workouts with a little bit of a reward.
It's so far from easy, but she is making this whole Olympic life look effortless. Stay tuned and watch Cammile as the swimming trials begin on June 26. We're rooting for you, Cammile!