Here's What an Olympic Athlete's Training Schedule Looks Like (Hint: It's Not Easy)

Training for the Olympics is no joke, and few people have their formula down quite like swimmer Natalie Coughlin. The 12-time Olympic medalist knows a thing or two about consistency, as she's been competing (and winning) for about two decades. This year, she's gearing up for the Summer 2016 Olympics in hopes of qualifying for Team USA yet again via the trials, so she's got quite a busy training schedule.

For the past three years, her training schedule has been EXACTLY the same, every day. Natalie is in the water about eight times a week, and each of those swim sessions runs anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours. Add in her gym time four times a week — in which she's weightlifting and cross training — for about the same duration, and you've got nearly 30 hours of intense workouts, every single week. "It's pretty hectic," Natalie told us. "I work out Monday through Saturday, and I have Sundays off."

We're seriously impressed but also wondering: how does that look in terms of day-to-day life? Each day is scheduled out. Here's what it looks like:

  • 7 a.m.: Wake-up call. "I have a big bowl of oatmeal waiting for me in the fridge, so I can just heat it up and eat it." She really is efficient in all areas of life. She uses a mix of steel-cut oats, whole oats, and flaxseed, topped with fruit. Along with oatmeal, Natalie also has coffee.
  • 8 a.m.: Swim. Natalie heads to the pool for her first hourlong swim session.
  • 9 a.m.: Recovery smoothie time. Once she's out of the pool, Natalie makes a blend of almond milk, almond butter, frozen dark cherries, and bananas. She has one every day!
  • 10 a.m.: Breakfast, round two. Natalie makes a brown rice bowl with a crispy egg and hot sauce.
  • 10:30 a.m.: Naptime. Even Olympians take naps!
  • 11:30 a.m.: Lunch. She keeps this meal small; she said that she sticks to Luvo frozen meals because they're "super healthy." She loves the bibimbap bowl and its burritos. She'll also make a green smoothie before heading back to the gym and pool.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Gym and pool (again). "I lift for an hour and a half, and go swim for another hour and a half or so." That's THREE hours. Let that motivate you next time you're counting down your session on the Stairmaster.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Recovery smoothie two. Double the smoothie, double the recovery.
  • 5:30 p.m.: Dinner time. Natalie makes her dinner, and she even grows her own vegetables. She has chickens in the backyard for fresh eggs and also composts. Her dinner is usually a lean protein with a grain of some sort and a big salad. The meal's completed with "a glass of wine, because I love my wine." Atta girl. She earned it!

Ready to see all this hard work pay off? We're cheering on Natalie and hoping we'll see her in the Olympic games, starting Aug. 5.