‘I don’t even like food anymore’ — Why does the shot-put gold medallist Ryan Crouser hate food?

Every now and then, Ryan Crouser, who won the shot put gold at the World Athletic Championships on Sunday, sighs at the food in front of him. Each one of his meals is half of what a normal person eats in an entire day. Crouser, who at 5’11 weighs roughly 300 pounds (or 136 kilos), eats five such meals a day. If he ever feels hungry during the day, it means he isn’t doing his job well.

Crouser has to eat 4000 to 5000 calories, just to maintain his weight. When he is trying to gain weight, he takes in 5,500 to 6000 calories a day.

“I wake up and eat breakfast at the same time every day. I have a lighter first lunch at noon. Then a second lunch. Then I come back after the weight room and eat dinner at 5. Then we call it dinner number two at 7:30,” he once told the GQ magazine. “I stare at my food for a little bit. I almost have to find some motivation to put that meal away and kind of push through it. It’s not always the most enjoyable thing.”

Double Olympic champion and world record holder Crouser finally bagged World Championships gold on Sunday with a best throw of 22.94 metres. His friend, the defending champion Joe Kovacs had briefly led with a fifth-round effort of 22.89 but had to settle for silver.

Dozen eggs in the morning – scrambled – and a pound of meat at dinner. Often, he would eat together with his friend, who won the silver. Friends that eat together, win together. Occasionally, crouser’s girlfriend gets fed up with him pushing his friend around the table. So he then takes “shortcuts, like eating a large pizza with three meat toppings from Domino’s. With 16 ounces of milk (nearly half a litre). It’s an easy way to get calories,” he once told New York Times.

“I don’t even like food anymore,” Crouser said. “Each one of my meals is half of what a normal person eats in a day. And I do that five times. If I ever feel hungry during the day that means I’m not doing my job. So I eat all the time. Sometimes before another meal I’ll stare at it for a while, like, ‘This again.’”

All that weight and food means travelling in planes isn’t easy. His shoulders are wide as a seat and a half. “My shoulder will hang out the aisle and bang every time the beverage cart comes by,” Crouser told NYT. “So I find a seat by a distance runner.” The silver medalist Kovacs has once spoken about how he buys huge pants to fit in his enormous thighs and uses a belt to tie it all together. He has blown out the quads of multiple pants.

Pastas are Crouser’s favourite. “I like pastas a lot, especially a nice whole-grain pasta. It gives a nice combination of complex carbs and it’s pretty straightforward. I eat a fair amount of bread, as well. Probably more than I should. I’m a big fan of some well-made bread. I definitely love that,” he told GQ.

Eating food often seems like training itself, he has said. He has to eat on his time schedule, gulp in the necessary calories, even if he has to force himself. Once a week, Crouser has a cheat meal.

“Usually on Thursdays we have a group of guys and our cheat meal is we go to Chick-fil-A. I get two classic chicken sandwiches with a large fry and then a large lemonade. It’s definitely something I look forward to. I love Chick-fil-A lemonade. It’s not the best for me, but it’s good for the soul.”

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