A couple years ago the following post was one of our hottest blogs ever. My friend Tre Hardee is a decathlete who competed for the University of Texas, and now competes professionally. Tre recently won the silver medal in the decathlon at the London Olympics, and is still hard at work looking for even more internationals medals. Take a look at the diet at one of the best athletes in the world…
Previously posted December 8, 2010: Since then Tre also won the Decathlon in the 2011 World Championships
Recently I caught up with fellow Texas alum and reigning World Champion in the Decathlon, Trey Hardee. Trey competes in a grueling sport that contests ten different events over a two-day span. Trey’s success didn’t come overnight. The evolution of the “World’s Greatest Athlete” was a constant process. In his early years, Hardee admits, he used to have a pretty poor diet. Nutrition became a big focus and now Hardee states that, “the last couple years my diet has been a big factor.”
Although Hardee is currently at the top of his game, he admits this was not always the case. “There have been times I felt out of shape, and felt like I wish I had done things differently to prepare better for a meet…thus is life.” What sets him apart is how he has managed to find ways to improve.
In the beginning of his career Hardee explained how he used to eat a lot of fast food, pre-packaged meals, sweets, and soft drinks. He needed food soon after he worked out and wasn’t really concerned with where it came from. The need to cure hunger was the guiding factor rather than proper nutrition. In most cases this habit can only take you so far.
As veteran athletes become more proficient in their sports they generally figure out better ways to train and compete. Athletics isn’t so different from business, you need to continue to evolve. Eventually most athletes’ rate of progress slows down if they keep doing the same thing. Trey said, “If I’m in a position I don’t want to be in I will sit down with my coaches and we will make a plan. My coaches and I looked at what’s next.” He said. Among the things that needed attention, “… diet needed to be looked at.”
Nutrition came into focus.
Forget the fast food, sweets, and sodas. Trey is now living a new diet that has helped transform him to be one of the greatest athletes in the world. Hardee’s athletic abilities are undoubtedly, extra-ordinary, but he’ll tell you he eats pretty basic foods. He describes himself as, “not too adventurous of an eater.”
His mainstays are pastas, chicken, pistachios, milk, bread, eggs, sweet potatoes, noodles, sandwiches, and tons of veggies. Trey’s focus after every workout, is recovering quickly in order to prepare for the next workout. Unlike before, he says he now brings food to the training facility such as fruit, trail mix, and protein bars and drinks. When he returns home after working out, he cooks simple, nutritious foods to re-fuel and aid in his recovery.
Constantly learning about his body has led Trey to realize that the night before a competition a piece of red meat, lots of starches, and vegetables are a recipe for his success. Athletes are different so their regimen and dietary needs will all vary to some degree. The only way to find out what works for you is to, “mess around with your diet and do new things,” he explained. In time, just like Hardee, you too can refine your approach!
Trey explained how it took four or five years, to figure out what works and what doesn’t in his diet. The beginning was simple said Hardee, “One small thing at a time changed in my diet. I would see what would happen if I ate a good breakfast, cut out fast food, stopped eating sweets, cut out the soft drinks and more… I realized a solid breakfast before I lift is huge for me, to lift better and carry on an extensive long workout for two or three hours.” This constant refinement is what has led Hardee to be a lean athletic machine where at peak competition times his body fat is around 4%.
In keeping with that, desserts are a rarity for Trey. “Of course you can have them sometimes… don’t be left at home while your friends go out and get a sno-cone!” Truth be told, Hardee said his normal dessert is a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats. Although Trey loves sweets he adds, “don’t keep the stuff in the house and you won’t eat it. Don’t let desserts and other temptations pull you away from your goal.”
While it’s true that you may not be training for an elite decathlon competition. Trey’s principles can apply to every athlete. Figure out why eating right is important for you. Make a plan and start out on your journey to a healthy and happy life.