This is part of Athlete Daily’s series highlighting high-level athletes across the world of strength training and functional fitness, and how they approach diet and nutrition.
Learn what some of the best athletes in the world eat, how they fuel themselves and lessons learned along the way. In this installment, we sat down with weightlifter Morghan King, who competed on the U.S. Olympic team at the 2016 Rio Games. King, a relative newcomer to the sport, has progressed rapidly and totaled 180 kg. (100kg/220 lb. clean and jerk and 80kg/176 lb. snatch) to win the 48 kg class at the U.S. Olympic team trials and secure her spot.
Athlete Daily: For the few people who may not know you, tell us a little about yourself. How did you start weightlifting? How did you get to where you are now, an elite level weightlifter?
“I was a soccer player in college, did triathlons after and then a friend of a friend told me I should try CrossFit. I realized that I wanted to be very competitive again and, when I decided to get stronger for CrossFit, I found weightlifting and fell in love. The last four years I have changed my whole life to specifically revolve around weightlifting. Everything I do is based on recovering and being prepared for training or a competition.”
Athlete Daily: What’s your general approach to nutrition? Macros, Paleo, Zone, etc.
Athlete Daily: Has your approach to nutrition changed at all or did you always eat the same way you do now?
King: Being in a weight class sport and, especially in the smallest weight class, you have to watch what you eat. I never had to watch what I ate before even though I ate pretty healthy, with exceptions of course of pizza and burgers. Nick really helped me dial in my nutrition to keep my weight from fluctuating. It’s important to keep a constant training weight. After competitions I usually give myself a couple weeks to kind of do my own thing and not be so strict. A month before competitions I definitely get very regimented on what I eat.
Athlete Daily: What does a typical week look like for you?
King: “My whole life revolves around weightlifting. I have two training sessions usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday and one Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday with Sundays off [completely]. It depends on the cycle of how long my training sessions are, but usually I have a heavy training session each day that lasts three hours. If I’m not in the gym I’m recovering whether it’s [getting] a massage, working with a physical therapist or [taking an] ice bath.”
Athlete Daily: At what point in your athletic career did you kind of realize the importance of nutrition and using food to fuel your performance?
King: “I think in college after I was eating all the crap that was in the cafeteria, I learned eventually how to eat properly. My mom always cooked and made my lunches growing up so I was brought up well with nutrition. Once you get on your own you don’t realize the importance of nutrition until you start feeling like crap all the time. That was a big turning point in my life and by 22 I started to become more aware of what I was eating.”
Athlete Daily: What’s your favorite meal lately? Are there any foods you avoid completely?
King: “I love MOD pizza where you can build your own pizza. I basically make a huge salad on pizza crust. I also love Mediterranean food, I would probably eat that every meal if I could. I try and not eat a ton of gluten or dairy. I just feel better without it.”
What I Eat in a Day: Morghan King
Wake up— 7:00 a.m.
Training Session #1 (2 hours)— 9:00-11:00 a.m.
A protein shake and a high GI [glycemic index] carb drink, something like Powerade or fruit juice. (High GI carbs meaning they are high on the glycemic index—meaning they are quickly absorbed and have a high insulin response, making them ideal for during and after workouts.)
Lunch— (12:00 p.m.) Usually looks something like a stir fry with some sort of lean meat, rice and veggies
Dinner— (7:30 p.m.) Less heavy carbs, something like a salad with lots of veggies and fruits and a lean meat.
Athlete Daily Nutrition Series
Week 1 — CrossFit Games athlete Emily Bridgers
Week 2 — CrossFit athlete Christian Lucero
Week 3 — CrossFit Games Masters athlete Cheryl Brost
Week 4 — U.S. Olympic Team Weightlifter Morgan King
Week 5 — Human Improvement Project’s Gabe Subry
Week 6 — Weightlifter, GRID CrossFit athlete Marco Coppola
Week 7 — CrossFit Games athlete Lindy Barber
Week 8 — GRID and CrossFit athlete Jamie Hagiya
Week 9 — GRID athlete Andrew Rape
Week 10 — National Champion Weightlifter Anthony Pomponio
Week 11 —CrossFit athlete Andrea Ager
Week 12 —Powerlifter Ewa Januszkiewicz
Week 13 — Weightlifter and Powerlifter Kris Pope
Week 14 — Weightlifter Travis Cooper
Week 15 — Weightlifter Cortney Batchelor