"It's impossible. You can't eat that much," the 31-year-old swimmer said.
Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty

Though he’s been known to carbo-load for the big race, Michael Phelps says the tales of his high-cal diet have been greatly exaggerated.

The 28-time Olympic medalist, who has been said to consume 12,000 calories per day during the Games, got real about his eating habits during a Facebook Live with Men’s Health. “There’s so many stories that are written about that. One random paper picked it up over in London and made this fabricated lie,” he said. “12,000 is not real. It’s impossible. You can’t eat that much.”

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That doesn’t mean he can’t still eat a staggering amount, though. “During my prime, I was probably really eating eight to ten [thousand calories per day]. But that was the most, and that was when I was in high school and still growing,” he added.

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During the 2016 Rio Olympics, Phelps kept things decidedly healthy. “Last year, going into the Games, I was eating just fish and chicken, trying to stay away from red meat, trying to get as lean as I could,” he said.

When he’s not feeding himself, Phelps and his wife Nicole are busy taking care of their 1-year-old son, Boomer—who just might be an Olympian-in-training.