Who is the fastest man in the world? I’m willing to bet, that you know the answer to this:
A sporting legend and a natural-born athlete, Usain St. Leo Bolt has done more than enough to earn the title “the world’s fastest man”. This Jamaican sprinter dominated three Olympic games, bagging gold medals in the 100 meter and 200-meter races, leaving world records in his wake.
While he makes it look effortless, there are a lot of things that go into being the fastest in the world. If you want to find out more about nutrition and exercise on how to be a Bolt, read on!
Getting To Know Usain Bolt
Bolt was born from the humblest of homes: he was the son of two sellers from Trelawny, Jamaica. He was born on August 21, 1986, and started out as a cricket player.
The boy was very famous among coaches because of his undeniable speed. He then shifted his focus on sprinting with a little direction from his coaches.
He caught the attention of Jamaica’s National Stadium, which housed 36,000 people that time, in his first-ever major sprint. Bolt was 15 years old, and he conquered the 200-meter dash, bagging the gold medal. He made history by being the youngest ever male junior world championship winner in any event.
By 16, you best believe he set another world record by running 200-meter at 20.16 seconds, and a year after, he beat his own record, running it at 19.13 seconds. Due to a hamstring injury, he wasn’t able to advance in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and also placed last in the 2005 track-and-field championship.
One event that really wow-ed me was his record-breaking ordeal at the 2008 Olympic Games. He won three events namely: 100 meters, 200 meters, and 4 x 100-meter relay. And the best part is, he didn’t just win it, he set records for each event. Talk about a comeback.
While he doesn’t have a spotless record, Bolt was a crowd favorite. By 2016, he had won gold in three consecutive Olympics in 3 of his favorite events. The 2017 world championships, winning bronze in the event, and finishing 8th in the relay.
What Does It Take To Be Like Lightning Bolt?
First things first, Bolt might make it look effortless, but behind that legendary speed is a strict workout and diet plan. So what does Bolt eat? What does his workout look like?
Nutrition from the World’s Fastest Man
Nutrition from the World’s Fastest Man
Bolt’s diet contains pretty much everything you like: pizza, pasta, breakfast sandwiches. This may come as a shocker to most people, but let me explain why it looks like this.
Basically, his workout routine is so demanding that he can afford to eat as much as he wants. There’s a story going round during the Beijing Olympics that Usain apparently consumed almost 1000 chicken nuggets to fuel himself up for the race. That’s a LOT.
But as I said, if you want to be able to eat that much, and basically eat whatever you like, you have to train that much too.
However, despite looking as if he just eats what he wants all the time, that isn’t the case. The bulk of his diet consists of vegetables, lean meats. He’s not very fond of broccoli but still eats it.
There are many speculations about how many calories he consumes on a daily basis. Some say around 3000, others, say as high as 5000. Whichever the case, the thing you have to keep in mind is that Bolt usually loads up on additional calories at night, and maintains just what he needs throughout the day.
Here’s a breakdown of his diet:
People have reported that Usain consumes 5 meals a day, these have been curated and approved by his coach and prepared by his personal chef. Now, while we don’t have that luxury, the food he usually eats is something that’s easily accessible to most of us:
- Egg Sandwich – Usain is a simple guy and sticks to his habits. One of those is having an egg sandwich every day for breakfast.
- Yams – He eats yams every single meal.
- Chicken – Usually, Bolt would have this every dinner for a good source of lean meat and a little bit of fat.
- Jamaican Dumplings – Jamaica has its own version of dumplings filled with different kinds of fish meats and vegetables. I’d like to say that he eats this boiled, but I can totally imagine him sneaking a few fried pieces.
- Fruit – He prefers mangoes, pineapples, and apples for his daily dose of vitamins and minerals.
- Pasta – Some have reported that Bolt prefers to eat wholemeal pasta. In any case, he can afford his pasta calories because he eats a light lunch. Certainly good news especially for pasta lovers out there.
- Corned Beef – Most of us wouldn’t think of corned beef in line with nutrition, but surprisingly, this dish is a Bolt favorite. The salty, processed, canned viand would always be one of his main dishes for lunch. Weird, huh?
- Fish – In order to load up on omega fatty acids, Bolt also consumes a lot of fish. Now, this makes more sense for nutrition, however, he only eats this on occasion.
- Broccoli – We now know that Bolt is human, too. Broccoli being his least favorite (to put it more gently), was only put on his diet through the push of his coach. Reports say that if can stay away from it, he would.
- Egg Sandwich
- Corned Beef
- Jamaican Dumplings
Bolt’s Workout Routine
In order to be lightning-fast, you can’t expect to achieve that with just the proper diet. You need the proper training to back it up, too. Bolt’s training routine is as calculated and methodical as it can get.
On a daily basis, he works out for about 90 minutes on average. He mainly focuses on strengthening his muscles, conditioning, core, and leaning exercises. All of which contributes to how he performs on the track.
Of course, we all want to know how he is so wickedly fast. Below is his routine for speed training on tracks:
- Starting Blocks: 10X2 point start for 10-20m, 6X3 point start for 10-20m, 4X2 block starts for 10-30m
- Acceleration: 10X20m with weight vest, 5X15 m 2-point start using weight sleds
- Top End Speed: 5X30m acceleration, 75% speed for 15-20m, sprint for 10-15m
- Deceleration: 2X100 m (2-3 reps), 95% of 200m pace
- Leg Raises
- Side Sweeps
- Reverse Crunches
- Side Plank Clams
He also incorporates what is now known as the Electric Bolt Workout. These are a number of exercises that can be likened to HIIT: maximum power, in a short amount of time:
You need a 60cm high box for this one. Start on a squatting position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Jump up the box maintaining the squat, then jump back down (still in the squat).
This exercise helped keep Bolt’s legs ultra-strong and lean. What you do is jump forward and land on your right foot. Do this alternatively with your left foot.
An exercise staple with sprinters, bunny hops are executed by standing with your feet at shoulder-width. Swing your arms for full balance and momentum then jump and land on a squat.
Hanging Leg Raises
Now this one targets flexibility in order to boost your stride as you run. With an overhand grip, hang from your pull-up bar. Bend your knees and raise them until your thighs are close to your chest. Repeat.
Cable Knee Drives
Secure your angle to the low cable pulley by using the cuff attachment, and then stand at a distance to where the cable is taut. Next, thrust your knee upward toward your chest before carefully returning to the starting position.
But, Just How Fast Is The World's Fastest Man?
But, just how fast is the world’s fastest man?
Now that you know HOW to be fast with training and nutrition, let’s find out: how fast does Bolt go?
According to Britannica, speed is defined as the rate at which an object moves against time.
In this sense, Bolt’s speed in his 100-meter record run was actually 10.44 meters per second. If you’ll look at this from the perspective of automobiles and speeding, Bolt was running faster than the average traffic speed in the US. Now, that’s super fast.
Take into account that he was coming from a halted position and he needed to accelerate, which can also mean that the 10.44/second record isn’t his fastest YET.
There was also a group of Belgian scientists who became very curious at the speed of Bolt at different parts of the sprint. In a 100 meter run that he was competing, they found out that his highest speed was at 43.99 kilometers per hour.
What’s surprising as well is that these scientists actually said that with Bolt’s height and weight, he shouldn’t be able to be that fast. From their perspective, competitors at that caliber would have a shorter build. They were, even so, bold to say that with Bolt’s build he should be one of the last in the competition, and yet, he is the fastest in the world.
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.