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In fitness context one often hears the statement: "Abs are built in the kitchen". Which means that you have to follow a very clean diet (together with a proper workout) to get visible ripped abs. For example if you have a look on the female fitness model interviews on simplyshredded.com you see that all of them follow a very restrictive diet. And even most of them have a very low carb diet and high protein diet.

Now I am interested in some background info's about the case of olympic athlets. Regardless of whether you consider track and field athlets like Jessica Ennis, gymnasts, divers, soccer players etc. there are many of them with really ripped abs. Sometimes it is said that you can eat everything what you want as a olympic athlet because you are training so much that you burn everything away. Is this statement true? If this is the case, is the training for example of an olympic 100m sprinter such more intense and burns such much more calories than that of a professional fitness figure model (which seems to train every day some hours).

How differs (especially concerning the restrictiveness of the diet) a typical diet of an olympic athlet with ripped abs from that of a professional fitness figure model and why?

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@ Sarah Kate has given you a great answer. Here is a link to some of the professional/Olympic athletes' diets fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/11922/… –  DrTrungNguyen Mar 30 '13 at 16:02
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@ Sarah Read this article jissn.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-9-53.pdf –  DrTrungNguyen Mar 30 '13 at 16:11
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@ Sarah And check out this website for more information about professional figure skating diet plans usfsa.org/Athletes.asp?id=346 –  DrTrungNguyen Mar 30 '13 at 16:12
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1 Answer

The main difference is the amount of calories that the athletes expend.

You see the olympic athletes' abs despite their relatively undisciplined diets because even at 12,000 calories per day, they are not overeating. Their physical activity requires all that fuel. Thus, their body fat percentage stays low.

Their abs are also more prominent because for most sports, core strength is crucial, but this alone wouldn't make them more visible. It's really the low body fat percentage that does it.

The goals of an sprinter also differ from those of a professional fitness model. The professional fitness model trains for appearance, while the sprinter trains for strength and power. This actually gives the professional fitness model an advantage regarding visibility of abs. Their only focus is to look good, so they can choose a diet that drives their fat loss, and tailor their workload to that.

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+ 1 for a good explanation regarding different goals with different athletic events. –  DrTrungNguyen Mar 30 '13 at 16:01
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