An interview with the man ready to beat Usain Bolt - AskMen

An interview with the man ready to beat Usain Bolt - AskMen
Published: 20 April 2012 (6897 Views)
Usain Bolt hasn't lost many races in his professional career, but American sprinter Tyson Gay is one of the select few to beat him. With the 2012 Summer Olympics only 100 days away, Gay is expected to be one of the chief competitors of the fastest man in the world at the 100-meter race.

Gay is not only training hard to beat Bolt, but he's also getting back in shape after a hip injury that cost him most of the 2011 season. With the help of EAS Sports Nutrition, his diet and regimen have been perfected with the aim of bringing him to London in peak shape.

We caught up with the fastest man in America and the second-fastest man in the world to chat about his training, Bolt and a potential Olympic gold medal in 2012.

AskMen: You're one of the few guys to have beaten Usain Bolt in a 100-meter race. Do you believe you can do it at the 2012 London Games?

Tyson Gay: Yeah, I really do. Right now it's all about me getting healthy, improving my training, my nutrition, as well as my recovery.

Do you feel you'll be healthy and in shape in time?

I think so. I have to be ready by June, but at the same time, as long as I start training by next week, I really believe I'll be fit enough to put up a great challenge.

How does EAS help you prepare?

Working with the EAS team is really helping me prepare because they provide me with a lot of supplements as far as my protein that I take before and after practice, as well as some creatine products. Me being a spokesperson for drug-free athletes, this company is 100% certified. They have no banned stimulants or substances in their product, so we're on the same page. I can go into a Vitamin Shop or get products from the company directly, and I can take them and there's nothing that's going to show up positive on any test.

On the topic of positive tests, BALCO mastermind Victor Conte once told us the same thing in a previous interview -- that he believes Usain Bolt is doping because the testing in Jamaica isn't as stringent as it is for sprinters like you in the United States. Can you comment on that?

I'm very closely monitored. I can't really speak on how often Usain Bolt or any other guy in Jamaica gets tested, but I can tell you I was tested last week. I can tell you that I was also tested a couple of weeks before that -- blood and urine.

But being a guy who is entrenched in the sport, is there any credence to Conte's point? Do sprinters just assume that testing isn't the same everywhere? Or is the general thought just to trust the system and deal with what's under your control?

Yeah, we deal with what's under our control. I think within the last year or two, Jamaica has established their own doping committee within Jamaica, but besides that, I've been running against Asafa Powell, and I've won some and I've lost some. I've been running against Usain Bolt, and I've won some and lost some. So, I don't really get the whole gossip about the Jamaica drug-testing thing because I've beat those guys. There could be people gossiping about me as well, and it still doesn't matter. I'm going to go out there and do my best regardless of what anyone else is doing.

Being a professional athlete, you're around lots of medical experts who guide you through the steps of how best to recover from an injury. Can you share some insights? What's a good piece of advice you can share with the common guy who suffers an injury and is trying to recover?

It's all about training smart. I believe some of my injuries have come because my body is just not strong enough to handle the pounding, and some of my injuries come from just freak accidents.

But I believe the older I get, I'm wiser and I train smarter. I think I've learned how to do that. I save the race for the race and I don't let it all out in practice. For the average guy who's going out to run every day, some days you might just need to take off even if you know "Hey I should go out there – I don't want to miss a day." Well, sometimes the body needs recovery. And that's where EAS comes into play with me. I'm not just eating fast food out of the blue or stuff like that. I'm taking my protein shake and I'm giving my body the right nutrition.

So you're telling me KFC is not your pre-game meal?

Not at all -- not right now it's not. [Laughs.]

I'm going to guess that as a sprinter, you have to stick to a pretty strict diet as far as what you put into your body. Is that the case and if so, what is that regimen?

I just recently got my nutrition going. I always stuck to the basics of grill chicken, vegetables and maybe some potatoes here and there. That was just the basics: trying to eat clean and keep my blood clean. But now since I have a nutritionist, he has everything broken down to fat, grams -- you name it.

Now, the way he's monitoring my eating, I'm on a diet plan that's strict but he wants me to eat right and pick up about seven pounds eating the right way and lifting weights, and by the time June rolls around for the trials I'll be seven pounds lighter, but keep all the power.

I eat 230 grams of protein daily, 308 grams of carbohydrates, maybe 70 grams of fat. I can have one cheat meal a week but it can't be that I eat until I'm stuffed; I eat until I'm satisfied.

I'm eating a lot of raisins -- never eat raisins. I don't eat a lot of fruit so there's a lot of things in my diet that I'm going to keep in there but there's a lot of things that I've never done. Everything is tuna fish, lean beef, lean beef, lean pork, ground turkey, fish, lean steak, soy milk, Greek yogurt, brown rice -- things like that, etcetera.

It's a huge change for me because I'll be eating six meals a day. My breakfast is going to consist of six egg whites, two whole eggs, 45 grams of oatmeal, things like that. It's going to be a diet plan to really set me up to be the best I can be.

Sounds like it's pretty broken down to a T. Since this is a big change for you, is there any one food that you miss, maybe some home cooking?

I have to stay away from the fried foods. I do miss that. I miss some of my fast food because I used to eat fast food a lot. Even if was something like a McDonald's breakfast in the morning, so knowing that I have to cook more and I'm not a cooker, I'm a have to make some arrangements to have someone do some cooking for me.

What's a common day-to-day workout for you when you're 100% healthy and training for the Olympics?

I wake up at 6:30 in the morning, I'm in the weight room by 7:15. I start lifting weights at 7:30 until 8:30 because I have a personal trainer. I prefer a personal trainer because it's one-on-one and he really pushes me, and when I leave the gym I'm sweating. I feel like I've accomplished something.

I have an hour break in between that, I go to the track around 9:30 to 12. I get a light massage, I do all my stretching, I do all my drills, which consist of high knees, some lunges and things of that sort.

Then I start my workout. Workouts don't last that long depending on how much recovery I have. If it's a Monday, I might do hills. If it's a Tuesday, I might do sleds -- kind of how football players pull sleds. Wednesday we might take off and do a pool workout. Thursday we may do a speed workout and that may consist of doing some 60s and block starts. Friday we may do some 300s -- you know, a little more than halfway around the track.

What kind of shoe do recommend the average sprinter use -- the common guy going for a daily jog?

I believe the Adidas Zero work well. It's basically a shoe that's light but has enough cushion to give you that comfort feeling. That's what I use.

For the average runner, they want to feel light like a sprinter and I think that works well for them. They may wear out a tad bit quicker than a thicker cushion shoe but it gives you that light feeling and once you put them on, you feel like you're ready to go and start the day.

Do you listen to any music when you're warming up or going for jog and if so, what's in your iPod these days?

Not too often, especially not at a meet for the simple fact that I don't want to be in the back listening to music and getting all excited because I want to save all of my adrenaline for when they say "Set, go!" That's just kind of how I am.

But sometimes in practice I could listen to some Lil Wayne…

And Rick Ross?

Yeah Rick Ross for sure. He's someone who's taken over the radio right now.

Is the gold medal in the 100 metres in London the prize for you? Would there be any accomplishment sweeter than that?

Not besides the world record but that right there alone would fill my career up in one meet. That's the beauty of the Olympics. That one race -- that one time -- can really determine your career in an instant.

To do that, you'll probably have to beat Bolt, which you've done before, but he once told the BBC that your win didn't really count because it was his year off. It sounds like he's gotten a bit overconfident. Is that your angle here, to come in as the underdog, come in overlooked and get the win?

I would prefer to be the underdog. I would prefer to train hard and I prefer to be No. 2, 3 whatever so that I can keep pushing forward to get to No. 1.

- AskMen

Tags: Usain, Bolt,

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