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Ryan Lochte Won 11 Olympic Medals By Eating Pizza and Chicken Wings

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Swimming champ Ryan Lochte revealed that the secret to his 11 Olympic medals (and a very naked People “Sexiest Man Alive” nod) is a diet that includes pizza, chicken wings, and a Mountain Dew every Friday.

The 31-year-old Olympic athlete and one-time Vogue cover boy told the Charlotte Observer that he’s indulged in a weekly “cheat day” every Friday since he started training 22 years ago.

“I’ve been doing it since I was 9 years old,” Lochte said. “I’ve only missed it six times.”

Pizza and chicken wings aside, Lochte also revealed this his biggest vice is sweet, not savory. “I have a weakness: Yellow Starbursts, and I haven’t had one in about two months,” he said.

Lochte is currently training for the Summer Olympics in Rio, which means that even though the swimmer is cutting out the yellow Starbursts, he’s still eating six times a day, clocking in at about 8,000 calories daily.

When asked by his personal chef, Glenn Lyman (who’s also worked for LeBron James and Jeff Gordon), to imagine how many more gold medals he might have if he had “not eaten pizza and wings every Friday for your entire life,” Lochte responded with a resounding no.

“I refuse to give it up,” he said.

Lochte has tapped into one of life’s most basic truths — gold medals may come and go, but pizza (and chicken) is forever.

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Write to Cady Lang at cady.lang@timemagazine.com