What Athletes Eat: Mariya Koroleva's 'overnight oats'

To prepare for the Rio Olympics, the two women who will represent the U.S. in synchronized swimming -- Mariya Koroleva and Anita Alvarez -- have been training 8 to 9 hours a day with just a 30-minute break for lunch. Since time is so tight and physical demands are so great, breakfast is key.

But no one wants to cook at 5:40 a.m. -- the hour at which Koroleva's alarm goes off three times a week. So she's got the perfect solution.

"In the last few months I've gotten really into overnight oats," says the 26-year-old Stanford graduate.

Before she goes to sleep, Koroleva mixes the ingredients, throws the oat concoction in the fridge, and eats it cold in the morning. To make it interesting, she simply switches flavors or toppings.

Courtesy of Mariya Koroleva, Getty Images

Day and time: 6:45 a.m. right after my cardio session and before my gym workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The other days, when my first workout is in the pool, I'll eat it when I wake up.

Place: Either at the gym or at home before I drive to the pool.

What I'm eating: Overnight oats

Whose recipe: I found the original recipe on Pinterest but I've adjusted it to fit my nutritional needs.

Why I'm eating it: It gives me energy, it's relatively low fat, and it doesn't make me feel too full for practice.

Ingredients

1 cup regular oats (not steel cut or instant)
Almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Handful of frozen berries or peaches
Chia seeds

If I know it's going to be a hard practice, I will add granola and/or mashed banana.

Put all the ingredients in a mason jar, mix them with a spoon, and refrigerate overnight. Sometimes the peanut butter doesn't get mixed in all the way but that doesn't bother me. The oats absorb the milk and it's delicious!

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