Robby Robinson to Michael Phelps

The Black Prince Reaches Out to the Olympic Swimming Champion

By Robby Robinson

Dear Michael,

Congratulations on your Olympic sweep. Your athleticism was truly awe-inspiring to watch. I asked my friend Joe Pietaro at MuscleSport Mag and New York Sportscene magazine to forward this letter to you.

When I learned of your 12,000 empty calorie eating regime, I became concerned not only about your health and longevity as an athlete, but also about the billions of people around the world that you are now in a position to influence. It wasn’t so much the quantity of calories that was a shock, as their quality. One can argue that your diet has worked for you so far, but your short-term choices can lead to serious long-term consequences. Massive quantities of refined carbohydrates at one sitting trigger the pancreas to excrete an over-abundance of insulin, creating the possibility of becoming a diabetic. And while fats in your meals will help slow that reaction a bit, your fats, from what I read, are all saturated. They will deposit in your arteries and give you high cholesterol. Being an athlete does not negate the effect of these foods, but being young allows you to get away with it for now.

Look at Mark Spitz, who has attested to having had a spicy, high fat diet, and who now has high cholesterol. What good is $50-million-and-counting if you are unhealthy? In all the publicity outlining your program, I have also heard nothing about your water consumption. Water is the vehicle that drives nutrients into your muscles. The performance of muscles and their resistance to injury is absolutely dependent upon the quality and quantity of water consumed. Don’t count the cups of coffee I heard you drink as water. Having been an athlete all my life, and spending 27 as professional bodybuilder, I‘ve seen too many athletes in ALL sports wind up with health problems.

Determined not to end up that way myself, I studied everything I could find on nutrition and dietary supplements to ensure my health down the road. Now at 62 and in the best shape of my life, I feel it my obligation of giving you some unsolicited advice.

Michael, if you had more complex carbohydrates with fiber, swapped in good fats like nuts, avocado, essential fatty acids like flaxseed oil and fish oil and spread your meals out into smaller ones, you would have just as much energy, but with better recovery and staying power in those last-day-events. A calorie is not just a calorie. Food, along with dietary supplements and hard work, is the fuel that propels your body into a natural anabolic state, in other words, a fat burning, muscle-building mode. Otherwise, you’re breaking your body down.

Tyson Gay can now testify to breaking down after consuming McDonald’s for much of his 29 years. When he pulled up lame in the 200 meters, I knew he was done for. His bad choices have resulted in broken dreams. His coach Jon Drummond should have known better and condemned the bad eating habits. Hopefully, he can learn how to turn his failure into something positive by making changes. I believe I speak for the whole world in saying we would love to see you both in four years at the London Olympic games.

Please don’t let your ego lead you into believing you are superhuman, and that being called an American Hero, without being a role model, has meaning. The Boys and Girls Club that you support needs role models that will help them in their programs combating childhood obesity. Their 4.8 million kids need guidance in the sea of misinformation on nutrition. Endorsing McDonald’s and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes is undoubtedly the wrong message to send kids and athletes who look for leadership by example.

Best Regards, Robby Robinson

Robby Robinson won the IFBB Mr. America, Mr. World, and Mr. Universe titles on his way becoming one of the most dominant professional bodybuilders of the 1970s. During his high school years, Robinson excelled as a track star and football player, setting numerous track and field records that have yet to be broken at a high school level. He competed in over 60 competitions over a 27-year span and was the Masters Olympia overall champion, beating Lou Ferrigno, the first year that the event was held in 1994. Working in Los Angeles with young athletes, Robby and associate Arden Nutt have currently used these principles to help swimmer Andi Murez make the Junior National Team. Visit his blog at