With 12 Olympic medals, six gold, Ryan Lochte, 35, is one of the most decorated swimmers in the U.S.
But things changed for Lochte three years ago when he made international headlines after falsely reporting that he and three other U.S. Olympic swimmers were robbed at gunpoint during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Video footage showed Lochte and the other swimmers vandalizing a Brazilian gas station.
Lochte was given a 10-month suspension by the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming and he forfeited the $100,000 in bonus money that went with his gold medal as part of the men's 4X200 freestyle relay in Rio.
Two years later, Lochte was suspended again by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for receiving an intravenous vitamin B-12 infusion — a therapy that delivers the vitamin directly into your veins — which is banned by the agency.
"[It] was a really dark time in my life and [my family] helped me keep fighting and keep pushing on it," Lochte tells CNBC Make It, "I don't know where I would be without them."
During his three years of suspension, Lochte, 35, married his wife Kayla Rae and had two children, Caiden now 2, and Liv Rae, 4 months.
But as a new dad, his training and food habits started to slip away, and feeling depressed about his actions and the suspensions, he gained 21 pounds.
"I was going to fast-food restaurants because it was really quick and it was on the way," Lochte says, admitting that his diet was never actually "clean" despite being a six-time Olympic gold medalist.
"I used to eat a lot of junk food and not gain weight," he says.
But as he got older, he says his poor eating habits caught up to him.
"If I eat a chocolate cupcake now, you can actually see the chocolate cupcake sitting in my belly," he says.
In August, after competing at the U.S. national championship, where he took gold in the 200-meter individual medley, Lochte says he was shocked by how much weight he had gained.
"After I saw that picture I was embarrassed. I was disgusted with myself and I was like what the heck just happened and how did I let that happened to me?" he says.
Lochte says when he got home later that night, he committed to completely changing his diet and fitness routine. That included dropping his daily calorie intake from 8,000 to 10,000 a day to 4,000.
"Honestly, I just started eating healthy," he says.
He also added more weight-lifting to his workout regimen.
Lochte says his goal to make a comeback next summer during the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. He says he wants to show his kids that no matter how many times you get knocked down, you can get up and you can keep fighting.
Here's a look at his daily routine.
6:40 a.m.: Lochte wakes up and the first thing he does is take his dog for a walk. Then he makes himself a protein shake and drinks some Gatorade. (Lochte was previously a spokesperson for the sports drink before his contract expired in 2014.)
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.: Lochte heads to his first swim practice, which typically lasts two hours.
10:00 a.m.: Lochte has breakfast, which typically consists of eggs, sausage or pancakes. He says for this meal, he tries to keep his calories under 800 to 1,000.
"I lift weights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and then I go pick up my son from school and feed him and try to put him down for a nap, which never works," he says.
12:00 p.m.: Lochte eats lunch. Typically, he says he eats a ready-to-eat meal from the food delivery service Freshly because the meals are about 500 calories. (According to a Lochte spokesperson, he is not a paid spokesperson for the brand. However, Freshly did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It's request for comment.)
1 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.: This is family time for Lochte, his wife and two kids.
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.: Lochte heads back to the pool for his afternoon swim practice.
7:00 p.m.: Lochte has another protein shake and heads home.
7:30 p.m.: Lochte has dinner with his family, usually salmon or another type of fish with vegetables.
8:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.: Lochte puts his kids to bed.
9:00 p.m.: Lochte tries to go to sleep right after putting his kids to bed.
"I don't get recovery like other athletes because I have other obligations like being a dad, so I don't have the luxury of taking naps or going to bed whenever I want. So I've been trying to focus on sleep a lot of more," he says.
Lochte also says he appreciates swimming a lot more now that he is a dad.
"When I was younger, I took it for granted. I would go out and party and still be able to perform in the pool, but now I can't do that," he says.
He says making next year's Olympic team would be extra special not only to show that he was able to pull himself out of a dark time, but it would be the first time, his family would be there to cheer him on.
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