Why Rhythmic Gymnasts Should Eat Properly?
Rhythmic gymnastics is a beautiful, but pretty tough sport. Gymnast's skills involve high flexibility, balance and power that come from having developed muscles. Therefore, the ideal diet for rhythmic gymnasts is one that is balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fats, includes important vitamins and minerals. Specific amounts of the listed nutrients can vary, depending on a training schedule and each athlete's weight and state of health.
Parents of young gymnasts should remember that their performance directly depends on what they eat and when they eat. General rule is that small but frequent meals provide steady energy for training and further recovery. To maximize training performance, gymnasts need to concentrate on carbohydrate foods before workouts, eat foods containing proteins after workouts and avoid foods high in fat. Because rhythmic gymnastics workout require intense bursts of power, it's also important to have access to quick sources of energy.
Rhythmic Gymnasts's Eating Plan: Best Practices
Here, at IK School of Rhythmic gymnastics in Miami, we are very concerned about what do our gymnasts eat. In order to maximize your gymnast's performance, we offer you to try the nutrition plan that includes three main meals and snacks, concentrating on carbs before gymnastics classes and offering your child proteins after the workout.
The first meal of the day is one of the best times for nutrients to be efficiently absorbed. Therefore breakfast within half an hour after waking up should include carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
- Perfect solutions: cereal with milk, supplemented with ham or eggs to add protein and fat to activate metabolism. Serve berries, a fruit or juice for vitamins and antioxidants.
- Note: Fats is a part of healthy sport diet, but only if parents educate their gymnasts about what types of fats are useful for them. Trans fats, present in baked foods, fast foods, and snacks contribute to weight gain. Saturated fats in whole milk, butter, and cheese can raise cholesterol. The USDA's guidelines recommend that Americans consume less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fats and replace the remaining fats with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The best sources of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and fish.
Snacks are important part of your gymnast’s healthy eating plan because they supply key vitamins and minerals and can keep her from feeling famished before the lunch break.
- Cheese, as a good source of calcium for strong bones and teeth and protein, which helps to restrain hunger before lunch. Combine with wheat or whole-grain crackers to make the meal more nutritive.
- Nuts, as a nutritious source of protein and fiber good for everyone’s heart. Combine with yogurt to get more satisfying snack.
- Fruits or berries as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and potassium. Fiber fills the stomach, so your kid won’t feel hungry.
It’s a very important meal that prepares your gymnast ready for training. Concentrate on complex carbohydrates to make your child fed for a long time, and add proteins to ensure the lasting supply of energy and vegetables for vitamin support .
- Rice with chicken and broccoli.
- Hard-wheat pasta with beef or cheese and carrots.
- Quinoa with lamb and green beans.
- Cuscus with tuna, tomatoes and avocado.
Gives energy and mood for training. Should contain carbohydrates.
- Banana with yogurt.
- Rice pudding.
- Cheese sandwich.
Note. This meal is absolutely necessary if the gap between lunch and training is more than 3 hours.
If the training is more than 4 hours, or lasts within 4 hours from the lunchtime, it’s important to support energy production by eating something very light and simple to digest.
Perfect solutions: fruits and berries.
Note: An apple, orange, banana or a cup of fresh berries for is a quick and easy snack that your child can take to gym. Dried fruits and vegetables are even more nutritious and well packed. In case when for any reasons you will not be able to provide your child with something, listed above, keep a few bottles of sports drink (Gatorade and etc.) in your car’s refrigerated compartment – although sports drinks are not among perfect nutrition solutions for kids, it’s still better than nothing during the continuous exercise.
While pre-workout and mid-workout snacks are optional, depending on the time gap between lunch and training and the duration of the workout, the post-workout snack is absolutely necessary for your gymnast if you don’t have an opportunity to serve her dinner within 45 minutes to 1 hour of practice being over. A post-workout snack must contain a high-glycemic healthy carbohydrate to open the window of opportunity for nutrient absorption to start muscle recovery.
- Dried mangoes.
- A bagel with real-fruit jelly.
- A muffin with raisins.
Note: The purpose of raising your gymnast’s blood sugar level after exercise is to enhance the protein recovery later, after the dinner. Therefore, post-workout snack is a must, if you don’t have an opportunity to feed your gymnast shotrhly after the classes. Therefore, if your child don’t have time for “real food” after the training (which may happen if you get stuck in a traffic, or the way home is simply too long), keep some energy bars near at hand that are a good mix of protein and higher carbohydrate and work as a supplement to support your gymnasts.
Dinner is the last, but not least, meal of the day. While pre-workout meals are based on carbohydrates, the post-workout meal should be based on proteins and useful polyunsatyrated fats. Seafood is a great option to receive phosphorus, so important for muscle development.
- Salmon & vegetable salad with olive oil.
- Tilapia with rice and broccoli.
- Shrimps with bulgur and avocado
- Tuna salad containing lettuce and eggs.
Note: If your way back home is less than 30 minutes, you can combine dinner with post-workout snack. Just add to regular dinner a muffin, chocolate milk or an ice cream in the end of the dinner as a reward for the hard day, or replace complex carbohydrates in the meal (rice, bulgur and etc.) with simple carbs like potatoes (mashed and baked, not fried), or boiled sweet corn.