Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice

By: Hannah Segur

Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice (Photo Source: iStock)

Staying Fueled During Gymnastics Practice (Photo Source: iStock)

When it comes to staying fueled and energized during a long gymnastic practice or meet, knowing what kind of snacks and drinks to bring along can keep you fueled. Here are some tips and tricks on what foods and beverages are best to keep energy levels up.

Gymnastics is a unique sport because the athlete is required to exert their energy in intervals followed by rest and recovery periods. This means keeping energy levels high must be done quickly and efficiently. Additionally it means that quick digesting carbohydrates are a must to deliver energy that the body needs to maintain optimal performance.

Pack along berries in a to go container! (Image Source: iStock)

Pack along berries in a to go container! (Image Source: iStock)

Fruits are perfect for a gymnast to consume while practicing. The natural sugar in fruit boosts energy levels. It is excellent to have fruits like strawberries or blueberries because they are individual and easy to eat while on a quick break. Bananas are great too because they are portable and typically easy on the stomach, plus they deliver potassium, a key mineral in muscle contraction.

Pretzels are another great snack; they are a source of carbohydrates, while being easy to digest and easy to eat in a pinch.

For longer practices (example: lasting 1.5 hours or more) add-in a source of protein and fats to help keep energy levels up, like these ideas:

Pretzels and/or nuts are a great snack to bring along! (Image Source: iStock)

Pretzels and/or nuts are a great snack to bring along! (Image Source: iStock)

Nuts are a good savory snack and a great source of protein to sustain energy and concentration levels.

Cheese or nut butters are great to pair with any of the above quick digesting snacks. Cheese and certain nut butters are a natural source of protein.

For example peanut butter has 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons (about the size of a golf ball).

Staying Hydrated
The best form of hydration would be water for this specific sports practice. Because the sport isn't nonstop, you do not need the extra sugar and electrolytes that are in sports drinks during a practice. If however, they were in an all-day competition or practice lasting longer than 1.5 hours, then it would be recommended to add-in some sports drink in addition to water. Sports drinks will deliver electrolytes and some sugar to optimize hydration levels and keep the body energized, product examples: Gatorade, Body Armour, or Klean Athlete Hydration (Use our link and save 15% on Klean Athlete products).

Lastly – remember always try new foods and drinks on practice days first before you try them on competition days to ensure they sit well within your stomach.

For more hydration tips, see the Hydration 101 handout in the handout shop!

Content reviewed by sports dietitian: Molly Morgan, RD, CDN, CSSD

Preparing College Athletes for Back to School

Source: Getty images

Source: Getty images

If you are an athlete and getting ready to head off to or back to college, this is an important time to calibrate your nutrition and plan and establish a game plan for when you are at school. Sometimes fueling your body can feel like a full-time job but the effort and diligence you put in will certainly yield results. Check out these tips two steps our founder and sports dietitian, Molly Morgan recommends that you take before heading to campus:

 

1. Research what foods and beverages will be available and/or provided to you at school 

Some athletic programs will have specific products like tart cherry juice, protein bars, bananas, etc. that will be available at the gym. Use these items to supplement your eating routine! 

Review menus for dining halls that will be accessible and learn what is offered and what is open when. This will help you for step 2!

Find out where the nearest grocery store is and a way to get there routinely to stock up on items that will keep you fueled while studying, between classes, etc. Check out this Snack Ideas handout for nutrient-rich snack ideas. 

2. Make a Food Game Plan

Once you have done some research you can now craft together your food game plan! Taking time to think this through will help your plan become a reality because fueling your body doesn't just happen by accident. Be sure to consider your class, practice, and game schedule when crafting your plan out as some days will likely be more hectic than others. 

If you are living on your own learn or have access to a kitchen, this summer, learn to prepare some simple meals and snacks that can become part of your eating routine. For example, teach yourself how to make these Maple Sea Salt Energy Bites which could be an on the go breakfast or a great snack.

Plan for at least 3 meals and 2 - 3 snacks to meet your energy needs!

Product Tip: Fuel For Fire

It is always important to have planned snacks that will deliver the fuel to keep your body running at it's peak. Although when your schedule is crazy it can get challenging. Sports dietitian, Molly Morgan's latest product tip is Fuel For Fire Smoothie Pouches. This product has a perfect blend of fruit and protein, each pouch provides about 100 calories, 15 grams of carbs, and 10 - 12 grams of protein.

Fuel for Fire Smoothie

Plus the ingredient list of the pouches is simple - for example the strawberry banana smoothie ingredients include: banana, strawberry, water, whey protein isolate, natural flavor, citric acid, and ascorbic acid (aka vitamin c).

The pouches are available in a variety of flavors including: tropical, sweet potato apple, strawberry banana, coffee, and banana cocoa. Note: The coffee one has 65 milligrams of caffeine, which is ideal for adult athletes over the age of 18 and would not be recommended for younger athletes. 

When should you add these pouches in as an athlete? When you are active for longer periods of time it is important to routinely have carbohydrates, some protein, and fat to keep energy levels up and balance blood sugar levels. This is especially for activities that are lasting longer than 1 - 2 hours.

What is great about these Fuel for Fire pouches is that once they are opened you can put the cap back on - making this ideal to stick back in a bike jersey pocket, backpack, or golf bag. 

Another suggestion of when to include these notes Morgan, is for a quick on the go snack! "I bring a couple of these along with me for busy days to help keep our little guys fueled and I always bring them along when the boys are out playing a golf match," states Morgan. 

Fuel For Fire pouches are available at Wegman's grocery stores or also buy them on-line directly from Fuel for Fire

Seneca 7 - Fueling Tips and Tricks

Hi everyone! I'm Molly Morgan, the founder of Fuel2Win. Today's post is specifically for an awesome running event that is taking plan in upstate New York on April 29th, the Seneca 7. I have been lucky enough to run on a team three years in a row and have been runner 1, 4, and 7 - each leg equally challenging and fun.

As a sports dietitian, I can say from a evidence-based perspective there are definitely do's and don't's to surviving your journey around the lake and from running the event three times, there are practical considerations that play into these recommendations as well. The day moves along so fast so it is key to have a team game plan as it relates to what you are going to eat to fuel your team for 77.7 miles around beautiful Seneca Lake. 

First: You must plan ahead. There will be very little time between transitions to stop or get anything along the way. Also the route can get pretty congested at points so having what you need with you is best. Good news! If you arriving in town the night before and stop into Wegman's, which is a great grocery store (if you're not familiar) and will have a wide variety of items for you to stock up!

Second: Never try something new on the day of an event. If you are thinking of bringing along a new product to have during the event, try in first in a training run to know how you will feel! Focus on having foods that you know YOU can tolerate. For example, if bananas give you indigestion - bring along a different kind of fruit for quick energy!

Third: You will not have much down time between your legs of the event so, as soon as you can tolerate eating and drinking after you run, do!

Fourth: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day - but don't over do it - it is all about balance. Listen to your body, if you are thirsty, sip more fluids to maintain hydration levels. If you are a heavy sweater or if you are running longer legs of the event, consider having a sports drink or electrolyte beverage to help maintain fluid stores. 

If you have other fueling questions, contact us and I will be happy to answer your sports nutrition question to help your team. Last but not least, HAVE FUN!


Download this Seneca 7 Tips - Fueling Tips and Tricks!

Click on the image below to download (for free) the tips sheet from the Fuel2Win handout store. Note: The Fuel2Win watermarks will not be on the download version of the handout.