Q & A with the San Diego Sports Dietitian
What Should Gymnasts Drink?
Water is best for most athletes. Plan to drink about 2 cups (16 ounces) of water 2 to 3 hours before training or competition. Then drink 1 cup (8 ounces) of water 10 to 20 minutes before beginning to exercise. If your training session is long, drink about 1⁄2 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding lemon or lime slices for a refreshing taste.
Sports drinks, regular or “lighter” versions with half the calories but with the same amount of electrolytes, are good choices when you have long, hard training sessions and need extra carbohydrate for fuel. Stick to the tried-and-true sports drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde, because they provide a good balance of carbohydrate, sodium, and potassium to replace losses. Follow the same drinking schedule as for water, but also listen to your body. Drink when you are thirsty and monitor how much you urinate and the color of your urine. If you are urinating frequently throughout the day and your urine is a light-straw color, you are probably drinking enough fluids.
I’m trying to gain muscle mass by eating only protein. Will that work?
To gain muscle mass you need more than protein. You need enough calories to build lean muscle mass. Try eating quality carbohydrate-rich foods along with protein at every meal and snack. Eat a protein- and carbohydrate-rich snack immediately after a strength-training session to provide needed nutrients to muscles.
What are some good resources for nutrition and gymnastics?
The best resource is a registered dietitian nutritionist, especially one who specializes in sports nutrition.
To find a qualified sports dietitian, connect to the H2O Nutrition website and Contact Andrea to set up a Nutrition Assessment.