Meal Plan for a Gymnast

Gymnastics is a sport that requires a lot of physical activity and training sessions may involve a mixture of cardiovascular exercise and strength training so the gymnast needs to be adequately fuelled. Power to weight ratio is important: the gymnast needs to be light, agile and strong, so low levels of body fat are desirable.

In addition to several long periods of gymnastic practice per each week, gymnasts may compliment their training with both some weight training and cardiovascular workouts. A well-structured nutrition programme will help concentration and coordination during long, tiring training sessions.

Here's a sample meal plan which a gymnast could follow for a typical day:

Large bowl of porridge + dried fruit + 250ml skimmed milk
2 slices granary bread, toasted + olive oil based spread + natural crunchy peanut butter
250ml fresh fruit juice
4-5 Oatcakes with low fat soft cheese
Handful mixed nuts and/or seeds
Item fruit
Sandwich made with granary bread + olive oil based spread with lean ham/chicken or large mackerel fillet
100g mixed nuts, seeds & dried fruit
Mixed salad
Low fat, low sugar yoghurt
30g whey protein powder in water
1-2 oatcakes
Item fruit
Or 3-4 scoops Huel in water
During exercise
Sip plenty of water or electrolyte replacement sports drink throughout
Immediately post exercise
25g whey protein power + 25g dextrose in water
Evening Meal (45 mins later)
Lean fillet steak or chicken breast or fish + herbs to taste
Boiled new potatoes or basmati rice or dry roasted sweet potatoes or wholewheat pasta
Loads of vegetables
Low fat, no added sugar yoghurt
1 hour pre-bed
100g cottage cheese / quark / low fat natural yoghurt
Item fruit

This plan is based around sustained slow released low glycaemic carbohydrates to help provide energy for long exercise sessions and to promote recovery. The structure of food in the plan is to help replenish stores and help attain top physical fitness.

The above plan provides sufficient levels of all nutrients; however, the plan is merely a general guide, and there is no mention of portion sizes; adapt it to suit your own needs according to the amount of exercise you're doing, age, gender and lifestyle; males will generally require larger portions than females. You must eat a variety of different meats/fish/vegetarian protein foods, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.