Gymnasts have rock-hard physiques that can make any body-builder squirm with envy. Protein diet has a track record of giving them performance boost while attuning their bodies to rigorous gymnastic routines.

“I used to think it was all about carbs, carbs, carbs to get the energy,” said Stephen McCain, US Olympian. “But over time, I realized I performed better when I kept that stuff in check.”

He was well on the way to follow up this low carbohydrates lifestyle even way before it became a nationwide hit.

Gymnastics being an “anaerobic” sport, requires much more energy bursts for power compared to swimming or long distance running because it’s less of endurance and more energy pump.

Quantum of energy

They need energy in packets therefore protein becomes their most productive source. They acquire proteins from (meats and cheese), carbs from (whole-grain pasta, fruits, vegetables) while for fats (peanut oil). This high protein nutrition keeps their weight down and protein levels up. Also they eat in small quantities several times a day, to let the body consume, in minimalistic quantities.
Weight issues

Now this is a sport that revolves around weight. You have to carry your weight on your own shoulders in order to justify a reasonable performance.

While most gymnasts look under-nourished, the key is “You see things that are inappropriate that shouldn’t be done,” longtime gymnastics coach Steve Rybacki said. “The key is finding the right balance.”

Nutritionist at camp

Every month they visit training camps where professional nutritionists do their food.

Their regular menu is a salad bar, pork loin, vegetables, potatoes and fruit.

“You’re taking a menu that’s already limited because there aren’t a lot of foods they like,” Rybacki said, “and then you’re cutting it down even further. That’s the challenge.”

Most of the men, meanwhile, are in their 20s, and don’t get as much help.

America’s best female gymnast, Carly Patterson has recently modeled for McDonald’s bags this summer for Olympics campaign, which is controversially ironic.

Ryabacki told that this off-the-diet kind of eating is allowed as long as it is looked upon as a reward, something off the hook, and not part of regular routine.

Gymnastics may be all about what you eat, but more is about what you not eat.

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