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Gymnast Diet [Nutrition And Meal Plans for Male/ Female]

gymnast diet

Let's be honest here, gymnasts no matter how successful and fit, have to undergo some enduring sacrifices, including maintaining a healthy and restricted diet. They have to maintain such body stamina fit for an athlete to commit to the demands of the sport. 

There's no room for an unhealthy lifestyle, junk food, and uncontrollable cheat meals out here. Part of their success is being disciplined in both their craft and overall lifestyle. This article lists down all you need to know, including the difference between male and female gymnast diet plan.

Here's a sneak peek of one of the most successful gymnasts, Gabby Douglas, as she shared her gymnast Diet Plan from an exclusive interview from Cosmopolitan Magazine.

1) Breakfast: A cup of tea, oatmeal, and banana

A cup of tea has only three calories, a bowl of oatmeal has 158 calories, and a medium-sized banana has 105 calories. The total calories consumed for breakfast is 266 calories.

2) Lunch: Chicken breast, grilled vegetables seasoned with balsamic vinegar, and a handful of dark chocolates

A cup of steamed chicken breast has 231 calories. Plain grilled vegetables have only 50 calories, and his choice of dessert 170 calories. That's a total of 451 calories.

3) Dinner: Grilled salmon, sauteed green beans, pasta, and gingerbread

A filet of grilled salmon has 360 calories, a cup of green beans has only 31 calories, a cup of pasta has 190 calories, and a slice of gingerbread has 356 calories. For her final meal of the day has a total of 906 calories.

Diet Summary

Overall calories consumed by Douglas within the day is only 1623 calories. Ideally, a female gymnast is required to consume a maximum of 2000 calories a day to meet the demands of training, workouts, and other preparations included for on or before the competition.

She has a deficit of 377 calories, which can be spent with snacks in between meals and protein shakes before or after workouts. As long as she maintains a healthy snacking throughout the day without going overboard, she hits the required caloric needs of her body as an athlete. If you are a fan of Simone Biles, you can check out her workout routine and diet plan in this article.

How About For Male Gymnasts?

For a male gymnast, since they have a bigger build and muscle mass, they have to hit the 2500 calorie mark per day. They have to consume a well-balanced food group to avoid nutrient deficiency.

Unlike a normal person, athletes have a higher caloric demand due to extreme training and workouts at the gym.

What does A Professional Male Gymnast eat In A Day?

To give you an overview of how male gymnasts eat in a day, here's an example from a gold medalist, Max Whitlock, from his exclusive interview in Men's Health.

1) Breakfast: Toast with eggs and salmon

Two pieces of toast, especially the wheat bread, has only 150 calories. Two large eggs have 156 calories, and a serving of salmon has 208 calories. His total breakfast consumption is 514 calories.

2) Snacks: Before he starts working out, he snacks with a banana.

A medium-sized banana has only 105 calories.

3) Lunch: Basically, his post-training meal consists of meats with pasta and vegetables.

A serving of meat pasta has 385 calories and a serving of vegetables for 60 calories. Lunch has a total of 445 calories.

4) Dinner: A steak with a side of vegetables

A steak has 679 calories plus 60 calories from the vegetables. That makes for about 739 calories for his dinner meal.

Diet Summary

It may sound a lot, but his whole meal plan didn't even make it to 2500 calories. It's only a total of 1803 calories, that doesn't even include the total calories he burns when working out. 

The athlete also adds that he doesn't have a preference on what to eat for dinner and pretty much eat anything he wants to, including desserts. He considers dinner as his reward meal after an entire day of training and prepping his body for big events. For him, the benefits of exercising daily enable him to avoid restricting calories and still keep in shape.

The Best Gymnast Diet Plan

If you notice both the diet plans that both athletes revealed, there's no meal skipping, and they even get to have snacks in between meals. Still, they were able to hit their daily caloric quota without having any trouble. 

According to trampolinestoday.com, carbohydrates are the main diet star of every gymnast's diet. 50% of their diet is pretty much complex carbs such as whole grains. Each day, they spend hours in the gym to practice, learn new routines, and fulfill daily workout plans. That's a lot of physical activity which requires more energy to burn. Hence, the need for more healthy carbohydrates to supply the demands of their craft.

Apart from a good intake of carbs, a rounded mix of protein from meats and vitamins from fresh fruits and vegetables are also needed. Most gymnasts have a dietitian or fitness instructor designing their meals, or they design their own according to their needs and preferences. What's crucial to a gymnast diet is to maintain a good calorie supply for training and, at the same time, keeping it healthy to maintain a fitter build.

Why Gymnasts Need More Calories?

Gymnastics uses the athlete's body a lot as an apparatus. The sport involves mostly complex calisthenics moves that use a lot of energy compared to training only at the gym. That explains why they have a fitter body with little to no fat content. 

When we talk about calories, we tend to get scared right away because of the notion- "the more you have calories, the more you gain weight". That can be true if those are bad calories from high cholesterol food, refined carbs, and sugar. But if it's a healthy food source that's making up your entire diet, gaining weight will never be an issue, especially when backed by complex exercise routines.

An average person, especially when trying to lose weight, shouldn't be following what a gymnast eats in a day. Please take into consideration that each person has a different body mass, and athletes train most of the day, giving them more opportunities to burn calories.

Key Takeaway

Gymnasts maintain such strict discipline in training, lifestyle, and diet. Just like any sport, there are no shortcuts or excuses to achieve the right physique that it requires. The industry has so much respect for their discipline and determination. 

It takes time to adjust and maintain the kind of lifestyle that they practice up to this point. With the help of their support group such as fitness trainers, coaches, families, and friends, this kind of lifestyle is more enduring and rewarding.

It's also a reminder for everyone that just because gymnasts are fit and healthy can be a reason for you to follow their diet. Before you do so, it's best to consult your doctor before following any kind of gymnast diet plan. Learn what your body needs first and what you like to achieve. Is it to lose, gain, or maintain your weight?