We all love carbs. Sometimes after a long day, there’s nothing better than loafing on the couch, snacking on something crunchy and comfy-feeling. As a gymnast, we’re obviously not encouraged to enjoy such lazy pastimes, but we’re only human, and so yes, we want to relax and eat carbs. It’s not unhealthy as long as you’re eating the right kinds. After a chat with Dr.Axe, the diet expert, I got amazing tips on which carbs are best to eat on a gymnast diet. Read and learn!
Flax and hemp
We need our daily dose of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Flax and hemp seeds are a great way to get them. They provide "good" fats, ones that have been shown to be good for our hearts and muscle tissue. On a gymnast diet, we need to eat foods that nurture our muscles so we can heal faster and grow stronger.
On the other hand, consuming refined carbs like pasta and cookies, convert to “bad” fats. They cause inflammation in our joints, making us less springy and flexible ( bad for gymnasts).
So when in doubt, go for flax and hemp. You can even throw them in a smoothie when you’re on the go.
Baked sweet potato wedges
Raise your hand if you love fries! Instead, I always go for sweet potatoes wedges because they have way more nutrients.
You can bake them in an oven instead of frying them, which greatly reduces their fat content. In turn, your left with a good carb, the kind that gives you energy. They are also high in vitamin A.
In small amounts, berries are a good carb for gymnasts. Blueberries and raspberries are high in antioxidants which provide energy and help with tissue repair. Since we’re constantly stressing out our muscles, we need a good dose of healthy carbs, like berries, to sustain our active bodies.
You should have berries as a snack on its own but never combine them with meals. Fruits only take 30 minutes to digest and do not get prioritized in your digestive system. So if you pair fruits with proteins or veggies, the fruit will sit undigested in your gut until the other food is digested. A few hours later, you’ll bloat because the berries will have been fermenting in your gut. Gross, I know.
Organic non GMO white rice
When carb cravings kick in, organic white rice will satisfy you— in small portions. I know everyone always says brown rice is better but it’s a total myth.
Brown rice has less fiber and other nutrients so it doesn’t digest as well. So even though it contains less sugar, brown rice has few health benefits for your gymnastics body. Don’t eat it.
With organic non GMO white rice, you’re getting the best possible quality of a rich carb-- plus, it's gluten-free. Just avoid eating more than half a cup because it’s still a heavy food. And ultimately, if you can avoid rice all together, you’re safer going for the lighter carbs mentioned above.