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For Coaches Diet Question

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Jan 22, 2008
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How many of those on team have a nutritionist come and speak to the team girls? Also does your gym encourage a particular diet for your girls. I was listening to parents the other day talking about a meeting we will have this summer about what the girls are eating and this person will meet with them too and weigh them and check their BMI and give recommendations. Is this a common practice?

Mind you I watch very close what DD eats and instill eating fruits and not junk so to speak. she gets no juice and only drinks Milk or water. I just was caught off guard when they were telling me about the team diet.
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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I copied this to the coaches forum, as I'd love to hearing a coaching perspective on the subject. The OP's daughter is very young, maybe 5 or 6 years old.
 

CoachL

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Apr 9, 2007
217
I've brought a nutritionist in before to talk with the girls. I would never weigh the girls, or discuss their weight with them, we just talk about eating healthy. There is so many outside pressures on young ladies these days to look a certain way, and the last thing in the world I would want to do is make someone self concious of their body type.

There was only one time the girls were ever weighed and that when a grad student came in and was doing tests on the female athlete triad, I never saw the results and the parents had to sign waivers.
 

gymdog

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Jul 5, 2007
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Neither of the gyms I went to had an official "diet" or did any weighing, they just stressed healthy eating in general and encouraged us to bring healthy snacks. If it was a one time thing and wasn't super healthy, it's not like anyone would say anything, but if someone was consistently bringing soda, candy and chips for their lunch in the summer (we didn't have a break during the school year because practices were 4.5 hours, although we could go eat or get a drink quickly while we were waiting for a turn), then I'm sure they probably would have talked to the parents, if it was a younger kid, or the gymnast herself, if she was older.

As a coach, I really wouldn't want to be responsible for monitoring it. If I felt it was necessary, then bringing someone in is what I would choose, because I would want it to be a less loaded third party interaction.

My problem with BMI is that while it has some use for rough measurements, it it often not a great measure for many athletes, and particularly for the gymnast body types as it doesn't take into account things like a much higher amount of muscle and broad shoulders/upper body body type that is characteristic of advanced gymnasts. I probably would not want someone who was unfamiliar with athletes and specifically gymnastics to be just checking their BMI and giving them recommendations because I think there would be potential for inaccuracy. There are other measurements that can be used in conjunction with BMI to give a more accurate picture. I would not want a gymnast to get a skewed image of her body type because it is being compared using a formula that doesn't really have a lot of room for body adaptations. On the other hand I think if used sensibly, it is a tool that can contribute to assessing overall health.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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Jan 21, 2007
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I might make nutritional reccomendations, but I would never even consider weighing them or discussing their weight. Gymnastics is not reserved for those with the "perfect body type;" it is a sport that can and should be open to anybody who enjoys it and is willing to work at it.

I see no reason to draw the girls' attention to their own body like that. It seem to me that it really sets them up to develop eating disorders down the road.
 
H

hammy

Guest
When I was a gymnast we had nutrionist come in once or twice, but it mainly just to remind us to eat healthy and make sure we were getting plenty of water--that sort of stuff.

As a coach, I think it's important to be a friendly reminder to eat healthy, but I would never ever mention anything about weight to the girls--even if they are upper level gymnats and wanting to do elite. I think as long as they are eating the proper amounts of healthy food and getting plenty of water (and sleep of course) that they'll be fine to do anything gymnastics related--there's nothing wrong with eating a piece of cake every once in a while. It really is a shame how much some coaches and organizations stress being skiny and what not--as CoachL said, they have enough pressure on them already.

Long story short, I think nutrion is important, but it's the parents job to maintain that and teach their children how to live healthy and active lives. I think coaches should just be there to offer a friendly reminder and to be a good role model while in the gym.
 
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