For Coaches "Fuel" (food) for a 9 yr old

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emacmommy

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Searching for other's ideas for "fuel" for my Mojo gymmie. She's fighting a cold, not miserable, but her sustained energy and focus is really low.

We are competing this weekend (early meet for us) at State Games of America in Colorado Springs and I really would like to keep her energy and enthusiasm up. We ran a mock meet today and she did great for the first two events, vault and bars, but her energy and focus crashed by beam and flood. She was a little zombie on beam. No major falls, crashes or mistakes, but absolutely no UMPH. We have a few days to fuel.

Give me ideas and any tips you may have. I know the nutrition and pre-meet fueling methods I was trained with, but I'm not up on the latest and greatest.
 
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mariposa

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I just saw that she has a few days. I would do lots of vitamin C (my girls take 1000mg 2 times a day when they are sick), lots of fluids and as much rest as she can get. We love homemade chicken soup around here. Hope she gets back to herself by meet day. Good luck to her and all your girls!! :)
 

mariposa

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Valentin,

I read through it quickly and am very interested in reading it in depth and taking notes to figure it all out.

I have a 7 year old, weighs 20kg, so I want to figure out how to best feed her. I was doing heavy protein before practice, carbs, too, but I will have to readjust and figure a good way to get her all she needs. Any suggestions? She is homeschooled (not for gym reasons, just because) so she can eat whenever she wants to, but has always been my picky eater and doesn't eat much. I worry about her and am always trying to make sure she gets in enough calories and protein.

Would non practice days be different than practice days? Thanks!! :)
 
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BlairBob

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While I would think on non practice days I could get away with not as eating as much protein or as much in general, that's probably wrong. On off days the body is recovering and needs food to help rebuild tissues.

Maybe she would drink a fruit smoothie, lace it with whey protein.

How about cheese. It's one of those things I'm willing to eat when sick. I sometimes switch to eating yogurt and milk when I'm sick because I'm just not up to eating as much solid food though I do like salads when I'm ill or just pieces of fruits, french toast or "eggs in a basket" aka eggs in a cut out part of toast.
 
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emacmommy

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Valentin, I love this article!!! Off to come up with list of ideas for the food parts you recommend. I'm definitely going to publish this to my parents! We have had a difficult time getting parents to embrace that food choices are important for their daughter's performance both in competition and practice. Some have gone so far as the "how dare you" put nutrition recommendations in our parent handbook. It's quite regrettable, but I feel it's important to offer some sort of education to our parents.

2:00am here and awakened by a thunderstorm. Need to do something while it passes so I can sleep sound again. :)
 

mariposa

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emacmommy,

would love for you to share what you come up with. it was a lot of info, but i can't wait to break it down and try to make sure my kiddo is getting optimal nutrition for her growing body. :)

blairbob,

we do hardboiled eggs, string cheese, and smoothies! i love this whey protein shake mix from sprouts, i don't do it often, since i think it is better to get it from regular food sources, but sometimes when she isn't hungry, i will make her a chocolate banana protein shake or strawberry banana one with the vanilla flavor. yum.
 

mariposa

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and yikes. i just realized this was in the coaches forum and i replied and i am not a coach. sorry everyone. i didn't think it would allow me to and i always click on New Posts.
 
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emacmommy

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mariposa- I doubt you were posting on sacred ground... I don't mind in the least.

Valentin-

I didn't notice what you said about how the GL foods should be spread out through the day. Evenly, or more weighted closer to practice times with less after practice times. I'm going to give an example of my guess, you tell me which if I'm close, or what should be changed, or if I'm looking at it all wrong.

Practice Time 4:30 - 7:30 pm (break at 6:30)

Breakfast 20%
Snack 5%
Lunch 50%
Snack 10%
PRACTICE
Snack During Practice 5%
Dinner 10% with protein emphasis for muscle build

Two other questions: 1) You mention these recommendetions in your article for preadolescent athletes. Do you have an article for those athletes going through puberty, and after puberty when they are close, but not quite young adults?

2) My little gymmie finds it difficult to stay focused and on task at school unless highly engaged, either physically or just by a very energetic teacher. A bit on the ADD tendancies, without saying she is ADD. Do you have any food suggestions that fit into a training diet? She needs to keep still without getting lethargic and "drifty" so she can get through class assignments.

If you can keep her learning pace quick and moving she does fine. A lot of it is age... so everyone tells me, but it's similar at the gym too. When we are in "clinic" mode at the gym and we are doing a lot of explanations of expectations and assignment giving she is a space cadet and inattentive, more so than other gymmies her age, or so it seems to me. I'm sure part of it is the mother-coach relationship too. I have a few other gymmies on team that could use this help too though.

Any help from the sports scientists out there would be great!
 

Valentin

Coach
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Nov 12, 2007
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Hi emacmommy

Thanks for the positive feedback, its good to hear that you found the article interesting and potentially helpful. TO address your questions.
I am not entirely sure what the percentages signify? Is it calories, carbohydrate intake? protein? Can you please explain further.
What do you mean my GL foods? Are these High, low, medium?

In regard to your other questions
1- I don't have an article personally on the nutritional requirements for Adolescent athletes (yet). However at that ages the nutritional requirements are definitely at their peak (for both boys and girls) and are very similar to an adult athlete.
There is actually very little research out there specific to gymnastics nutritional needs, actually there are none. There are several reports on a variety of levels (Elite, Collegiate, even National) that that show that gymnasts (female in particular) are not eating enough. Most recommendations are based on generalized athlete nutritional requirements. Its an area that needs further research.

2- Do you have any food suggestions that fit into a training diet to stay focused and on task ?

What you describe is not to uncommon in my experience, but i notice it more so in Recreational classes than competitive (predominantly because of program selection as opposed to open entry). However some thoughts are:
1- Recently there was a release of some research which showed "evidence that some food additives can have an adverse effect on children’s behaviour. In some this may be serious enough to be classified as ADHD; in others it may be milder and perhaps not be recognised as a specific condition at all, but still enough to detract from their experience in school and, presumably, in other ways as well. We should also ask what other effects these additives may be having, and whether they really affect only children. " . Now one can question this results due to possible methodology, but overall there is enough evidence out there i think to show it could be an easy intervention for parents to try if they feel their kids are showing signs of ADHD.
Now i am not saying that your child is particularly effect but it could be worth a try to modify her diet to remove those food colorings and see what happens.

Aside from modifying her diet to ensure that she has a regular stream of energy as opposed to big rushes through irregular spaced out, and large meals i don't i can recommend any other dietary suggestions. Generally the kids who are easily distracted could be due to any one of many possible learning disabilities, from weaker vision (requiring glasses) to more complex psychological issues like dyslexia, or ADHD. I am just not qualified to make any specific recommendations. I would however advise at looking at the food coloring option as its something that is fairly easily done, and could be the key.

Alternatively it sounds that your child is a at point where (how old is she by the way) that she just needs to have plenty to do, but in a structured and directed manner. If she is left to her own, she will get distracted to easily and play up. I recently read an interesting study (Rosado, Mesquita, Breia, 2008) that showed "almost up to 40%," of feedback is not retained by gymnasts. (of course more so younger kids than the older). "These results suggest that athletes retention tends to be more difficult when the information is longer, less contextualized and doesn't refer specifically to any specific motor task. Thus is could very well be just what 'everyone else' says, and its a phase.
 

Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Hi mariposa

I was doing heavy protein before practice, carbs, too, but I will have to readjust and figure a good way to get her all she needs. Any suggestions?

I recommend that you spead her meals into about 6 times a day. Breakfast, lunch (of snack 1.5-2 hrs before training) and dinner should be the main sources of lean protein (from things like skinless chicken, tuna, turkey, etc.) amongs that you should have plenty of carbohydrates in her diet. Vitamins and minerals requirements are met easily with 5-6 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Don't calorie count, there is no need.

Would non practice days be different than practice days? Thanks!

Only real difference should be in the amount of carbohydrates she consumes. Protein could also be a little less, overall she could consume less calories on training days, but should as Blair pointed out main a elevated level of protein for recovery. (assuming she is actually training at an Elite level, which assumes high level of intensity in training and a lot of training hours).
 
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emacmommy

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Valentin-

BTW my MoJo Gymmie is 9 yrs old.

The percentages are broken down from 100% of the Higher Glycemic Foods intake needed per the weight of the athlete. Obviously you wouldn't want to eat all 100% of the higher glycemic foods at breakfast if you are to practice in the afternoon. How should the day's intake be broken down. The percentages were my guess. Yes, by GL (glycemic load) I meant the higher glycemic foods.

You got me so interested in this that I'm currently compiling a food spreadsheet to compare foods nutritional components per an average portion that I found on carbs-information.com site, rather than the standard 100g of food, which isn't always portion friendly. I'm including portion size, Glycemic Load, Carbs, Fat, Protein, Calories. I feel I can't really plan for a menu if I can't see the comparison in similar portions. While it would be too tedious to do all the foods, I am doing about 3 - 5 in each food category. Per the above website I chose to report in "Glycemic Load" as it "is the application of the glycemic index to a standard serving of food"

I love learning about these things, but unfortunately with a family of four children all running in different circles, a husband, and myself working full time with an after school sport, it makes it difficult to be disciplined with a daily diet. I really do want to expirement with this and make it work.

Compling this list has shed a new light on my old stand-bys of foods as a high level competitive athletes myself. I will no longer look at dates, barley and bagels in the same light again (excellent GL foods & carbs) as well as the fruits that I usually stock the competitive gym bag with (not so great GL choices!).

I can't wait to share what I come up with and then maybe we can start a kid athlete friendly recipe post. My daughter loves to cook, and this would be an excellent project for her and I to follow through with. Now, if I can just stay dedicated in the mayhem of life.
 
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emacmommy

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Another quick question...

How can you tell the higher glucose foods that sustain, rather than spike the blood sugar level and then leave?

I think I just answered the question by re-reading your article. The Higher GI foods AND higher carbs should help sustain the energy level. Correct? High GI and low carbs will cause an increase in energy and then a crash...

Am I on the right track?
 
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Valentin

Coach
Coach
Nov 12, 2007
376
USA
Hi emacmommy

How should the day's intake be broken down.
That is a complicated question, and there probably isn't a perfect answer. In general it look as though your breakdown looks good. Only thing i would probably suggest is maybe to change the lunch to35-40%, and add a little more to the snack before breakfast and after lunch. However the issues is that your child my not find this works for her. It really depends on this kind of training she goes through. A high carb intake before training, with a aerobic component to the training can cause discomfort, nausea, upset stomach. All and all its best to try out what work and what doesn't.

Would definitely be interested to know what you come up with.

High GI and low carbs will cause an increase in energy and then a crash...

Pretty much yeah. Its not a guarantee that you will crash as metabolism of the individual has to be considered, but generally it does result in feeling more lathargic, following a sharp drop in blood sugar levels.

Keep us posted on what you come up.
I would however suggest not to get to carried away, as this can become quite and obsessive hobby. But i don't sound like you have the time for hobbies haha.
 
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