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Helping 5 year old to gain/maintain weight?

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mariposa

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My 5 year old is 35lbs and 41" tall. She has always been petite, I was as a child as well and her sister (who eats way more than she EVER did) is following the same growth pattern as she did (which funny enough is almost identical to mine, can we say genetics?). She is very active all day, playing outside, riding her bike, running, riding her scooter, etc. She does gymnastics 3 hours a week.

My concern is that she is going to be moved to team by summer and that will be 12 hours a week (level 4). How on earth is she going to gain any weight then? I worry because she is one of the smaller ones in her class and it just seems she would be better off with a little more meat on her. :D

Anyone else struggle with this? I am so over the comments about how tiny my kids are. They aren't THAT tiny. They are petite, but it is how they are naturally. She does eat, but not as much as I think she will need for that much practice a week.

Ideas?

(Also, not sure where this should have gone, so I put it in Q&A) would love input from parents, gymnasts, coaches, anyone!
 
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skfleming255

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Jul 29, 2007
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My dd is 7 years old and weighs only 40 pounds. I am 31 and 5'4" and weigh only 92. My dd's are destined to be tiny. My 7 year old does gymnastics for 4 hours a week. I don't worry too much about her b/c she is healthy and active. I just know that she is going to be small like me. As long as she's healthy and not losing weight, I don't have a problem with her being tiny.:)
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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mariposamama, as you mentioned, genetics does play a big role in your childs development. As long as she is staying healthy, eating well and her pediatrician positively signs off on her growth/weight chart every year all is well:D

I will say that last year Audrey was off the chart in height/weight and after she joined comp gymnatics, she is now in the 5% for her age/weight/height. She is 37lbs, 42 inches. We have her eat as healthy as possible - which is no problem with her + she eats big for a little one lol. She eats a healthy snack at practice, always eats breakfast, lunch & dinner with more snacks in between. If you are really concerned I am sure there are healthy high calorie shakes to add to her diet... just get all approved with her ped. Our ped is well aware of A's schedule, diet and approves whole heartedly.
 

mariposa

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thanks! i don't worry about her at all now. she is always super healthy and has always followed her growth curve. she is strong and very active, so obviously not starving. LOL. my worry is that she will be burning much more calories when she starts having more practice a week and i don't want her to lose weight or stop gaining.

i have an awesome protein shake mix i love from sprouts. might have to get some of that for her. yummy. luckily she loves cottage cheese as well, which has lots of fat and protein. gotta get them in small punches because she isn't a big eater.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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my worry is that she will be burning much more calories when she starts having more practice a week and i don't want her to lose weight or stop gaining.

Most likely her appetite will increase with more activity - nothing to worry about until you cross that bridge:D
 

gymmomntc2e6

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Aug 25, 2007
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My dd is 7 and 42lbs. she is 46inches. long arms and legs - which she has trouble keeping straight :(
has always been in 5th percentile as has ds, who is 11, 4ft 8in and 63lbs. practically can't see him if her turns sideways.
: )
 

maddiekate

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Aug 8, 2007
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i don't think its anything to worry about. I'm 5'2", and 80 lbs. I think it makes gymnastics easier. I'm not unhealthy or anything. I actually think i gained weight for starting gymnastics, because of muscle and because i am always hungry.
 

Kayleigh

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Oct 6, 2007
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Most likely her appetite will increase with more activity - nothing to worry about until you cross that bridge:D
Oh gosh, I used to eat NOTHING. Now I eat pretty much everything that crosses my path. it's horrible and I really need to stop, but I'm just always hungry. :D
 

gymnast4evr

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Dec 6, 2007
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tiny

im tiny too. im 4'8 and 75 pounds and im 13. i know thats small. my mom and dad are really short too. i eat fine and its ok to be short it is easier in gymnastics for me. my teammates are like 5'2' and i usually get skills before them. but yeah its ok too be short. don't worry.
 
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united team girl

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m a level six gymnast and i was so small when i got in. Now i weigh like 92 pounds! Gymnasts are almost always going to be little. but once they put her in level four, she will gain weight. In the begining, she will start working out harder and then she will get hungrier and then get some more meat on her bones. Then she will gai alot of muscle. Most of me is still muscle! Make sure she eats her protien!
 

mariposa

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thanks guys. i definitely try to pack in high calorie, high protein and high fat foods when she does eat. she loves cottage cheese as her snack before gymnastics or a bagel and cream cheese. i try to sneak in those calories as much as i can. :)
 

jls1969

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Sep 27, 2007
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I think you are smart to be concerned...I too have the same problem with my daughter. She is 4'5" and 60 lbs and she is almost 11. She is on a serious competitive team and trains 15 hours each week. I talked to her doctor and we decided that since she is not a huge eater, that she should eat more during the day. I talked with her school and explained the situation---we agreed she could eat 2 snacks through out the day (in addition to lunch). At first she was embarrassed, but now she knows that is just what she needs to do in order to stay in the sport. I usually send a Zone Bar and some time of fruit or peanut butter crackers. It works well for us.

Hope this was helpful!
 

Aussie_coach

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I don't think there is much to worry about. As long as she is happy and healthy and energetic then you know she is getting the calories she needs. When her hours increase to twelve a week it is quite likely her appettite will increase aswell. He body is doing the job it is meant to do by telling her how hungry she is and how much to eat.

Having said this however many of the team kids have appalling diets. We sometimes see them come in after school and not eat at all which means they have had nothing to eat since lunch ( and some didnt even eat lunch). Many will just train with no food for 3-4 hours. Even worse is that their afternoon tea will often be a packet of crisps or a bag on candy. This will give them an instant energy burst but then burn up quickly leaving them with very low blood sugar. Low blood sugar can lead to serious problems from lack of concentration to fainting.

Make sure you daughter has something substantial to around 30 minutes before training. This may of course mean you need to be prepared and she may need to eat in the car. Aviod junk food and go for slower realease foods such as breads. Insist she eats it, if we have very fussy eaters their parents often have the rulle if you don't eat you don't train. We support them fully on this as we know the serious health concerns that come from not eating.

Popping a piece of fruit in her bag is a good idea too. To have a quick bite during breaks.
 

mariposa

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thanks again. i definitely make her eat. we homeschool, so she eats throughout the day. she has never been a big eater, but i have noticed that she is really hungry when we get home from practice.

i always have her eat something good about an hour before her practice time. usually something high in protein and calories.

i definitely make sure she eats before practice. she knows we can't go if she doesn't eat. she understands that we have to eat to keep our bodies strong and healthy. and she is both healthy and strong, so i know that right now, she is getting enough. i was just worried about when she started training more.

i am feeling reassured that her appetitite will probably naturally increase as she becomes more active. :D
 

kristilyn73

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Jan 17, 2008
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Another Idea

As I have seen in many replies before. This is a situation that most gym parents have had to deal with.

I talked to our family doctor about it during a yearly well child check. My pediatrician had just read an article that recommended a big glass of chocolate milk after practice.

Apparently, it has a good balance of fat, sugar, protein and calcium to feed our little one's muscles after a work out.

We always make sure to have a half gallon of Coco Moo around the house.

It seems to work for us, and all that extra calcium cant hurt growing bones, right?

Good Luck to you!
 
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margymmom

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Both of my daughters are small also- my 8 y.o. has always been between the 5th and 10th percentile for weight. She is 4'1' and just reached 50 pounds. She gained weight after starting on a team several years ago because she developed so much muscle. She practices 12 hours a week and her appetite is hearty. She is a picky eater, so I just make sure that she has plenty of healthy snacks along with the other things she enjoys. I would love to see her shoot up, but I don't see it happening. I wouldn't worry unless she falls off of her normal growth curve.
 

gymgymgymnast08

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As long as she is getting the reccomended number of calories for her age/height/weight she will be fine. The majority of gymnasts on my gymnastics team have our weights made up of muscle. If we didn't do gymnastics and be sooo muscler, we wouldn't weight much at all.
 

cccam

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Dec 1, 2007
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i guess im the acception to the "small gymnast" theory. i have been doing gymnastics all my life.
But i am 5'6" and i weigh 110 lbs [10% body fat]
i follow in my dads footsteps i guess [my dad is 6 foot 6 inches]
most the girls at my gym are small and i would say, just make sure she is always eating healthy and strong ;]
 
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