Nutrition for Gymnasts

Nutrition for gymnasts

The number one question I get asked by parents of younger gymnasts isn’t ” what” should they eat but rather “when”.  How do you structure their food so that they have enough to sustain them through twice a day training, or long evening training and a full day of school without the dreaded slump half way through and the crash where they are so hungry you end up at the drive thru because they can’t make it home.

Gymnastics isn’t a sport that requires a huge amount of calories to supply the energy required therefore you need to make every calorie count, packing as much nutrition as you can into every bite so that it isn’t weighing them down. This is also important for the kid who never wants to eat anything, if you are only eating a few bites they better be the healthiest bites they can be. What many athletes have found works well is grazing – several mini meals through out the day.  

This is what a typical day looks like at our house;

Breakfast before training – some kids don’t like training on a full stomach , mine is one of them.  Breakfast is sprouted wheat toast and peanut butter or oatmeal.  If you can introduce sprouted wheat bread it is great, one slice has the same amount of protein as an egg.

After training – this is when she is starving!  Typically chocolate milk, fruit and a yogurt or muffin.  Muffins can be a great snack but be careful of store bought ones, often they are just ugly cupcakes, loaded with sugar and fat.  Aussie bites from Costco are a great little two bite snack and taste great with peanut butter or dunked in applesauce.  

Lunch – lunch is Usually dinner leftovers in a thermos, , the rest of her milk, veggies and a piece of fruit.  I always freeze leftovers in individual portions so that she has a variety to choose from.  

Before gym – yogurt and a granola bar

After gym – eats whatever is left in her bag on the way home.  This sounds like a lot of food but small portions of several different things is what works best for her.  

Dinner – younger gymnasts who train later may find it hard to eat a big meal right before bed ,  that was when we moved the larger meal to lunch time and just had a light meal on the way home from gym.

Younger gymnasts who still have snack during gym – this is meant to be a quick five minute snack, not a mini meal.  They should be able to eat it in ten bites and be back in the gym.  A yogurt, a piece of fruit or some veggies or some cheese and a couple whole grain crackers is all they need.

Every kid is different and it may take some trial and error to find the right combination for your child and her schedule.  Try and include a fruit or vegetable, a whole grain and some protein at each meal.  Most importantly include your child in the conversation about why this is important.  Good nutrition is a huge part in staying healthy ( and healing quickly) as a gymnast.  If they are part of the planning of what they are eating they are less likely to come home with a full lunch bag.

*** Disclaimer- I am not an expert in nutrition, just a mom who is willing to share what I have learned along the way.

To read something written by a real expert go to the kindle store and download 

Because she is worth it – a nutritional guide for parent with daughters by Dr Joshua Eldridge

He knows gymnastics well and has written it specifically for gymnasts

written by Tracey Anderson    

Tracey is one of our Pegasus Gymnastics parents with a National level gymnast.  We thank her for sharing her knowledge and experiences with other gymnastics parents who are new to the scene and some of the seasoned parents who are always looking for great ways to help out their athletes.   Thank you Tracey!

What to wear, and other stuff…

Okay, competition is coming and we want to make sure that your athlete is setup for success.  No worrying about the small stuff.  Here is a list of the small stuff that can turn into big stuff if you are not prepared.  Ready?  Here we go…


Please arrive at the competition venue 30 minutes prior to your listed warm-up time.  There will be a registration table for the athletes. This is where you say good-bye and good luck and send them to their coaches.

*Make sure you have cash on hand.  All competitions charge entry fee to come and watch and it is usually cash only.

This is a good time to check your phone battery.  Scores are usually posted live on a website and it would be really disappointing to run out of battery life just before the final scores!  Usually a QR Code is provided at the meet for you to scan and view the scores, OR you can go to the Pegasus website and the link will be provided there too!


When your athlete arrives at the venue make sure that they are dressed and ready to go, hair done and bags packed.

COMP SUIT – you should already have your suit on by the time you check in at the registration table.

LEGGINGS – plain black leggings only. No coloured stitching or waistbands.

JACKET – Go Team Pegasus!  Please be wearing your team jacket when you arrive.  On travel meets you are also expected to wear the jacket when you go to watch your teammates compete.

SOCKS – clean…white….plain.  Buy several pairs at the beginning of the season and keep with the comp suit so you aren’t searching at the last minute.

*your athlete can also bring slippers or flip flops to wear on the competition floor as the concrete floor can get cold.

MAKE-UP – Make up is not required but if your athlete usually wears it, please make sure it is natural looking.  This is not the time to try something new.



When you are wearing your track suit, you are representing Pegasus.  Please be on your best behavior even if you are less than pleased with your results.  Good sportsmanship is a must.  This goes for parents too!  You never know who is sitting around you.  It reflects poorly to hear you badmouthing another athlete or gym.  Remember they are all someones child and they are doing their best.  The same goes for how you speak about your own child.  Stay positive!



It can be a long day for your athlete so make sure they have a water bottle (water only please) and a snack (nothing messy or hard to eat).  Some competitions can last up to four hours and it helps to have something to tide them over.  Easy one bite snacks.



After you have said good-bye to your athlete your job is done.  Please do not try to talk to them during the competition.  The floor is off limits unless you are competing.  If there is anything you MUST talk to your athlete about once they are on the floor, please go through the coach.



It is a long day for siblings that are attending the event with you.  Make sure they have hours of fun packed in a backpack they can use to keep busy.  There are lots of things our athletes need to focus on during competition and little brothers and sisters are not one of them.  It is distracting to all athletes.



Please, NO swimming before the competition.  Swimming can be exhausting and we want our athletes to be the best they can.  After the meet, swim, swim, swim all you want!



It is important for your athlete to eat well leading up to the competition day.  You know your athlete best, so make sure that they are well fed but not “full” before the competition.  Plan ahead for the meet.  If they are competing at a different time than they normally train, take that into account and plan accordingly.


Your athlete has done all the hard work and training and this is the fun part!  They are already nervous, so don’t take it personally if they are distracted or edgy.

Most of all, Stay Positive and Have Fun!


How’s my hair?

Now that competition season is upon us there are many questions for parents and athletes alike.  One common question is “How do I do my hair?”  Well, this is for you!  Thanks to Coach Nicole (our resident athlete hairstylist) we have some examples for you.

The coaches would like to keep the hair of all of our Pegasus athletes consistent and clean looking.  Please make sure that you only select one of these styles for competition.  We want to make sure our team, looks like a team!

NO – ballerina buns please

NO – elaborate braids, twists etc that cause all the other parents to say…..”how did she do that?”

NO – bobby pins.  if they fall out on the floor they are a safety hazard.  please do not use them

YES – All the girls must wear the hair bow.  A quick thank you to Tracey Anderson who has graciously hand made all of the bows for all the girls hair.  The coaches will have the bows for each athlete.

YES – hairspray, spray gel, gel, whatever it takes.  Practice before training to see if it holds.  If it makes it through training, you have used enough spray.

YES – hair clips need to be as close to your hair colour as possible.  No rainbow, sparkle, glitter clips please.

** It is a little known secret, that TWO elastics will hold twice as well as one!  Make sure they have extra elastics (in a neutral colour).  the more they use, the tighter the hold.


There are only two hairstyles that the coaches would like to see on the athletes.


Plain Ponytail


This sounds self-explanatory but be forewarned!  If the ponytail is too long, the girls can receive a deduction.  This is NOT the way to lose points in a competition!  What is too long?  Well, if the hair at the end of the ponytail touches any of the apparatus during their routine, it is too long.

If you want to keep the hair in a plain ponytail but it is very long, try curling the hair into ringlets.  It can usually take a few inches off of the length.  A simple french braid of the bangs into the bun or ponytail is fine (see pic below in flip over bun).

The ponytail is to sit high on the head.  If it is high enough if you should be able to see the bow from the front.

The bow goes on with the tails next to the head.  It sounds backwards but it looks better.


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Flip Over Bun

A flip over bun is created the same way as the ponytail but the end of the ponytail is left inside the elastic to create a “loop”.  Please make sure that the flip over bun is secure!  Also, the end of the ponytail is tucked under and hidden (see pictures below).  A simple french braid of the bangs into the bun or ponytail is fine.

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We hope this helps on competition day when all the moms (and dads) are helping our athletes prepare.

Good luck to everyone in the upcoming competition season!

A must read for all Pegasus parents who are new to competitions and travel

A special thank you to Tracey Anderson for sharing her wisdom and knowledge with all of us!

Here are some of the things I have learned as a gym mom and team manager.

Most importantly, your child is ready for this.  If you are excited for them and confident, they will be too.  Conversely if you are nervous and not sure they can handle it they will pick up on that too.

Here are some tips I have learned along the way.

Before you go

Don’t let this be the first time away from you, arrange sleepovers with other kids from gym.

Practice living out of suitcase for a weekend.  Work out a system with them for keeping their stuff organized. With four girls in a room they have to keep their stuff together.

Go out for dinner and show them how to look for healthy options on the menu,  narrow it down to a few things they like so they know what to ask for if they don’t see it on the menu. let them order themselves . Show them how to figure out tip and let them pay themselves.  Go to Subway and have them do all their ordering and paying themselves .

Talk about handling homesickness and how they will cope.

If they are nervous about doing their hair have them practice with an older girl at the gym after training one night.  The older girls will make sure they are ready before competition.

If you want to send a pre paid visa or debit card make sure they know how to use it.  Practice with it before they go. Only the pre paid Visa cards with the raised numbers work every where.  Make sure the debit card has the visa symbol on it if they are in the US. They do need some cash as well.  Often one person will go and pick up food for a group of them.


A small rolling carry on size suitcase is all they need.

Make sure they have their suit , track jacket, music and grips in their carry on.

Pack cards, small games, movies, rainbow loom etc to keep busy in hotel room

Pack LOTS of snacks, divide between a couple of ziplock so they don’t run out the first day. Make sure they have snacks in their backpack as well as they will be at the venue watching the other girls compete most of the day.

ZIPLOCS are the best way to keep their suitcase organized.  They don’t need lots of clothes  as they will wear their track jacket every day.

Make sure they have warm waterproof boots for Montreal.  It is often slushy and they walk from the metro to the venue every day. Ugg type boots get wet through. Rubber boots with warm socks are a better choice if that is what your daughter has.

Pack a special stuffy or blanket for sleeping. Even the big girls have their special things

A small cross body purse is a convenient way for them to keep their money close and organized.  Make sure they have some small bills and change as well.  Give them enough for a couple of days and give the rest to the coach in SM Ziploc with their name on it.  $40 / day is a rough estimate for food.

While they are gone

They will be fine !!!!

They can always text or face time with you when they are in the hotel room.  If they don’t have an iPod or a phone don’t worry.  They can use one of the older girls.  If you want to give your number to an older girl to pass on messages to your child just make arrangements after training before you go.

It is better to text or talk  early in the day, sometimes a happy kid becomes teary when tired and talking to mom at bedtime.

It is important for the girls to cheer on their team mates as a team.  You can say hi to your child at the venue but encourage them to stay with their team.  This is an important team bonding time for them.

Give them space, they are ready for this and if they are really struggling they need to let their coach know.  They are looking to you for reassurance that they can handle this.

When you see your child at the airport when you pick them up they will have so much to tell you,  team travel is a great opportunity for them to grow and develop confidence.


Why Competitive Gymnastics or T&T at Pegasus Gymnastics

First of all this is my first blog post ever! It is something I have always wanted to do and what a better time to do it.

The question I have gotten a lot is why should we go to Pegasus Gymnastics? I wish there was a short answer to that question, but their isn’t. Tammy and myself are both career long gymnastics coaches combined we have over 45 years of gymnastics experience, either training or coaching. So we truly understand what all athletes are going through. Opening this gymnastics club has been our goal for many many years and it has finally come true. Being in the industry for so long we have seen the mistake that other clubs make. We are two people that learn from other peoples mistakes.

Saying all that we are going to have a family friendly environment at Pegasus Gymnastics. Our number one focus here is TEAM. We want a strong team, a solid team of coaches, athletes and parents. It is important to have all of them. We really want Pegasus Pride and that’s from our athletes, coaches AND parents. If everyone takes pride in what we do here this program will be strong!

The athletes and their long term goal are really important to us. There is a reason why every gymnast attends gymnastics. Some of those reason may be fun, success, working hard, challenges and social reason. We here at Pegasus Gymnastics want to understand those reason and build a proper training program for them. Saying all that we want quality gymnastics in a TEAM environment. Getting all the parents, athletes and coaches together in atmosphere outside and in the gym so that we strengthen our TEAM is important. The family environment is something that we cannot stress enough, we have these young athletes in our care and we take that very seriously. We want to develop lifelong skills that will benefit them in more than just gymnastics. We want them to take all the positive parts of this sport and apply them to the real world. We have this wonderful sport that allows us to teach them so much. We do not want to waste this opportunity .

Change is never something that is easy, especially when dealing with the people that are very important to you. But we feel in this family centred environment that the change won’t be as hard as you think.  So please if you have any questions do not hesitate to call, email or please stop by! We would love to answer any questions you may have!