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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Feb-02-17, 17:09
faduckeggs faduckeggs is offline
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Plan: HF Atkins paleo
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Progress: 108%
Location: Dallas
Default Nutrition for teen gymnast?

Hi all,

My daughter, 14, is a competitive gymnast. She trains 24 hours per week. This is made up of an hour of heavy conditioning 6 days a week, plus training on floor, bars, vault and beam every day. She also runs 30 minutes two days a week.

My daughter, like all the high-level kids at her gym, is rock solid muscle: 5', 100 pounds, fierce. And I always struggle with what and how much and when to feed her. All of the conventional wisdom says to feed the kids a very high carb diet for plenty of energy. I want to make sure she has all the food and nutrition she needs, but loading up on sugar and starches goes against everything I believe is important for nutrition.

I am a low carb lifer -- under 20 net carbs pretty much every day, for the past 5+ years. (I have low carbed for closer to ten years, but I finally landed on what works best for me about 5 years ago.) I have always fed my kids moderate carb diets, not low, but making sure they get plenty of protein and healthy fats.

I'm wondering if anyone knows resources for lower-carb nutrition for youth athletes? Advice? Thoughts?

The older she gets, the more criticism I receive for what I feed her, and specifically that I don't feed her enough carbs. My only goal is her health, not weight loss or gain or anything about that at all.

In a day, she will tend to eat:

breakfast: oatmeal with apple/walnuts and a sausage patty
lunch: sliced turkey (2-3 ounces), baby carrots, apple sauce pouch, beef jerky stick, cashews. Occasionally a greek yogurt cup.
preworkout snack: peanut butter crackers and mango, or a couple of meatballs and grapes, or nuts and dried fruit, or she makes her own protein bars with peanut butter, protein powder, flax, nuts and dried fruit.
Dinner: protein (8+ ounces poached salmon, pork chops, steak), rice or couscous, a cooked veggie, a piece of fruit.

Typically we only drink water, but maybe once a week she will drink a coconut water.

If she gets fast food, she tends to go for chick fil a sandwich and a side of extra nuggets instead of fries.

Do athletes, or kid/teen athletes, really need more carbs? Just when I silenced the furor over not feeding my kids milk, the "but she needs the sugar for energy" choruses begin.
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Feb-02-17, 21:31
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thud123 thud123 is offline
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Plan: ~25NC/IF
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I don't really have much to suggest other than setup your daughter for success in the future by teaching her to avoid sugar the best she can. Sucrose is something we can afford to completely avoid, there is no nutritional benefit to it in my opinion. Being a gymnast I think requires a bit more "explosiveness" at times, that my be a bit at odds with experimental keto athletes. I've heard good things about these guys and high level training.

Art and Science of Low Carb - jeff Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen Phinney
http://www.artandscienceoflowcarb.com


Good luck. It may be a hard battle when you see things like this hanging on the walls at school. I took a picture of this a few months ago.

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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Nov-20-18, 22:33
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
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I can't imagine anyone taking issue with what she eats. After all, that's a fairly carb-rich diet with the fruit and the rice. When I look at what elite athletes say they eat to keep healthy for their sport, it looks just like what you've described. I would not worry.

SORRY, I noticed this was really old. Everything in the exercise forum is old!

Last edited by jschwab : Tue, Nov-20-18 at 22:46.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Nov-29-18, 19:21
faduckeggs faduckeggs is offline
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Posts: 1,709
 
Plan: HF Atkins paleo
Stats: 230/144/150 Female 63 inches
BF:less/than/before
Progress: 108%
Location: Dallas
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She is now a 16 year old power lifter. (She recently retired from gymnastics after a nasty neck injury. She flew backwards off the high bar and landed upside down on her head.)

She’s now a 5’ tall 118 pound teen who is still solid muscle. After two weeks in power lifting, she is dead lifting 240 pounds, squatting 200+ and can do 100 pull ups.

She has gotten more and more low carb as she gets older. She does still eat an apple and a banana a day, but no more oatmeal and rice. She does apple with almond butter for breakfast and a banana in her protein shake after lifting. But otherwise, she eats the same low carb diet that I do.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Nov-29-18, 22:03
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faduckeggs
She is now a 16 year old power lifter. (She recently retired from gymnastics after a nasty neck injury. She flew backwards off the high bar and landed upside down on her head.)

She’s now a 5’ tall 118 pound teen who is still solid muscle. After two weeks in power lifting, she is dead lifting 240 pounds, squatting 200+ and can do 100 pull ups.

She has gotten more and more low carb as she gets older. She does still eat an apple and a banana a day, but no more oatmeal and rice. She does apple with almond butter for breakfast and a banana in her protein shake after lifting. But otherwise, she eats the same low carb diet that I do.


Glad to hear she is doing well despite the awful injury! She sounds smart like her mom.
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 08:37
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Plan: atkins
Stats: 247/217/153 Female 5'8"
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Location: Massachusetts
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I too have teens, and starting the beginning of November we are trying to go wheat free and bread free, and will continue to modify the teen diet in this area thru December.

In stead of the breads, I am pushing more vegetable based foods like: winter squash, sweet potatoes and English potatoes of all colors. ( We grew blue potatoes this last summer.)

Spagetti is long gone from the diet as of about 6 months ago. And we use more cauliflower, broccali and spagetti squash instead to fill the plate.

Basically I make a hearty spagetti sauce filled with sausage or ground meat and serve in a bowl rather than on a plate piled with spagettti.

I have one teen that gravitates to the carbs; and another that will eat them if available. Im speaking of sweet pastries, and breads. According to some, the grain products are a health hazard, and each source gives a multitude of reasons.

We saute green leafy vegies for breakfast, like arugala, or mixed greens with baby spinach. A little butter and CO, and lightly salted. Served along side sausages.

We try to eat healthy fats. No more solvent-based vegetable oils. Instead butter, CO, avocado oil, sesame oils, animal fats. ( We are trying to more to a higher percentage of grassfed animal fats).

My kids will also eat fish like salmon or cod, even canned fish. Usually a sauce can be helpful to change up the flavors.

Please understand progress is slow to change eating habits; my kids have been on this journey for a long time. We are not afraid of fats, and meats but are concerned about the the effects of grains, sugars and processed foods.

We dont zero out on anything, but try to make good choices when we can.

Glad to hear your daughter has recovered from a neck injury, I remember falling off a horse and my neck hurt for many years. SHe will heal. Good food helps.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 08:57
faduckeggs faduckeggs is offline
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Plan: HF Atkins paleo
Stats: 230/144/150 Female 63 inches
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Progress: 108%
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I do worry about this new sport. She loves it -- she has wanted to be a body builder for years and the fact that she can lift weights at school thrills her. Her favorite part of being a gymnast was the conditioning, so this is the perfect outlet for her.

But there is such a focus on weight in the lifting world. She needs to lose four pounds for the weight class she wants to be in, and I hate that she is learning to fixate on the scale. Before lifting, she was weighed once a year, at the doctor, and that was it. Now, the coach weighs them all once a week, in front of the rest of the team.

It is always something with kids.
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  #8   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 08:59
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Plan: atkins
Stats: 247/217/153 Female 5'8"
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THUD, you are right about the challenges. I spent an hour talking to the company head that runs the school lunch program. They follow the government guidelines to get funding; Talked to the head of the new food service that came it: same answer. THey are NOT interested in health.

My kids to not eat school lunches. Providing quality food in travel-worthy containers is a challenge. If you look at the individual serving yogurts, it is zero fat, and filled with sugar. When I can find plain, it is low fat or zero fat. The full fat, plain yogurts come only in quart size.

I wish I had home schooled.
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 09:27
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wheeler wheeler is offline
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My daughter is a HS basketball athlete, she has set her sights on a college scholarship and becoming a professional athlete. I have worked in small schools and prepared food and understand the struggle all around. There is no getting around what the government mandates for a "healthy" menu or what most kids are willing to eat. I bought a book PALEO FOR TEENS and my daughter actually read it and keeps it on her bookshelf. I try to keep her going for the long days with fruit and nut bars, US Wellness beef sticks (expensive but so good), avocados, and eggs. She understands the need to eat right to fuel her body, but it's a struggle. Her coach rewards them with sweet treats, makes me crazy!
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  #10   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 09:38
faduckeggs faduckeggs is offline
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Posts: 1,709
 
Plan: HF Atkins paleo
Stats: 230/144/150 Female 63 inches
BF:less/than/before
Progress: 108%
Location: Dallas
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Her old gymnastics coach would reward them with skittles. The first time she landed her standing back on the high beam, it was a full bag of skittles. She shared with the whole locker room after practice, but still -- work out for four hours and get rewarded with a bag of sugar.

My dd makes and takes her own food to school, and she makes her own protein shakes after practice. But the schools do not make it easy.

I am going to make yogurt this weekend in my instant pot -- I use low carb/high protein whole milk with heavy whipping cream added to it. It makes super rich yogurt that is full fat and low in carbs. It is actually pretty easy to make, if you are into cooking at all.
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  #11   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 11:22
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Plan: atkins
Stats: 247/217/153 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress: 32%
Location: Massachusetts
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I too make yogurt at times. Just fill a large bowl of warm water. Add starter ( usually a plain yogurt) to a gallon of milk, and put in water for a day in a warm place or change out the water. I have used the oven, but watch carefully, and turn off oven after it is warmed up.

My kids dont sweeten this homemade version as it is a bit sweeter than any commercial brand.

I bought a number of high protein items via bob's red mill for the kids to make a higher proteined breakfast " oatmeal". Hemp seeds, and such. Honey and maple syrup as sweetener.
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  #12   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 13:54
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
Stats: 285/230/200 Female 5 feet 5.5 inches
BF:
Progress: 65%
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Arielle
THUD, you are right about the challenges. I spent an hour talking to the company head that runs the school lunch program. They follow the government guidelines to get funding; Talked to the head of the new food service that came it: same answer. THey are NOT interested in health.

My kids to not eat school lunches. Providing quality food in travel-worthy containers is a challenge. If you look at the individual serving yogurts, it is zero fat, and filled with sugar. When I can find plain, it is low fat or zero fat. The full fat, plain yogurts come only in quart size.

I wish I had home schooled.


School lunches was almost at the top of the list of my reasons why I homeschooled. The kids eat junk now but not the same as their peers. And they know what's health and what not.
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  #13   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 14:22
Ms Arielle's Avatar
Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Posts: 11,032
 
Plan: atkins
Stats: 247/217/153 Female 5'8"
BF:
Progress: 32%
Location: Massachusetts
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I didnot fully understand how home school could work and that with a little support on the process could have done it.

Met a lot of home schooled kids along the way, and they have the best shot of a happy future.

More well rounded, working with other people, self directed, eating wholesome foods ( if that is a priority). Many home schoolers are on a farm so they can balance geting out into the fresh air and working with education.
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  #14   ^
Old Fri, Nov-30-18, 21:05
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Posts: 5,972
 
Plan: Atkins72/Paleo/NoGrain/IF
Stats: 285/230/200 Female 5 feet 5.5 inches
BF:
Progress: 65%
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Arielle
I didnot fully understand how home school could work and that with a little support on the process could have done it.

Met a lot of home schooled kids along the way, and they have the best shot of a happy future.

More well rounded, working with other people, self directed, eating wholesome foods ( if that is a priority). Many home schoolers are on a farm so they can balance geting out into the fresh air and working with education.


It's really hard when it's so unknown and there is so much pressure for traditional school. It depends on where you live, too. We live in a state with excellent public cyberschool options that made it really easy. My kids are really thriving not really because of their education but because they had room to breathe and figure out who they really were. It's never too late to "homeschool", though. As an adult who committed to that lifestyle with the kids, I swear it affected me the most positively. I myself became the learner I never was as a kid and it has given me a lot of joy and contentment. We lived in the city - almost right downtown - but we did all the farm stuff which just cracks me up now that we ever managed it all in our inner city rowhouse. We had chickens, a giant garden reclaimed from an abandoned lot across the street, the kids have helped slaughter ducks, all that stuff. It was great!
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