FEB 27,2019

Great Pre-Workout Meals For Your Rhythmic Gymnast

Trying to fit everything in your busy schedule can be challenging - from handling your own calendar to making sure that your young rhythmic gymnast gets to practices, the gym, their school work, and enjoying their life. Good nutrition is a vital part of making sure that your child can operate at their best.

Of course, it can be really overwhelming to find out the best thing to serve. Serving the right food at the right time is a great way to make sure that your child can perform at peak potential. Different nutrients take different time to digest, so the first step to making a perfect pre-workout meal is to determine timings.

What Nutrients Does My Rhythmic Gymnast Need?

When it comes to meeting your child’s dietary needs, and helping their body to grow and develop while partaking safely in rhythmic gymnastics, it’s important to understand the effect different foods have on the body.

Carbohydrates are the big energy suppliers to the body. When they’re digested, they provide a steady supply of healthy energy for your child to burn through. Be wary of “carb loading” (encouraging your child to eat a lot of carbs before an event) which does very little good for your child, however carbohydrates are an essential part of your child’s diet.

The best sources of carbohydrates: whole-grain foods (rice or pasta), cereals, fruits & vegetables

Proteins are essential for muscle repair and muscle building, and they’re an integral part of a balanced diet. Be wary of too much protein, however, which can lead to issues with calcium loss and dehydration.

The best sources of proteins: fish, poultry, lean meat, dairy, beans, nuts, and soy.

Vitamins help to ensure that your child’s growing body can continue developing in strong and healthy ways. Particularly for rhythmic gymnastics, it’s important to ensure that your child is getting enough calcium and iron.

Calcium is formative in the development of strong bones. As a rhythmic gymnast, your child will also rely on calcium to prevent stress fractures.

The best sources of calcium: milk, yogurt, and dark leafy greens, like broccoli and cabbage.

Iron ensures that oxygen is sent efficiently around the body, which is important during training for your rhythmic gymnast.

The best sources of iron: eggs, lean meat, dried fruits, and leafy greens.


When it comes to the food you prepare for your child as a rhythmic gymnast, most of it fits into the structure of a balanced diet. The difference in digestion times means that it’s important to tailor the food your child eats. While it’s always a good idea to make sure that your child gets plenty of carbohydrates and proteins before exercise, if your child only has a short amount of time before they practice or workout, it’s a better idea to give them carbohydrates which are easy to digest, such as fruit. 

Food digestion times:

  • Carbohydrates: quick, usually within 2 to 3 hours
  • Proteins: around 3 to 4 hours
  • Fats: up to 6 hours

2-3+ hours before training

This is the perfect sweet spot to give your child something filling and nutritious, that will give them a release of energy while making sure they get the necessary vitamins.  


You will want to create a combination of proteins and carbohydrates and vitamins, such as:

  • Chicken and broccoli whole-wheat pasta bake
  • Chilli with ground meat, beans and tomatoes
  • Fish, green beans, and salad  

1-2 hours before training

At this point, it’s important to consider that your child will have less time to digest the food, and won’t want to go into training feeling full or sluggish. A combination of protein with carbohydrates is still valuable here, but needs to include a smaller amount of protein.

  • Whole-wheat avocado toast with tomatoes and a little bit of feta cheese
  • Oatmeal with a sliced banana and some chopped almonds
  • Peanut butter and banana whole-whole-wheat toast


1 hour or less before training

There are two main types of carbohydrate: simple carbs, and complex carbs. Simple carbs give a burst of energy but contain very little by way of real substance. They are sugary and sweet, and include things like soda and packaged cookies. Not great for your rhythmic gymnast!


Complex carbs, on the other hand, are the perfect food to give your child before they work out or rehearse. Foods that are high in fiber or starch are the most familiar complex carbohydrates. So when you’re thinking of what to serve your rhythmic gymnast for a snack, this is where you turn to bananas, fruit, and berries. They’ll provide a great boost of energy, and put them in the right frame of mind for training.


Some great snack recommendations at this point include:

  • Hummus & veggie sticks
  • Yogurt & granola
  • Apple & Almond butter


Don’t forget about water

Finally, the other thing to bear in mind is to make sure that your child gets plenty of water throughout the day. Half your child’s body weight in ounces of water per day is recommended.


Aside from helping your child stay hydrated and able to train more easily, ensuring proper hydration means that they will enjoy better health as well as clearer skin and more energy. It’s a win all round!

If you’re interested in the best ways to provide nutrition for your child, as well as getting to know our Balance Academy and what we have to offer, don’t forget to join us on Facebook and Instagram.


At Balance Academy, we are passionate and proud of the quality of our instructors. Our coaches believe in a healthy and full development of the entire gymnast, in a safe and fun environment. Follow us on Facebook or see what we do on Instagram, to find out more about what we do, and chat with other parents about why they love what we do. 


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