The ketogenic diet has gained a lot of popularity recently perhaps because it is an ideal way of losing weight and improving ones cognitive function among other benefits. Recent reports show that even professional athletes including gymnasts are beginning to embrace the keto diet or low-carb diet as a way of getting quick energy for their sporting activities. In this article, we will look at how keto diet can help gymnastics.
The ketogenic diet is basically a low-carb and high-fat diet offering many health benefits that include weight loss and an improved health. This diet is designed to drastically reduce the intake of carbohydrates and replacing it with fat which puts the body into a metabolic state referred to as ketosis. This helps the body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy and also turning fat into ketones in your liver thus supplying enough energy to the brain.
Gymnastics unlike long-distance running or swimming is considered to be more of an “anaerobic” sport since more power is required than endurance. Carbohydrates produce lots of complex sugars that may not be helpful to a gymnast. In fact, gymnasts require intense bursts of power that are best provided by a diet rich in proteins. Gymnasts will often get at least 60 percent to 70 percent of all their calories from proteins such as meat and cheeses. The rest of the calories are obtained from carbohydrates such as whole-grain pasta, vegetables, fruits and fats such as peanut oil. Studies also show that high-protein regimes can help gymnasts to drastically lose their weight.
Despite the concerns from doctors and coaches about the possible negative effects of a low-carb diet on athletic performance, there is no data available to show that such a diet can affect strength performance. The keto diet which is basically a low-carb diet has a sudden effect on fat loss which is useful for gymnasts as this sport is based on weight class. The keto diet can significantly decrease body fat and body weight without affecting strength performance in high-level athletes such as gymnasts.
Some foods to eat while on a ketogenic diet include red meat, chicken, turkey, bacon and sausage as well as fatty fish such as trout, salmon, tuna and mackerel. Other foods include pastured or omega-3 whole eggs, butter and cream, cheese, avocados, nuts and seeds,healthy oils and low-carb veggies. However, it is important to avoid foods such as sugar-free diet foods, unhealthy fats such as processed vegetable oils, alcohol, some condiments or sauces, low-fat or diet products as well as sugary foods such as fruit juice, soda, ice cream, cake, candy and smoothies.
The diet of an elite gymnast is designed to help the body remain strong and explosive. The ketogenic diet is not all about limiting ones food intake but rather watching what you eat. Eating a low-carb diet ensures that blood sugar levels are normal which helps to control insulin levels thus the body is able to burn more fat. Gymnasts need to constantly replenish the nutrients they burn after workouts.
Christinia Wistia ( in photo) is a was a champion gymnast at country level and has written a blog on Keto dieting and the benefits. Check out her blog at helloketodiet.com