Food For Gold- Olympian Stephen McCain' Special Diet
Every athlete follows a special diet based on the requirement of his or her specific sport. Gymnast Stephen McCain too has a diet plan that helps him stay fit and give his best. A gymnast burns close to 230 kcal every hour and the food intake should make up for the same. The calories that are taken in must be close to the ones that are burned to ensure a healthy body weight, a crucial part of fitness for an athlete. Read the blog below to find out what makes Stephen McCain’s diet plan different from the rest.
The Recommended Diet Plan For Elite Gymnasts
According to gymnastics associations, a gymnast must consume a high carbohydrate, moderate protein and a low fat diet. This will provide the muscle with sufficient glycogen stores so that there is enough fuel for the main event. Too little protein will weaken the muscles over time and hamper with their repair and recovery. The fat content needs to be just enough to provide all the essential fatty acids and has to be present minimally in the diet.
Considering that gymnasts spend 30 - 40 hours a week practicing, adequate nourishment is very important. A high calorie, high protein diet is recommended.
Sample Diet Plan For A Gymnast
Egg whites, mixed grain porridge and fruits
Mid Morning Snack
Vegetables and milk
Chicken and wholemeal bread
Vegetables and cheese, nuts, granola bars
Chicken or fish, pasta, beans
Stephen McCain Diet Formula
Far from expert opinion, Stephen McCain's personal preference is a low carbohydrate and high protein diet which pushes him to his maximum capacity. The meals that he eats consist of about 70 % proteins and only 30 % carbohydrates. This according to McCain works the best for him and his performance says the same.
The protein comes from meat, eggs and cheese, while whole grain breads, pastas, fruits and vegetables make the bulk of the carbohydrate consumed. This is ideal for a gymnast as it provides the right amount of energy for the main event that does not last longer than 20 minutes. This diet also works to keept the athlete lean and avoid the deposition of unwanted fat stores. The proteins consumed should not exceed more than 2 g per kg body weight to prevent any harm to the kidney or liver that can occur due to an overdose and cause stress.
Fats are obtained from vegetable sources like olive, canola, safflower and peanut which are unsaturated and healthy. This supplies essential fatty acids that keeps the body fit and strong. Saturated fats like margarine, butter and lard are kept to a minimum.
This combination of nutrients is necessary to provide the muscles with all the amino acids that they need for growth and repair and also to recover from fatigue. Without this there will be a lot of weakness and gradual reduction in the size of the muscle cells and also their firmness. The complete lack of carbohydrates will result in low glucose levels which are needed for the optimal functioning of the brain and heart. Stephen McCain avoids simple sugars and products made out of refined flour as this causes a quick increase in blood sugar levels and leaves an athlete exhausted half way through the main event.
Plain water is a must for McCain who takes sips between workouts and training sessions. There are small chances of dehydration that can occur especially during practices that occur in hot environments. Signs that water is lost is sweating ( even if it is mild) and can cause muscle cramps that can severely affect performance. Energy drinks that contain caffeine should be avoided as this can increase the loss of water in urine.
This high protein diet menu is what Stephen McCain swears by and owes a lot of his success to. All we can say is keep going McCain and bring back more of that gold!.