The Gymnastics Kitchen with Betsy: Pre- and Post-Workout Snacks

If you are a competitive gymnast, you know the challenges of feeling strong and energized while maintaining a high level of fitness. In addition, since gymnastics is a weight-managed sport, it's also tough to find snacks that not only make you FEEL good, but also make you LOOK healthy, lean, and fit.

Betsy's mission is to help gymnasts find foods that help performance, but don't add extra bulk or weight. Each week, she'll bring you a tip, recipe or fitness advice here in the Gymnastics Kitchen. 

This week, Betsy is providing some pre- and post-workout snacks. Gymnasts need to fuel up before and after practice, but should NOT incorporate high amounts of fat, sugar and heavy fried foods. 

Healthy Snack Guidelines: 


1. Must include complex carbohydrates to refuel muscle glycogen. Complex carbs keep your blood sugar stable so you don’t “crash” halfway through your workout.

2.  A solid amount of protein to prepare for, and repair, muscle breakdown.

3.  A moderate amount of natural sugar in the way of fruit and a very small amount of healthy fat to stave off hunger during or after workout.

4.  Hydration in the form of water.


Pre-Workout Snacks: 


Half a Banana Boat: Slice a banana down the middle, then cut it in half. Spread 1.5 tablespoons of natural almond or peanut butter onto the banana, then top with two tablespoons of raisins and a drizzle of honey.

Rice Cake Hummus Delight: On a whole-grain rice cake, spread two tablespoons of hummus, then top with four sliced cucumbers and a slice of tomato.

Fruit Kabobs and Nuts: *Slide green grapes, blueberries, strawberry slices and raspberries on toothpicks and eat them like kabobs. Enjoy with a side of 1/4-cup almonds or pistachios. Add string cheese for more protein.
*Fun to enjoy as frozen treats!

Post-Workout Snacks: 


Quick Lettuce Wrap: On a lettuce leaf, dole out three ounces of low-sodium tuna, two tablespoons of salsa, 1/2 cup of brown rice and a slice of avocado.

Greek Yogurt and Oats: One cup of plain Greek yogurt, blended with 2/3 cup of dry oats and one tablespoon of natural honey.

Edemame Protein Power: One cup of edamame beans dried or fresh. Pair with a whole-grain rice cake with one tablespoon of light cream cheese and a few strawberry slices on top.


Betsy McNally-Laouar is a personal fitness and gymnastics trainer certified in sports nutrition. She currently works with elite and upper-level gymnasts at Cincinnati Gymnastics, where she creates training and meal plans. She also works with gymnasts all around the country online and through camps. If you need help with gymnastics recipes, meal plans and/or fitness, check out her website, www.betsymcnally.com and email her at coach@betsymcnally.com.

Averina Twins & Linoy Ashram Dominate Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

Only four gymnasts stepped atop the individual podiums at the 2019 FIG Rhythmic World Challenge Cup: Arina Averina of Russia, Dina Averina of Russia, Linoy Ashram of Israel, and Milena Baldassarri of Italy. On the group side, Bulgaria found itself on the podium for all three group competitions.

Gymnasts & Groups To Watch At The Minsk Rhythmic World Challenge Cup

The 2019 FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup series continues in Minsk, Bulgaria, from Aug. 16-18. Gymnasts from more than 30 countries will be competing for medals in individual and group events, but the top gymnasts to watch are from Europe and include three Olympic hopefuls.

Simone Biles Continued To Create History At US Championships

Just 48 hours after being the first woman to land a double double off the balance beam, Simone Biles continued to write history on the second day of competition at the U.S. Championships. 

Sam Mikulak Wins Sixth National All-Around Title

After 12 hit routines, Sam Mikulak won his sixth national championship with a two-day all-around score of 174.150, in addition to a whopping four of six possible event titles. Mikulak won floor exercise, pommel horse, parallel bars, and high bar. 

The Untouchable Simone Biles

The other day I was talking to a good friend and former teammate of mine about Simone Biles. The 22-year-old gymnast came up because two weeks ago, as you no doubt have heard by now, while warming up at the U.S. Classic, Biles threw a new skill on floor, a triple-twisting double tuck. 

Simone Biles' Beam Dismount Highlights US Champs Day 1

The senior women put on a roller coaster of a meet on the first night of the 2019 U.S. Championships. There were historical moments, rough falls, and everything else in between. Not many people could have guessed which gymnasts would be sitting in the top five heading into the second day of competition. Here’s how it all went down. 

High-Stakes US Championships About To Begin

U.S. Championships starts this Friday, and the elite gymnastics world is heating up for this meet. Fresh off the U.S. Classic and Pan American Games, many of this country’s elite gymnasts are amping up their routines to compete at Championships. 

6 Times Simone Biles Broke The Internet

Thanks to her incredible athleticism and domination in the sport of gymnastics, Simone Biles is now a household name in the United States and around the world. 

Suspenseful Event Finals Close Out 2019 Pan American Games

Five events were featured in the final day of competition at the 2019 Pan American Games and the skills and routines did not disappoint. 

USA Adds Four Medals In First Event Finals Of Pan Am Games

The first day of event finals at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, saw medalists from eight countries in the men's floor exercise, pommel horse, still rings, women's vault, and uneven bars. Team USA led Tuesday's medal count with four, followed by Canada with three, while Brazil and Colombia each won two medals.