A nutritious journey to the World Cheerleading Championships!

It’s that time of the year when the best of Australia’s cheerleaders are at their physical peak and ready to hit the competition floor for the International Cheer Union and International All Star Federation CHEERLEADING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Orlando, Florida.

If you have been living under a rock for the last ten years, you may be unaware of how big of a sport cheerleading has become in Australia. Its need for fit, strong, co-ordinated and flexible athletes with lots of enthusiasm proves it to be an extreme and very physically demanding sport – not suited for the weak!

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Remember the movie Bring It On? Well think that except imagine Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku just spent an intense weekend of 24 hours of training in the last couple of days combining jumps, tumbling, stunting, dance and building human pyramids!

zzz pyramid

A typical cheerleader undergoes months and months of training and preparation leading up to the big event where their cheerleading routine goes for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

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A cheerleader needs to be physically fit enough to endure training and their routine at competition. Not only does this kind of athlete need to work hard in and out of training times, but nutrition plays a vital role in getting that athlete to their peak.

Whether you are training for World Championships or your first state competition of the year, here are a few nutrition tips that can help get you through the competition season…

LEADING UP TO THE EVENT:

CARBS
Ensure you are getting enough carbohydrates so that you have sufficient energy to get you through training.

The following are great for achieving this:
– Include brown rice, wholemeal couscous or wholemeal pasta with dinners.
– Eating starchy vegetables like pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot and corn.

PROTEIN
Don’t forget protein for recovery between training sessions and to build muscles to lift those flyers!

A Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is “the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98%) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group” according to the Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand

The RDIs for protein are as follows:
Boys 14-18 years old = 65 grams per day
Girls 14-18 years old = 45 grams per day
Men 19-30 years old = 64 grams per day
Women 19-30 years old = 46 grams per day

For a typical 20 year old female, meeting these requirements could be as easy as ensuring you have the following each day with a balanced diet full of other essential foods:
1 glass of skim milk
1 egg
1 tub of natural low fat yoghurt OR ½ cup of beans/legumes
100 grams of lean meat

GOOD FATS
Lastly, good fats daily are essential for normal growth so snacking on a small amount of raw nuts (with skin for extra fibre!) is a great snack to have.

ON COMPETITION DAY:

Ensure you have a filling breakfast!

Bring healthy, small snacks to keep you fuelled throughout the competition day – but nothing too heavy.

Snacks like apples and other non-messy (so you don’t ruin your makeup) fresh fruit is great for a healthy hit of sugar to get you ready and motivated to compete!

Be sure not to eat too much (if anything at all) within half an hour of your warm up – the floor at Worlds is blue, don’t think they’ll appreciate it being another colour!

AFTER YOU COMPETE:

You have just finished competing at WORLDS, gave it your all and all the months of sweat and tears were worth it… Treat yourself to a strawberry lemonade and a cinnamon pretzel at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. You’ve definitely earned it!

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If you feel you need to speak to someone about your current diet leading up to competition time, be sure to see an Accredited Sports Dietitian.

If you are interested in learning more about Australian cheerleading head over to Australian All Star Cheerleading Federation.

Good luck to all teams competing at Worlds this month! Do Australia proud!

Aussie Aussie Aussie…

– Jenna

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