5 Essential Nutrition Tips for Optimal Cheer Competition Performance
Updated: Apr 13, 2021
Prepping for a cheer competition is exciting but it can also be exhausting. You’ve spent hours practicing each routine, building team camaraderie, and fitting in a little extra cardio to make sure you’re at your peak performance.
But what about your nutrition? Have you ever stopped to think about the effect the food you’re eating has on your performance as a cheerleader?
Here’s the reality—you will perform better if you eat a balanced, nutritional diet. Not only will a healthy diet give your body the energy it needs to perform your best, but it will also improve your overall health, increase strength and endurance, and prevent injury.
So how do you implement a nutritionally balanced plan into your already busy lifestyle?
You must begin with a plan. It may seem a little daunting at first, but with a good plan and a focus on consistency, you’ll quickly maximize your body’s performance.
Here are 5 nutritional tips that you can easily add to your regular cheer competition routine.
Carbohydrates are your friend
In fact, healthy carbs should be your primary source of fuel. About 50-60 percent of your diet should include carbohydrates. The best types of carbohydrates are complex carbs, which are high in fiber. These Carbohydrates take longer to digest, fuel your muscles, and give you the energy you need to perform your best.
Some examples of complex carbs are:
Don’t skip the protein
After a long day of training, protein is essential to rebuilding and repairing muscle. Have you ever experienced soreness after a good workout? Adding protein to your diet will help eliminate some of those sore muscles. Don’t underestimate the importance of protein. Without it, you are limiting your body’s ability to become stronger.
Some examples of high-quality protein are:
Beans and lentils
Nuts and seeds
Eat healthy fats
Don’t let the word “fats” scare you. Healthy fats are essential for those times when you’re training hard and burning extra calories. Not only do healthy fats increase energy, but they help you feel fuller, so you’re not constantly looking for something to eat. Healthy fats provide a list of other benefits, such as brain health and development and decreased inflammation.
Some examples of healthy fats are:
Nuts and seeds
Drink lots of water
This tip seems so simple but is often forgotten or not prioritized. Drinking enough water will prevent your body from muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and other serious injuries. Try to drink at least 2.5 liters of water every day—which is roughly 11 cups. If you find that you’re consistently forgetting to drink water, set an hourly alarm. With time, drinking water will become a habit, and you can ditch the alarm.
Include healthy snacks
It’s important to eat your last big meal 3 to 4 hours before your competition so that you’re not exercising on a full stomach. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be fueling your body after your big meal. Healthy snacking is crucial to keeping your energy levels up. The night before your competition, take the time to gather some quick, healthy snacks that include carbs, fats, and proteins.
Some healthy snack options are:
Slices of apples or bananas with peanut butter
Cottage cheese or yogurt with fresh fruit
Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
Energy bars or peanut butter energy balls
Slices of turkey and cheese and fresh fruit
Crackers and hummus
Following these 5 nutrition tips will help you become competition day ready! Create a plan and stick with it. You’ll start noticing positive results in no time.
You can maximize your body’s performance with a nutritional diet.
Don’t be afraid of carbohydrates—they are your primary source of fuel.
Protein is best for rebuilding and repairing your muscle.
Healthy fats help you feel full while providing a list of other health benefits.
Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration, muscle cramps, and other serious injuries.
Pack and prepare healthy snacks so that you’re not tempted to reach for the unhealthy ones.