After an outstanding junior career as a gymnast, Aussie Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva moved into the seniors and has not looked back, establishing herself as one of the best rhythmic gymnastic athletes in the world. Though only seventeen Alex has a host of medals and awards, recently picking up the bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and being named the National champion.
We got a few moments to chat with Alex about how she fuels herself as an athlete…
So Alex, thank you for chatting with us, in the weeks before a major competition like the Olympics or Commonwealth Games, a lot of athletes have said they'll eat really healthy, then 48 hours out from a race/comp will just eat whatever as it's all about energy and calories at that point: the night before you compete, what are you eating? “In my sport energy levels also need to be balanced with well maintained weight, extra kilos or even 100s of grams can make a difference in regard to injury or performance; especially when we do high leaps, because the ground force on a foot when landing after a jump is up to 11 times the body weight. That's why we must maintain a balance of weight and energy all the time before training and before competition. The night before the competition, just like any other night, I would eat a meal comprised of few different salads, vegetables (steamed) and fruit”.
So the morning of a competition, what sort of meals or food do you go for, if you eat at all? “Morning meal is more important than night, I do eat breakfast and if it's a competition day I need to eat something that will keep me going for longer. I would start my day with porridge or quark with sour cream, usually I ad trail mixes of nuts and dry fruit and some honey to either of the breakfast meals. Alternatively I could have eggs for breakfast too. A fresh fruit is a must, either mango, kiwi or passionfruit. Cup of hot tea to wash it all down”.
After a competition, can you eat whatever you like? “After the competition I would eat something filling but the healthy factor of the meal should not fall below my standard. Some typed of food are off the menu completely”.
Are you snacking much during the team events? “If it is an all day event I have snacks with me, but I will snack only during an allocated break and not during practice or event”.
Does your diet change much in the 'off season', or are you fairly consistent throughout the year? “In my world "off season" is two weeks a year when the gym is closed for Christmas/New Year - I train all year round and yes, it's consistent throughout the year”.
How important is hydration to an athlete at your level? “Hydration is very important, but it comes naturally - it's critical to maintain fluids levels especially on a hot day”.
A lot of athletes have spoken about how important sleep is to recovery, do you find the same? “I agree with this statement 100%. Good sleep is a key to recovery. To function well I need to stick to my daily schedule and going to bed on time”.
So what recipes do you rely on the most at home? “All my meal are home made from fresh ingredients, this way I am avoiding processed foods with additives.
Staple meals for me are : Soups, one meat meal a day varying between Chicken, Red Meat or Fish (at least once a week), salads and fruit.
Soups are probably most important as hot liquid food improves digestion, supplies sufficient amount of nutrients and has numerous benefits.
Chicken Soup is probably #1 recipe that I do rely on : freshly made clear chicken stock with chopped vegetables, mushrooms and chicken meat pieces”.
What is your cheat meal? “Dark Chocolate”.
What are your thoughts on protein shakes and energy gels? Do you rely on them at all? “I do not use protein shakes or gels, I prefer wholefoods. What I do use is vitamin and mineral supplements (A, B, C, D, E, K, Omega 3 and 6 oils Mg, Ca, Zn and Fe) only as required”.
Is there anything you actively avoid, either because it is bad for you or you don't like it? “Currently to maintain perfect training weight I try to keep away from over-processed foods, fast food and excess of carbs (pasta, potatoes, sugar) No soft drinks. I also stay away from anything deep fried”.
Follow Alex’s journey as a pro athlete on Instagram here.