When taking on the role of a competitive dancer, there are a million things you must remember to do: pack your hair accessories, maintain your outfits, memorize your routine, and so much more. But the one thing that many forget is a nutritious diet. Dancers need a healthy and balanced diet to maintain a healthy body and achieve optimum performance in practices, performance and competition. Dance is a very physically demanding sport. Because of this, the body requires energy produced from food. Healthy -eating doesn’t mean you are limited to raw veggies but a balanced diet is very important in any dancers daily habits- Especially when it comes time for competition season!
Here are some tried and true nutrition routines that will keep the kick in your step:
1 EAT PLENTY OF COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
This is the most important food type for you as a dancer as it provides and maintains your energy levels for the high physical demands required for dance. Glycogen is the main source of fuel used by the muscles to enable you to undertake both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
2. EAT AT LEAST FIVE SERVINGS OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES A DAY
Eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables will provide you with all the vitamins and minerals you need. Water and fat-soluble vitamins play equally important roles in chemical processes in the body while minerals (inorganic elements that occur in the body) are critical to normal functioning. The fruit and vegetables can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or as a juice.
3. KEEP HYDRATED
This one may seem obvious, but in the whirlwind of activity on the morning of a competition, this can be easy to forget. Water is essential to normal body function, as the human body is made up of approximately 70% water. Aim to drink at least six generously-sized glasses of water a day. Water is also the best drink to re-hydrate you. Drink fluids before you start a physical exercise.
4. Changing Your Diet
As your performance or competition date draws near, try not to vary your diet too much. Don’t use this exciting time to try new foods that you are not accustomed to, as you never know when you may have an adverse reaction to a new food.
5. Trying to Lose Weight
An upcoming curtain call can cause feelings of anxiety. Last-minute tutu fittings seem to be particularly frightening. As a result, some dancers begin a crash diet in the weeks before the performance date. However, focusing on losing weight close to a performance or competition can only cause a decline in your strength and ability. Your main focus should be giving your hardworking body the fuel it needs to keep up with the required stamina.
Last but not least, here is a breakdown of guidelines for the day of your performance:
- Eat approximately three hours before your class, rehearsal or performance
- Individual preferences may vary as we all digest food at different rates
- Eating too close to physical workout may cause stomach problems, such as nausea or stomach cramps
- When preparing for a performance, it is not a good idea to introduce new foods and beverages into your diet
- Refueling immediately after exercise is essential. Eat complex, carbohydrate- rich foods to replenish and maximize your glycogen stores
- Attempt to eat within an hour after a hard workout to facilitate recovery. Try. a banana or smoothie. This is especially important if you’re doing more than one class, rehearsal or performance a day
We know maintaining a balanced diet can get complicated. Especially in the midst of a busy school and dance schedule! We hope this guide helps keep you competition ready in your every day eating routines!