Having a pre – show eating plan is so important to help you avoid the dressing room sugar traps – hello sugar, candy, cookies, sweets! While those things are easy to pop into your mouth, they are not the best way to fuel yourself for a show. Lets talk about all the things to consider.

In the week or so leading up to your show – don’t drastically change your diet!

This is not the time to lose weight. This is the time to support your health, energy and stamina so that you can get onto the stage powerfully and confidently.

You don’t want to be depleting your bones or muscles with restrictive eating.

Food restriction impacts not only your body and physical abilities but also your memory and cognitive function. You want those things to be functioning at their highest level for a show!

You should avoid processed foods, alcohol and sweets in the time leading up to the show – these all put a lot of strain on your bodies processes. Since your body is already under stress from the rehearsals and hours of dancing, you don’t want to put any additional stress on your body!

Prioritize sleep. With stage rehearsals and tech week, this can be challenging. Most companies will at least allow you some time to sleep in after a late night. Take advantage of that! Sleep is going to help you feel energized and ready to perform. It’s also essential to manage the hormones that regulate hunger and fullness!

On the day of your performance, “front load” your day. Eat a larger breakfast so that it really sustains the long day – a couple of pasture raised or locally farmed eggs, sautéed kale or broccoli, potatoes, ezekial toast, OR oatmeal with fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, and unsweetened almond milk are a couple of options.

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Within 30 minutes to 3 hours of performing, focus on complex carbohydrates like brown rice, oatmeal, rice cakes, or quinoa.

Complex carbohydrates are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. They are found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables.

Both simple and complex carbohydrates are turned to glucose (blood sugar) in the body and are used as energy. Glucose is used in the cells of the body and in the brain. Any unused glucose is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen for use later.

Complex carbohydrate foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important to your health. The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugars, rather than processed or refined sugars, which do not have the vitamins, minerals, and fiber found in complex and natural carbohydrates.

Refined sugars are “empty calories” because they have little to no nutritional value.

For some pre – performance natural sugar fueled energy consume fruit, dried fruit, or smoothies (always include greens like spinach and kale in your smoothies)!

Throughout performance day – hydrate for energy!

Avoid drinking sports drinks or soda – both include too much sugar, soda can make you feel bloated and both may lead to a sugar crash.

Avoid eating simple sugars like candy or sweets and don’t consume too much dietary fat or too much protein. Both can make you feel sluggish during a performance.

Bottom line – food before a performance, as with any time as a dancer, should serve as your fuel. You’re performing at such a high level and requiring so much of your body that supportive fuel is a must!

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Want to dive more deeply into your fuel game?! Sign up for the FREE “Food is Dancing Fuel” Mini Course.

Photo credit: jules:stonesoup via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: clickykbd via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Your pre – performance food and fuel plan!