Nutritional Pitfalls that Dancers Should Avoid

Similar to regular practice and good work ethic, diet and nutrition are essential in keeping dancers on top of their game. Dancing is rigorous work that often takes its toll on the body, so a well-balanced diet designed to fuel instead of hinder performance is knowledge that all dancers must be equipped with. There are times when it's not lack of practice or nerves but nutritional negligence that keeps dancers from performing at their best.

Here are a few common mistakes you should avoid making before performing on stage:

Not Drinking Enough Water

Being hydrated is a must for any physical activity whether it’s weight-lifting, running or dancing. A considerable amount of fluid is secreted out of the body through sweat and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Even slight dehydration can do a lot of damage by reducing your ability to concentrate and impairing your overall performance. The key is not to wait until you're thirsty to drink; if you've been practicing all day and you're aware you've been sweating a lot, replenish your fluids by drinking plain water every half hour or so. If you allow yourself to be thirsty, chances are you're already feeling the effects of mild dehydration.

Crash Dieting

Getting ready for an upcoming curtain call often means living on fruits and nuts and avoiding meat for many dancers, especially when there's a tutu-fitting just a few days away. However, crash dieting days before the show will only succeed in reducing your strength and ability. Dropping two dress sizes won't be much of a consolation prize for an unimpressive performance. The only thing you should be focusing on before your big day is keeping your body fit and healthy by providing it with the fuel it needs to produce the required stamina.

Don’t Let Your Nerves Take Over

Dancers are often plagued with insane amounts of pressure before an important competition or performance and sometimes forget to eat on the big day. While you might think the butterflies in your stomach won't make room for food, skipping meals will only result in low blood sugar, fatigue and ultimately, a poor performance. Consuming fruits, bread or any source of complex carbohydrates even half an hour before your curtain call can go a long way in keeping your energy up throughout the entire performance.

Eating the Wrong Kinds of Food

Most dancing styles are described as anaerobic, meaning it is comprised of short periods of intense activity that quickly cause muscles to become tired and overworked. A well-balanced diet for dancers consists of the right amount of complex carbohydrates and proteins; foods designed to boost energy and keep you going for extended periods of time.

Consuming egg whites as part of an exercise regime allows dancers to ingest vital proteins and makes a nice change from eating fish and meat. Specialists like recommend a serving of protein-rich foods for strenuous activities as they are slower to burn compared to other types and will last longer. Sodas, candy and chocolate, also known as blood sugar spiking foods, give your body a short energy boost but will leave you feeling deflated later.

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