The Performance Mentor
Good Nutrition and Hydration When Dancing
Title: Good Nutrition and Hydration When Dancing
Being a dancer means you have to be fit and hydrated at all times. Dancers are like athletes, they sweat a lot and make use of their bodies for a long period of time. For dancers to able to perform at their best, they need to be well fueled for their dance class, rehearsals, and performance. It is a huge challenge for dancers not to be able to consume sufficient amount of food to meet the demand of energy of their dance. Having few calories will compromise a dancer’s available energy and of course with low calories comes low intake of micro nutrients that will alter their performance, growth and overall health.
An estimate of the caloric needs of a dancer during a heavy training are as follows:
Female: 45-50 calories/kg of body weight
Male: 50-55 calories/kg body weight
Dancers are encouraged to have a diet rich in whole grains and complex carbohydrates. Fifty to sixty percent of their diet should be carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for any athlete or even for dancers because they break down into glucose that fuels their muscles. Dancers should be able to ingest carbs before, during and after practices, dance classes or performances.
As a dancer, is being hydrated important? Staying hydrated when dancing is normal for dancers for it may cause being fatigue and having poor balance. You get thirsty when you’ve already lost 1 to 2 liters of water. Did you know that the largest component of the human body is water? The water in our body makes up approximately 60% of our body weight. Fun fact: 73% of that water is the muscles we work so hard as dancers and these muscles are called skeletal muscles, 93% of our blood is water and that also includes our teeth and bones. Water aids indigestion and it is significant in the transport and the elimination systems of the body. For dancers, it’s central to know that being properly hydrated helps keep the body from overheating. When dancers wear hot costumes and performs under the stage light, it is actually stimulating their body heat loss when fully dancing. Sweat losses during performance can be significantly more than during rehearsal of the same piece. This is why drinking water is an important habit that a dancer should remember especially during a show.
I always bring food and snacks to rehearsals, auditions and shoots. Sometimes you need sugar, so, fruit is good or nuts or sometimes you just need what you need. But balance yourself. Some food give you too much sugar and then you fall extra hard. This does not help you focus or look good if you’re featured as a model and dancer. Based on your situation you know what a better long term snack is. Also sometimes you’re so tired and you cannot eat, but this is your lunch break and who knows when you will get another break. So, get a smoothie or something that will fuel you but not over fill your stomach. You can always eat the rest later.
The secret is have a good breakfast, that way you will be balanced until lunch time.
You are more alert in the mornings and take in more choreography than after lunch.