You’ve been rehearsing for months: combinations, sequences, and (of course) musicality. With so much focus on your routine, make some mental space for the instrument that has to physically execute the moves: your body. Fueling for the show is more than just that on-the-go sandwich you grab while commuting to the stage. Getting the biggest nutritional bang for your buck (and bite) is the goal during this critical time. Your body needs to perform at its best, so allow it to function at top notch!
When it comes to prepping for the big show, carbohydrates will be your most important fuel source. Choosing complex carbs, like those found in plant-based foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes, are critical for the hours leading up to the show. These carbs are specifically high in naturally occurring intact fibers, which help to slow the rise and fall of your energy levels. How? These complex carbs keep your muscle’s glycogen stores full. Glycogen is the energy stored within your muscles that is accessed when performing intense activities, such as dancing. Including these complex carbs as part of a balanced meal or snack every 3-4 hours is key. To boost the power of your daily meals, try these easy swaps:
1) Ditch your standard pasta and try a bean-based option like red lentil pasta
2) Create a DIY grain bowl using a high fiber grain like barley, faro, or quinoa
3) Replace your standard sandwich bread with a minimally processed sprouted grain bread (I like Ezekiel)
Now that your energy stores are ready for the curtain to rise, let’s discuss that last push that we sometimes need to get us through to curtain call. Since your glycogen stores have only a finite amount of available energy, we may need to access an additional quick burst mid-to-late show. This is where simple carbs come into the picture. While we focused on those complex sources above, simple carbs, or sugars, found in fruit, sweets, and fruit juices will help to give you that last push. However, rather than opting for the candy, pack some fresh fruit like a banana and sliced melon—you’ll get a dose of vitamin C… that can’t hurt!