Being a dancer, I know firsthand how demanding form of exercise dance is! Even though dancers spend many hours rehearsing, the majority of them overlook the importance of good nutrition!

Through this article I am hoping to help all dancers out there avoid the biggest pre-performance mistakes

1. Wrong timing

Never perform on an overly full or empty stomach. Eat small, frequent meals and snacks. Choose a combination of complex carbs, lean protein and good fats 2-3 hours before the show (eg. whole-wheat pasta with vegetables or a chicken sandwich with whole-wheat bread and some avocado), while to boost your energy shortly before a performance go for small snacks that combine complex carbs with protein (eg. apple with nut butter or homemade trail with almonds, walnuts and unprocessed dried fruit or a bit of dark chocolate).

2. Avoiding carbs

Dancers are stop-start athletes, not endurance athletes. They have to perform full-out for a short amount of time. To do this, you need carbs as a primary source of energy! Every meal or snack you eat should include a mix of carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. Go for healthy carbs including whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal, as well as fruit and vegetables.

3. Under-Hydration

Hydration is key! Stage lights and anxiety can make you sweat more, increasing your chances of becoming dehydrated. Choose water over any other beverage (i.e. soft drink or energy drink) as these can have the opposite effect. Drink water slowly throughout the day and until 30-45 minutes before the show to avoid feeling bloated while performing. You could just take regular small sips of water during the actual show.

4. Know your body

Different bodies react to food differently. Take some time (could be during dance rehearsals) to learn how your body reacts to different pre-show meals.