The Dancer's Guide to Nutrition for Performance

The Ultimate Dancer’s Guide to Nutrition for Performance


The Dancer’s Guide to Nutrition for Performance will help ensure you have optimally prepared for your audition. As you gear up for audition season, remember that success on stage begins with the choices you make off stage. It can be tempting prior to the audition to believe that you need to lose weight to be successful. However, restricting your diet is more likely to lead to injury or fatigue, potentially backfiring, particularly if you’re attending multiple auditions.

The Night Before: Setting the Scene

Nutrition for Performance

The meals you choose the night before your audition can significantly impact your performance. Opt for a balanced meal that includes complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats to ensure sustained energy. Avoid drastic dieting; instead, focus on nourishing your body to enhance your capabilities.

  1. Carbohydrates provide you with energy and prevent injury and fatigue. 50% of your intake should come from carbs, both complex carbs such as oats, pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa and bread or fast release carbs, such as dates, bananas, jelly babies, sports drinks or baked goods, such as flapjacks. Including carbs in all meals and snacks will ensure that you replace glycogen stores and are fuelled prior to any training, audition or performance
  2. Protein will help muscle protein synthesis, so including a source of protein at every meal is beneficial both for performance and recovery. It is important to remember not to have protein at the expense of carbohydrate. Good sources of protein include lean meats, dairy, fish, beans and pulses.
  3. Fats provide a secondary energy source and it is important to include a portion at every meal. Good sources can include avocado, olive oil, oily fish, nuts, hummus and dairy.
  4. Keeping a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated is also key to your nutritional strategy.

Dinner Ideas:

  • Rice or quinoa with lean steak, cooked in healthy oils
  • Salmon with asparagus and sweet potatoes
  • Penne pasta with chicken breast and a variety of vegetables

Mental Preparation

Visualize success and engage in positive self-talk. Reflect on your hard work and the dedication that has brought you to this point. Remember, confidence is key.

The Morning Of: Fuelling your Fire

Energizing Breakfasts

Choose a breakfast that will keep you full and energized without causing discomfort. Consider the timing of your audition and your personal dietary tolerances as well as travel requirements. Try to ensure fibre is at a minimum on the day of your audition as fibre has the potential to cause gut disturbances. It is also essential that you practice any of your meals and snacks during training leading up to the audition, so that you know that your body responds well.

Breakfast Ideas:

  • Overnight oats so that you can prepare it the night before and easily take it with you
  • Granola and yogurt with berries
  • Whole-wheat toast with nut butter

Mindset Matters

Stay focused and calm. Practice mindfulness or meditation to center yourself. Remember, you’ve prepared for this moment.

During Breaks: Keeping the Momentum

Smart Snacking

Have snacks that are easy to digest and can be eaten quickly. This will help maintain your energy levels. Focus on snacks that have slow and fast release carbohydrates, such as flapjacks or oat-based bars as these will fuel your audition and keep you mentally and physically fit.

Snack Ideas:

  • Biscoff or banana sandwiches cut into quarters
  • Date flapjack
  • Cereal bar
  • Banana Bread

Staying Hydrated

Water is your best friend. Stay hydrated to keep your energy up and your body functioning optimally. Adding in an electrolyte tab, especially if the weather or studio is warm or you sweat a lot might also be a good option to replace lost electrolytes. If needing additional carbohydrates during the audition, it can also be helpful to add a carbohydrate powder to your water.

Conclusion: Your Path to Success

Audition season is a test of your preparation, resilience, and dedication. By focusing on both nutrition and mindset, you can approach each audition with confidence. Remember, every audition is a learning experience and a step forward in your dance career.

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