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Articles of Interest » Dance Like a Champion, Eat Line a Champion

Dance Like a Champion, Eat Line a Champion

Sally Meitis (Sally Meints is a certified fitness nutrition specialist, certified personal trainer and a USA Dance DanceSport competitor.)

Dance Like A Champion - Eat Like A Champion

Competition day has arrived. After training hard and practice, will you have the energy and stamina to be the best you can be?

My partner and I take our physical conditioning and nutrition seriously—we have to. Competitive dancers must stay in peak condition if they want the best results possible. This doesn't mean hoping you'll have enough energy to make it through the event.

While practice is important to success on the dance floor, living a lifestyle of feeding your body high quality fuel every day is just as important. The foods you eat daily will prepare you for competition day. Good nutrition allows you to train harder, longer and more frequently. You will be sharper, more focused and even in a better mood.

Good Nutrition

Good nutrition is clean eating. The eating of whole, unprocessed, natural foods is a lifestyle of the right combinations of healthy carbohydrates, proteins and fats, drinking water while eliminating processed foods. It's eating frequently to keep your body fueled and metabolizing all day long to burn fat and calories.

Competition Day

Eat small, easily digestible, familiar foods frequently throughout the day. Snacking is the best idea— making sure it contains protein, fats and most importantly quality carbohydrates. Snacks help you maintain energy, delay fatigue and keep blood sugar boosted. Blood sugar is like fuel in a car. You wouldn't begin a long trip on an empty tank, hoping to reach your destination. You would refuel your car throughout the trip.

Be well hydrated before your event. Daily hydration is as important as good nutrition. In fact, many people walk around in a semi-dehydrated state most of the time. On competition day, you may need more than water. A high quality sports drink containing carbohydrates and electrolytes before and during your competition will keep you powered up and hydrated. Have your last drink 15 minutes before your heat and then drink to 8 ounces regularly or at 15 minute intervals. If you wait until you're thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Dehydration and low energy will quickly and severely diminish your performance. After the competition, a liquid carbohydrate drink containing protein will speed up recovery. During practices, experiment with different foods and drinks and find what works for you.

On competition day you should have three nutritional goals:

  • Keep your same healthy nutritional program.
  • Avoid foods that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Maintain blood sugar levels by eating healthy carbohydrates frequently.
  • Hydrate before, during and after the event.

The Bottom Line

Learn good nutrition and the strategies of "clean eating" and make it your lifestyle. Proper nutrition, stress management and rest must be a priority every day. Properly hydrate and energize your body on competition day and you will be the best you can be!