North Shore Dance Society
Your food before and during a Ballroom Dance Competition
We need energy, maximal blood flow to the muscles and sharp focus during a competition. Digestion consumes most of the blood flow in our body. Therefore, one needs to keep the blood flow requirement of the digestive track to the minimum without compromising the much needed energy from food.
Start your strategy with the evening meal the night before. Have a light dinner before 8 pm, preferably made of easily digestible protein – chicken breast, steamed vegetables and whole wheat pasta or brown rice. The pasta and/or rice will fill up your glycogen storage in your liver, which you will need for your dance competition the next day. Stay away from fatty foods! It lingers in the digestive system and competes for the blood flow, right when you would need that extra kick in your final jive.
A mixture of complex and simple carbohydrates is needed, so that the energy flow will be slow and steady. Whole grain cereal or toast with fruit will provide this. You might want to include one hard boiled egg white. Protein controls the hunger pangs. Gluten sensitive individuals can choose certain grain sources other than wheat. Quinoa, millet, amaranth and teff should do it for you. These are excellent grains since they provide all 9 essential amino acids, as well as steady flow of glucose.
Healthy snacking during the competition day is critical to keep your blood sugar steady. Keep a handful of walnuts or almonds, grapes, berries, banana, moderate amount of watermelon, AND DARK CHOCOLATE! It is a none factor that coco promotes focus and great source of instant energy. It is a not so well known factor that ballerinas, before a grandé performance consume only dark chocolate. And we would all agree that ballroom dancers are as good of the performers as ballerinas, consumption of this high in energy product is essential.
Last but not the least, WATER! Make sure you keep on sipping water during the day. Gulping water gives you bloating.
Even mild dehydration, might impair your performance. Do not wait until you are thirsty, since at that point, you are probably already dehydrated. Make sure not drink lots of water when just coming off the floor, even though you feel very thirsty. The heart rate is increased and your body will reject water in you stomach, which can easily lead to a “little” vomit accident. Instead, clear your mouth, spittle out what has been left and BREATHE!!!
Now that you have done your best in prepping, go on to the floor and give your best with your dancing!
By Joy Bedrosyan
Pharmacist & Personal Nutritionist