I recently got a chance to be the nutrition mentor for a group of dancers and I was absolutely stunned at the level of passion they had towards this beautiful art form- Dance!
Since then I have developed a deep appreciation for dancers and the level of hard work, dedication and discipline that is required in bringing this art form forward!
It is my humble wish to share my Holistic Nutrition and Ayurveda knowledge with all dancers around the world so that they can achieve optimum health both physically and mentally and give their best in making their dreams come true!
So here is my first blog for DANCERS “The Athletic Artists”…..
Just like any other athlete, dancers also need good nutrition. Whether you are a professional dancer or dance is your hobby, good nutrition will help you maximize your health potential & reach your dance goals with ease!
Good nutrition will help you feel and look good in your body & mind. It will help you in building stamina & improve energy levels to carry out strenuous dance moves and long hours of training!
It will also help you prevent injuries in the first place and recover & repair the damage to your muscles and tissues due to regular wear & tear!
I feel sorry to say that in an effort to lose weight and maintain a particular body size and shape, many dancers start restricting food intake. All I can say is that nourishing your body as a dancer isn’t always an easy task, but it is important!
It is really important to eat healthy as per your body’s requirements & rebuild your relationship with food!
Use this information to ensure that you are receiving proper nutrition…..
Caloric requirements: Dancers need to be well fueled for classes, rehearsals and performances. A huge challenge they face is not ingesting sufficient quantities of food to meet their energy demands for dance. Consuming too few calories compromises energy availability and, therefore, may affect the dancer’s ability to perform at their best. With low calories also comes low intake of micronutrients which alters growth, performance, and overall health.
An easy estimate of caloric needs for a female dancer is 45-50 calories per kg of body weight and for male dancers, it is 50-55 calories per kg of body weight. These are average estimates. Each individual has different caloric needs based on a variety of factors. If you need personalized diet plan please do connect with us! We will be happy to guide you in the right direction!
Carbohydrates: are a dancer’s best friend. This is because carbs break down into glucose and quickly fuel muscles. Without glucose, a dancer’s strength would be compromised and the feeling of muscle fatigue would set in. Approximately 55- 60% of a dancer’s diet should be carbs. And it should be rich in whole grains and complex carbohydrates. In addition to meals, a dancer should also ingest carbohydrates before, during, and after class or performances. I will discuss carb-loading in detail in my next blog.
Fats: are also very important. Approximately 25-30% of the total calories should come from healthy fats. Fat provides structure for all cell membranes, they are the insulating layer around nerves. Fats form the base of many of our hormones. Fats are important for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Fats also have a very important role in regulating inflammation in a dancer’s body. Muscles and adipose tissue store fat called triglycerides which can be used for energy during low intensity long duration dance rehearsals. Examples of healthy fats to include in the diet are nuts and seeds, nut butters, olive oil, avocado.
Protein: is extremely important for young dancers (and all athletes), whether the goal is to build muscle or not. With constant use of muscles during rehearsals and competitions, protein is needed for building and repairing muscle tissue. Protein is also used as an emergency fuel when one doesn’t have enough glycogen on board. Dancers need approximately 12-15% of the total calories coming from proteins. The estimated need for protein is 1.2 to 1.8 grams per kg of body weight depending on your dance style and intensity and the number of hours you practice per day! Healthy sources of protein include animal meats like chicken, fish, turkey, lean pork, or beef and good quality eggs. Vegetarian sources of protein include beans, lentils, quinoa, rice, and non-GMO tofu.
I am sure you are thinking of protein powders! I will discuss about Proteins powders in my next blog.
Micronutrients: Dancers frequently forget about obtaining key micronutrients i.e. vitamins and minerals. This is especially true for the B vitamins and vitamin C (water-soluble vitamins), and vitamins D and E (fat-soluble vitamins) which are crucial in a dancer’s body.
B vitamins are a part of energy production. They are not a direct source of energy, but they are used in the body to make energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Vitamins C and E play a role in repairing damaged muscles that are overstressed and overused, while vitamins D plays a role in healthy bone metabolism.
Calcium is a mineral used for bone growth. The most important years of bone development are the first 30 years of life — which just happens to be the prime years for dancing. Low bone density results in increased chances of stress fractures!
Iron is also a highly important mineral for dancers, since iron is what our bodies use to carry oxygen to the blood. Of course, oxygen is what we use to help our bodies produce energy. More to come on iron in my next blog!
Compromise your intake of these vitamins and you will compromise your performance big time!
I would recommend eating balanced meals that include a mix of carbohydrates, fats and protein and good balance of Vitamins and Minerals that are found in a variety of foods especially brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
If you would like to learn more about how to be a healthy Dancer and reach your dance goals holistically, please do take up our self-paced online course “NUTRITION FOR DANCERS”. (A Holistic way to reach your dance goals) This course is for all those who are passionate about Dance – The Athletic Art form!
Your body is your instrument, and it needs the right fuel to function optimally. You need to give it the right nourishment for your unique mind body type!
If you would like help in this area please do CONNECT with us for a personalized diet plan that suits your body constitution, your dance style and the intensity of your dance style!
If you are new to Ayurveda and want to know if Ayurveda is right for you, do take our short introductory course on What’s your Dosha?
Learn the basics of Ayurveda through our self-paced online course “Health & Wellness with Ayurveda”
Get all the knowledge to maintain a well balanced “AGNI” (Digestion) through our self-paced online on-demand course —– “The Digestion-Immunity Connection”.
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.