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Many times on competition day dancers have trouble deciding what to do about fueling their bodies and tend to either avoid eating or eat a heavy “hotel” breakfast and feel they are not able to perform the way they want  once they step on the dance floor.

In order to feel both energized, strong, and minimize risks of bloating or stomach upset when you walk on to the competition floor and sustain this feeling throughout your day of competition, we need to fuel our body appropriately.

First, we need to make sure we eat a good meal prior to beginning dancing that is easy to digest but gives us good nutrition. Some examples of this can be eggs with toast or potatoes (avoiding options loaded with butter or extra oil, many times you can request breakfast potatoes done in light oil), “Starbucks style” breakfast sandwiches, toast with nut butter, or yogurt and fruit are all good options prior to beginning dancing. I would aim to finish eating this meal approximately 1 hour before you start dancing or warming up.

In order to maintain your energy and intensity throughout the day of competition, including a small snack every 1-2 hours (depending on how much you are dancing back to back) is important to ensure you do not crash in your later rounds, or most importantly, during your multis and scholarships.

Examples of good snack options include: Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, 1/2 a sandwich with either nut butter or some deli turkey or hummus, a small handful of fruit and cheese, a protein bar that has both carbohydrate and protein (depending on the bar sometimes you only need 1/2 the bar at once), or other easy snack grab options like “Aussie bites.”

Lastly, maintaining proper hydration is important. Having a water bottle that you can sip throughout the day that has a serving of electrolytes can help you replenish what you lose from sweating and also help keep your energy levels up, options like liquid IV or buoy can be great choices.

**Note, while options like salads or veggie heavy options may seem like a good choice on competition day because they are “healthy” is misleading as these foods don’t provide you with immediate energy and can lead to digestive symptoms and bloating** 

Bonus tip- Be sure to try any food types/snacks/electrolytes at practice prior to competition day to ensure you know how your body feels as trying something new or different is always a risk on competition day.

Let me know what questions you guys have or what else you would like to know!

-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN, LD
A Taste of Health, LLC

“The Dancesport Dietitian”