4 Tips for Constructing a Supportive Nutrition Plan During Audition Season
Summer intensive auditions are here, and your training schedule is likely to pick up momentum. To ensure a spot in a summer program, it’s critical to prioritize your dancing. But audition success goes beyond your work in the studio. With just a few tweaks to what’s on your plate, you can construct a supportive fueling plan to level up your routine and alleviate any unnecessary stress from audition season.
Audition times are often different from when dancers are accustomed to taking class, because of limited studio space and faculty schedules. If your auditions are mainly held during lunchtimes and on weekends, then you’ll need to plan accordingly. Packable meals and snacks are key, with a priority in carbohydrate-rich ingredients. Carbohydrates are a preferred fuel source for a dancer’s body—especially when energy needs surge. Include high-fiber whole grains at breakfast to help sustain mid-morning energy.
If you’re commuting between studios, then prioritize convenience. Sandwiches and wraps are easy to prepare ahead of time and can be eaten on the go. Include a source of protein, like turkey or tofu, and a source of fat, like cheese or hummus. The balance in macronutrients will sustain your energy for longer periods. Lower-fiber snacks like pretzels and crackers are must-haves both during and after auditions to replenish the glycogen used during vigorous exercise. For an additional nutrient boost, pack fruit. You’ll gain a dose of vitamin C and a spectrum of antioxidants to help arm your immune system during the winter months.
If you’re struggling with pre-audition jitters, then chances are you’re also experiencing diminished hunger cues. Though it might be challenging, eating even without the presence of physical hunger will help to prevent early-onset fatigue from depleted glycogen stores. While every dancer’s individual needs are different, a balanced meal or snack is beneficial every few hours throughout your dance day. If you’re struggling to remember, then add a few alarms in your phone. This isn’t to strictly dictate when or what you should eat, but, rather, to serve as a helpful nudge for when you’re most vulnerable to unintentional under-fueling. To aid with stomach discomfort, stick to easily digestible and familiar options. Lower-fiber snacks like pretzels, Goldfish, and crackers or packable smoothies can help.
Practice Food Flexibility
Audition season is stressful, especially with the potential for summer study to turn into year-round school placement. Adding any degree of mealtime stress will limit your performance potential. Attempting to diet or striving for restrictive eating also makes it more difficult to adjust to the inevitable: changing schedules with limited access to familiar foods. Flexibility in your food choices alleviates the unnecessary stress often experienced from food rules. Remember: Calories are your energy currency, and they should come before food plans that are not only expensive but also impractical and unattainable.
If you’re continuing to feel overwhelmed with fatigue or struggling to fit the added snacks into your already packed schedule, then it’s time to consult with an expert. But where you get your nutrition advice from matters. A registered dietitian nutritionist can help dancers with performance fueling during times when schedules are challenging and nerves are rising.