“An army marches on its stomach.”

Dancing is more than what meets the eyes. It requires a tremendous amount of energy. For dancers to perform at their best, it’s very important that their stomach is full.

After spending more than half of my life taking dance classes, I came to realize the important relationship between eating habits and performance. I’ve found it’s key to keep the relationship healthy, try for yourself with these dos and don’ts.


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Eat Breakfast

I’m sure this isn’t the first time someone has told you to eat breakfast. But, breakfast signals your metabolism to get going. According to Nestle, eating breakfast helps you to better focus and enhances memory. If you’re not a fan of a big meal, try water with lemon and two slices of bread to get your body ready for a morning class.


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The 40 Minute Window Eating Rules

  • 40 minutes before exercise

Let’s take a minute to recall that time you nearly inhaled a meal right before a dance class. I bet it didn’t feel so great. My dance instructors always told me to eat at least half an hour before classes, as the stomach needs time to digest. 

  • 40 minutes after exercise (or as soon as possible)

Research indicates eating within 40 minutes after a workout is the most effective way to restore energy. During this period, your body best absorbs nutrients. Eating a healthy, nutrient-dense after dance classes enhance the body’s recovery process. 

Eat Light Foods Before Class

It can be hard for people who have classes back to back to find time to eat. This is an alternative to the 40 minute pre-workout rule. If you have to eat right before class, eating something that’s easy to digest like a banana, berries or an apple are the best choices. Make a quick stop to grab a cup of water too to avoid a grumpy stomach and dehydration.


Photo by Elise Takahama


Eat Products High in Sugar 

Picking up choreography during a dance class can be difficult and frustrating. Sugar may give you energy, but a sugar rush can make you lose concentration. According to Huffington Post, consuming too much sugar can impair brain functions that result in poor memory. 


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Eat Processed Foods

Processed foods in general are difficult to digest. They are low in protein, but rich in simple carbohydrates. Moreover, processed food cannot efficiently provide the energy needed to dance well.