Food for Ballroom Dancers – What’s In and What’s Out

Whether you want to rock a fine-looking outfit when you’re out dancing in a club or you’re a professional ballroom dance competitor, the food you eat will play a big part in how you look, feel, and perform. Above all, the best food for ballroom dancers will build wellness over illness and ease over dis-ease.

food for ballroom dancers
That’s some good stuff!

How do you know what to eat to be the best dancer you can be?  Back in the day, it was a process of trial and error.

When I competed professionally in the 1970s, we didn’t think too much about how our diet affected our dancing.  In the days before the internet, it was hard to get information on how to eat for better performance. We didn’t really know how to eat right, so we winged it.

Starting in the late 1960s, runners were experimenting with ‘carb loading’ to help them have the energy to complete their races. On the contrary, ballroom dancers, not wanting to gain weight from overeating carbs, chose a protein heavy, red meat type of diet.  

I have to admit that I personally suffered a few bellyaches while competing. That big ol’ steak wasn’t helping me at all.

One more thing about that era.  It was the time when convenience foods were starting to take off.  Things like frozen tv dinners, Rice a Roni, Hamburger Helper, and Shake ‘N Bake became staples in many American homes.  Highly processed foods don’t help ballroom dancers eat right.

avoid this to eat right
Ewww!

It’s fun to look back to see what foods were popular in the past. Check out this post on some foods of the 1970s.

What’s good food for ballroom dancers?

The answer to that question is simple, eat whole foods, minimally processed. Be sure to always have breakfast and snacks. And, don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids.

Eat right – dance better!

  • Carbohydrates provide the fuel that gives energy to the muscles when you dance. It also helps with concentration and focus. The benefits are great when carbs are eaten in the form of whole wheat products, fruit, and vegetables. For best results, 50-65% of your daily calories will come from carbohydrates.
  • Fats are necessary to stay healthy and focused. To be able to perform better, eat right and include nuts, avocados, vegetable oils, and fatty fish such as Salmon and Tuna. Sports nutritionists suggest they provide 20-30% of your daily intake.
  • Protein is what our bodies use to build and repair muscles. For this reason, experts suggest that you get 12-15% of your calories from food like lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, eggs, and milk.

Up your game.

As you can see, your dancing will definitely improve when you fuel yourself with high-quality foods. It’s simple, eat right – dance better. For more tips on how to become the best you can be, read the Dance Safari post, “Ballroom Dancing Success is Within Your Reach“.

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