Diet Tips for Performance Days

Diet Tips for Performance Days

I love food. And I don’t discriminate; I love my healthy spinach smoothies and indulgent chocolate ice-cream equally. But before I started pole dancing, I never really paid attention to how certain foods made me feel. The day of my first solo performance I was so nervous that I couldn’t eat all day, then crashed and wolfed down a McDonalds cheeseburger half an hour before going on stage. Bad idea. Two years and many shows later, I have my performance-day diet down to a tee, and today I want to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned with you. 

Drink tons of water

This should be a no-brainer, even on days when you’re not performing, but it still needs to be said. Carry a water bottle everywhere you go, and set a reminder on your phone to go off every hour so that you don’t forget to drink. If you’re dehydrated by as little as 2.5%, your ability to perform high-intensity exercise like pole is reduced by up to 45%. If you are 130lbs, that means that a 3.25lbs drop in body weight from not drinking enough water can make or break that deadlift!

Take your time

While performance days can be stressful, between getting hair and makeup done, making sure that your costume is ready to go, and quietly freaking out about dancing in front of an audience, it is important to slow down when eating. Allow yourself 30 minutes for each meal, and avoid eating on the go. Taking the time to enjoy each meal not only reduces bloating, it also forces you to stop stressing about remembering your choreography!

No carbonated drinks or caffeine

I’m sure there are coffee-lovers who are shaking their head right about now, but hear me out. Carbonated drinks, including diet soda and sparkling water, can cause gas, which means you end up looking and feeling bloated. In addition, soda, coffee, tea, and even most energy drinks, work as diuretics in the body. A diuretic is basically any substance that promotes the production of urine, which means you will have a higher risk of dehydration, so stay away from these on performance days! If you can’t make yourself drink plain water, add slices of lemon, strawberries, or cucumber to your water for a bit of flavor.

Avoid sodium and starches

The worst foods I can eat before a performance is anything high in carbs and sodium, which is why that cheeseburger was such a bad idea. Sodium retains body fluids, leading to a bloated stomach, while starches like bread, potatoes, and pasta are hard to digest. Still your body needs carbohydrates as it’s the biggest energy source for your muscles, so try to include complex carbs in the form of whole wheat toast, bagel, or cereal with your breakfast.

My go-to performance day meals:

Diet Tips for Performance Days

I like starting with the biggest meal of my day, and usually eat a homemade breakfast of scrambled eggs with spinach, chorizo, onions and peppers. It’s a simple recipe where I throw frozen spinach in a pan with some coconut oil and fry over medium high heat, add chorizo, onions, and peppers, and when everything is almost done, crack two eggs in the pan and stir it all together. If you don’t mind the extra fat, throw some shredded cheddar on top! Eat it with a slice of whole wheat toast, and the combination of carbs and protein will keep your energy levels high without giving you a spike in blood sugar.

For lunch I love a giant smoothie, where I throw in a handful of spinach, a whole banana, pineapple, cucumber, frozen raspberries, a cup of water, and shred some ginger on top. If you want something even more filling, make the smoothie with milk or greek yoghurt instead of the water, or add a scoop of protein powder.

Throughout the day I like snacking on fruits, especially melon and bananas, unsalted nuts, or my go-to snack of single packets of almond butter. Make sure you keep that water bottle close by as well! I only eat a dinner before performing if I am going on stage after 10pm, so most of the time I will just skip it. If you do need dinner, eat something light and filling like baked salmon with a salad; again avoiding prepackaged meals or fast food.

The best part of my performance day diet is my post-performance indulgence. The venue I usually perform at serves a 4-cheese pasta dish with bacon and chicken that completely blows my mind. The high carb to protein ratio (you’re going for 4:1!) is optimal for recovery, especially when eaten within 40 minutes of getting off stage. And after seeing months of training and choreographing culminate in your performance, you deserve a big meal!

What do you eat on performance days? And more importantly, what’s your favorite post-show indulgence?

Nina is a pole dance instructor at Vertical Fusion, a #PDBloggers board member, and works as a photographer for all things aerial and/or sensual. Nina also writes at

Bodybinds and #PDBloggers GIVEAWAY!!!!

Dear gorgeous readers, we interrupt our weekly schedule of Monday morning blog posts to announce an amazing giveaway happening on the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association website.

"bodybinds giveawy" -pdbloggers


One lucky winner will be gifted with a $200 Bodybinds giftcard. The contest is open to everyone everywhere and is only voided were prohibited by law. To enter the giveaway, head on over to the #PDBloggers website for more details! The contest begins TODAY and runs until March 31, 2014!

Tie Me Up, Please

Binding the female body is a tradition that has existed across a number of cultures and has been around for centuries. What is this obsession with forcing female bodies into a more aesthetically pleasing shape at any cost? As someone who will suffer through an evening of wearing 4-inch stilettos because I like how they make my legs look, I can hardly get on my high horse about the issue. In fact, my fascination with binding the body is perhaps even tinged with a bit of awe at just how far women will go in order to appear more beautiful. Binding, however has a special connotation. It implies – even demands – restriction. And it is inherently oppressive. Right?

binding the female body

Foot binding started in the 10th or 11th century in China. It involves applying painfully tight binding to the feet in order to prevent further growth. Bound feet were known as “Lotus Feet” and were considered not only beautiful but a sign of wealth and status in Chinese culture. The foot binding process started early – between the ages of two and five. Young girls toes were broken and bent back, then bound. The average foot length for bound feet was 3 inches. It was not until 1912 that foot binding was outlawed in China, under pressure from Christian feminists. Thank God. I don’t think we have to debate whether or not foot binding had any merits. Beautiful or not, it was a cruel punishment to the young girls who suffered from the practice.

Corsets are another form of binding that became popular in Europe in the 16th century and reached their peak in the Victorian era. The corset was thought to highlight and accentuate the beauty of the female form. Corsets, like foot binding, also posed health risks to women, yet in spite of doctors’ warnings their popularity continued to thrive until World War I. Today corsets have seen a resurgence in fashion in both sexual fetishism and in high-end couture designers like Peter Soronen. Corsets today are far kinder than the ones of yesteryear. While I would never want to be forced to wear one continuously, I love putting one on for an evening. The effects on the silhouette can be dramatic and to me they feel deeply feminine and extremely erotic. Because of their connection today to both binding the female body and sexual fetishism, corsets have a sexual charge to them. They are lingerie and shapewear at the same time. They highlight the female form. And yet, they are cumbersome and restrictive. It is difficult to bend in them much less dance. And so they have their limitations, quite literally.

corset 3

I hate to do away completely with binding. As a woman who occasionally likes being tied up and who understands the various pleasures of restriction, I think the bound female body has its place in our culture not as a symbol of oppression but as a living paradox. The binding of the female body, when initiated freely by the woman being bound, represents submission and exhibitionism at the same time. That’s an intoxicating combination.

Am I advocating that we return to corsets and foot binding, or, worse yet, condone visual representations of women being violently restricted against their will? Absolutely not. But I am suggesting that a sensory exploration of body binding, done in a safe, sane and consensual manner could actually be pleasurable for some women. And who knows, you might actually become a little less restricted.

Mimi Clark is a writer, #PDBloggers member, anime art enthusiast and lover of all things sensual.  You can read more of her stuff at her blog

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