GET READY FOR COMP: FUEL YOUR BODY THE RIGHT WAY
Blog #7 of 7 in series by Angelica Avolio
Pole fitness is a very strenuous sport: it requires you to climb, spin and invert on the pole, with the sole strength of your own body. And as such, following a diet that lacks nutrients can lead to weaker immune system, unpaired biological mechanisms and poor recovery. For this reason, it is very important to fuel your body correctly, so that you are supplying your muscles with all the nutrients it needs to sustain the activity. Even more so, if you are preparing for a competition. You want to be your strongest self for it, right?
In this article we will discuss how pole dancers can fuel their body to sustain performance and get all the energy they need to practice those amazing combos in their routine.
CARBOHYDRATES FOR ENERGY
Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy and as such, are a vital part of our diet. Ensure to consume some complex carbohydrates (like pasta or oats) if you are eating 2-3 hours before your session, or something more easily digestible, like a jam sandwich or an energy bar, if you are eating it within 1 hour before starting your training. Likewise, make sure to consume a meal or a snack rich in carbohydrates after your session to aid recovery. If you are training for a long period of time (>1 hour), you may want to have a sport drink so to have continuous supply of glucose to fuel your workout.
A big part of being a good pole dancer, is about being strong enough so that you can perform all moves seamlessly. Alongside performing some tailored strength training, it is also very important to have adequate amounts of protein in your diet so to enable muscle tissue to grow and repair. And don’t forget to have some protein after your workouts (along with your carbs!) to replace any muscle protein that has been broken down and aid recovery.
Just like carbs, fats also supply energy. However, due to the nature of this sport, fats are a secondary source of energy and therefore you should prioritise carbohydrates when it comes to supporting performance and training. Having said that, fats must be included in our diet to support our health and hormonal pathways. The best sources of fats are nuts, seeds, oily fish and extra virgin olive oil. Aim to consume at least 0.8g of fats per kilogram of body weight to support your hormones’ health.
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
Many people don’t know this, but fruit and veg give us much more than fibre and antioxidants! In fact, these foods are rich in other vitamins and minerals that support our biological functions and therefore are of vital importance for ensuring your body is working correctly – even when spinning on a pole! So ensure to eat plenty of foods from these categories at each meal.
Water, always forgotten, is still a nutrient – and a rather essential one I would say! Keep yourself hydrated not only to stay healthy, but also to support performance. Dehydration was in fact associated with a reduced performance output, so it is very important that you drink enough water if you want to train hard for your competition. To help you drink more, carry a fillable bottle with you so that you can always keep an eye on how much water you are having throughout the day.
Jeukendrup, A. and Gleeson, M., 2018. Sport nutrition. Human Kinetics