We thought we’d put together a basic guide on healthy eating for pole training, but everyone needs to eat well, right?! So, this is, simply put, a basic guide to healthy eating.
Whilst we do not proclaim ourselves to be nutritionists or dieticians, we’ve done some research on this, and obviously we have our own experience to go on too. The one thing that’s really stood out is that although we can put together a pretty awesome list of guidelines, everyone is different and should find what works for them in their own time.
Either way, the building blocks to eating correctly remain the same:
Know what you’re eating
Read the labels. Know and understand what’s in the food you eat. There is so much sugar, salt and processing in everything we eat you’d be totally gobsmacked.
Know your weaknesses
The trick is to find alternatives that hit all the same notes but with more fibre and more nutrients!
Stock up on nutrient rich foods
Foods like whole grains, seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables are your best friends. Instead of reaching for a slice of bread or a packet of chips (maybe they’re a weakness of yours?), grab a banana! Again, fibre is your friend.
Get the balance right
It’s suggested that we eat a 40/30/30 balanced diet – 40% good carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat.
Food is nourishment
It’s not hard to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. Treat it for what it is – nourishment. Foods products such as white flour, sugars and fizzy drinks, salt, high fat foods and take-aways should all be kept to a minimum. We’re not saying that you should stay away completely – we’re saying, “everything in moderation”.
Up your fluid intake
Drink more water, mineral rich teas and probiotic drinks. Milky coffee, Ceylon tea, oxygenated cool drinks, fruit juice blends and flavoured waters are not the same thing. Dehydration is the most common nutritional deficiency.
Listen to your body
Understand the foods you are eating and pay attention to how those foods affect your daily energy levels, moods, health and performance.
Eating correctly can make all the difference – you will see your energy stabilize, you should be able to go longer between meals, your sleep and moods will improve; even your skin tone will thank you.
But because us pole dancers are usually A LOT more active than the average man on the street, here are a few helpful tips specifically for pole athletes:
Certain foods and food combinations are slow digesters and will make you feel sluggish, stealing the much-needed energy you need to pole your best. Leave these for days you’re not poling.
Make sure to finish eating a big meal at least three hours before poling.
If you need a snack we suggest a piece of fruit or a small protein snack an hour before training. Light snacks should take away your hunger and sustain your energy, but shouldn’t weigh you down. Healthy carbs such as sweet potato, brown rice, bananas and dates, and proteins like fish, eggs and spirulina are quick fuel for your muscles.
Fruit contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals and beneficial bacteria. Eating fruit on an empty stomach allows your body to be able to properly use the nutrients provided. Piling fruit on top of previous meals means the fruit just sits in the intestines, fermenting.
Food in liquid form is the easiest way to feel full and get the nutrients you need before, during or after physical activity.
It’s best to wait 30 – 60 minutes after training to eat as your digestion may not have fully kicked back in before then.
Pole dancers need protein just as much as weightlifters – any form of strength training means your body needs amino acids for growth, maintenance and repair, as well as boosting your immune system.
If you’re in heavy training for a competition, a light protein snack before bed is a good idea as well, to help fuel the overnight repair.
HYDRATION. Again, we can’t emphasise this enough.
Now, let’s have a quick chat about supplements…
Even with a balanced diet we don’t often get all the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, so a good quality vitamin supplement or Omega capsule can be a good idea. Supplements such as L-Glutamine, glucosamine, MSM and chondroitin are commonly taken for muscle repair, joint recovery and inflammation.
A good protein supplement for athletes is also whey-protein powder, but again, it needs to be a brand that doesn’t compromise on quality. Plant protein such as hemp, pea or brown rice protein are also common decent substitutes for those who wish to stay away from animal products.
Where we see athletes making a big mistake is in relying on convenient protein bars, packaged performance snacks and hydration drinks for energy. If you read the labels you’ll see that these are full of chemicals and preservatives, and you’ll come to realise that these are very cleverly marketed, but don’t do anything for your body in the long run.
Why not try making your own Black Bean Truffles? Loaded with protein, plus cacao to satisfy those chocolate cravings… #winning. See recipe below from Fria’s Superfoods. Or if you’re too lazy, you can always purchase healthy protein-packed treats (filled with raw goodness only!) from the studio.