Eating to optimise the singer on stage

Most performances occur in  the evening and go on till late, this means we are exerting energy when most people are settling down for the day. Performers  need to  adjust  their  nutritional  input to  accommodate  this  upside down energy dispersion. Clinical nutritionist, Stephanie Moore, has some practical  advice to help singers get the right energy balance.

Feeling full  of energy  and being  able to  maintain a  dynamic performance  is absolutely key if you  are going to engage  your audience and ensure  they don’t lose interest.

Often, pre-show nerves  provide a bit  of a buzz  and, coupled with  the rush of adrenaline as  you step  on stage,  your stress  hormones will  shunt plenty  of glucose into your blood  stream to ensure you  have an initial burst  of energy. However, maintaining stable blood sugar  to provide sustained energy is  another matter. Here are a few dos and dont’s to safeguard against suddenly feeling like you’re running on empty mid-gig.

Band on black wall

DON’T eat a large meal just before you go on stage. Digestion requires a lot  of energy so eating a lot of food can leave you feeling heavy and sluggish.

DON’T rely  on high  sugar foods  like sweets,  chocolate, or  cakes to give you energy between sets,  as these foods  will cause your  blood sugar to  spike and then crash. Fruit  juices, smoothies, and  ‘muesli’ bars may  appear healthy but are often high in sugar.

DON’T drink coffee or caffeinated drinks on an empty stomach. The caffeine  will give you an initial buzz but can very rapidly leave you feeling depleted and low in energy.

DO drink plenty of plain water or coconut water to ensure you are  well-hydrated before you go on stage. Even slight dehydration can cause fatigue and brain fog. Avoid fizzy drinks as they can cause you to burp and can make you feel bloated.

DO eat a well-balanced meal 60 – 90 minutes before going on stage that  contains some healthy fats and protein (unprocessed meat, oily fish, eggs, cheese, nuts & seeds, avocados etc.) and some complex carbohydrates (veggies, potatoes,  whole- grains). Combining all  these food groups  will ensure your  blood sugar remains stable, providing you with a steady stream of energy.

DO have with you a mixture of nuts like almonds, brazils and cashews, as well as fresh fruit  or a  little dried  fruits such  as apricots  or figs, to nibble on between sets. These foods give your  energy a steady boost while providing  your brain and muscles with much needed nutrients.

Stephanie is a Clinical Nutritionist MA(Hons) BA(Hons) BSc(Nut.Med) with a background in counselling psychology and nutritional medicine. Based in Hazelmere, Surrey and SW London Stephanie addresses the psychological and physiological aspects of health to develop personalised health and well-being programmes for her clients. Stephanie specialises in body image and weight / eating issues; digestive health; blood sugar and stress imbalance.