Burning fat, pumping trebles – CARBS, here’s the down low!

I have to say I just tucked into a bowl of delicious Pasta, and it was great. A fantastic source, I mean sauce, and of course a great source of Carbs as well. The pasta, made up of carbs, that I just ingested, will now be worked hard, as my stomach churns and breaks it down, swiftly turning into a useful source of dance energy!

All you hear about these days is low carb this, low carb that, but are carbs the dancer’s killer? When it comes to being a dancer carbs play a very important role in the way that the body produces energy. Carbohydrates aka, Carbs can be broken into two types. Simple and complex. You may hear about all these fancy types of carbs, and when to eat them, what to do with them, and how to digest them. There is however, only 2 types of carbs; the simple carbs, like sugars, and sweet products and the complex carbs, like whole fiber foods and whole grains.

Carbohydrates are the main fuel of the central nervous system, which makes them a key ingredient in your body in order to keep your dance machine functioning. As well as fueling the nervous system every person has a certain amount of carbs stored in their muscles and this is called glycogen. Glycogen is made from carbohydrates, and although it only makes up for approx. under 2% of the body’s energy, it is the energy which is usually used in the first hour of a dance class. The most common exhaustion in endurance sports, “irish dance” being one of these “endurance sports” is due to the depletion of carbohydrate fuel.
-To take this on board you can try eating a complex carbohydrate based food around 2-4 hours prior to a dance class. I say 2-4 hours because blood is used to help break down food in the stomach muscles therefore our blood supply can be low, and this is why we may feel sick. It is however different for everyone.

Anyway moving on to fat burning. As I have read in the past, “Fat burns in the Carbohydrate flame.” Carbs will need to keep being replenished if they are being continually burned. Ever heard of the 6 small meals a day theory? Well this is similar to that in the way that your bodies sugars and glycogen levels need to be topped up regularly so that your body is functioning the way it should. Your energy levels and fat burning levels need to be at their premium, no matter how long your dance class. Glycogen also has to be replaced straight after dance class, so that your body can keep burning fat.

Here is my general rule of thumb I have put together:

Championship Solo Class – High Intensity (ie. training for the worlds/oireachtas) – top carbs up 45 mins to 1 hour. Protein should be digested after class as this will help retain muscle mass.

Ceili Class and/or a more moderate intensity solo class inc. learning steps workshop etc. – Depending on the intensity of this class, for eg, if you are doing a figure dance using your whole body not just your legs then you’re intensity level is obviously higher therefore you will need shorter gaps between eating your meals however I suggest that every 60-90 minutes you need a top up.

These are based on continual dancing classes without large breaks. Large break meaning, sitting on your butt getting yelled at by your teacher for being bone idle or lazy!

A few Carb Ideas  – Sorry guys no dounts!

Pre Class
Mixed Nuts

During Class
Cereal – Not highly processed
Sports Drink

After Class
Fruit & Milk
Sandwich/wrap with meat
Baked potato with Beans/Tuna

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