The Lowdown on Portable Pick-Me-Ups
Energy gels: You’ve probably heard of them. The instant, long-lasting energy they provide sounds like a dream come true. But are these supplements really good for dancers? DS investigates. —Sarah Badger
+ Prone to stomach problems? Some gels, like GU, contain small amounts of chamomile and ginger, which can help soothe your digestive system.
+ The simple carbohydrates in gels will send glucose to your muscles and brain almost
immediately, while the abundance of complex carbs will keep you from crashing later.
– Carb BOOM and some other gels may pack as many as 100 mg of caffeine into about 2 oz. of gel—the equivalent of an entire cup of coffee! So if you’re sensitive to this stimulant, read the label carefully.
– While some brands, like Clif Shot, contain a small quantity of electrolytes, it’s still nowhere near enough to replace the amount you’ll lose in one dance class.
What the Expert Says
Marie Scioscia, nutritional consultant for The Ailey School, cautions dancers about consuming energy gels. “They’re meant for endurance athletes, which dancers are to some extent, but not in the same way as a triathlete,” she says.
The bottom line
If you have a long day of performing during which you’re not stopping, then an energy gel could be appropriate. However, when you have time, choose real foods that combine protein and carbohydrates for long-lasting energy.
Tip: If you decide an energy gel is right for you, be sure to drink at least 8 oz. of water with each packet to prevent muscel cramps.
Marie's Non-Gel Power Picks
- A hard-boiled egg and a handful of baby carrots
- A cup of yogurt and a piece of fruit
- Half of a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of soy milk
Your Aches and Pains Addressed: Patellar Tendinitis, aka Jumper’s Knee
You feel: A sharp pain between your kneecap and shinbone, especially while or after jumping.
Try an ice massage. Fill a small paper cup three-quarters of the way full of water and place it in the freezer. Once the water has frozen, peel away the top half of the cup and use the exposed ice to gently massage the painful area.
Stretch and strengthen your quadriceps. Tight and/or weak quads are big contributors to patellar tendinitis. Ask your teacher or doctor to suggest exercises to get your quads in tip-top shape. —Michael Anne Bailey
Ever lie on the couch to watch some dance videos with your laptop resting on your stomach? Check this out: Doctors at the Chapel Hill School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina have found that this behavior can have some pretty serious side effects, including headaches, neck and shoulder pain and wrist pain, collectively called “laptop-itis.” When using your laptop, sit in a way that creates 90-degree angles at your elbows, hips and shoulders. —MAB
Did You Know?
Using hand sanitizer too often can be bad for your health. According to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found that overexposure to triclosan, an ingredient in many hand sanitizers, can negatively impact your immune system. Yikes! The next time you want to de-germ after ballet class, turn to good old soap and water. You should only resort to hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t readily available. —MAB
Feeling down? Give someone a compliment and then give yourself one, too, for an instant boost.
Nearly 80,000 dance-loving Instagram followers can't be wrong: Quinn Starner is one to watch. And what's just as impressive as the 15-year-old's rabid online following is her ever-growing list of competition accolades. Quinn, who trains at Indiana Ballet Conservatory and Stars Dance Company, been named first runner-up at The Dance Awards for two years in a row (as a junior and a teen); was the 2016 West Coast Dance Explosion Teen National Champion; earned first place in contemporary and third place in the classical division at Youth America Grand Prix Regionals in Pittsburgh last year; has won the Grand Prix Award at ADC|IBC; and was a gold medalist at World Ballet Art Competition Grand Prix. Plus, she made it to the Academy round on last year's "So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation," and has performed as Clara in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Here's what Quinn has to say about her favorite songs, teachers, and career highlights.
Want a chance to get personally involved in the HOTLY anticipated TV show "World of Dance"? Of course you do. That's why J. Lo. and the rest of the "WOD" team have launched an interactive version of the upcoming NBC series that lets Snapchatters get in on the action.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.
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