Foodiesfeed

Hydration Help

We all know drinking water is important for dancers, especially when the temperature is sky-high and you're soaked in sweat during class. But with all the benefits sports drinks claim to have, should you be supplementing your hydration with those, too? DS consulted dance nutrition experts Marie Elena Scioscia, MS, RD, CDN, of The Ailey School, and Peggy Swistak, MS, RD, CD, of Pacific Northwest Ballet, to get the lowdown on popular sports beverages.

Coconut Water

Claim: The high potassium content in coconut water makes it a better choice than sports drinks for optimal performance.

Verdict: It's not bad, but it's no miracle drink.

Coconut water is fairly low in calories and has more potassium per serving than a banana—so if you like the taste, it's a good choice. “But if you're exercising heavily and sweating profusely, you'll do better with a traditional sports drink like Gatorade for electrolyte replacement," Scioscia explains.

Vitaminwater

Claim: In addition to providing vitamins, different flavors promise “energy," “revival," “glow" and more.

Verdict: The claims are mostly false and the vitamins are most likely unnecessary.

“If you're eating well, taking a multivitamin and drinking vitaminwater, you could be getting too many vitamins, which is just as dangerous as too few vitamins," Scioscia says. Swistak adds, “The labeling of 'energy,' 'weight loss,' 'antioxidants,' etc., is misleading—there's not enough of any ingredient to do anything of the sort."

Coffee and Energy Drinks

Claim: The caffeine will give you energy.

Verdict: Depending on how your body reacts to caffeine, that's possibly true. But these aren't the best choices for hydration and should be used sparingly.

“Caffeinated drinks could help rev up your energy, but too much caffeine can dehydrate you and waste B vitamins," says Scioscia. Overloading on caffeine can also cause “irritability, shakiness or an upset stomach," Swistak says.

“Exotic" Fruit Drinks (like Fuze and açaí-berry drinks)

Claim: Like vitaminwater, these drinks promise a variety of things, such as weight loss and increased stamina.

Verdict: They won't hurt you, but they won't help you much, either.

“None of the claims these kinds of drinks make have been proven true," Swistak says. “They might taste good though, so there's no problem with drinking them—if you can afford the extra calories."

Gatorade

Claim: Gatorade replenishes electrolytes lost through sweat and stimulates thirst so you'll be sure to drink enough to rehydrate.

Verdict: It lives up to its claim! Gatorade is one of your best options.

Gatorade is great for replacing electrolytes, according to Scioscia. Not only will it quench your thirst, but it will also prevent an electrolyte imbalance, enabling you to keep dancing. The low-calorie version is your best bet.

The Sweaty Truth

Electrolytes, such as sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium and calcium, keep your muscles and nerves functioning, which is why they're so important for dancers. You lose electrolytes when you sweat—in fact, you may even find that your skin gets salty because of the sodium leaving your body. Failure to replenish your electrolytes can cause cramping, nausea, light-headedness and spasms. Yikes!

The Bottom Line

Most fluids you drink (excluding alcohol) will prevent dehydration. Even watery fruits and veggies can help keep you hydrated. But be wary of advertising claims on sports beverages. Unless you're in dire need of electrolytes, your safest bet is plain old water—zero calories, zero potentially harmful side effects! You can always add a slice of lime or lemon for flavor.

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search