By Marissa Parzei
When you think of ballet, what comes to mind is most likely elegance, ease, and grace. And while all these qualities are what we aim for, it takes a lot more to reach peak performance in the ballet world.
I started dancing ballet when I was ten, not knowing the amount of work truly required of a professional ballet dancer. As the years went by, I became accustomed to the slowly increasing demands of training and performing.
Now as a professional dancer for almost ten years, keeping my body working for me is of utmost importance. And the demands are great. Working from ten a.m. with a training class for an hour and a half through to rehearsals that can last upwards of six hours is a daily challenge. My nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining stamina and concentration.
Sunwarrior is an integral part of my nutrition. What I love about it is that it’s plant-based and full of nutrients. I wouldn’t say I’m vegetarian, but meat is not a main staple in my diet. It comes in and out when I crave it (my knowledge of what my body wants is so sensitive I know when need a banana, red meat, peppers, greens, or almonds. But that’s another story).
I have a few go-to foods that incorporate Sunwarrior to keep my performance high. One comforting meal I love is oatmeal. I am a believer in eating less to no gluten, so I make my oatmeal with a variety of grains: buckwheat, amaranth, and/or oats. After I cook this up, I add a scoop of the Warrior protein blend. Chocolate or vanilla makes the oatmeal taste amazing and decreases the need to add any other sweetener like honey or maple syrup. I add cracked or blended flax seeds, raisins, and often pumpkin seeds. For a flavor kick I add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom to aid in circulation, and a pinch of salt to maintain my electrolyte balance. This is such a great way for me to start my day as it keeps me full with steady energy through the first part of the day to lunch.
If I have a heavy day of dancing—a schedule where I know I’m going to be dancing a lot and the time and energy to digest a chewable snack is not available—I mix up something very simple: boiled water from making my morning tea into a thermos, a 3/4 scoop of the Warrior Blend, 2 teaspoons powdered spirulina, and 1 teaspoon honey. I love this drink. It is easily digested and something I can sip on during rehearsals. I get some carbohydrates from the honey, protein for maintaining my energy levels, and phytonutrients from the spirulina. In the winter time when the studio can get cold, I also have a few shakes of chili powder or cayenne pepper. This thermogenic spice heats me up on the inside and keeps my metabolism going.
Even though some ballet may look soft and dainty, others are very physical and challenging on the body. Sunwarrior protein keeps me nourished and pushing to reach my goals. Look out for future posts on how I use my Sunwarrior protein.