Circus News

Simple Nutrition Hacks For Circus Artists

Have you ever had indigestion but had to perform anyway? Do you find your muscles seem to be perpetually sore? Do you want to increase flexibility? Many of the core issues that keep us from performing at our best are related to our diets and certain natural components that can make our body work for us and against us. Here’s a simple guide you can reference to help keep you pain free and performing at your best. It’s important to look at the way you eat as a preventive measure that doesn’t have instant results but instead offers long-term benefits. Imagine not getting sick, having more energy and performing optimally! That is what these nutrition hacks can help you with!

For Soreness

If there’s one thing all circus artists deal with, it has to be muscle soreness. We are using our muscles constantly and while we may not be able to completely eradicate it, we can use nutrition hacks to significantly reduce it! Here are some heavy duty muscle soreness hacks that will allow you to train harder with less nuisance!

Ginger Heat Premium Muscle Rub works with nature’s painkillers like curcumin and arnica along with anti-inflammatory ingredients like cinnamon and ginger to keep issues like shoulder and neck tightness at an all time low. Carry this with you and you’ll notice you won’t develop as many knots. Astaxanthin which is a rare and hard to find red marine algae protective agent will also greatly reduce soreness. You can get it from Ascend Living online in pure form or get the Astaxbar. Another key component to repairing muscle tissue is sulphur. Combine 1000 mg of MSM with vitamin a C supplement and the muscle tissue will heal faster because the cell walls become permeable allowing nutrients to enter the cells. Finally, most inflammation comes from either an acidic pH or chronic internal dehydration. Eat raw greens daily to keep your pH slightly basic and drink at least 2 liters of alkaline water daily. Processed foods like pizza, beer, wine, bread, soda and meats are acidic and will increase inflammation and soreness.

For Low Energy

There are many causes of low energy. Sometimes you have a food intolerance, sometimes you’re dehydrated. It can come from consuming too much caffeine which causes adrenal fatigue or maybe you don’t have the healthy fats your brain needs for energy. Chronic fatigue can also come from a combination of these things.

Many people are gluten intolerant to some degree. Gluten can make you chronically fatigued. Try eliminating it from your diet and see if your energy goes up. Next, what most people don’t realize is that our brain power comes from healthy fats. We need oils, nut butters, avocados or fish oils to have energy or our body will feel extremely tired. If you’re drinking more than 2 cups of caffeine (200 mg’s) daily, you will also experience adrenal fatigue which means that coffee will actually make you more tired (and reaching for another cup will make you feel worse). Often when we are tired, the body is chronically dehydrated, so your first thought should be to drink water. Your body will crave carbohydrates if it’s dehydrated and if it hasn’t gotten the full vitamin spectrum for the day. Eat salads and smoothies for your A-K vitamin regiment and get a full amino acid profile from a bioavailable supplement like Garden of Life or Health Force. Protein will not turn into energy unless you have live nutrients to convert it into energy. Make sure you have some live plants with every meal otherwise the protein will line your intestinal walls and build up. Keep your sugar levels up by eating small amounts of healthy snacks (not Cheetos) all throughout the day and don’t go 6-8 hours without food or water. Circus artists need to consume more calories because we burn them, make sure you’re getting enough food.

For Flexibility

Contortionists increase flexibility by going on a no salt and no sugar diet. Fruit sugar is ok and necessary but refined sugars like corn syrup and even cane sugar will lower your flexibility and make you work that much harder to do your job. Eating out you will consume a lot of sodium (salt) in processed foods at chain restaurants through breads and sauces. Also, if your body is dehydrated, your flexibility will be limited. Drink a lot of water before stretching and you’ll notice the difference. Also, a note on hydration. If we drink a lot of water at once, it will go right through us. Drink small amounts throughout the day and try to ingest a lot of fruits and vegetables with a high water content. The water in the plants is stored in a jelly like substance that will stay in your body longer, keeping you hydrated with less trips to the loo.

To Get Rid of Stomach Problems

Chronic problems like stomach aches and headaches can get in the way of your training regime. Do you find yourself bloated and gassy or having stomach pain a lot? One cause of chronic stomach pain and diarrhea can be a gluten or dairy intolerance. These can develop at any age. First try eliminating gluten from your diet for two weeks and if it persists, try also eliminating dairy. Many people in their 20’s develop an intolerance to one or both. If you’re nauseous, ginger tea or ginger chews are helpful as well as something bland like corn chips. Heads up, if you’ve become gluten or dairy intolerant, nausea can be one of the symptoms so if you’re getting it persistently, try going without.

For Headaches

Each circus skill requires heightened concentration and alertness so it’s important to pay attention when the body is sending us a signal. If you are experiencing headaches, it could be the result of poor hydration. If you have mild or severe headaches, drink water right away. You can also try raw coconut water for quick reboot of electrolytes. If you find you’re drinking a lot of water but still having headaches, try eating more water based foods like celery, cucumber, melons, apples etc. Sometimes sugar can cause headaches as well as too much caffeine. Although Ibuprofen will help symptoms in the short run, it won’t get to the root of the headache issue and you’ll find them reoccurring.

To Prevent Sickness

Circus folk are constantly exposed to germs with all the shared equipment and close proximity to each other during training and shows. As artists, we should boost our immune system year round, not just during cold and flu season. We can take preventive measures to boost our immune system and avoid getting sick. Avoid alcohol as much as possible because it is the fastest way to lower your body’s defense (the immune system). If the body is in an alkaline state, it is not susceptible to viruses. If your body were  a washing machine, raw greens would be the daily detergent. If you’re sick often, look at your food. Are you eating things with long ingredient lists? Switch to a clean diet with more plants and make sure to drink that alkaline water. If you’re not sleeping enough, your immune system will also be compromised.

For Sore Throats

When you’re working with people, a virus may spread through bodily contact and leave you catching a sore throat or cold. There’s a backwoods remedy that is very effective for swollen lymph nodes. Combine hot water, lemon juice, ginger powder, cayenne powder and honey in a glass and drink it as much as you can throughout the day. This will help fight off the sickness by alkalizing your body, coat your throat and reduce swelling.

This is just skimming the surface of hacks that can help us. For instance, if women stay hydrated and alkaline, they may be able to eliminate cramping and tiredness during their time of the month. There is much more on building muscles, lowering anxiety and managing emotions that can help us in our circus life (check out Health Force for protein  and immune system boosters, and check out the Gaia Herb Adrenal Health Daily Support for stress management). If you feel like your emotions are getting the best of you and getting in the way of your job, check out adaptogens which help balance the hormones. Ginseng and ashwagandha are good to start with. One performance can inspire someone for a lifetime and we want to be able to do as many as possible! Just as we study the finite details of movement and body lines, we can use the science of food to improve performance as well by getting the systems to work together. If you found this article helpful, share it with your circus friends so we can do what we love easier and keep the world entertained, intrigued and inspired.

Photo: stock images
Shannon Yrizarry
Teacher, Artist, Writer -United States
Shannon Yrizarry is a writer, yoga teacher, theatre artist and circus arts advocate. Her passion is to help support a thriving community of inspired artists to keep the world dreaming and keep ideas alive. She is a hand balancer, grew up as a performing acrobat and trained in contortion. Her goal is to help people perform well and keep purpose, community and fun in the global circus community. Follow her journey on Instagram @shannonyrizarry.

Shannon Yrizarry

Shannon Yrizarry is a writer, yoga teacher, theatre artist and circus arts advocate. Her passion is to help support a thriving community of inspired artists to keep the world dreaming and keep ideas alive. She is a hand balancer, grew up as a performing acrobat and trained in contortion. Her goal is to help people perform well and keep purpose, community and fun in the global circus community. Follow her journey on Instagram @shannonyrizarry.

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