Your Best Body

Got Nutcracker auditions coming up? You might want to avoid texting right before you take your place at the barre.

 

Fascinating new research from Harvard Business School found that people who spent a few minutes typing on a small, handheld gadget were only half as assertive in follow-up tests as those who had typed on a desktop computer. They were also far more meek on an additional test that measured power and self-confidence.

 

Start off the season on a healthy note this fall: Have some trout, one of the healthiest fish you can include in your diet. It's filled with omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and also has low levels of contaminants like mercury. Try this recipe for Baked Trout with Shiitake Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Ginger from National Ballet of Canada principal Sonia Rodriguez.

 

Ingredients:

Nonstick cooking spray

It's a question every dancer asks herself: If I want to perform my best, should I eat before or after rehearsal? The answer: Both.

 

According to an article in The New York Times, it turns out that eating easily digestible carbohydrates (think white bread or white rice) in the hour before exercising helps athletes work out for longer. That means your fouettés won't lose steam by hour two or three in the studio.

 

It's rare to find a ballet dancer without a sweet tooth—after hours of rehearsing, sometimes you just need a little sugar! Next time a craving hits, try this healthy chocolate pudding recipe from San Francisco Ballet corps member Luke Willis. He makes it with all raw and vegan ingredients, and uses avocados as a base, which means you get a nice dose of fiber, potassium, vitamin C and heart-healthy fats to go along with your dessert. Best of all? It's super simple to make after a long day in the studio.

 

Ingredients:

2-3 avocados (ripe)

There are many ways to amp up your focus before rehearsal. Some dancers meditate. Others chug a latte. A recent study found that the key to concentration could be as simple as sipping some water: People who drank three cups just before beginning a task increased their brain’s reaction time by up to 14 percent. Apparently, even being a little thirsty can distract you. So the next time you start trying to learn a tricky new phrase, fill up your water bottle. You’ll feel perkier in no time.

We all know someone who can’t survive without her cup of coffee as well as that dancer who swears green tea is her health savior. But is one truly better than the other? We compared the two to see which is the best choice for a dancers’ overall well-being.

 

Coffee 

Caffeine: 128–185 mg

Calories: Under 5

Nutrients: Good source of riboflavin and pantothenic acid

Effects on weight: High levels of caffeine can reduce appetite.

Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries in ballet: Out of a group of 24 serious dancers, 2 to 7 will sprain their ankle within a year, according to a study done at the University of Sydney. And because so many dancers attempt to work through the pain, up to 65 percent of them will still suffer from ankle problems three years later.

Flexibility can be just as important in setting goals as it is during grand battements. A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that we're more likely to pursue goals when they include a range of ideal outcomes, rather than being ultra-specific.

 

Frozen yogurt shops have taken over the country in the last three years. Believed to be a healthier option than ice cream, fro-yo feels like a free pass to indulge in a sweet treat without the guilt. But when shops are stocked with numerous flavors and a bar of tasty toppings, the “light snack” can easily become a calorie bomb. Here’s how to navigate the fro-yo line without regretting it later.

 

Do:

This summer heat might leave you craving a cold snack after class to cool down. But did you know that reaching for an ice cream cone or a flavored slushie could actually make you feel hotter? Barry Swanson, a food scientist at Washington State University, recently spoke to Time about which foods can spike your body temperature, and which can help bring it down. His insights might surprise you.