Have you been wondering what to eat before, during or after a pole class to have lots of energy and feel your best?
We all know pole, like any workout, requires a serious amount of energy and focus. Food gives us energy, but certain food and food combinations are slower to digest and can steal energy we need to pole our best. So what’s a poler to do?
For a productive pole class, we need to be comfortable. The more comfortable we are, the more we can focus on our body positions, muscle engagement and relaxation, and of course the pole! We don’t want our body signaling every 5 seconds, “I’m tired”, “I’m hungry”, “My stomach hurts” or “I’m so full I might hurl if I twirl around one more time”
Comfortable is a relative term, something we all have to figure out for ourselves, so my aim for this article is to steer you in the right direction, and underline the importance of eating at the right time, eating an abundance of nutrients and combining foods for optimum digestion.
So how can we optimize our eating habits to be comfortable, and to perform our best every time we hit the poles?
I’m going to give advice in 2 forms, advice for those who want to ease into it “Slow & Easy Advice” and for those who want to dive in head first a “Sample Hardcore Routine” For those of you in-between you can pick and choose what you want to experiment with.
Slow & Easy Advice
- Skip white breads, refined sugars, soda/sports drinks, meat, cheese, processed vegan meat and cheese, or other dairy products before poling. These products are much slower to digest especially when eaten together. Plus these foods are also known to cause heartburn, flatulence and indigestion; best to leave these foods for the lazy nights on the couch when your body can solely focus on digestion.
- Make sure to finish eating a big meal at least 3 hours before poling but no longer than 6 hours before.
- If you experience hunger in-between your last meal and pole, drink more water or make a simple food replacement green drink. I prefer Vitamineral Green by Healthforce, Pure Synergy, Raw Reserve or just plain spirulina. To start out slow, add just 1/2 tbsp of powder to 1 quart water. I bring this drink with me every time I go to class to sustain my hunger and energy.
- Drink at least 1 quart water every 2 classes.
- Eat a light meal at least 1 hour after your workout.
Check out this wonderful article for more alkalizing food ideas, and more information about acidic vs. alkaline foods.
- Am I getting enough nutrients from my food for optimal muscle repair?- How to get more nutrients from foods.
- Am I eating too many foods that are slow to digest right before pole? – Food digestion times.
- Am I eating poor food combination regularly? – Food combining suggestions.
- Am I eating more acidic foods than alkaline? Alkaline vs. Acidic Food Chart
The best way to figure out what works and doesn’t work for you specifically, is to experiment. Try different recipes, at different times of the day, and see which makes you feel your best. You’ll want to record your findings in a journal to remember exactly what worked and what did not.
Sample Hardcore Routine
After years of reading, learning and experimenting with routines, I found my ideal food routine to keep me feeling my best and most comfortable. I continually keep track of when and what I am eating and when and what the effects are, it’s worth it to be comfortable!
Although some may find these suggestions hardcore, I find this shell routine simple and easy because I’ve been doing it for so long. New things are always hard at first, but hopefully you’ll feel as though you are adding new things to your routine, rather then taking away from your old routine.
Let’s use a typical working all day, poling at night scenario for example.
Early Morning Pre-Breakfast
I call this my clear out stage. My goal in the morning is to completely empty my digestive system before piling more food on top. If I eat a big meal after pole around 8-9pm and then try to go to sleep an hour later, I’ll wake up feeling starved. I realized I just needed to drink a lot of water, and that feeling will pass. Once the intense false hunger feeling passes, I know I can eat shortly after the slow and gradual true hunger feeling comes. However, to combat the intense hunger problem altogether I realized I needed to eat my big meal 3 hours before pole, and eat a light lunch like dinner an hour after.
- Drink at least 1 quart of pure water; this can be tea, green drinks, earth drink, nettle infusion, or any other herb, spice, root, blue-green algae, fermented or probiotic concoction you enjoy.
- Eat lots of fresh picked fruits from the farmers in the spring/summer, and lots of apples, bananas, and citrus fruit in the fall/winter.
These drinks and fruit contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial bacteria. On an empty stomach your body will be able to properly utilize these nutrients, plus it’s all extremely easy to digest.
If fruit only takes about an hour to digest, while other foods take over 3 hours, then piling fruit on top of other food means the fruit just sits there in the intestines, fermenting, before your digestive system gets to it. This can cause all sorts of problems, and certainly not problems you want while poling!
When my schedule is poling Saturday mornings from 9am-1pm I sustain myself with a quart of water, a quart of a green drink, and 4 pieces of fruit. When I get home around 2pm I devour a huge lunch, and then eat a light dinner and dessert.
Well before a workout I’ll fuel up on healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, flax seed, nuts, and slower digesting fruit such as bananas, dates, etc.
- Nuts, seeds, grains, and dried fruits in a simple trail mix, or made into treats like oatmeal, energy bars, muffins, milkshakes, etc.
- Or go a lighter route, green smoothies, eat even more fruits, and drink more concoctions.
I prefer to got the lightest route when I’ve eaten heavily the past few days and I’ll eat heavier after days I’ve eaten light. It’s always a balance.
Pictured above from top left to right.
- Raw Vegan Pound Cake & Banana Ice Cream
- Chia Seed, Banana & Nut Milkshake
- No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No-Bake Chocolate Avocado Cream Pie
- Crunchy Chocolate Granola Bars
- No-Bake Blueberry Banana Muffins
There are many healthy recipes out there that I encourage you to try! For more recipes from around the web check out my Pinterest boards, I inspect all recipes to make sure they are indeed a healthy version and not misleading.
Go big when you’re poling at night, I basically eat my normal dinners for lunch and my lunches for dinner.
- Eat lots of veggies, raw or lightly cooked.
- Pick a grain, bean, pea, legume, etc; sprouted is an extra bonus as it reduces phytic acid(anti-nutrients) which helps the body absorb even more nutrients. Ex. Rice, lentils, chickpeas, buckwheat, amaranth, wheat, quinoa, etc.
- If you can’t go without meat on pole days, eat a small serving of local organic meat. Watch out when pairing meat with potatoes and or bread, these food combinations are known to be poor.
- Same goes for dairy and eggs, if you must make sure they are high quality and go easy on pole days.
I believe freshly picked veggies from the farmers eaten raw, lightly cooked, dehydrated, or stewed provide the most energy. If I eat a bunch of fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains during the day, I could pole all night feeling light, not hungry or tired until I get home.
- Sweet Potato Chana Masala
- Easy Mac & Veggies
- Raw Vegan Pizza
- Vegan Burritos with Raw Vegan Taco Meat
- Jicama Chili Cheese Fries
- Country Rice, Veggies & Chia Seed Gravy
Before, during or after pole class; light snacks will sustain your hunger and energy but shouldn’t weigh you down.
- Drink more water, flexibility tea, Vitamineral Green, Earth, nettle infusion, or any other herb, spice, root, blue-green algae, probiotic concoction.
- Bring simple cut up veggies like red bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, carrots; whatever vegetable you prefer simple and raw.
- Make veggie chips, popcorn, dried fruit, or energy bars to bring with you for an even heartier snack.
Food in liquid form is usually the easiest way to get full and get the nutrients you need before, during, and/or after physical activity.
- Zucchini Chips | Cheesy, BBQ, Sea Salt & Vinegar
- Soft Dried Apple Wedges
- BBQ Mango Meat
- Spicy Spirulina Popcorn
- Raw Vegan Buckwheat Crispy Treats
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Fig Bars
Dinner after pole should be light, our bodies are still ready for action after a workout, so enjoy your post workout high and about an hour later enjoy a nice light meal.
Overnight our body will be hard at work repairing and rebuilding itself, so it’s important to give it the building blocks it needs. The nutrients in vibrant foods are our building blocks. We also don’t want all our energy spent on digesting heavy foods, our muscles need that energy!
- Veggies, grains, nuts, seeds, greens, beans, etc.
- Salads, soups, rolls, and sandwiches just to name a few.
- Ideally you would go to sleep 1-3 hours after eating your last meal.
- 5 Minute Raw Vegan Stir Fry
- Spring Rolls with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce
- Vegan Cheesy Potatoes & Corn
- Pak Dong Mixin’ Meal Bowl – Probiotic Rich!
- Homemade Tomato Soup
- Vegan Sushi with Ginger Sauce
I hope this inspires you to recreate your food routine to one that makes you feel the most comfortable!