Health & Wellbeing at R/A – Nutrition for the performer

Whatever your profession, in order to perform at your best, your body needs to be well fuelled and this is especially prevelent for aspiring professional performers.

R/A aims to provide it’s students with a well rounded education, to prepare them for the realities of the performance industry. We invited Nutritionist Josh Dyson, of Nutrition JD, to come in to R/A and talk to our students about how to make the best choices to suit their individual needs, considering a lack of time, space to prepare, and limited finance.

Second year Lucy Richardson felt she’d been struggling with time on a morning to eat substantially enough for her intense training days, and Josh suggested some specific food options and recipes to tackle time saving, whilst enabling the right nutrients, for example overnight oats, which can be prepared in advance and then eaten on the go.

First year Charlotte Marsh found something in Josh’s lecture particularly clicked with her, in regards to her training at RA; ‘Move more, fuel more’ (adjust what you eat depending on training, dance heavy day vs a more static vocals day). ‘It made me realise why sometimes I don’t have as much energy.’

And what other advice did our students take from Josh’s lecture, to develop good habits with regards to their nutrition…?

Here are Josh’s 3 Top Tips:

(1) Plan Out Your Week

Take 10 minutes at the weekend to plan out your nutrition for the next week. Incorporating this planing time will allow you to ensure that you are fuelling to optimise your development, meeting your performance and recovery needs, whilst aiding your health. 

For example during your planning time you may identify meals and snacks that are to be prepared for the week. To save time you may even identify opportunities to bulk prep certain meals.

Some key nutrition behaviours to consider integrating within your nutrition plan:

  • High quality protein sources consumed every 3 to 4 hours to aid muscle growth and repair.
  • Carbohydrate consumption to aid performance and recovery. Fuel for the work required. If you move more, fuel more.
  • Healthy fat sources to aid health, for example: avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil, fish, dairy, red meat and eggs. 
  • Fibre sources to aid health, for example: vegetables, fruit, salad and wholegrains.
  • Ensure nutrient density by opting for a variety of food sources. Consider including a minimum of 2 to 3 different colours within a meal for a variety of vitamins and minerals. 
  • Maintain hydration throughout the day. 

(2) Snacks: Your Bag Is Your Tool Box 

With the expenditure of frequent classes throughout the day it is important that you have access to easily consumable snacks to maintain performance.

The bag of the performer can therefore be viewed as their tool box. 

With time sometimes limited between class it is important to opt for low fibre foods to minimise the risk of gastro-intestinal issues (e.g. stomach cramping, nausea, bloating). 

Example snacks could include:

Granola, granola bars, home-made flapjack, home-made energy balls (dried fruit), rice cakes, oat cakes, Ryvitta, fresh fruit, trail mix, dried fruit bar, fruit loaf and fig rolls.

Want to prepare your own snacks? Here are some example recipes:

(3) Develop Your Food Knowledge and Practical Skills  

Nutrition is a life skill, not just something to support your training or performance. It is also of great importance that you enjoy your food!

For R/A students it is therefore important that they consider:

Increasing your food knowledge: Your understanding of foods and how to integrate these into your diet. With the nature of the performance industry, domestic and international travel may be frequent, which could mean a restriction upon food options available. It is therefore important that you can put your knowledge of food in to practice and meet your health and performance needs.

It is also of great importance to avoid nutrition myths, as this can cause unnecessary restriction upon dietary choices.  Below is an evidence-based nutrition guide created by Josh regarding the most common nutrition myths.


Improve your cooking skills:  It is important to put your nutrition knowledge and plan in to action. Students should therefore put an emphasis upon improving their cooking skills to be able to create nutrient dense meals. Josh challenged our students to expand their cooking repertoire by coming up with five new meals, and having a go at making them! Did you spot any reposts on our social media stories of our budding #masterchefs?

You can find out more about Josh Dyson and his Nutrition consultancy business on his website