Nutrition Bulletin: Carbohydrates for Dancers

August 30, 2018

Following on from Chris Taggart's excellent run of articles and some amazing feedback, we are so pleased to welcome him back with some facts and figures on basic Carbohydrate for Dancers and intakes for performance. Carbs get a hard time but when used correctly they can aid performance and recovery enhancing the Dancer's ability to train and practise.




Following on from my nutrition primer and still on the topic of macronutrients, the next topic of interest is carbohydrates (CHO). Here’s a quick summary of what you may already know about CHO from the first article:


  • CHO are the main source of fuel for exercise and should aim to have at least 50% of your total energy intake from CHO.

  • They can be categorised into starches, sugars, and fibres.

  • CHO in the diet should be mainly whole grain and starchy; for example, pasta, brown rice, potatoes, couscous. These will fill you up and provide long lasting energy as it takes a while to absorb and metabolise.






Increased energy requires increased CHO. It cannot get simpler than this – the longer you are training for, the more stores of CHO you will need to meet the demands of the exercise.


Table 1. A Ready Reckoner for CHO Intake – Training intensity and the corresponding recommended CHO intake in grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day.


Now let’s put this into practice with an example:

Table 2 – Working example of how to use Table 1 to calculate daily CHO needs.

48 x 3 or 5 = Daily CHO (g)

4 (1kcal of CHO) x 168 or 250  = Total CHO (kcal/day)


This would look like:

-1 bowl of porridge,

-1 peanut butter and jam sandwich,

-1 jacket potato with 1 tin of baked beans & cheese,

-1 banana.


So, with these recommended foods, not only is the goal CHO amount reached, but it also contains all the forms CHO can be broken down in. Consuming all types of carbs is not only important for performance, but also for gut health and body composition. The total amount of CHO in kcals per day is also close to 50% of total energy intake.



Forms of Carbohydrates