What athletes really eat
Dany Rabello is an acrobatic performer in Cirque du Soleil's show, Zarkana, which is opening in New York City on June 6.
I eat first thing when I wake up at 8 a.m. Today I had a big bagel with cream cheese, a banana and green tea before going into work. The show opens soon, so we're doing run-throughs and perfecting our choreography.
Before rehearsals, I ate a chocolate bar. I'm a serious chocoholic -- no matter if it's a granola or candy bar, as long as it's got some of the good stuff. Plus, it gives me much-needed energy. As an acrobatic character in the show, my performance mixes ballet, dance and aerial arts. This morning, I practiced on the spider web. It involves a tangle of ropes, a trapeze, and a lot of upper body strength.
Around noon, we paused for meetings and lunch. Sometimes I bring in leftovers, but today I went out to eat. I ordered chicken with rice and a Caesar salad, washed down with a fresh carrot-orange juice. For dessert, I had coffee and some more chocolate.
Then it was time to put on my costume. For each hour of practice, there's a 20-minute rest. I have a snack, like a protein shake or candy bar, and drink lots of water during each break.
Dinner was on the set. I had Chinese lo-mein noodles, a salad, one more coffee and, of course, my chocolate. Because we're in the final stages of preparation, rehearsals lasted until 10 p.m. Some nights we stay until midnight; it's a lot of work, but I love it. Regardless of how late it is when I get home, I always have something -- a slice of pizza or a sandwich -- before going to bed. Even though I'm quite skinny, I eat a lot. I need all those calories to keep going!
Terra Castro is a pro triathlete who often finishes in the top five at Ironman races. A member of Team Luna Chix pro team, she lives in Austin, Texas.
For my first breakfast this morning, at around 5:30, I had buckwheat waffles with a banana, almond butter and a cup of green tea. I stopped eating wheat in 2000, when I was constantly exhausted and kept gaining weight. Finally, my doctor gave me a blood test and diagnosed me with an intolerance to eggs and gluten. So, no more omelets and whole-wheat toast for me.
I headed to the track for an hour-long speed workout, where I chugged water and had a Luna protein bar afterwards. My favorite flavor is the chocolate-peanut butter, because it tastes like a healthy Snickers bar -- with 12 grams of protein and no gluten. Then it was time for my second breakfast, quinoa with black beans and veggies. Because I can't eat eggs, I have to get creative with my protein sources.
Lunch is usually pretty light. Today I had a turkey sandwich on rice bread with sprouts, avocado, hummus and tomato, along with a pear and a handful of tortilla chips. Then I biked for three hours. Since it's hot in Austin and I sweat a lot, I took salt tabs and a package of Clif Shot Bloks every hour to replace my electrolytes. On the drive home, I drank a little whey protein mixed with apple juice. It's all about being prepared: if I don't have food on hand after a long workout, I know I'd drive straight to the McDonald's.
On some days, I'd head to the pool to swim. But today I took it easy, so I stretched and then made dinner: gluten-free pasta with organic buffalo and frozen broccoli. My husband and I usually sit down around 6:30; I have to eat every three or four hours to keep my energy levels up. If I'm in the mood for dessert, I'll have a small chunk of chocolate. I'm a firm believer that, as long as you eat clean 90 percent of the time, you can indulge the rest of the time.