Everything you eat, drink, inhale, and feel emotionally affects your skin, your body, and your face on stage and on camera. It’s a lot of things to consider consistently throughout your performance career, but here’s a list of things you can just do the very day before your film shoot, photoshoot, or stage performance that will greatly enhance your energy and beauty and give you the confidence you need to perform your best performances.
This first one might be the hardest one off all, but once you’ve done this, you can do anything...
SKIP COFFEE THAT DAY
What?! No coffee! I’d rather jump off a building! I know, I know… it sounds impossible. But it’s not the end of the world, I promise. You might be tired at meetings, you might feel sluggish during your workout, but trust me – it’s worth it! And besides, it’s only one day. If you absolutely need caffeine, go with a green tea. (Not matcha though, that shit is basically crack).
Why coffee? Caffeine stays in your bloodstream, and has active effects on your heart, for up to 13 hours after your last sip. So if you finish coffee at 12pm, it’s raging in your system until 1am. Even if you go to bed before 1am, your body will be incapable of entering a deep sleep/ REM until after the caffeine wears off. Another issue is that even if you have caffeine early in the morning and finish your cup by say 9am, and you’re not worried about it interrupting your sleep, the caffeine will still enable you to do things that your body doesn’t have energy for naturally, thus draining your general energy and making you more tired on the day of your performance. Ideally, you’d want to skip caffeine the day before, and then have caffeine the day of. This would also allow the caffeine the day of to be a bit more effective versus just getting you back up to a consistently caffeinated state of almost-normal.
What are the benefits of skipping it? You’ll notice that at the end of the day, you will be tired. Oh so very tired. Oh so very incredibly tired! This is a good thing. Tiredness is absolute gold the night before a performance or film shoot. Because sleep is the number one factor in a successful performance. If you are well-rested, you are more likely to give an on-point, energetic, and passionate performance, and you’ll enjoy the experience much more! Also… you will be able to get back to life as normal after the performance is over. This is something many people never talk about – feeling completely drained after a performance. If you’ve experienced this, like I have, chances are that you were not well-rested enough before your performance, and that the adrenalin of being on stage or on screen was the only thing that got you through it! Leaving your body completely depleted of all of its resources and energy reserve immediately after the performance was over.
I love espresso as much as the next Italian, but this makes a huge difference in my performance. My trick is - skip caffeine the day before, have caffeine the day of. Then the caffeine will be more effective, and you’ll get the sleep you need before the show.
Granny knows what she’s talking about - vitamins are the shit! I personally have a vitamin calendar. It’s like a physical grid where I put different vitamins for all the days of the week. That’s how serious I am about vitamins, and that’s how I’m able to handle huge amounts of pressure and stress in a graceful and collected way. That’s how I’m able to lead a 9-person band with multiple dancers and conduct a cohesive performance without having an anxiety attack. It’s a lot to do. Vitamins give my body the nutrients it needs to manage my heart, my adrenals, my immune system, and any inflammation from dancing or playing violin.
Firstly, take all the essentials: Vit C, Vit E, Vit A, B-6, B-12, Magnesium, Calcium, (or just one multi-vitamin with all of that in it).
Secondly, take the anti-inflammatory ones: Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin (or just a joint complex).
Thirdly, take the immune-building ones: Elderberry, Turmeric, Ginger, Echinacea (or just an immunity supplement or drink an immunity tea).
Lastly, take an adrenal health vitamin complex. This will help lessen your current stress-levels and nervousness about your show, repair your adrenals from past stresses of the week, and greatly ease your nerves the day of your performance. Make sure to only take this in the mornings though! The gentle effects of revitalizing your adrenal glands can actually keep you up. But considering that you are skipping coffee today, if you take this in the morning you won’t feel that different. If anything, it will give you that little spark of energy that you usually get from coffee, but in a way that is actually useful to your body and not just constricting blood flow and raising your blood pressure (which is all that coffee does, essentially).
Why vitamins? Your body needs hella vitamins just to avoid being malnourished. And it needs even more to be able to combat all of the toxins in our air and GMO foods etc. So unless you’re eating the rainbow and all 6 flavors every single day, which is incredibly difficult to keep up and keep track of, chances are you’re not getting them all. Taking vitamins regularly, or at the very least – just the day before your show – will give your body that extra boost of immune and well-rounded nutrient batch it needs to thrive on stage. It will help you avoid mishaps and miscommunications. It will help you cope with unexpected issues that can arise during a performance, and gracefully solve them without the audience ever knowing. Performance is an experience of heightened awareness, the chemistry of your body onstage is very similar to that of a rabbit being chased by a fox. It’s a high-stress environment, and also for that same reason, it’s extremely fun and challenging and pushes us to discover what we’re capable of in all the best ways. It’s like… an extreme sport, without any of the sportiness. Musicians and performers are mental athletes. Do what athletes do - take your vitamins. Coach’s orders ;)
AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Inflammatory foods will make your face puffy, your gut bloated, your feet swollen, and your skin saggy.
Give up these foods for even one day and you’ll look and feel 10 times better:
Watch out, here comes the list of foods to avoid (and it isn’t a short one!) Certain Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews. Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt. Meat: Any meat at all, red or white. Rockfish & river fish are ok, but shellfish is a no-no. Nightshades: Tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant. Gluten: Wheat, barley, farro.
So what can I eat? Rice, beans, green veggies, salad, fish, avocado, olive oil, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, etc. You can also find gluten-free pasta, bread, cereal, and dairy free cheese, milk, and yogurt. My personal favorites are oat milk, almond yogurt, and tapioca cheese.
And what the hell do I make with all those random ingredients? Sushi, vegan tacos, gluten free pasta, salmon caesar salad, curry, stir-fry, reach out and message me for more ideas!
Why no peanuts? You’ll notice that after a full 24 hours of avoiding all the inflammatory foods, your mind will be sharper, your skin will be clearer, your face will look less puffy, your belly will be flatter, your joints will ache less, your digestion will be smoother…. Whatever ails you will improve and the inflammation throughout your body will subside. Whenever you’re performing, there are a lot of components to pay attention to, both on and off-screen/ on and off-stage. This 1-day-diet will allow you to be in your best physical and mental shape, enabling a better performance and a better mood throughout the process.
EAT AMINO ACIDS
You can find amino acids in soy-sauce form – sprinkle them on your salads, rice bowls, tacos, stir-fries, or mix with wasabi to accompany your sushi.
Why aminos? Amino acids are most commonly known for their effects on your muscles - rebuilding and replenishing tissues and fibers in your body, making you stronger and feel more stable on your feet. This is definitely important for performing, but it’s not the only good thing about aminos. Aminos are actually incredibly reparative for your skin! If you eat amino acids daily for even one week, you will notice your skin becoming healthier, more taught, and less wrinkly or saggy.
UNPLUG 3 HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME
Do not. Fall asleep. In front. Of your screen.
Why no screens? Three things. One: The blue light of your screen suppresses melatonin, the chemical created in our bodies naturally to induce sleep hormones. Two: Even with a blue-blocker on (like Flux), or using the night-mode on your iphone, the mere brightness of your device can keep you up, the same way overhead lights in your house do versus lamps and low lighting. Three: Screens are addictive! Ask a doctor. It’s the same psychology as the moth being drawn to a light, even if it doesn’t give off any heat. Do not be that moth! Turn your shit off and go to sleep, you’re an artist, you have important work to do in the morning. If you are Netflixing until you fall asleep, you are pushing your eyes, your mind, and your body to the extreme outer limits of what is healthy.
Why 3 hours? You’ll notice that once you disconnect from your screens that your brain will return to your present, and it is in your present that all of the things you forgot to do to prepare for your big day tomorrow – will arise. There were so many times that I was checking my phone or insta or watching netflix or whatever up until the moment I went to bed the night before a performance or film shoot, and each time my next day would be a huge jumble of stress and chaos. Each time, I would wake up realizing a bunch of things I meant to do to prepare – print out lead sheets, practice certain songs, pack certain elements of my costume – all of those little things that hang out in the back of your mind until it’s too late to do anything about them. And then, something fascinating happened – just for completely unrelated reasons, I started turning my phone, computer, everything off at 8 or 9pm, and it felt like… I had awoken from a dream. I had my mind back! Suddenly, after being unplugged about 20 minutes, all of these little details started popping up in my mind - little things that I wanted to do before my performance day, and now… I magically still had some time to do them! I could spend an hour catching up on little things, or packing my gear for the next day, and still have one hour for self-care, and maybe even one hour for winding down ~ like reading in bed or journaling over a cup of tea.