Dancing is so darned fun, it’s easy to neglect basic food and hydration.
Use these guidelines from Health’s contributing nutritionist Cynthia Sass, RD, to make sure you’re properly fueled and hydrated as you salsa off those extra pounds.
Before: Schedule workouts within two hours of breakfast, lunch, or dinner—this will ensure you have plenty of fuel to bust a move. Don’t neglect hydration: Aim for 14 to 22 ounces of water two hours before you get active.
Swig another 8 ounces immediately before hitting the floor. If you’re bored with straight-up water, Sass recommends sprucing it up with a splash of 100% non-acidic fruit juice (such as apple or white grape).
Or, for an even more au natural approach, add a quarter cup of your favorite mashed fruit, like berries or mango.
During: Unless you are dancing in extreme heat, or are at it for more than 90 minutes, you don’t need the extra oomph of an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink.
Instead, stick with 6 to 8 ounces of water for every 20 minutes you’re getting your groove on.
After: Within an hour of your workout, aim for a 250-calorie snack or light meal made from a combo of nutrient-rich carbs (fruit or a whole grain like oats or whole-grain crackers) to replenish the vitamins your body used during exercise, along with lean protein (organic nonfat Greek yogurt soy nuts, tuna, etc.), needed to repair your muscles so they can become stronger and more toned.