Olympic athletes share performance secrets Irish dancers can use

by Caitlin Buck, Feis America LLC Contributor

The 2012 Summer Olympics kick off its opening ceremony July 27th in London, England! Who’s excited? Millions of course! Yahoo Sports has been posting clips of a select few of the United States of America's awesome athletes preparing for battle– I mean competitions (I have The Hunger Games on the brain!). By clicking play on the videos below, you too can be privy to a couple of secrets to success that gymnasts Jonathan Horton and Aly Raisman use... secrets that Irish dancers can very easily incorporate into their training for an extra boost. After all it’s that extra boost that can make all the difference.

Jonathan Horton, U.S.A. Gymnastics Team
2012 Summer Olympics 
Jonathan Horton Clip 

Now just think of those cute little bottles of honey they sell at the grocery store! Got a good mental picture? Those petite bottles shaped like adorable friendly bears grinning away? Nice and easy to throw into a pocket in your dance bag (pop it into a sealed Ziploc bag to be safe). So when you feel your blood sugar could use a boost, just throw back your head and squirt in some honey Horton-style! It might sound a little gross, and if your thinking "Mmmm honey by itself? Pass!" Well, I have to tell you as someone who has tried it: Friends, it really works! In about a minute, I felt a noticed lift in my energy and mood. So ditch the bag of Starbursts or chocolate bar and give all-natural honey a try! 

Aly Raisman, U.S.A. Gymnastics Team
2012 Summer Olympics
Aly Raisman Clip

Well, who really turns down chocolate milk? Unless your lactose-intolerant, chocolate milk is a great way to keep up your energy in-between rounds at an Irish dancing competition and there are alternatives for dairy as well. After your hard shoe round, take a breather and a swig of refreshing chocolate milk before soft shoe. It will keep your energy level stable with that nice little combo of protein and sugar without weighing you down like a power bar would. Think of it as liquid fuel. Much better for you than an energy drink which can give you the shakes and make your heart race.

Sometimes that little extra, seemingly-magical something can make all the difference between a competitive Irish dancer having an on or off day. SO much depends on energy level and blood sugar, especially when adrenaline is high and nerves are jumpy. Try out honey before you dance and chocolate milk in between rounds. You might just notice you dance better than ever before. After all if it’s good enough for Olympic athletes, it’s definitely worth a shot!

Check back with us here on IrishCentral's Irish dance page for more tips for improved performance for competitive Irish dancers; stories, results, photos all here on IrishCentral!  Share your advice, experience or hopes for our U.S. Olympic athletes this summer in the Comment Box below.