A Nutrition Expert's Guide for Actors to Eat Right

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The actor’s life, oh what a life it is! At times, you feel like you’re on top of the world. At others, it’s like you’ve lost track of where your confidence is. And then you’re up again and you forget what it’s like to feel so low. Up and down, up and down...

Despite loving it, it’s a tough industry no matter how much you love it. As actors, we face rejection on a daily basis and, more often than not, have little control over whether we book despite giving a stellar performance. The only thing we have control over in this crazy business is ourselves; we are the product, a quirk few jobs carry.

The way we look (whatever wonderful way that is), our energy, and our confidence are huge parts of booking any job. And what’s the major contributor, the dependent factor, the backbone of our appearance, our energy, and our mood? Nutrition. What we put into our bodies affects every cell of our instrument.

Every single thing you feed yourself can do one of two things: lift you up, fuel your brain and give you a grounded energy, or drag you down, ramp up your nerves and hinder you as an artist.

So many actors and performers miss the fundamental link between feeling our best, free of the little symptoms that slowly drag us down (digestive disturbances, brain fog, energy crashes, skin issues, constipation, etc.) and giving a solid performance when the time comes to be “on.” If you’re functioning at 60 percent (even if you don’t realize it), doesn’t it make sense that your performance won’t be 100 percent?

So let’s make it a priority to do everything we possibly can to hack our instrument to the best of our ability. The body we’re proud of, the glowing skin that radiates on camera, and the steady, confident energy that gives us the greatest chance of booking as many jobs as possible? That starts with what we eat. And unfortunately, so many actors don’t put the same emphasis on nutrition as they do other actor tools like training, breathwork, and classes.

Here are a few examples of how poor nutrition can hinder your instrument:

  • You eat a high sugar breakfast the morning of an audition (ie – a bagel or pastry with a sweetened coffee). This will spike your blood sugar, subsequently spiking your stress hormone cortisol, which will present itself as nerves and heightened mind chatter in the audition waiting room.
  • You consume a food you’re intolerant to (like dairy). This could present itself as bloating and discomfort, draining your energy so you aren’t as present for your scene partner as you’d like to be.
  • You don’t get enough protein, which can present itself through breakouts, thinning hair, and other physical attributes that hinder your confidence when you walk into auditions.

On the other end of the spectrum, here’s how good nutrition can fuel your potential:

  • You take a fish oil supplement daily, boosting your brain health so you memorize lines faster and retain them with ease.
  • You drink green tea daily. This provides your instrument with the amino acid L-Theanine, proven to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of zen. Hello, grounded auditions!
  • You include a handful of pumpkin seeds in your diet every day, offering your system a super source of zinc that can reduce breakouts and boost the health of your skin cells.

There are hundreds of ways poor nutrition can hinder your potential as an actor. Luckily, there are also hundreds of ways good nutrition and the right health hacks can supercharge your potential, giving you the best shot of living your best life and booking more along the way! I encourage you to really think about everything that goes into your body and whether it’s something that will uplift and fuel your instrument or drag you down.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Kyle Buchanan
Kyle Buchanan is one of the acting industry’s top health and nutrition experts. Being an actor himself, he works one-on-one with actors and performers across North America. Through nutrition, health-hacking and personal development coaching, his clients are able to look their best, feel their best and subsequently perform their best, booking more along the way.
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