Eat like an acrobat for a lean body

High above the Cirque du Soleil stage at Disney Springs performers fly, swing and bounce.  For the artists who are part of the jaw dropping-performances in La Nouba, maintaining a body that can glide effortlessly through the air is a big part of the job. 

You may not be joining the cast any time soon, but registered dietician Dawn Orsaeo told FOX 35 eating like an acrobat might help you feel better when you perform day-to-day tasks.  

"You're going to perform based on what you’re eating,” Orsaeo said.

FOX 35 spent an afternoon with two La Nouba artists to find out what it takes to fuel their workouts and performances. 

“My life, it’s kind of around this,” said David Poirier, who is known as the show’s “flying man” for his performance on a giant red ribbon, or tissu.

It requires a muscular upper body and super-human core strength.  Poirier has to stay lean, while still eating enough to maintain the strength his performance requires. 

"I'll eat 4 to 5 meals a day.  [I] try to hit 4,000 to 5,000 calories a day," he said.

All the food he eats on a performance day is chosen for a reason.

“I need to maintain muscle for the actual show,” Poirier said. 

His meals always contain lean protein, like chicken or fish, a vegetable, and the right kind of carbohydrates, such as rice or sweet potatoes.   He eats very little fat.

"I'm working [without a]shirt, so I'm trying to stay as lean as possible, so I'm trying to go on 20 percent, something like that, of fat intake,” Poirier said. 

For Zane Frazer exercise and diet have to strike the right balance. 

"High repetition exercises to keep my shoulders [strong] and balance it with a bit of cardio and watching what I eat so I don't gain actual weight for the person that has to hold me every day,” she said.

Frazer is a trapeze artist. 

"We have to be as light as we can be while still maintaining the strength we need,” Frazer said. 

For her, meals are fewer and smaller, than Poirier’s.  But the salad she eats before her first performance—which includes sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans, egg and avocado—is prepared with a balance of protein and carbohydrates similar to her fellow performer.   She said what she eats has an effect on how she feels and how she performs. 

"I can feel when I haven't eaten right that day, when I haven't eaten enough that day,” Frazer said.

Orsaeo noticed two things you can do to eat like an acrobat.  First, eat the right kind of carbohydrates—the unprocessed ones like potatoes or rice. 

"I feel like a lot of people are scared of carbohydrates, but you can learn from some of the great performers that we do need carbohydrates to keep us going,” Orsaeo said.

And get enough protein.  That helps keep energy up, too. 

"Your proteins are going to help rebuild the muscles if you are working out but it's also going to give you a little fullness and helps to take some of those carbohydrates and slowly turn them into sugars in your bloodstream.  So you get some sustained energy throughout the day,” Orsaeo said. 

Starting August 9th, La Nouba will host an Open Rehearsal at the Theater, located at Disney Springs every Tuesday and Friday from 3:45-4:30.

Guests can watch training and participate in a question and answer session with a member of the artistic team.