Gigging on a full stomach: Eat BEFORE or AFTER you play a show?

Targalx

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I MUST gig on a full stomach. I feel like drumming works well to aid in the digestion of it all. Many years ago, I had a regular gig at a bar that had a decent kitchen. I always got a free plate before the gig. And if time was tight, I would have the waitress deliver a plate of fish and chips (or whatever entree I ordered) directly to my floor tom! I'd shove a few fries in my mouth in between songs.

I know of other musicians who absolutely cannot eat before they play (maybe nerves?), so they'd rather starve through the gig. I once played with a guy who'd down a bottle of Pepto Bismol before hitting the stage.

What's your rule of thumb when it comes to food and gigs? Full dinner, and then a full set? Or no meals until the gig's over?
 

Mcjnic

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First, I don’t eat food that would be served at a club.
Second, I don’t eat to the point of “full”.
And finally, I would never consume a dinner just prior to any sort of workout ... which is basically what a drumming gig is.
Those are extremely unhealthy moves.
I am careful about what I put into my body.
I normally have a bag of goodies (fresh celery, carrots, some fresh fruit that isn’t heavily acidic, some dried fruit, and perhaps some nuts). I munch this during the time allotted. I always carry water with me. I don’t consume sodas. Alcohol is a no-no when I’m working. It’s extremely unprofessional.
I don’t accept gigs often these days, but I have the same eating behaviors on a production job or a film set. Doesn’t matter.
 

bongomania

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When I was younger I’d usually grab a big burrito in between sets. Bandleader mocked me for it, because I’d have to finish it between songs in the second set, but it kept me fueled. These days I prefer a light meal before the gig, and a snack (like chips n salsa) afterward.
 

pwc1141

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My most regular gig is a very fine sea-side restaurant that feeds the band as part of the deal. As I get there about 2 hours before we play, I will set up and then eat and have plenty of time to relax before playing. Some places don't have food so I will eat before leaving the house. I find waiting to eat only after a gig is too long between meals.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I make it a Rule to enjoy a full meal before gigging. Very important!

I perform better and have the fuel to get thru setup, soundcheck, 4 sets and loadout.


To me there's nothing worse than feeling hungry midway thru a gig because I'll get cranky, lose focus & energy quickly, blood sugar drops and after that it's a struggle to finish up, load out and get home.
Even a bag of peanuts from the bar is better than suffering thru 4 sets with zero fuel in the belly. At least for me.

Ideally, I prefer eating directly after setup & soundcheck - usually 30 or 40 mins. before downbeat.
 

kb

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I need to have a meal before work, but I don't over eat.

I don't want to feel "full" before a gig, but I don't want to be "empty" either.
 

jptrickster

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Generally a heavy carb meal nite before, pasta and salad works. Heavy protein day of the gig, eggs, chicken, beef, a protien shake ,banana fruit nuts ect before I head to the gig , never go on stuffed, too much work for the body to do all that digesting and physical drumming . Eat like a mfkr after words!
 

Blisco

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I have to eat at least 4 hours before the gig. I cannot feel bloated or digesting in any way. I'll sometimes eat after the gig. Probably a bad thing to do since that is early morning but I need something to sleep better.

I'm the only one in the band that can't eat before. And I'm the only one who doesn't sing. I have no idea how they don't upchuck on the mic after eating.
 

SwivoNut

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I have never been able to eat a meal before a gig. I'll have a salad or a snack a couple hours before and some snacks when I get home. In cases where food is provided for the band I have to go outside (regardless of the weather) so I don't have to watch the others eat. I've always been like that from the time I started playing many years ago. Its not nerves. I can't explain it. Its just the way it is.
 

Trilock_Gurtu

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I must NOT eat too soon before a gig. Nothing to do with nerves, but who eats right before a run? Cramps, no thanks. I'll usually have a later lunch (3-4pm), then maybe a Clif bar about an hour before playing (usually we start at 9-10pm). I'm never hungry during the gig, but afterwards, very hungry. I'll eat a meal then.
 

Polska

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I have no problem eating before a gig. There's times club has fed us and we finish eating right before going on. Not the best scenario, but as long as I don't overeat I'm good.
 

bongomania

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I’m no expert, but I think the “cramps from exercising after eating” thing was debunked decades ago.
 

EvEnStEvEn

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I've worked with lots of performers who don't eat before the gig, which seems to be fairly common but I need to have something in the belly for fuel beforehand.

They'll spot me having my dinner at a table or somewhere backstage and exclaim "OMG how can you eat right before we play??!"



I usually look up and say "OMG how can you not"
 

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