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

High on Stress

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Even if it’s a light meal, I feel sluggish and lethargic for a while right after eating. So no food before the show unless it’s at least 2 hours before showtime. I even try to enforce this “rule” with one of my singers who always wants to eat a bunch of greasy bar food and then wonders why his energy is low.
 

mkelley

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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?
I usually eat no later than 2 hours before a show. I know how foods hit me and while my insulin pump does a good job, I'm very insulin sensitive so I want to make sure I have enough energy for a full show.

I also stopped eating fried foods on show days, it was always too hit or miss. Eat something solid like pasta or rice or even something like a peanut butter or turkey sandwich to get your muscles enough protein - treat it like you're running a marathon. You need energy and you'll need something post show to make up for the sweat and wear and tear on your body. Drink your water, etc.
 

Toast Tee

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In my 20's, I could eat Big Macs inbetwee songs. Now, I can't eat em at all.
I'm going to design a new multi purpose drum throne. Necessity is the mother of invention;)
 

Obiwandrumobe

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Maybe it’s the band...https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Oh8tyzjrG5I
 

repete

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the only time I eat before a gig depends on how hungry I am. Most gigs are at night so I’ll have dinner at home but if I’m at a gig and I’m hungry I’ll eat. Maybe a burger, maybe a salad with chicken.
 

snappy

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If I am hungry before a show I will eat then.
If not I will eat afterwards.
 

florian1

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I eat 5 hours before my show - same as I did when I refereed in the AHL - gives time to digest and settle. No cramps - energy is readily available and I can play a 4 hour show without any cravings. Post show is 2 beers to get adrenaline down.

F
 

thejohnlec

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I can’t keep calories in me, even at age 52. So, I try to eat before I leave for a show, but then I’m usually starving by the time set up and sound check is over. I’ll grab something if there’s food on site, or munch on trail mix or granola bars during the evening. If I don’t curb my hunger pangs, I invariably start to shake and sweat while playing and usually turn in a sub-par performance as a result.
 

TheElectricCompany

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I've never worried about not having the energy needed for a show. Even if I eat lunch at noon and play at 9 I'm fine skipping dinner. Plus, my digestion is hit or miss no matter what I eat, so I'd rather end up hungry than contend with terrible stomach cramps or terrible indigestion because I ate three hours before a show.
 

bbunks

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Lightly fueled beforehand...with a couple of protein bars in case I need to refuel. A large meal makes me sluggish, but I have to have something - usuallly some protein and veggies - within 2 hours of downbeat or I'm running on empty.

Several Sugar Free Vitamin Water bottles during the gig. Maybe a beer during the last set, or none at all. I pack, get home and unload. Maybe a light snack when I get home.
 

drumbum91

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I’m diabetic so I try to eat something light before the gig maybe a few carbs with some sort of protein. I wear an insulin pump and I HATE going low on blood sugars. Usually try to stay well hydrated because I cramp easy too. If I eat fried or heavy I feel awful. We usually do 3 hour straight through so I carry some kind bars with me in case I start to feel a crash coming on.
 

Johnny D

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I eat a light meal (i.e. not to the point of feeling stuffed) ideally an hour or more before a show. The engine needs fuel for power. Eating afterward (late at night) is the worst time to eat. If I'm hungry after a show (and I tend to be) I have a piece fruit (usually an apple) on the drive home. Then straight to bed. You'll sleep much better on an empty stomach than a full stomach. You're welcome ;)
 

drawtheline55

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At our annual summer gig in Maine, we eat before, usually steak tips, salad, veggies. 2 martinis, small glass of wine.
Then water all the way during the gig. But thats a summer thing and we are the "house" so we play what we want go on
when we want etc.

I was in an original band in the late 90s and we did about 12 gigs, mostly at night. I would eat before...but not too much
and drink water after that. One of the gigs paid us 300.00 PLUS free beer............they could have had us at the free beer !
 

drumsforme

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I always eat at home before I set out driving to the gig. I never eat right before I play, I feel it slows me down, makes me tired. If a meal is offered or a food allowance, then I order it and ask for a takeout box and I will take it home and reheat it. No more liquor at gigs since 1998...a couple of beers at the most.
 

CC Cirillo

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I certainly need to eat before, otherwise I might get that low energy “bonk” as we called it when I was into cycling. If I have a headlining club gig on a Friday night I will have been up since 5:00 am , then a full work day, and then we don’t go on until 10:00. That’s an endurance race there.

Eating a meal beforehand not only fuels me but keeps me calm. I don’t get stage fright as much as I can get too excited, and might rush the first few songs. Food comforts.

A band dinner after soundcheck is great familial bonding, too.

From my cycling days I keep Clif bars if needed for load out energy or the ride home.
 

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