Singing involves more muscles than you think. Movements may not be as drastic as physical exertion exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, running etc. but singing deals with the diaphragm, voice box, mouth & tongue and more if you are performing too!
Especially when you are on tour, or are performing regularly, you NEED to take care of your body. Getting adequate sleep, regular exercise (especially cardio) and a balanced diet can do wonders for how your voice performs.
Here's a list of foods to avoid & why:
Dairy Products (Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, etc.)
In my performance career, I have been terrible at keeping this rule. I never noticed it making a huge difference until I turned 24 or so. Dairy clings to everything in your throat, thickening already present mucas and making swallowing more difficult. Dairy makes you want to clear your throat more often and inhibits your throat flexibility.
Diary can also cause acid reflux that creeps up the esophagus and burns the vocal cords creating a subtle rasp.
Yes, I know. You're exhausted because you've been performing and working so much, you haven't been sleeping well and need a little pick-me-up boost. STAY AWAY FROM CAFFEINE.
Full disclosure. Caffeine dehydrates you by making you have to urinate more often. It dries out your vocal folds. You NEED to have a smooth throat and caffeine messes with your mucas production and dries all that up.
This is sad... but Chocolate.
Chocolate is a triple whammy. Chocolate natural contains caffeine which will dry you out, constrict your muscles around your cords, and is an acid reflux trigger. Bring on the rasp.
AND Chocolate usually contains a ton of sugar with may give you a temporary boost but will
cause a serious crash.
Save the chocolate for after the show.
*Heartburn trigger* Don't let the acid reflux trigger get you before a show!
The temperature shock can cause your muscles to tighten. Stick with room temperature water before performances and keep your muscles loose.
BTW ... Water only helps you if you've been drinking it for a long time before a performance. If you need a quick rehydration for the cords, use a squirt bottle. Downing water like a camel the day of a performance will do absolutely nothing to help you perform. Your cords are one of the LAST things to hydrate in the body - if you have a performance on Wednesday, start the hydration recharge on MONDAY.
Unless you want this performance to be your next most embarrassing moment, say no to soda. Burping occurs at the most inopportune moments.
Avoid Spicy Food
This is hard for me. I LOVE mexican food. But spicy food can cause harmful acid reflux.
A few months ago, I noticed my high notes were just gone. I was doing everything technically right, but I just couldn't make sound. My vocal coach noticed that I had an extra rasp. He recommended I self diagnose and treat my acid reflux. So I stopped the soda, stopped the spicy foods and took antacids. POOF! High notes back just like magic.
If you're not hardcore and don't want to give these foods up entirely, just avoid them for the days surrounding your performances.
You're going to rock it! :)