Dance Fitness & Health
Your body is your medium when you are a dancer, so it's best to stay as fit and healthy as possible. Here are some of our favorite workouts, recipes and…
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Dancers are artists. They’re also athletes and as a result, must actively stay ahead of their schedules in order to promote long lasting energy for hours of rehearsals and performances. From what foods you eat to how you eat throughout the day, there are several factors that can impact or impede your energy levels as a healthy dancer. Let’s discuss a few tips to ensure that you’re building a high-powered performance throughout the day.
Do you have an interest in nutrition, food, or helping others? Many dancers inquire about the road to becoming an expert in nutrition for dancers. This article will share tips for you to consider if interested in blending your passions for dance and wellness!
Gentle nutrition is about making food choices that support your mind-body connection. It enables you to make choices that help you feel good physically, fuel you energetically, & satisfy you mentally. It encompasses the idea of eating a nourishing salad & adding the dressing guilt-free. It also involves eating a cookie because you want it & stopping when feeling full because you’re satisfied. Continue reading to learn why gentle nutrition is important for dance nutrition.
There is what seems like an endless row of bread at the supermarket. You spot a darker loaf “Made With Whole Grains and Seeds.” You skim the label, add it to your bag. Within the same minute, you second-guess your choice for a more appealing “white” loaf but since you’ve read that fiber is “healthy,” you skip it, and move on. Was your bread choice the right one? If you’ve ever felt conflicted around your food choices & nutrition in dancers, then it’s time we dissect the reasons behind them.
Periods are a pain. But is it normal for female dancers to have an irregular or even a nonexistent cycle? No. It may be common, but irregular and/or nonexistent periods can signify a more significant medical issue. There are two types of “missing periods.” The first is delayed onset of menstruation, AKA primary amenorrhea, & the second (for the purpose of this article, more concerning type) is secondary amenorrhea. Let’s review why this might happen & what a dancer can do to prevent/solve it.
In 2011, my family took a trip to Italy. Great food was basically the highlight. I was still sorting through my own restrictive eating habits. I was studying to become a dance nutritionist & dietitian, simultaneously navigating the unrealistic body pressures of the dance world. I learned the importance of food not just our performance, but also in our livelihoodin. I've been making this recipe since that trip and now I’m sharing it with you!
Three balanced meals help to build the basic framework for any dancer’s fueling plan, and most often, adding snacks to the mix is essential to sustain a dancer’s energy for busier days. But, busy schedules filled with classes & back-to-back rehearsals can make this an impractical goal. If you can't eat a full meal, dancers should optimize their snack game, considering timing, convenience, & balance.
Let’s be serious, “tips for gaining weight” is probably not the most searched question on Google these days. But for a handful of dancers, weight gain is a necessary step towards a stronger and injury-free performance. If you’re unsure about where your weight stands, it’s recommended that you reach out to a licensed medical professional such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to better assess your weight and health status. Until then, let’s discuss tips for gaining weight in a healthy way.
How do we decipher truth vs trend in regards to dance nutrition, dancer health, & dancer wellness? Dancers are artists & athletes. Trusting credentialed practitioners, such as Registered Dietitian Nutritionists/a dance nutritionist, helps to maximize a dancer’s strength & endurance in a way that promotes sustainable habits without the risk for injury and burnout. Let's dive into various reasons why dancers should consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for health & wellness coaching.
Food is often associated w/ our abilities on stage: strength, mental clarity, endurance are just some benefits of a balanced plate. Sleep also impacts our performance potential. An insufficient nights sleep can have detrimental effects on a dancer’s well-being. While a regular individual needs at least 7 hours of sleep each night, a dancer who is actively training and performing should aim for more; at least 8 hours to support optimal muscle recovery. Head to my blog for dancers for more tips.
Affordable groceries are an important part of meal prep and meal plans for dancers, and Trader Joe’s makes it easy to find exciting options that are both nourishing and delicious. To help you navigate these options, I’m sharing my 10 favorite TJ’s staples! The best part? They’re ready-to-eat. Simply toss them in your meals or as part of a balanced snack.
Weight loss, fat loss, and muscle gain are just a few common concerns I hear from dancers looking to adjust their lifestyles. We know that restrictive dieting isn’t a sustainable path towards these goals, but it’s a tempting route when striving to change the way we look. Regardless, is it okay to have body goals? Can we strive for these changes in a sustainable way? Or do such goals require some bit of restrictive control over our eating & exercise habits?
Smart snacking is key to a dancer’s energy throughout the day. Dancers often rely on convenient, packable, non-perishable dancing snack options. But sometimes, misguided food fears can make the concept of snacking tough to implement. Despite its sweet & salty flavor, trail mix can get a bad rep. But, such a snack can be better constructed to build a nutrient profile that resembles a muscle-building & tissue-healing superstar. To learn why this snack is a great option for dancers, keep reading.
Nutrition for dancers performance is a key aspect of a dancer’s life. But what about when we’re unable to perform? When dealing with an injury, dancers face physical, mental, & emotional distress. Proper nutrition, support, and guidance, can help dancers navigate this trying time. Building a recovery plan that supports a dancer’s physical, mental, & emotional well-being is essential for returning to the studio. To get you feeling your best, let’s build A Dancer’s Toolbox for Injury Recovery.
Fiber is a buzz-worthy topic worth learning about! Despite the official recommendation for adults to consume 25-30 grams of dietary fiber per day, the average intake for Americans rests at about half. Between busy schedules & constant physical exertion, dancers need fiber to regulate energy levels, maintain satiation, & encourage a moving digestive system. Since fiber is an essential component of dance nutrition, let’s discuss why/how you can assure that your fiber needs are met.
Endless options of any one type or brand of food can be daunting. And as dancers continue to experience financial strain throughout the novel COVID-19 pandemic, access to quality food options is made even more stressful. But how can dancers continue to fuel optimally despite these obstacles? Dive into my 3 key steps for navigating the grocery store which help in creating healthy meal plans for dancers. And, don’t forget to grab your free grocery guide!
If you’re wondering about metabolism/how it works, then chances are you might also have questions about body shape and/or body weight. “Metabolism” is a scientific term representing intrinsic chemical reactions that support the multitude of systems working in your body. To function, your body utilizes calories as energy to fuel everything from basic metabolic needs to physical needs. Many factors play a role in how your body utilizes this energy to perform such tasks. Keep reading to learn more.
For busy dancers, frozen foods might just be the saving grace of a post-performance recovery meal. But from a nutrition perspective, these can be hit or miss with higher-than-recommended sodium counts and questionable ingredients. We can, however, consider a few helpful tips to turn frozen meals into a nourishing option for the healthy dancer.
Whole-food snack combos are essential to meal plans for dancers. But with little time to build a balanced snack during performance season, convenience is super helpful. Snack bars are practical & readily available when hunger strikes. Keeping an emergency snack bar in your dance bag ensures that your body remains properly fueled throughout the day. With endless options, choosing a bar that fuels performance can be challenging. I'll dive into 3 steps to choosing a balanced snack or snack bar.
Praise yourself. 2020 was a hard year. Stress of returning to in-person dancing following a prolonged quarantine can be overwhelming. You might find yourself relying on controlling behaviors (calorie-counts & weight checks) as a means to “get back into shape.” Though this might feel comforting at first, it’s putting you at risk for a damaged relationship w/ your plate, your body, and dance nutrition. You should also ease yourself back into the studio w/ patience. Here are a few tips to consider.
With body ideals at the forefront of the industry, dancers are vulnerable to perfectionistic behaviors surrounding food & body. High expectations & striving to perfect the imperfect creates an environment prone to obsessive tendencies/comparative behaviors. And while this seemingly harmless trait can be motivating, those who strive for the unattainable often feel inferior & limited. If your perfectionism is limiting you, consider these steps to build a more sustainable path.
If you follow me on IG, you’re likely toying with the idea of demolishing food restrictions. You’re sick of a restrictive mindset that leads you out of control around food. But despite this, you’re holding back from taking the plunge into intuitive eating for dancers: you’re REALLY scared of gaining weight. Letting go of this fear is the ticket to a fulfilling dance career. Today I’m sharing why you need to stop fearing weight gain.
From an athletic perspective, caffeine is considered an ergogenic aid, which are known to enhance mood, improve alertness/cognitive function, & heighten performance. Caffeine can also heighten concentration, improving your ability to learn new choreography. Research even supports caffeine’s ability to mobilize fat & spare muscle glycogen. But despite these pros, caffeine has its flaws. Continue reading to find out whether your daily habit is benefiting your performance or hindering it.