Another season in the community draws to an end with the last performance of the year. Dancers have several months until the next cycle of auditions, contests, and meeting new people and teams. With that close comes the unavoidable 5 pound gain that “appeared out of nowhere!”
But you don’t have to abandon the concept of “letting go.”
So, how can a dancer’s body stay in peak physical shape throughout the off-season? Follow these four tips to stay in shape, sexy, and ready for your first rehearsal back.
Your body has been accustomed to burning an abnormally large number of calories as a result of an active lifestyle. So, with this abrupt shift from three times a week to none at all, you’re left with extra calories that go unburned! So, what’s the answer?
- Go for a jog around the block, or lift some weights!
- Hike up a local trail and capture some spectacular Instagram pics!
- Improve your flexibility by taking a yoga or pilates class!
- Whatever it is that you enjoy, it raises your heart rate.
Diets are not for everyone. Seriously, it has a negative sense of punishment. Instead, I like to think of nutrition as a habit or a way of life. The majority of dancers have HORRIBLE eating habits. You could eat four California Burritos a week after rehearsal, but because you dance so much, you never have to witness the physical consequences of those greasy sacks! However, once the season is over, you aren’t moving as much, and those extra calories don’t go. So, what are your options? You’d have to consider this as an “all-season” adjustment, not just an “off-season” one. Good nutrition, like bad nutrition, is a practice. Eating healthy is not something that most people can turn on and off at will. We are creatures of habit, and we cannot change our habits unless we exercise extreme discipline. So go make a salad, a sandwich, a protein shake, some fruit, some oatmeal, go light on the sauce, and limit your fast food intake to once every 1 or 2 weeks. Also, avoid eating large meals at 3 a.m. or immediately before going to bed. That is not what your digestive system is meant for. When small adjustments are made over a lengthy period of time, they have the greatest impact. If you’re considering doing a crash diet, I’d bet it’ll only be for a short time and the weight you lose will slowly return.
So far, we’ve covered the fundamentals: keep active and eat healthily. But what if you already do that, or if you want to try something different in addition to your daily pattern of taking a class? Purchase a gym membership! Weightlifting can improve your body in ways that simply cardio cannot. It never hurts to have a bit more strength. And that strength can mean the difference between you blasting through your third straight piece in a medley or flopping until your respite arrives. Never lose sight of the fact that dance is a visual medium that is delivered directly through your body. The message and choreography will be more clear if your body is powerful. Strength, on the other hand, is only one side of the coin.
Flexibility and Endurance
Flexibility and Endurance go hand in hand. One cannot exist without another. What good are your new muscles if you can’t even reach behind your back, let alone drop into a six-step? That is why we recommend taking yoga lessons, Pilates classes, running, or simply stretching when you wake up and when you go to bed. Throughout the season, you stretched and warmed up before every rehearsal. and now you aren’t! Again, abrupt lifestyle changes are the enemy of your body’s balance! Maintain your equilibrium by strengthening and extending your muscles. If you do this, your first week back with your team will be less painful.