With the passing of the last performance of the year, another season in the community comes to a close.
Dancers have full months until the next round of auditions, competitions, and new faces and teams to get to know.
With that close comes the inevitable 5 pounds that “came out of nowhere, I swear!”
But you don’t have to succumb to “letting go.”
So how can a dancer’s body maintain or achieve its peak physical condition in the off-season?
Follow these 4 tips to stay fit, sexy, and ready for the first rehearsal back.
1. Stay Active!
Your body has gotten used to burning an inordinate amount of calories with a certain active lifestyle.
So with this jarring change from rehearsing 3 times a week to not at all, you’re left with excess calories that lie unburned!
So what’s the solution? MOVE.
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Go take class, after class, after class, after class!
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Go for a jog around the neighborhood, lift some weights!
Hike up a local trail and take some epic photos for the Insta!
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Take a yoga or pilates class to improve your flexibility!
Whatever you enjoy that gets your heart rate up.
The point is, get moving because those extra calories from your 2am pit stop at Alberto’s will not burn themselves.
Speaking of calories…
2. Eat Right!
I hate the “d” word. Seriously, it carries with it the connotation of a punishment.
So instead, I like to look at nutrition as a habit or a lifestyle.
Most dancers (I’m looking at you, young ones) have AWFUL nutrition habits.
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You could eat 4 California Burritos a week after rehearsal, but you never have to see the bodily repercussions of those grease bags because you dance so much!
However, once the season ends, you aren’t moving as much and those excess calories don’t get rid of themselves (and your eating habits don’t change…)
So what could you do?
Well, you’d need to think about this as an “all-season” change, not just an “off-season” one.
Good nutrition, just like poor nutrition, is a habit. Eating healthy is not something most people turn on and off on command.
We are creatures of habit, and we cannot change habits unless they follow through with the utmost discipline.
So go eat a salad, make a sandwich, have a protein shake, eat some fruit, make some oatmeal, go light on the sauce, and avoid eating fast food more than once every 1 or 2 weeks.
Also, avoid eating heavy meals at 3am or right before bed. Your digestive system isn’t designed for that.
Small changes go the farthest when they’re done for long periods of time.
If you’re even thinking about crash dieting (ugh, there’s that word again), I’d wager a safe bet that it’s for a brief period of time and the weight lost from it will come creeping back.
3. Strength Train!
So we’ve covered the basics: keep moving and eat healthier.
But what if you do that already or what if you want to try something else on top of the regular routine of taking class?
Get a gym membership! Some simple weightlifting can enhance your body in ways that pure cardio can’t.
A little more strength never hurt anybody. And that strength can mean the difference between you powering through your third consecutive piece in a medley, or you flopping through until your breather comes.
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Don’t ever forget that dancing is a visual medium that is transmitted directly through your body.
If your body is strong, the message and choreography will come through clearer. I’m not saying that we all need to deadlift 400lbs, but some more strength does every body (see what I did there?) some good. However, strength is just one side of the coin.
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4. Flexibility and Endurance
I like to combine these two together not because I’m a lazy writer (most of the time), but because I believe that you cannot have one fully without the other.
So what good are your newfound muscles if you can’t even reach behind your back, let alone drop down into a six-step (if people even breakdance in routines anymore)?
That’s why I suggest looking into yoga classes, Pilates classes, running, or just plain old stretching when you wake up and when you go to bed.
See Related Video: Stretching For Dancers | Dancers In Real Life | STEEZY Original
You were stretching and warming up before every rehearsal during the season.. and now you’re not!
Again, jarring lifestyle changes are the bane of your body’s equilibrium!
Keep yourself in balance by strengthening and lengthening those muscles.
If you do that, then the first week back with your team won’t be so damn painful.
Your body’s condition starts first with your mentality. This is how you will build habits that make big changes!
Keep in mind that being a dancer means your body is your tool that requires careful care and maintenance for peak performance. Treat it well and it will treat you the same in return.
What do you like to do to keep your body in tip top dancing shape? Leave a comment below!
You can increase your body’s stamina by taking classes on STEEZY Studio! There are over 50 different classes from different choreographers to choose from. Sign up today if you’re ready to sweat and grind!
This article was submitted by Jeffrey Moreno and originally published on June 17, 2014. It has been edited by STEEZY.