Dancers and Body Image

Many people often think that in order for dancers to get their beautiful thin bodies they need to starve themselves. I want to make this clear that this is definitely not the case. Yes, some dancers may feel this way and there are cases where dancers have developed eating disorders, but this is not the case for every dancer. Just like some non-dancers will have eating disorders, the majority will not. Dancers can be more likely to develop  eating disorders due to the demand on a certain body type from the industry. However it is important to understand that as long as you train hard and eat well there is no reason why this cannot be achieved.healthy eating

Eating to get the energy you need to dance

Dancers will need a lot more calories than the recommend daily amount because of how many calories they burn. The amount needed for you personally will vary on how many classes you do a week and the intensity of them. It is difficult to say exactly how many calories an individual will need, but if you want to find out more visit your GP or a dietician as they will be able to guide you on this. But it is certain that if you are doing any form of exercise, you will need more calories, even if you are eating healthy.  If you imagine your body as being a car, if you don’t put enough fuel in you aren’t going to go very far, and the same can be said about the human body. In order to perform at the highest level possible and keep improving you need to make sure your body has enough energy.

Why does your body need this?

If you don’t consume enough calories not only will you feel tired but you could injure yourself. Your body will not have the strength to cope with the strain dance can put on it. This can result in fractures and sprains because the body is weak.

How to make sure you have enough energy

meal ideasYour main source of energy will come from carbohydrates. So it is best to try and eat foods like pasta and rice rather than binging out on sugary sweets and chocolate (although there is nothing wrong with this once in a while).  However sometimes it can be difficult to fit meals in between classes so you may not eat until 10pm or 11pm. In between classes you will need to eat something. Good things to take to classes include: protein shakes, nuts/seeds, a small sandwich or even a tub of pasta you can snack on in between classes. If you have longer breaks in between your classes you may want to take something more substantial with you, if your dance studio has a microwave for staff to use, you may want to ask if you can use this and take a meal with you. Your dance teacher will be able to give you more information on what you can do to keep your energy levels up in between classes.

 

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