Dancers can’t live on fresh air alone…
Based on the average weight and rehearsal schedule, a professional female dancer should aim for a minimum of 2000 kcals day; males need 2500.
And you thought dancers had to live on fresh air!
Ballet is the second most physically demanding activity only second to American Football (well accordingly to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation’s research and our guess is that there was a Super Bowl fan on the research team!). When you see it this way, it’s no surprise that dancers need food.
Reducing calorie intake below a minimum of 1500 per day for weight loss is not advised.
This will cause injury, tiredness, irritability and possibly depression. And it’s a downward spiral. The less you eat, the slower your metabolism is, and the less you can eat. Your body will be trying to hang on to everything it can get and, if you’re training hard and not eating, might even obtain glucose by breaking down the proteins in your muscles.
Dont skip meals
It is important to work out a schedule of consistent food intake throughout the day to prevent swings in blood glucose levels and prevent overeating later on.
Six small meals a day rather than 3 large ones may fit into a dancers schedule more easily.
You don’t get that bloated-sleepy feeling, and it also makes nutritional sense. After excercising, for example, you need to replenish the stores of glycogen in your muscles, by eating a carbohydrate snack in the hour or so that follows your session. And if you know you have a long rehearsal coming up, you will likewise need a quick carb top up, to make sure your muscles can cope for what’s ahead.
But still, 2000 a day?
Well, if you’re eating six small meals, that’s only 300 a pop. And let’s face it, most people actually eat more calories than they imagine, even when they’re counting.
So, if your calorie intake is truly low, please, do something about it. Build up your intake gradually – it’s the opposite of cutting back: the more you eat, the more your body will find use for. Eat healthily, listen to your body and train well, and you won’t have to watch the pounds.