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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Body changes while training?

Pas de cheval

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I was wondering if anyone had any specific recommendations for an adult ballet student in her 30s who also needs to loose a significant amount of weight? I've been taking ballet off an on for 3 years and the added muscle has helped me stabilize my weight and decrease my measurements, but now I'd really like to start loosing fat. Part of my difficulty is alot of diet for dancers recommendations I find are for someone of a "normal" weight. If I restrict that much, I'm unable to keep up my training for fatigue. But if I eat to my appetite, I don't loose. I'm not trying to get to professional dancer weight or anything, just a healthy weight - I'm apple shaped and carry it all in my belly. If anyone has been on a weight loss journey while training, I'd really appreciate your insights.

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I don't think we can advise on this sort of medical matter over the internet!


Does your GPs practice offer weight/diet counselling, or a dietician's clinic, a weight loss clinic, or a practice nurse who can advise on a safe way for you to convert unnecessary fat into muscle? There's no way you can 'spot reduce' and anyone who offers that miracle is a shyster. From what you say, it looks as though you need some individually tailored advice about an adequate food intake which is observant of calories in, but gives you the nutrition you need.


The simplest advice I've ever had from my GP's practice nurse was that is is as simple (and as brutal) as calories (energy) in, energy out. Advice is to keep a food and energy diary, so you start to see patterns in when you're hungry, when you need energy, and when you're thirsty.


We don't advise on "diets" here, but rather you should have a look at the Sticky on dancer's nutrition, and also various threads on healthy satisfying and nutritional snacks that dancers have found useful to keep energy levels up for class & rehearsal, without offering empty useless calories.

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Weight training is great for aid in weight loss, shaping and toning. It has worked wonders for me. There are books out there and many articles; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/angeles-burke/lower-body-workout_b_3367729.html


Starting a heavy weight training programme really gave me the edge. I am a pear but I am building up my upper body and getting leaner below.

It's much less about weight than measurements. Weight training (maybe with a trainer at a gym at least at first so you can be safe) is what a lot of women are scared of but it is very hard to bulk up as a women. I can lift rather heavy for my size but I just seem to get firmer and gaining muscle seems to aid in fat burn.

Anyhow it really works for me :)

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I lost weight since I start dancing by, well, dancing, write down what I eat and walking (75 min 3x a week). I am a hearty eater, but now I just try to eat 'normal', eat more fruit and veggies, and stop snacking on sugar.

Well, I keep up the walking and swimming!

Edited by Redbookish
To remove direct mention of weights
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That's neat BlleFille, so you obviously don't see weight training interfering with your ballet training! I've definitely built alot of muscle in my legs from ballet, and I do think it has helped reduce weight in those areas. My calf on my stronger leg is a 1/4 inch smaller than my weaker, and my leg measurements have reduced. I have very little upper body strength, very small slopping shoulders. I might benefit from cross training to build muscle up there.


Congratulations on you weight loss Scuballerina! That sounds like a very sensible plan you are on. Good ideas.


Thank you Redbookish, I'll look for those threads. That's alot of my problem. I can't think when I'm hungry and run out of ideas. I'm very busy. I run a small farm, homeschool my kids, and run them back and forth to ballet class, as well as my own. I don't have time for lot's of cooking special meals. Probably not so different from other dancers juggling busy schedules. But when I'm hobbling around after a particularly grueling class, I hate to eat junk and throw all that good work away!

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Yes. Pas de cheval... I also have small shoulders and the weight training is fabulous for building them up!

And I dance a lot...like sometimes 6 classes a week so definitely no problems.. in fact, I would say my core is A LOT stronger and I am overall more capable in my dancing since beginning this programme! I wasn't even able to do a push up and I can do about 5 now! :)

Crosstraining is awesome.. I also do some pilates when I can, hike with my dogs and have even done the Insanity programme!


I highly recommend reading about heavy weight training and also eating healthily if you don't already.

I am very happy on a plant based diet myself :) I can eat a lot of very healthy foods without gaining fat ;)

A quick easy way to eat well is to prepare a huge lentil stew for example and freeze it in portions and eat it a few days a week... also a big salad is quick and easy. Just snack on fruit, nuts, seeds and hummus, stuff like that..


You are halfway there with your wanting to change !

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I want to second what Redbookish said. Other points to consider are that genetics play a large role in what we look like and how our looks change with age as well as that people react differently to training. For some, no matter how hard they train physically, they find little change in their body appearance. For others doing the same training, they experience measurable change in body shape.


Seemingly everyone wants to change body shape some. There is a huge industry out there to help you do just that. We hope that we find something that works. If it does we are happy. But if it doesn't, perhaps it's because of our genetics.

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Can I remind posters that we don't discuss figures of weight lost here? Indeed, "losing weight" is not what this is about. As people have noted, it's about body shape, and developing the right kind of bodily strength to do what we want to do in studying the art form of ballet.


Discussion of amounts of weight "lost" or diets etc can be triggers to eating disorders for vulnerable people, and we need to be mindful of that here.

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I recognize I am in the minority here being in the obesity category, but this being a forum for adult students, many being beginner, I was hoping maybe to find another dancer or two that had incorporated their love of dance into a weight loss program. Every time I do. Releve or a plié, I lift twice the weight most dancers have to. It of course is going to hold me back from really achieving the level of performance I wish to reach. I know a great deal about nutrition. Any time I talk to a nutritionist, SHE comes away saying "oh, I learned something new." Lol. It's just the practical day to day implementation of a plan that I struggle with. Some of it is genetics, cause I eat alot healthier than many people I know. But I do love hearty helpings and do tend to grab at sugar for quick pick me ups, and I have no great love of vegetables. And I'm a picky eater which makes things harder - I have a list of ingredients I avoid just cause they gag me. So I have to own that 8 got to my weight by some of my own doing. I do think I would have benefited from learning ballet as a child, so I could have built muscle to enter adulthood with. Doctors have put me on the low carb diets, and I loose that way, but can't stick with it long term. It's a lonely journey trying to figure out what works. It does help to hear what other folks feel has helped them. Thanks for the support.

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Pas de cheval, there are lots of ways to lose weight, but that is really not what ballet is all about, or at least not what we are about when it comes to ballet. We are not doctors, nutritionists or dieticians, so we cannot make diet plans. I'm sorry, but that just is not going to happen here because we keep our discussions to ballet!

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I recognize that. I wasn't looking for someone to write a diet plan. I was just looking for ideas.. which I got, but the discussion has been pretty effectively doused. I don't think this will be the forum for me.

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