pros and cons of creatine supplement for dancers

The Pros and Cons of Creatine: Busting the Myths and Revealing the Facts

Did you know that creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied supplement on the market?  Handy for us since we’re diving into the pros and cons of creatine today!

 

Let’s start with what you know.

What do you think of when you think of the pros and cons of creatine?

 

Lots of people might think, “pro, aides in muscle growth.”

Those same people might think, “con, weight gain.”

But what those people might not realize is that the pros and cons of creatine go much, much deeper than that. 

 

So let’s dive in shall we?

Let’s start with the cons of creatine…or shall we say, the perceived cons. 

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

The *perceived* Cons

 

Weight Gain 

 

Let’s address the biggie first: weight gain.

Notice that I keep saying weight gain and not fat gain? 

That’s because yes, initially, (male athletes in particular) report an increase in weight. However, studies have shown that creatine does not increase fat mass.  

 

Rather, the weight gain reported is likely a result of the initial water retention observed for the first couple weeks of creatine supplementation. This retention usually begins within the first ten days and is short term. It usually levels out within a couple weeks.  

 

Kidney Damage

 

There are a lot of people out there talking about the potential damage to your kidneys that processing creatine monohydrate can cause. 

However, studies have show no adverse affects to liver and kidneys in people who don’t already have a predisposition to kidney disease. This is especially true when creatine is taken in the recommended doses.

 

 Muscle Cramping and Dehydration

 

I might sound like a broken record, but guess what? There is no scientific evidence that creatine causes muscle cramping and dehydration. 

In fact, due to the initial water retention mentioned earlier, creatine has been studied as a means to hyper-hydrate athletes performing in hot and humid environments and the hypothesis was confirmed! That means when you’re castmates are fading on that outdoor stage in Florida, you’ll still be flying high!

 

I hope that at this point you’re starting to see a trend here. 

The reality is, the cons of creatine are basically non-existent. 

The only real one being that, because it’s a supplement that relies upon saturation, it’s most effective if taken every single day. But don’t worry, even missing a day or two merely delays saturation and decreases efficacy. It does not make consumption of the supplement useless. 

 

And as for timing? Consistency is more important than timing. I like to mix mine into my morning protein shake, that way it’s worked into my daily routine!

 

So when considering the pros and cons of creatine, I think we have deduced that there really aren’t any cons. 

I suppose that means it’s time to discuss the pros.

 

The Pros of Creatine

 

Let’s just start by dropping this little fact maintained by the International Society of Sports Nutrition:

“Creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes with the intent of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”

 

Additionally, 

“Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of therapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populations ranging from infants to the elderly. There is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals or among clinical populations who may benefit from creatine supplementation.”

So now that we know that. Let’s talk about why, when studying the pros and cons of creatine supplementation, scientists agree that the pros outweigh the cons. 

 

It’s Efficient. 

 

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine monohydrate supplementation is the fastest method of increasing creatine stores in muscles. 

You see, a normal person needs to consume about 1-3 grams of creatine per day. Athletes in intense training (yes, that’s you, dancer!) need to consume 5-10 grams of creatine a day. 

 

So you might be thinking, “Okay, but can’t I consume it naturally in my diet?”

While the answer to this is technically yes, let me give you a reference for just how much you’d have to eat in order to reach your daily creatine goals. 

 

Creatine is found in animal proteins. Beef, pork, tuna, salmon, and cod all naturally contain creatine, but the only contain 1.4-2.3 grams of creatine per pound. 

If you’re an athlete, that means you’d be looking at consuming at least two pounds of meat per day. Not very efficient and kind of…yucky?

 

So do yourself a favor and help your system (and your macros) out by taking a creatine monohydrate supplement.

 

It’s Not Just for the Bros

Women in particular might find this fact interesting considering the fact that women have significantly less creatine stores than men. 70-80% less. And creatine supplementation can offer efficient support for women’s mood and cognition, as well as body composition and muscle growth. 

 

It’s so beneficial for women that some scientists even recommend it for women during their periods, and peri and post-menopause!

   

It’s Useful for All Activities

 

When talking about the pros and cons of creatine, people assume we are referring to teen and pro-athletes looking to optimize their resistance training sessions. 

However, Creatine monohydrate is shown that creatine can be beneficial for all types of activities. What’s more, creatine has been shown to aide in muscle recovery, with athletes using creatine supplements reporting less muscle damage, inflammation, and muscle soreness.  

 

What Now?

 

Now that we know the pros and cons of creatine I think we can all agree that a creatine monohydrate supplement could be incredibly beneficial for dancers. 

From promoting faster recovery, to supporting performance in hot humid environments, to supporting cognition and mood, the cons definitely outweigh the nearly non-existent negatives.

 

But you may still have a few questions. Let’s address those before you leave. 

 

I’ve heard Creatine Has a “Loading Phase” What’s that about?

 

In short, the choice is yours in this area. 

Increasing the amount of creatine you ingest for the first 5-7 days of supplementation might speed saturation and help you see the benefits faster.

 

However, research shows that you don’t need to “load” creatine to reep it’s benefits. Taking a consistent 3-5 grams per day is going to be effective for increasing intramuscular creatine stores, muscle accretion, and muscle performance and recovery.

 

Alright, I’m sold. But what kind do I get?

 

Because creatine has so many benefits there are loads of options out there. And while some forms of creatine might advertise that they are more soluble than others (yummier to drink). 100% pure, Creatine Monohydrate is the most optimal choice when selecting a creatine supplement.

 

So, What do YOU think?

 

It can be surprising when you learn something new about a supplement. For years, I assumed creatine was for the bros and the weight lifting competitors. 

But now, I’ve learned that it can aid in injury recovery, muscle recovery, mental cognition, and mood? Why oh why did it take so long?

Probably because it’s only within the last decade that dancers have started caring for themselves as professional athletes. 

 

So what will you do? Are you going to give creatine a try? If you do, let us know! And if you have more questions about it, feel free to reach out at dancerswholift@gmail.com. We are happy to offer our expertise and nutritional guidance, because at the end of the day, we want you to succeed!

Dancers Who Lift: More Than Just Resistance Training for Dancers

Resistance training for dancers is a long misunderstood subject. But the reality is, weightlifting for dancers (otherwise known as resistance training) is exactly the thing that will take your dancing to the next level. 

That’s why Dancers Who Lift is committed to providing top-tier resistance training for dancers. 

**Don’t believe dancers should train this way? Give “Why Should Dancers Lift Weights?” a read, then come back and join me here.**

Now, that we are on the same page, let’s talk about why we are so passionate about resistance training for dancers here at Dancers Who Lift. 

First of all, resistance training is considered a low impact workout, meaning it’s easy on your joints while still giving you an incredible calorie burn. A recipe for the *perfect* cross-training tool for dancers.

And, if you read the blog mentioned earlier, you learned that resistance training can increase your metabolic rate, without negatively impacting your mobility or flexibility. On top of that, it can increase bone density which prevents stress fractures.

 

What Now?

Okay, so now that you are on the resistance training for dancers band wagon, the question is where do you start?

Anything is better than nothing, but we recommend working with a trainer. 

Why?

Because accountability is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to creating a consistent workout regemine. 

The reality is, there are a lot of really excellent personal trainers out there who can teach you how to lift weights. 

But we know Dancers Who Lift has something extra special. 

You see, anyone can write you a program and call it “resistance training for dancers.” But we are uniquely qualified to teach dancers about resistance training because we are a team of professional and retired professional dancers ourselves. We get it in a way few others can.  

And yes, Dancers Who Lift offers memberships, one-onone training programs, and a load of freebies. But what really sets us apart is our holistic approach to training dancers. 

You see, we know that dancers are not just dancers – they’re human beings. 

We care about their mental and emotional health, as much as we care about their physical health. 

We offer mindfulness resources, blogs about goal setting and journaling, give you tools for stress management, all on top of the top-tier nutrition and resistance training programs. 

But why gab about it when I could just show you?

Below is a complete breakdown of everything Dancers Who Lift offers to their community. 

 

But before we dive into the offers, let’s talk bout who Dancers Who Lift is for.

We cater to serving multi-passionate performers. Whether you’re in-training, pre-professional, professional, an art educator, retired, or even a recreational artist you are welcomed and celebrated within our community.

As working and retired performers ourselves, our team understands the uniques stresses, pressures, and crazy lifestyles that come with the artist’s life.

But we don’t stop there. As mentioned before, Dancers Who Lift is more than just resistance training for dancers. 

From dancers to actors to gymnasts, contortionists, vocal athletes, skaters and more, we can help you reach your athletic, aesthetic, and performance based goals.

If your goals include moving faster, improved flexibility, enhanced balance, and unshakable confidence then YES we can help you.

 

“But, I used to dance when I was young. I’m not really an athlete or a dancer anymore.”

 

At the end of the day,  we want like-minded humans connecting and supporting each other all across the globe.

 

We want to establish a community of hardworking, kind, and inclusive folks all with a simple core belief in the domino effect:

“When you’re empowered, you’ll empower others. Then they’ll empower others. And so on. And that’s how we’ll (sneakily) change the world.”

 

See? More than just resistance training for dancers. We are changing the world!

 

The Offers:

Body Mechanics Membership: 

Body Mechanics is a program designed to make resistance training for dancers more accessible and most of all educational. We poured our heart and soul into crafting a superior yet budget-friendly resistance training program that homes in on and tackles the specific challenges you encounter as a performer.  

Body Mechanics isn’t just about enhancing your dance skills. We have a vision to arm you with a comprehensive understanding of fitness. 

Why? So you feel confident picking up that barbell while understanding and witnessing firsthand how it’s transforming your performance. 

So , What’s included in Body Mechanics?

Body Mechanics includes a 6 week “Strength For Skills” Method which includes 3 strength training focused workouts per week, plus 2 auxiliary workouts, warm-ups and cardio. These 6 weeks are followed by 3-weeks of conditioning and stamina blasts designed to enhance your performance and skill level. You’ll also receive monthly nutrition guides to complement your training efforts.

Worried about knowing how to do the exercises? Not here!

For each phase of Body Mechanics you’ll not only receive detailed instructions to help you follow the workouts with ease, but you’ll get access to our exercise library filled with how-tos and form tips. 

And if that still sounds like too much work, simply DM your coach for personalized feedback and instruction.

 

Don’t have access to a gym? No problem. Body Mechanics can provide home workouts as well. 

 

And if all that’s not enough, you have access to our in-app thread connecting you to the greater DWL community which is eager to help and encourage you in your journey!

 

And I definitely saved the best for last, it costs less than $3 per day. At $68 a month, joining the Body Mechanics team will ring in at $2.19 per day!

Now that’s a deal! 

 

So if you’re ready to join the team, sign up here and join the fam!

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Embodied Artist Academy:

The Embodied Artist Academy, like Body Mechanics is also more than resistance training for dancers. As you might’ve guessed by it’s name, Embodied Artist Academy is actually an educational method. 

It’s designed to not only help you achieve your athletic and aesthetic goals but to give you the tools to sustainably maintain them or change them according to the ever changing demands of our world. 

 

Who is Embodied Artist Academy for?

This program is designed for the person who feels their dance career is stalling or hitting a wall.

It’s for the person who feels slower not just in their body but that opportunities are harder to come by. 

For the person who is stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk and misses how they functioned when they were younger. 

It’s also for the retired performer who has a desk job.

 

What is it exactly?

Embodied artist is a 90-day, one-on-one online coaching program designed to turn frustrated, fatigued dancers into strong, energized, and confident artists. 

The Embodied Artist Academy is educational at heart, providing 6 In-depth Units designed to help you grow into the most optimal version of you- not just your most optimal fitness level. You’ll deep dive into understanding nutrition, training and changing your mindset, on top of being pushed to challenge yourself physically. 

But don’t worry, you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll have direct access to a dedicated coach to ask every question, share every goal, and get feedback and encouragement at any time. 

 

Sounds good, what’s included?

Should you choose to apply to the Embodied Artist Academy you’ll receive 90 days (12 weeks!) of fitness and flexibility workouts designed specifically for you and your needs. 

You’ll gain access to the Dancers Who Lift App to keep track of workout videos and learn form techniques for resistance training for dancers. 

Along with a completely personalized nutrition directive, you’ll receive the Embodied Artist Nutrition Guide to help you incorporate healthy habits into your diet and build your confidence cooking healthy meals. 

You’ll watch and learn from 6 In-Depth Video Units diving deep into nutrition, training, and mindset for dancers, by dancers.

And you’ll do all this along side your dedicated coach who is there to hold you accountable, learn about and tailor to your specific needs and goals, and encourage you. 

On top of all of this you’ll gain access to over 150 masterclasses, follow along workouts, and pre-recorded lessons.

You basically get a dedicated coach plus an entire anthology to grow and learn and challenge yourself endlessly. 

Again, Dancers Who Lift is way more than resistance training for dancers. It is a tool box with every tool you could imagine. 

Oh, and did I mention that the Embodied Artist Academy also comes with season recipe guides, live community coaching calls to learn and connect with others, and two implementation and direction calls?

Yea, it’s THAT comprehensive. 

Think you might be interested? Apply for your slot in the academy here

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Okay, but what if I’m not ready to join anything formally?

I totally understand not being ready to join anything off the bat. Whether you’re on a budget or still researching the options for resistance training for dancers it’s okay if you’re not ready to join Body Mechanics or Embodied Artist Academy. 

Dancers Who Lift has TONS of free resources. 

We have a free Minset Reset Course led by our amazing coach Kiersten. This is designed to help you refocus your mind and help you create healthy mental health habits!

Would you consider yourself a jumper or a turner? Whether you’re trying to land a your first double or master a challenging turn sequence for a show, the free Five Day Turn Course will have you spinning like a top. 

If you’ve got your resistance training on lockdown but you need help breaking down your macros, you can use our Energy Estimator at any time to create a simple nutrition outline designed just for you. 

But the real freebie everyone is overlooking is the Dancers Who Lift Blog

This blog posts weekly workouts, training technique tips, nutritional info, and more. It is a resource chock-full of helpful information for dancers, athletes, and humans alike. 

Bonus? Reading the blog will give you good insight into how we like to operate and think here at Dancers Who Lift.

So, take your time, think it over. But we hope you’ll join us on Instagram, Tiktok, and the DWL blog while you do!

Because most of all, we want to connect with other likeminded humans, who prefer to dance their way through life. 

injury recovery tips for dancers

Injury Recovery 101: The Do’s and Don’ts for Getting Back on Stage Faster

Sustaining an injury as a dancer can be brutal, both physically and mentally. However, as professional athletes, injuries are going to happen. And while injury recovery looks different for every injury and every dancer, there are a few actions you can take to help your body and mind along the process. 

Because whether you sustained an acute injury like an ACL or Achilles tear, or suffered as a stress fracture slowly developed over time, being pro-active about your recovery will get you back on stage faster. 

Now, this list is by no means a comprehensive guide for healing. Only your doctors and physical therapists and give you that.  However, this list of “Dos and Don’ts” will help you thrive throughout your injury recovery journey within the plan your doctor and PTs have put in place for you. 

So, do you want to know what you can do to speed up and support yourself while recovering from an injury?

To the list!

 

 

mindfulness for self-care, mental health support for injury recovery

 

 

  • DON’T Keep Going

The first and hardest lesson dancers need to learn about being injured is to stop dancing when the injury arises. Whether you hear a pop or you’ve “tweaked” something that’s bugging you, just stop. 

Dancers struggle with this because we were taught to “just keep going.” Although we are athletes, we were trained with the “show must go on mindset.” But by “keeping going” we are putting ourselves at risk for even greater injury. 

So whether you are bleeding through your pointe shoes, or dancing on a “tweaked” knee, just stop.  

I promise, you will thank yourself for preventing further injury to whatever is hurting.

**If you read this and said “Yeah, but I’ve always been fine, I know my body” this bullet point was specifically written for you.**

 

  • Go to the Doctor – Get a Good P.T.

Once you’ve stopped, go see a doctor or physical therapist. There they can asses the injury and create an action plan for your injury recovery. The faster you find out what’s wrong, the faster you can start healing. 

As far as finding a good physical therapist, read reviews or ask a friend for a referral.  You want to make sure you are working with someone who understands your needs as an athlete and dancer. 

 

If you know what’s going on, and don’t need to see a doctor, follow the proper rest protocols. 

For example, if you sprain your ankle during petite allegro, stop. Once you’ve stopped, rest it, ice it, add compression, and elevate it!

 

  • Eat well

Nutrition is a huge factor in injury recovery. Eating a diet full of nutrients, plenty of protein, and fiber promotes healing. 

Don’t make the common mistake of underfueling your recovery. Now is not the time to “cut” to prevent weight gain. You’re body needs all the fuel it can get to heal whatever is broken. Instead, ensure you’e getting plenty of protein, antioxidants and vitamins through a healthy and balanced diet.

Besides, healing burns calories!

In fact, depending on the type of injury, you might need to adjust your macro split. Studies have shown that during injury recovery, about 55% of total calories should be delivered as complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. 

Eating for recovery also means watching your alcohol intake. Alcohol has been shown to exacerbate muscle loss during immobilization. So, during injury recovery,  consider cutting out alcohol or at the very least, consume mindfully. 

 

  • Incorporate Resistance Training (Based on Doctor Clearance)

Whether you’re early on in your injury recovery journey or late in the game, incorporating resistance training will be critical to rebuilding and recovering. 

Resistance training can be used to both strengthen the injury itself and strengthen any imbalances around the injury that might’ve led to the initial injury or could contribute to re-injury.  It’s critical to your injury recovery that you follow whatever physical therapy exercises you’ve been given between sessions. 

 

That’s why I recommend finding and excellent physical therapist or personal trainer (or both)! 

In fact, did you know our very own Amber Tacy started her personal training journey by working in a physical therapy office? It’s true!

It’s one of the reasons Dancers Who Lift is so passionate about providing training that aides in injury prevention and takes personal interest in their dancers to create plans built around their individual needs. Want to learn more about that? Read about Amber’s journey to creating The Embodied Artist Academy here

 

  • Work with a Mental Health Professional:

As humans who are passionate about moving our bodies (and might even do so for work) being unable to do so can impact our mental health immensely. 

Between the lack of physical activity (known to release happy endorphins) and the temporary detachment from your performance community, injuries can leave dancers feeling low mentally. 

 Add on to the the possibility that the injury may have happened while dancing, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for anxiety and stress. 

 

Working with a mental health professional throughout your injury recovery can help you navigate these feelings and get you ready to dance even faster. 

Even after athletes have fully healed, hesitance to return to sport is common. From the fear of re-injury to the mental hurdle of trusting your body again, it’s normal to need help getting over these mental barriers. 

 

So, if you’re finding yourself facing a long recovery, get yourself professional external support so that when you’re body is ready, your mind will be also. 

 

  • Be Patient:

Dancers are famous for pushing through injuries.

And I’ll be honest, a lot of that is not our fault. Unlike professional athletes who are praised for “making a comeback,” dancers are taught that we are replaceable. And often, dancers are taught that to be injured makes you “injury prone,” “damaged goods,” or even “unreliable.” 

However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Research shows that most athletes actually report feeling stronger, more dedicated, and more physically focused after experiencing a long season of injury recovery. 

 

And while no dancer wants to be in the audience very long, returning to dance before you’re body is ready can lead to re-injury.  

The reality is, injury recovery takes time and rushing back to dance before your body is ready can make that recovery time even longer. 

Can you imagine spending months in injury recovery, working to strengthen, build confidence, and gain clearance to dance again only to re-injur yourself and have to start all over again?

It’s highly possible. Depending on the type of injury, it can make you seven times more likely. That’s why it is so incredibly important that you listen to your doctors and physical therapists before you start dancing gain. 

This is not meant to scare you. This is a reminder that one class, audition or show, is not worth sacrificing your body. Ever. 

 

  • Feel Everything: Healing is HARD

Injury recovery is incredibly challenging mentally, emotionally, and physically. Take the time to feel all of the emotions. 

Whether you’re feeling angry, sad, frustrated, exhausted, or even depressed, all emotions are valid and need processing in order for you to get back on that stage feeling confident and strong. 

 

Just remember, this isn’t forever. 

A good way to process those feelings is to keep a journal. It’s a habit that’s scientifically proven to increase mental health and we’ve seen the benefits of this in our coaches and athletes first-hand! New to journaling? Try these journal prompts to get you started. 

 

  • Remember, In general, all is not lost:

In the midst of not ignoring your feelings, remember that all is not lost. All of the hard work you put in before your injury does not just disappear. All of the networking did and audition successes you had are not suddenly for nothing. 

 

You will dance again. Casting directors will welcome you back. And you might even be stronger than before. 

One study raised a beautiful point. During recovery athletes have an opportunity to improve and grow in ways they might not when healthy. I’ll leave this quote for you because it is *chef’s kiss.* 

“While a successful injury rehabilitation process is crucial, it is important to consider how we can harness that time to not only help the athlete return to their pre-injury baseline ability but also leverage it as an experience of personal growth to aid in even further wellness and development. In fact, researchers have suggested that after enduring the challenge of a long rehabilitation period, many athletes report being more dedicated, focused, and mentally and physically stronger than they were pre-injury.” -National Library of Medicine. 

 

Helping You Amidst Your Injury Recovery

Whatever your injury, I hope this list provides you with the information to create a game plan for your injury recovery journey. 

And remember, while this list focuses on how to aide your recovery and get you back on your feet faster, take your injury recovery one day at a time. Not every day will be a slam dunk, and that’s okay. 

The important thing is that you remember that taking the time to rest and heal is as important as showing up to class. 

If you’re needing some help remembering that, know that you have a community right here at Dancers Who Lift ready to support you.

Joining Body Mechanics gains you access to our entire community filled with hundreds of dancers who are going through the same worries, struggles, and reaching for similar goals. 

If that feels a little too official right now, that’s okay too. Reach out to us at dancerswholift@gmail.com. We love connecting with and getting to know dancers and fitness lovers alike. 

Most of all, good luck in your recovery. Keep going, you’ve got this. 

Practicing Emotional Self-Care: Common Mistakes High-Performance Humans Make

Self-care is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Practicing emotional self-care can help you manage stress, lower your risk of illness, and increase your energy. 

That’s why lists of self-care products from at-home spa accessories to essential oil diffusers have people convinced that if they just “treat themselves” their emotional well-being will increase. And, while a relaxing bubble bath complete with face and hair mask, can do wonders for your emotional state, it’s not the only thing you should be doing to regulate your emotions. 

The National Institute of Health defines self-care as the ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.

Based on this definition, to fully engage in self-care will require you to do things that might not be as appealing as that bath. That’s right, the age-old “dedication is greater than motivation’ mantra applies to your emotional self-care as well as your physical fitness. 

Unfortunately, a lot of high-performance people have no idea that they are missing out on so many opportunities for emotional self-care. 

How many times have you said,

“I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A.. When I get busy I forget to reach out.”

Or what about,

“I just turned the TV on to zone out and mindlessly scroll.”

How about this one,

“I just got so busy I forgot to eat.”

Listen, we’ve all been there. But these are all elements of emotional self-care that often go unprioritized even though using a wide array of emotional self-care practices can result in greater resilience and lower levels of distress. 

Now, at this point, you might be asking “Okay, so there’s self-care and emotional self-care…what’s the difference?”

In short, there really isn’t one. You see the way to care for ourselves directly impacts our emotions. That’s why it’s so important to practice all kinds of emotional self-care–not just the ones that feel luxurious. 

So what are the most common mistakes when it comes to emotional self-care?

I thought you’d never ask.

 

Not Exercising Regularly:

Okay, Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “Of course, the fitness website is pitching that exercise is emotional self-care.” 

However, the fact is the National Institute of Health emphasizes that regular exercise has a positive impact on mental health and encourages mental health professionals to recommend a regular exercise routine to their clients. 

You see when people get stressed, depressed, or overwhelmed, hitting the gym is usually the first thing that gets removed from the “to-do” list to alleviate their schedule. Unfortunately, working out or even going for a walk would likely do wonders for alleviating the emotions they are experiencing. 

So next time you’re not feeling it, try the ten-minute rule. Do some form of exercise for ten minutes. If after that you’ve had enough, fine, go take a rest. But most of the time, getting started is the hardest part and once you’ve gotten moving, you’ll want to finish your workout. 

Not feeling like you have enough time to work out? Check out this 16-minute workout designed for someone on a time crunch!

 

Being Unintentional or Inconsistent About Food:

One of the biggest mistakes high-performance people make is being unintentional and inconsistent with how they fuel their bodies. Food is incredibly important to your emotional well-being. So it should go without saying that being intentional about how you fuel your body is a big part of emotional self-care. 

Why is food so linked to our mood? Let’s talk about Serotonin. 

Did you know that about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract? And the production of serotonin and other neurons are impacted by the “good” bacteria in your gut biome? That’s why what you eat is so important for regulating mood in addition to energy.

Furthermore, studies have shown that diets high in sugar are correlated with a greater risk of depression and other mood disorders, while other studies show a diet high in vegetables, fruits, grains, seafood, and lean meats can significantly decrease symptoms of depression.

So, how can we be more intentional about our food?  

First, don’t give yourself an opportunity to crash. Everyone has busy days, but ensuring that you can have breaks for meals or pack healthy snacks to consistently keep your brain fueled will make a huge impact on your emotions throughout the day. Not to mention, it’s another way of practicing emotional self-care by showing up for yourself.  

Next, be intentional about what it is you’re eating. I get it, popping into Starbies and grabbing a croissant and a latte might be quick, easy, and affordable, but it might also have you experiencing a large sugar spike and crash later in your day.

 Instead, pop into a deli and grab a turkey sandwich. It’ll still be affordable and (if necessary) you can eat it on the go.  But you’ll have the added benefit of a lean protein to keep you fueled until your next meal.

 

Failing to Prioritize Relaxation:

This next one is the most common among high-performance people because productivity is such a huge part of our culture. But the practice of embracing intention relaxation is an important part of emotional self-care. Yes, this is the category where you get to bring out those spa kits we talked about earlier if you enjoy relaxing that way. 

The most important part of this relaxation is that it is intentional. There is a big difference between sitting down in a comfy blanket to watch your favorite movie with a loved one and turning on Gilmore Girls for the gazillionth time to play in the background while you doom scroll. 

How did I know? Let’s just say I have a tab at Luke’s Diner as well. And listen, having a “comfort show” is not a bad thing. But it can be when it becomes a way to numb or dissociate. So while this can be a way to zone out, or have “company” while you clean, it’s not an intentional form of relaxation.

One of the best rules of thumb for restful emotional self-care is to do something that requires you to be present during your rest. Instead, drawing a bubble bath while you listen to music, download a mindfulness app and go through a meditation, or take time to journal with a cup of warm tea. 

 

Having Poor Sleep Hygiene:

It’s no secret that shutting down at the end of the day can be a challenge, especially for performers who are working high-energy jobs late into the evenings. But getting quality sleep at night is directly linked to improving your mental health. A great way to improve your sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene

So, what are some examples of good sleep hygiene? 

Good sleep hygiene looks like having a fairly consistent routine that prepares your body’s nervous system for sleep by helping it wind down. This can look like doing a skincare routine, putting on comfy pajamas, having a sleepy time tea, and turning off screens thirty minutes before bed. It can also look like ensuring your bedroom is a relaxing space to be in, whether that is putting your folded laundry away and out of sight or investing in quality bedding that keeps you comfortable all night. 

My favorite sleepy-time routine? In the winter I make a “bedtime hot coco” complete with 10 grams of protein, zinc, and magnesium to help my muscles relax. It tastes just like the real thing and makes for a perfect bedside sipper while I read my book. 

In the summer I opt for a mock-tail made of 100% Tart Cherry juice, pomegranate juice, a squeeze of lemon, and topped with sparkling water. The Tart Cherry juice is a known sleep aid and the perfect sweet and sour to replace a nightcap. 

 

 

mindfulness for self-care

 

 

 

Forgetting to Practice Gratitude:

It’s so easy to go through our busy days, go to the gym, cook dinner, go through our routines, and go to bed without considering what we’re grateful for that day. That’s a shame because studies have shown that practicing gratitude is correlated with experiencing fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Practicing gratitude as a form of self-care can look like keeping a gratitude journal

 

Neglect Their Goals or Compromising Priorities:

Imagine, for a moment, that your best friend promised to meet you somewhere important and they no-showed you. You likely wouldn’t be pleased and might think twice before relying on them again. When you break the commitments you make with yourself, you’re teaching yourself that you are unreliable. Conversely, when you say “I promised myself ___, and now I am following through on that promise” you’re teaching yourself that you can be relied upon. 

Setting goals and showing up for yourself daily is an excellent way to practice emotional self-care. Goals give us something to focus on and work toward that is outside of our circumstances. They give us a sense of ownership over our lives and choosing to not give up on our goals is an important way of showing up for ourselves and increasing healthy self-reliance. 

A good example of this is choosing your goals over the expectations of others. For example, visiting relatives can sometimes be stressful when working toward a fitness goal. Whether it’s choosing not to have seconds, going to bed early, or taking an hour to yourself to get some exercise, it’s often challenging for people to understand why we won’t compromise “just for this trip.”  

And sometimes, compromise is important. But allowing yourself to be the only one who chooses when to compromise is an important practice of self-care. 

 

Isolating Themselves: 

Does this sound familiar? 

“I’m so sorry I forgot to text you back! I’ve just been so swamped!”

How about, “I’m sorry I haven’t called you back. It’s been a tough season and I just haven’t felt like talking to people.”

We all have seasons like this. And we do need to listen to our bodies and set boundaries for is privy to what information. 

However, it’s important to make sure we aren’t isolating ourselves from the people who can offer us encouragement or support when we’re struggling. Isolation can be a slippery slope away from community and accountability. 

If you are feeling like you want to limit your extroversion, that’s okay! But I encourage you to find a therapist or trusted friend you can speak to when things feel especially bleak. 

Practicing emotional self-care can be a rewarding practice of discipline on top of being incredibly beneficial for your recovery as an athlete. 

So which one of these practices will you try today?

Want some guidance about where might be the best place to start? Reach out to us here and ask about Body Mechanics, our personal training program designed to give you the tools to do it on your own. 

core strength, ab workout, knee hovers, training tips

Training Tip Tuesday: Knee Hovers for Core Strengthening

HAPPY TRAINING TIP TUESDAY!! Today we are talking about core strengthening! 

Do you remember growing up and doing all those crazy crunches and not knowing what the heck they were or how they were helping you dance?  Maybe you just remember waiting for this part of warm up to be over so you could stop pulling on your neck!

Sound familiar? Trust me, we’ve all been there!

Well, today I want to talk about core strength and a different kind of exercise to help engage our abs and increase our core strength. 

Core strength helps us in all aspects of life. Core strengthening leads to core stability which is the ability to control one’s center while the body is moving. It’s the ability to hold the body steady and maintain balance while performing complex movements.

If a dancer’s core stability is poor, they may have difficulty maintaining good posture or dynamic alignment during small or large movements. So, as dancers, we need a strong core to help us achieve all the beautiful moves our hearts desire, but we also need a strong core for everyday life as well. 

That’s why, today, We’re talking about knee hovers. Knee hovers are a great core strengthening exercise and (bonus!) help with stability as well. 

We start this exercise on the floor, so grab a mat to help alleviate any wrist pain.

 

The Set up: 

Get on all fours (hands and knees) and with your arms straight but not locked, push the heels of your hands into the floor so that your shoulder blades flatten against your back.

The Execution:

Keeping this neutral position with your spine and shoulder blades, tuck your toes under and lift your knees from the floor. Your knees should only rise around 1-2 inches off the ground. Careful not to let your booty lift!

I recommend doing 10 sets of 5-second holds.

What Now?

Want real time feedback on your form? Tag us @dancerswholift on Instagram or Tiktok! 

Not into public posts of your workouts? Totally fine. Check out our Body Mechanics program. You’ll get workouts, nutritional guidance, and a coach dedicated to ensuring your training technique is flawless. 

8 Need to Know Plantar Fasciitis Exercises For Dancers

Plantar Fasciitis is a painful overuse injury and the healing process can be long and frustrating. While orthotics and supportive shoes can help, I’m grateful that there are a lot of plantar fasciitis exercises you can do to both speed up your recovery and relieve your pain. 

Not a sufferer of plantar fasciitis? That’s okay. These 8 plantar fasciitis exercises also serve to strengthen your feet, lowering your likelihood of developing the injury. 

So without further ado, let’s get started. 

Towel scrunch

The first of our plantar fasciitis exercises is the towel scrunch. Lay a towel or Theraband out on the floor and stand or sit with your foot behind it. Keeping your heel on the ground, use your toes to grab the towel and pull it toward you. Release and repeat until you reach the end of the towel. For added muscle work, use your toes to push the towel back out and away from you, again keeping your heel on the ground. 

Want to amp this exercise up? Place a small weighted item on the far edge of the towel and perform the exercise as written. 

Repeat 3 times on each foot. 

Short Foot

Whether you suffer from plantar fasciitis, fallen arches, or even just achy arches, the short foot exercise will be your best friend. Think of this as crunches for your arches! 

If you’re new to this exercise start by sitting down. Plant your foot on the ground and press your toes into the ground. Imagine suction cupping your foot to the floor and contract your arch for three seconds. As you are doing this, a small space should appear between your arch and the floor.  

Repeat for 15-20 reps on each foot. 

Eccentric Relevés

All workouts have an eccentric and concentric stage. Concentric is when the muscle is contracting- think lifting a dumbbell in a bicep curl. Eccentric is the part of the movement that’s lengthening and working with gravity- think the lowering of a dumbbell in a bicep curl. 

Strengthening our feet and calves for both eccentric and concentric movements will increase the control we see in landing jumps and lowering out of turns and piqués. Added strength means higher endurance and higher endurance means you’ll be less prone to an overuse injury. 

So to perform these Eccentric Relevés stand in parallel and relevé. Shift your weight to one foot, and slowly lower your heel to the floor. 

For an added challenge, perform these on a stair and drop your heel below the stair between reps. 

Repeat for 12 reps on each leg.

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

Internal External Ankle Rotations

Dancers love a winged foot! But that means that while our external ankle rotations are great, our internal rotations can be fairly weak. 

Take a set so your feet aren’t touching the floor. Use your ankle muscles to wing your foot (pull your pinky toe toward the outside of your calf). Perform ten reps this way, then reverse, using your ankle muscles to sickle your foot (pull your big toe toward the opposite foot. 

Repeat 10 reps in each direction on both legs. 

Toe Pulls

Toe pulls are one of the best plantar fasciitis exercises to alleviate pain. To perform, flex your foot and grab your big toe with your fingers. Gently pull backward until you feel a stretch in the underside of your foot and calf. Hold here for thirty seconds at a time and switch feet. 

Calf Stretch

Plantar Fasciitis can be further aggravated by tight calves as it puts additional pressure on your plantar fascia. That’s why continually stretching your calves is a good way to help alleviate discomfort from plantar fasciitis. 

To perform, face a wall and stagger your feet, one in front of the other. Pressing against the wall with your hands, bend your front knee keeping your back foot planted on the ground and the leg straight. Breathe here for 30 seconds before switching sides. 

Roll Them Out

Rolling out the bottoms of your feet regularly is a great way to mitigate the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. To do this, you can use a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, or my favorite, a frozen water bottle. Icing is a great way to decrease inflammation in stressed muscles. Combining ice with the benefits of rolling out the muscles is a double whammy against pain and inflammation!

Marble Grab and Drop

The last of our plantar fasciitis exercises is one of my absolute favorites because it’s sort of a game! To perform, find a handful of small objects, like marbles, thimbles, scrunchies, or even wine corks will work. Dump them out on the floor and place a bowl next to them. Then, using your toes, pick up the objects one at a time. Once held by your foot, use your internal or external ankle rotation to drop the object into the bowl. Repeat with the opposite rotation (internal or external) then switch feet.

Each of these exercises can be done at home while you’re watching TV and they can’t be done too much. Ideally, you perform these plantar fasciitis exercises even when you aren’t having a flare up- that way your feet are getting stronger and stronger. And strong feet are happy feet!

So say goodbye to achy arches at the ballet barre and pain in your heels when you’re on your feet all day. And if you want even more specific help strengthening yourself against injuries or even working out around one, check out Body Mechanics, a program designed to teach you everything you need to know to care for, nourish, and train your body for optimal success.