Protein Packed!

It may seem like every time we talk about nutrition; we’re talking about protein.

But that’s because protein is such a huge part of how our bodies function!

Did you know that every cell in our bodies contains protein?

Protein plays important roles in our immune function, metabolism, feeling full, weight management, body composition, and athletic performance. That’s why proteins are often referred to as “the building blocks of life!”

So, as you can see, it’s a no-brainer that a dancer is going to need plenty to thrive.


But just how much protein do we need?

The daily recommended protein intake for a high-intensity athlete (that’s us) is 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. In pounds, that means that we should consume about .64-.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. An easy way to make sure you’re hitting this goal is to aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This way, if you are a little bit under, you’re still in a great range, and the math is easier! 

The next question is, ‘How on earth do I eat that much?’ At first, that sounds like a lot of protein, and it can seem daunting. But with just a few intentional choices, you’ll be hitting this goal consistently in no time. 


The best way to get into this habit is by planning ahead.

You want to make sure you are eating your protein in chunks throughout the day rather than all at once. That will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day and will keep you from feeling overfull after your meals. To review, here are a few easy-to-find protein-packed foods to help you plan your meals: chicken, eggs, turkey, any red meat, fish, shellfish (like shrimp!), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lentils, beans, tofu, and tempe. There are also, of course, protein powders, shakes, and bars as well.


Use protein hacks to maximize meals.

One of my favorite protein hacks is the protein latte. Make or order two shots of espresso (or cold brew) and put it in a large cup. Then add your favorite protein shake. Suddenly your latte is worth at least 26 grams of protein – add an egg white omelet, and you could be 50 grams of protein closer to your macro goal just by eating breakfast. 

Are you an oatmeal person? Why not make it protein oatmeal by adding a scoop of protein powder? More of a cereal snacker? Why not use a vanilla protein shake instead of milk? Bonus points if you choose to use a protein-boosted cereal like Premier Protein Cereal or Magic Spoon! We’ve found that frontloading your protein in the morning can make hitting your macro goals much easier. And bonus, eating before you drink your coffee (or with it in a protein latte) helps prevent your cortisol levels from spiking, which protects your body from going into stress mode.

Still feeling like you might be too full? Let’s walk through a potential day trying to hit 140-150 grams of protein. 


Breakfast: Protein Latte: 26 g. protein

      Omelete; 4 egg whites, one whole egg, veggies, half ounce of cheese: 24 g. Protein

      Daily Total: 50 grams of protein

Lunch: Big Ass Salad (BAS), Banana, Can of Tuna: 22 g. Protein

Daily Total: 77 grams of protein (Halfway there!)

Snack: Greek yogurt with fruit: 20 g. protein

Daily Total: 97 grams of protein

Dinner: Chicken and Pasta; 4 oz Chicken, Chickpea Pasta, Marinara: 48 g. Protein

Daily Total: 145 grams of protein (NAILED IT!) 


Now, I’m not here to tell you that eating like this comes easily. Culturally, protein is not usually the largest portion on our plates. But with just a few intentional adjustments, hitting your protein goal every day is well within reach. Whether it’s swapping greek yogurt for sour cream on your tacos or adding greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your fruit plate, there is almost always a way to add some protein to your meals and snacks.

Give it a try, and let us know how you do! We love hearing how our community is getting their protein in!

xox Am 

PS if you want to work with a pro-dancer/ certified personal trainer who can make tailored training, nutrition, and recovery plans for you, you should check out our 1:1 coaching program, The Embodied Artist Academy



Well, Isn’t That Handy?!

Let’s talk about tracking our food. For a lot of people, tracking food can be a challenging habit to create. And, despite it being an excellent and precise tool for following a nutrition plan, sometimes it’s necessary to take a break from the app. But just because we aren’t using a fancy app doesn’t mean we need to give up on tracking our macros. In fact, one of the easiest ways to track your macros is with something you already have: your hand!  

It’s true; the appropriate serving sizes for your macros for each meal can be measured by looking at your hand. And the best thing is, your hands come with you everywhere–how handy!

All jokes aside, the fact that these measuring tools come with you everywhere is a huge plus. This way, when you’re out to eat or not able to weigh your food with a scale, you’re still able to get a good idea of what you’re consuming. Another perk about using your hands is that they are a consistent size and are scaled to the individual. Bigger people with larger macro needs will have bigger hands for larger portion sizes and vice versa. The main thing is, tracking your food this way is effective and simple. So let’s get started!

Let’s focus on protein first.

One serving of protein should be about the size of your palm. This will be about 20-30 grams, or four ounces, of protein. This could be chicken, eggs, greek yogurt, or any protein; the goal is to have one or two of these “palm-sized” portions per meal. 

Next, let’s tackle our vegetables.

While veggies aren’t a “macro” of their own (they fall into the carb category), they are an important part of every meal. They contain important micronutrients and fiber necessary to maintaining a balanced diet. At each of your meals, you’ll want to aim for your serving of non-starchy vegetables to be the size of one balled fist. This could be a side salad or some sauteed broccoli; the important thing here is to measure this in the form they will be eaten. Some veggies shrink when they are cooked – we’re looking at you, spinach– so you want to make sure you’re getting an accurate measurement of what you’re eating.

That brings us to our starchy vegetables and carbohydrates!

Using this hand measuring system, one serving of carbs will fill a cupped hand. So, hold your hand out like you are going to cup water and imagine that it’s full of rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or whatever your carb is for that meal. Again, we are measuring these things in the form in which they will be eaten- if you measure dried rice in a cupped hand, you’ll find yourself consuming more servings of carbs than you might be aiming for. One cupped hand is usually about 20-30 grams of carbs. 

Finally, we get to our fats.

A good rule of thumb for measuring fats is “the rule of thumb!”  No, seriously, one serving of fats is about the size of your thumb! This is equal to about one tablespoon of cooking oil or 7-12 grams of fat-dense food. Depending on the meal, you’ll want one to two servings. This can be the trickiest because it’s easy to measure with your heart when it comes to olive oil and even harder to realize how much you’re consuming when you’re dunking bread in it at the Italian restaurant. Just remember, any adjustment is better than none. So, give the rule of thumb a try!

This system even works with more processed foods like chips or cookies. Let’s say you’re eating a chocolate chip cookie; look at the size of the cookie and take a look at your cupped hand; how many servings is it? Some cookies might be about one; others could be as large as three! Same with chips. Picture a small handful of salt and vinegar chips; you could count that as about one thumb full (one serving) of fat, OR you could measure it as one cupped hand (one serving) of carbs. You get to decide if you treat it as a carb or fat, depending on the food! 

Next time you need a break from counting your calories or when you’re on vacation and avoiding your phone, try using your hand to keep tabs on your nutrition. You might be surprised by how easy it is to make well-balanced choices with this method in mind! And who knows, maybe you’ll find that keeping track of what you eat doesn’t have to be so hard after all.


xox DWL Team 

PS. Do you want to claim everything that’s already yours– fitness, nutrition, and mindset? Connect with our team of experts and join The Embodied Artist Academy, our personalized coaching program for performers. 

10 Ways to Stay on Track While Eating Out

We’ve all been there.

You’ve been diligent with your nutrition, you’ve been hitting your workouts, and you’re starting to see major results.

Then a friend calls, “Let’s grab dinner this weekend! I heard about this great new spot!” 

You say yes, excited to spend some quality time with good friends, but then the anxiety starts to seep in. There are few things I love more than spending time with the people I love. Going out for a good meal and breaking bread deepens relationships in a way that few other activities can. But when we are in a cut or dialing in our nutrition, going out to eat with friends can easily become stressful.

Well, community is a big part of supporting our mental health, and we know that when our minds and bodies are healthy is when we see the most progress. So, I’ve put together a list of ten things you can do when eating out to ensure you stay on track without sacrificing a night with your friends!

ONE: Don’t save up your calories all day.

It’s true that you want to be mindful of your macros if you’re planning on eating out at a more indulgent meal. But starving yourself leading up to dinner can lead to overindulging. Instead, wake up and have a regular breakfast and lunch. Instead of smaller portions, focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables with protein to get your macro and micronutrients! This will give you lots of carbs and fats to use at dinner while ensuring that you’re still fueled for your day!

TWO: Look up the menu before you go!

One of the perks of living in the digital age is that you are able to find almost anything online! So, instead of playing the guessing game with your macros, take a look at the menu ahead of time and plan around whatever you’re hoping to order! It also gives you a chance to look at what dishes have more protein and what types of side dishes you could opt for instead of fries. Having these choices mapped out ahead of time can eliminate any stress that going out will knock you off track. 

THREE: Drink plenty of water!

This sounds incredibly simple, but foods from restaurants tend to be higher in sodium, making us feel more dehydrated, which can trigger our hunger signals. Staying hydrated helps us prevent overeating. Plus, staying hydrated will definitely come in handy should you decide to have a glass of wine or cocktail at dinner!

FOUR: Feeling snacky? Have a snack.

We’ve all been there. You get to the restaurant, hungry for a good meal, and the server plops a giant basket of chips and salsa in front of you. Before you know it, you’re salting the second basket and wondering if you even need to order your enchiladas after all. Having a healthy snack before dinner takes the edge off your hunger just enough so you can enjoy the chips without spoiling your supper. 

FIVE: Ask for what you need.

Let’s say you looked at the menu, and the penne a la vodka is calling to you, but it doesn’t have any protein. Ask your server if you can add chicken or shrimp. Nine times out of ten, even if an option for extra protein isn’t listed, a restaurant is happy to add some to any dish if you ask!

SIX: When in doubt, opt for veggies.

Just like when you cook at home, making sure you are getting as many vegetables as possible with your meal is important when you’re eating at a restaurant. Add a side salad, or order one as an appetizer. The best case scenario is you get extra veggies in your diet; the worst case scenario is you fill up on veggies, and you have leftovers of a delicious meal to enjoy the next day!

SEVEN: Get the sauce on the side.

Salads are often over-dressed, and lots of menu items come with any number of sauces. Asking to get the dressing or additional condiments on the side not only can save you some calories but also allows you to add however much or little you like!

EIGHT: If you are worried about controlling your portions, ask for a to-go box.

Restaurant portions are often bigger than normal. Asking for a to-go box right away and putting a bit of your entree in there can help you ensure that you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day and ensures you will only eat until you’re full. 

NINE: Eat slowly.

Did you know that your first bite of food has a much stronger taste and creates a stronger sensation than each bite after?  It’s so easy to eat quickly, especially when the food is tasty. But try and take the time to actually savor and enjoy your food, noticing the textures and flavors of each bite. This not only helps you slow down and listen to your hunger signals but keeps you present while enjoying your meal. 

TEN: Drink water while you eat.

I get it, the food is so good, and the conversations are flowing; it’s easy to forget to pause and take a sip of water. But stopping and taking a sip of water not only helps you slow down, but it aids in digestion and helps us listen to our bodies when we are full. 

Being stressed about food is not our goal. Having a healthy relationship with food is. Having a healthy relationship with food means that we have the power of choice. If we understand how food fuels us and what we need to reach our goals, we have the power to make choices – even at a restaurant – that get us closer to those goals. So make that reservation, go out, and have a good time! And if you are worried about going off the rails, choose two or three of these tools to keep your anxieties at bay.

You’ve got this!

xox Am 

PS if you want to work with a pro-dancer/ certified personal trainer who can make tailored training, nutrition, and recovery plans for you, you should check out our 1:1 coaching program, The Embodied Artist Academy

8 Reasons You’re A Bottomless Pit at Night

Imagine this, you’re focused on your goals, determined to make it happen. You’re so good all day long but then, as soon as the full moon rises, the beast within you is unleashed… 
You woof down treats.
Double portions.
And snack until your jaw gets tired… only then, as you lick the Cheeto dust off your fingers with melted chocolate outlining your mouth, do you realize the monster that you’ve become… Here is 8 reason why that’s happening (and 8 solutions!)

You’re not doomed it’s D.O.M.S.

As a professional dancer, many of us chase the “burn” in our workouts or push ourselves to our physical limit in class.
However that soreness can, and ultimately will, stall your progress or even lead to injury.
Here’s why your muscles ache and what to do about it so you can keep moving and grooving.

Dancers and Carbs

Carbohydrates are essential for dancers but unfortunately so much misinformation has been spread that many performers fear or even avoid adequate carb intake.
This article will serve to bust those myths and hopefully excite you to fuel your best dance body with plenty of carbs.

Inexpensive Eats

Life as a performer is expensive. Shoes, shows, lattes, and happy hours are all fun things to drop a few dollars on. But you know what you can’t live without? Food.

Food is a necessary expense, and we have to have it to perform, dance, lift, walk, breath, and, well, survive. You’re a savvy dancer who lifts, so you already know how important fueling your body is, which means you probably know how quickly money can go when you prioritize making healthy, smart food choices. While food may be your most important expense, it doesn’t have to be your biggest. Here are 5 tips to eat well, save money, and get hot.

Is Your Diet Too Fatty?

Fat is an incredible and important macronutrient. Having a diet with ample fat means your body will run smoothly and recover quickly.
However, there is “too much of a good thing,” being the most calorically dense macro means it’s easy to overeat fat and thusly having too many calories; ultimately slowing down your fat-loss goals.
Here are 8 ways fat is sneaking into your diet.

9 Ways to Spice Up Your Protein

Baked chicken and steamed fish would bore anyone to tears and undoubtedly lead to the demise of one’s diet efforts.
A dancer within the DWL community felt this tension rising and asked the rest of the DWL Fam to weigh in on their favorite ways to make protein more exciting.
Here are the top 9 responses!