resistance training program for dancers, personal training for dancers,

Who Is Body Mechanics For? A Resistance Training Program for Dancers (and Beyond!)

If you’ve been following Dancers Who Lift on socials or reading our blogs, you’ve likely heard us talk about Body Mechanics – one of our resistance training programs for performing artists.

Dancers Who Lift was founded to provide top tier resistance training programs for dancers at a time when weightlifting for dancers was…*controversial.*  

But nowadays we know that resistance training has insane benefits for dancers. And over the years we’ve grown and changed our offerings here at DWL to fit our growing community’s needs. 

That’s why we wanted to do a deep dive into Body Mechanics (our newest program) over the next couple of weeks. 

This week is dedicated to who Body Mechanics was made for. 


Dancers & Performers:

While “Dancers Who Lift” is our name, we’re dedicated to serving multi-passionate performers. From dancers-in-training, to professionals, to art educators, and the retired, this program was specifically designed with you in mind. 

The entire team at Dancers Who Lift are either working or retired performers themselves. This means they understand the unique stresses, pressure, and lifestyle that comes along with being an artist. 

In fact, thats why Body Mechanics was created. 

In addition to programming resistance training and providing nutritional guidance, Body Mechanics is focused on improving stage skills (like jumps, turns, and extensions). 

But here’s the kicker,  it was also designed to have a modifiable intensity, scheduling, and gym availability. 

This means, if you’re on tour and can’t get to the gym, Body Mechanics has a solution for that.   

If you’re in the final week of rehearsals and your body is wrecked, Body Mechanics has scalable options for your workouts. 

Or if you’re in the throws of an insane week of auditions and side jobs, the Body Mechanics program can be worked around your schedule. 

Like I said, this program was made by dancers for dancers. In short, we get it because we’ve done it. 

And if you’re wondering why you should prioritize this type of training, well: 

“As an elite level athlete, a professional dancer, simply working out, or moving your body in an unspecified manner, MAY better your physique. But it will not improve your dancing or help you become a better, stronger athlete. Training takes skill, precision, and focus. Working out is a broad, vague, cover-all term (Amber Tacy, DWL Blog).”


Training in the Body Mechanics program provides guidance from fitness and performance experts through all things, cross training for dancers as well as nutrition and tracking your macros.

But you’ll also gain skills to improve your relationship with food and build healthy rhythms to support and maintain your busy lifestyle. 



personal training for dancers,online personal training, resistance training for dancers




Dancers, actors, and gymnasts! Oh, My! 

Vocal athletes, Ice Skaters, and Aerialists- so, high!

Okay, okay, but all jokes aside, Body Mechanics is more than just a resistance training program for dancers.

If your goals include moving faster, improved flexibility, preventing injury, enhance balance, and unshakable confidence, then the Body Mechanics program is definitely for you. 

Dancers are athletes.  And while dancers have specific training needs, those needs aren’t exclusive to dancers. 

After all, even football players are recommended to take Ballet to improve certain aspects of their fitness. 

So yes, all athletes are welcome and all athletes can benefit from this resistance training program. 

All athletes can benefit from our nutritional experts. 

And all athletes can grow through our holistic approach to fitness. 


Human Beings

At the end of the day, here at Dancers Who Lift, we want to build a community of hardworking, kind, inclusive humans with a core belief in the domino effect. 

We believe that when you’re empowered, you’ll empower others. And then they will go no to empower others, and so on and so on! 

That’s how we plan to change the world, and if you want to be a part of that chain reaction, we want you on our team!

All humans benefit from moving their bodies. 

Every human benefits from fueling their body well. 

And all humans can benefit from an encouraging community that holds them accountable to achieving their goals!


So, Are You In?

So, to recap, Body Mechanics was designed with performers in mind. But we believe it is beneficial for any athlete or human that wants to understand the why behind their resistance training program. 

We believe that arming you with a comprehensive understanding of fitness will empower you to achieve your goals. 

Body Mechanics is here to build your confidence by helping you jump higher, balance better, and improve your turns. And hey, if you reach your physique goals too, that’s a great fringe benefit!

If you’re curious about joining Body Mechanics, click this link to sign up today. 

If you don’t think Body Mechanics is right for you, check out this blog that outlines all the DWL offerings. You might just find your fit somewhere else in the Dancers Who Lift community. 

Either way, we hope you’ll keep following us here on the blog! Here we post free weekly workouts, training tips, and other helpful tips for reaching your goals. 

Is Your Gift Giving En Pointe?: The Best Gifts for Dancers

Finding the perfect gift for the dancer in your life can be a challenge. Dancers do so much that choosing gifts for dancers can be a little overwhelming. 

Do you lean into their cross-training routine and get them the best weightlifting accessories? 

Do you help them step up their audition outfits and get them some fierce matching sets? 

Or do you support their self-care routine by making a little home spa kit for tough auditions and long rehearsal days?

Well, we’ve got a guide to the very best gifts for dancers this season to help you narrow down your search. 

So let’s get started! Those presents aren’t going to wrap themselves!


If your dancer wants to start journaling or already loves it, contributing to her mindfulness routine is a great gift!

The Daily Stoic is a lovely book with 366 guided meditations focused on building wisdom, encouraging perseverance, and helping the reader embrace the art of living. This is perfect for someone who values the wisdom of great leaders. Chock full of translations from Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, and so many more, this book has daily quotations from history’s greats accompanied by historical anecdotes and commentaries. Even better, the hard copy of this book is only $16.81, making this thoughtful gift a great bargain for givers on a budget!

This Gratitude Journal is one of the best gifts for dancers heading into a busy audition season. The Mayo Clinic says that practicing daily gratitude can not only improve sleep, mood, and immunity but can decrease depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. This journal will take five minutes at the start of the day and at the end of the day, which keeps us focused on the good in our days–something that can be challenging for a dancer during a full season of auditions!

The Five Minute Journal is probably one of the best-known mindfulness journals on this list. And it’s one of the most perfect gifts for dancers who are just beginning their journaling journey. As its name implies takes just five minutes out of the day and has prompts to help you get the juices flowing!


Self-Care & Muscle Recovery: 

Something a lot of dancers have a hard time with is giving themselves ample time for rest and recovery. Gifts for dancers focused on these things are a great way to support your dancer.


 The Bed buddy heating/cooling neck wrap is an excellent gift for any athlete, but especially those who suffer from DOMS or struggle with hyper-mobile joints. This heating and cooling pad can be used on your neck, back, or any joints that need a little extra love after a tough workout, rehearsal, or audition. 


We have now entered into the “accessories needed for spa showers and baths.” This is the elite category of self-care for dancers. 

My suggestion? Make a sweet “recovery basket” chock full of these recovery-focused oils, sprays, and salts. Add in a pair of cozy socks and a deliciously scented candle and you’re set to impress.

Not everyone is a bath person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get great gifts for dancers to use in the shower!

These shower steamers are a great way to amp up any shower. Simply choose the scent your dancer would like the most (we recommend lavender for relaxation and eucalyptus for energizing!) Then pop them in the bottom of the shower. As the hot water hits these, they will release aromatherapy steam that will leave your dancers feeling like they’re in a high-end spa! 


Wanting something a bit more immediate? Try this eucalyptus shower spray! Simply spray this into the shower stream while you wait for the water to heat up and enjoy filling your bathroom with a luxuriously scented steam. Trust me, this spray will have your dancer dreaming about their next shower.



personal training for dancers



Is your dancer more of a bath person after a long rehearsal?

If so, these lavender epsom salts will be a game changer. Not only will the lavender help with relaxation, but Epsom salts are also great for muscle recovery and magnesium absorption, ensuring a good night’s rest post-soak!


Speaking of Epsom salts, this Epsom salt foot mask is a game changer. Dancers are shoving their feet into all sorts of shoes all day. Yet a lot of dancers feel a pedicure is a waste of money because “it’ll just get ruined.” But that doesn’t mean our feet don’t need pampering! This foot mask solves that problem and forces them into a much-needed sit-down!


Whether your dancer is a bath or shower person, they definitely need this Pure Magnesium Oil Spray. Magnesium helps to strengthen bones and improve muscle contraction, and heart health. Magnesium is also linked to better sleep and a decrease in migraines. So, a post-shower/bath lathering of magnesium oil is only going to do good things for your dancer.


Last on our list of self-care gifts for dancers is this acupuncture mat. This, easy to store, mat stimulates circulation and releases endorphins for pain relief and muscle relaxation. Dancers can lay on this while reading, watching TV, or even during a meditation session!



No list of gifts for dancers would be complete without some fashion essentials! 


It’s no secret that any good gym session stars with cute gear– look good, feel good, do good…right? These biker shorts from CRZ Yoga are the perfect look for leg day with just enough coverage to keep you comfy at the gym without becoming frumpy. Our trainers and Dancers Who Lift love this brand in general, so anything from CRZ is sure to be a win!


If you’re looking to amp up the audition wardrobe or make your dancer feel like a baddie at the gym, definitely check out these workout sets from ABOCIW. With the price of leotards, tights, LaDuca’s, dance bags, etc., buying a full set can be a real luxury. Why not treat your dancer by picking out a few? At $37.99 per set, it’s a steal!

A fan of dupes? Check out this crop from The Gym People. Just as soft and functional as it’s name brand counterpart without the price tag!

Want something with more pizazz? Give this go to audition top a try!


Gym Accessories:

Dancers Who Lift, obviously lift weights! This next list is all about gifts for dancers who love a good workout!

For our dancers who lift, we have this self-locking weightlifting belt that is sure to help your dancer hit PRs all session long without straining their back. (A big win for dancers who are training while working in a show!) 


Speaking of PRs, it’s no secret dancers have strong legs, but sometimes we need a little extra help with our grip strength!  For dancers wanting to lift heavier before their grip catches up, these wrist straps for weight-lifting are the answer!


Is your dancer feeling self-conscious about calloused hands when partnering? Get them these  Weight  Lifting Gloves with Full Palm Protection to keep their hands smooth and rip-free for comfortable partnering sessions! Still feeling the burn? Throw in this mess-free liquid chalk  to keep that grip working strong!


Is your dancer struggling with bruising from barbells?

Add this colorful squat pad to protect your dancer’s shoulders and hips from heavy lifts!

If your dancer wants to expand what they can do in the gym, these ankle/wrist cuffs are a great way to expand how they use the machines in any gym!


The best gifts for dancers on tour are resistance bands. If you combine these resistance bands and these resistance loop exercise bands, your dancer will be set to maintain their resistance training on the road without adding much weight to their bag! From physical therapy to workouts each of these bands will serve a different purpose for a dancer on the go!


Protein Hacks:

One of the most challenging parts of maintaining a strong, healthy body for dancing is consuming enough protein. That’s why we’ve included our favorite proteins in this list of gifts for dancers.  


Starting us off strong is Isopure Protein Lemonade! This protein isolate dissolves into a drink similar to Gatorade or Crystal Lite, making it easier to drink throughout rehearsals than a thick protein shake.  This protein is excellent for a hot day or when you’re looking to hydrate and get your protein in at the same time!


Bedtime Hot Coco is my favorite protein hack! Aside from being seasonally delightful, this protein hot coco from Pure Protein is packed with zinc and other minerals that help the body relax. prepping your dancer for a restful sleep. And with ten grams of protein and minimal carbs, it’s the perfect post-dinner dessert! Make a warm cup thirty minutes before bedtime and enjoy the protein boost and a good night’s sleep. 


Last on our master list of gifts for dancers is this Promix Shaker Bottle does not require a metal agitator, making this the *perfect* shaker bottle for any performer. 


No more careful sips backstage trying not to make the metal ball clatter. No more carrying around a shaker and a water bottle. When you’re done with your protein rinse, and refill without the worry of being noisy backstage. Want to have your pre-workout backstage? No worries there!

Bonus? This shaker is stainless steel, which makes it easy to wash and staves off that yucky protein powder stink that tends to get stuck in plastic.

So which gift will you be giving this year?

My suggestion? Make a “Bourreé Basket!”

You know, like a “Boo Basket” but make it DANCE! 

Buy a good quality dance bag, like this one, and pack it chock full of goodies from the list above, or with your own gift ideas!

No matter what you choose to gift your dancer this year, happy dancing and happy shopping!

food guilt, healthy eating over the holidays

Kick Your Food Guilt to the Curb: 5 Tips for Enjoying Your Food This Holiday Season

Talking about enjoying your food during the holiday season can bring up a lot of stress for people. Especially if you’ve been working hard to meet certain fitness goals or creating a healthy relationship with food. Fortunately, kicking your food guilt to the curb can actually be helpful in both of theses endeavors.

That’s why we created this list of 5 tips for enjoying your food this holiday season. Because food freedom can bring you so much more than just chocolate cake and pasta. (Although, those two things are definitely worth it!)


Stop Believing There are Good and Bad Foods

The belief that there are “good foods” and “bad foods” has run rampant among society for years. Statistically speaking, snacks, candies, and sweets tend to be labeled as “bad”, making food guilt when eating these foods much more prevalent. 

This is a real shame because studies have also shown that those who associate guilt with certain foods, rather than celebration, report unhealthier eating habits overall. On top of that, they perceive themselves as having less behavioral control over healthy eating. 


What does this mean?

It means that food guilt brought on by eating sweets, treats, or snacks, does not help you eat healthier. It actually leads you to feel more overwhelmed by the idea of eating healthy.


So ditch the idea that foods are good and bad and instead look at food as fuel! Making this shift allows us to recognize that different foods fuel our bodies in different ways. And when we accept this we can release the guilt we feel after eating those “bad foods.” 


Recognize that Food Guilt is NOT a Motivator

Food guilt will not motivate you to eat healthier. Take a look at  this study that revealed participants who associated eating chocolate cake with guilt did not have stronger intentions of eating healthy than those who associated it with celebration. 

What’s even more interesting, participants with weight-loss goals who had food guilt associated with chocolate cake were LESS successful as losing weight over a three month period than those who associated chocolate cake with celebration. 


Why might this be?

Well, some studies have shown that people who associate anxiety and shame after eating certain foods have a greater impulse to binge than those who don’t. This is because food deprivation leads to an increase cravings of those foods. 


On top of that, when you stop feeling guilty about eating foods it’s much easier to eat them in moderation because you no longer limit how often you can enjoy your food. If you can have Oreos whenever you want, you’re less likely to eat an entire sleeve in one sitting. 



Free energy estimator - macro calculator for dancers



Remember that Days or Weeks Will Not Undo Months or Years   

I get it. You’ve been working hard consistently for the past eight months. You’ve done a complete body recomposition with your trainer. You feel strong and sexy and you absolutely do not want to impede or, worse, lose your progress. 

One thing we know is that once you’ve been eating a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs, consistently for along period of time you will start to naturally balance your plate that way. Consistent habits die hard. 


Another thing I want to discuss is the apple seed theory. Did you know that apple seeds are poisonous? It’s true, they are literally arsenic. Luckily, we aren’t sitting around eating apple seeds like peanuts and cracker jacks, Instead, we maybe consume or two here and there when we are munching on an apple and it’s fine. No tummy aches, no accidental death by apple seeds.  

The same is true about our meals. If one, or even four of our 21 meals during a week aren’t *perfect* it’s not going to affect us in the long run. Especially if after your holiday you return to a more balanced diet. 


Consistency will always pay off! But celebrating life will always be worth a deviation. 


Eating Mindfully Ensures that You Will Enjoy Your Food

A very important part of enjoying your food is taking the time to enjoy your food. 

I’m not kidding. 


Take time to notice how your food smells. 

What’s the texture like in your mouth? 

Notice all of the flavors.

And finally, chew your food completely.


This is important to do anytime you’re eating a meal. But, when we are eating foods that trigger food guilt, or that we have labeled as “bad,” we have a tendency to eat them quickly. As if eating them fast minimizes our choice to consume them. 

Unfortunately, this often leads us to over eating and can start to reinforce a “scarcity mindset” around these yummy foods that bring us joy. 


These special foods are just that, special. So take the time to really enjoy them! You deserve it! And, when you take the time to eat your food, your body will have time to send your brain full cues, making you less likely to over indulge. 


Plan Ahead 

We’ve all been there. We had a friends giving last weekend and arrived home early on this been week. We’ve enjoyed some drinks. Eaten out. And snacked on our favorite holiday snickadees all week long. 

Then, you wake up on Thanksgiving morning and the smell of cinnamon buns waft through the air. Someone greets your with a mimosa and a coffee and everyone settles into the couch to watch the parade.

After eating a cinnamon roll and some bacon your heart sinks because you know you not only have the meal this afternoon, but pumpkin pie tonight, and leftovers tomorrow. You start mentally calculating the entire week and the anxiety starts to seep in. 


First, take a deep breath and re-read number three. However, if a week of indulging tends to leave you feeling sluggish or you’re finding you’re feeling sick after each meal, try planning ahead. 

If you know there are certain foods around the holidays that tend to be triggering, take some time ahead of time to ask yourself, why.  What about this food pushes you to eat past the point of enjoyment? Understanding why certain foods trigger us can help us feel like we have more control around those foods. 


Another tool to make sure you’re not indulging past the point of enjoyment? Plan a couple meals that you are choosing to prioritize protein and fiber.

 I don’t know about you, but after three or four days of decadence, I often find myself craving salads, fruits, and veggies. Planning ahead to ensure our bodies are getting nutrient dense foods throughout our vacations can really help us listen to our hunger and full cues throughout the week! 



Have you tried any of these before? Will you try any of these in the future? Remember, the goal is not to limit your enjoyment of special holiday foods. The goal is to give you tools to remove food guilt from your holidays so that you can spend time enjoying your food with your family and friends. 


Negative Self-talk- Dancers Who Lift- Blog

Flip The Script of Negative Self-Talk


Let me tell you a story about the first time I flipped the script on my negative self-talk.

The day I met my Mother in Law for the first time, I was NERVOUS. I had no reason to be, I’d met other boyfriends’ moms in the past and it always went well. But for some reason, I was especially nervous to meet her. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a show to brag about being in, maybe it was because I had just lost my side hustle and felt a little lost, or maybe it was because I knew that *this particular* boyfriend was different than all the others. Either way, when the day arrived I sheepishly admitted to my- now husband- that I was very nervous. He chuckled a bit and assured me that everything would be fine and then he said,

 “Or you could do what I do when I’m nervous and give yourself a high five!” 

Perplexed, I looked at this sweet man and said “What? Like, slap my own hand?” 

“No!” he laughed. “You go into the bathroom, you look at yourself and say ‘You’ve got this’ and then high-five yourself in the mirror.” 

I erupted in laughter. No way was I going to high-five a mirror. No way that would help. I am a professional performer, I don’t need confidence tricks like that.


Fast forward to halfway through my gnocchi.

I was starting to get nervous- the kind where it’s going well so you’re nervous it’s going well- I excused myself to the restroom. I needed to stop the negative self-talk. So, I took a deep breath, looked in the mirror, and said “You’ve got this!” looked both ways and gave myself a high five. And I’m not going to lie, despite feeling immensely silly, it worked. What’s even crazier is, this seemingly silly technique is backed by science!

David Sarwer, psychologist and clinical director at the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania says that speaking to oneself in the mirror is one of the first tools he uses with new patients. He says that physical transformation is not always enough if a person does not change how their body looks in their mind’s eye. Mirror affirmations are a step toward adjusting the way we think of ourselves. This goes way beyond our bodies too! Studies have shown that positive self-talk can affect how you handle and experience anxiety, improve technical performance, and help us cope with your emotions and mental stress.

On the flip side, research shows that negative self-talk can lead to cycles of self-fulfilling prophecies.

Basically put, if we are telling ourselves that we will never be good enough or thin enough or talented enough, we are less likely to work on those things and then, when we fail, think “See, I knew I couldn’t do it.” Additionally, some studies suggest that repetitive negative thinking is a risk factor for the persistence of depression and anxiety.

Now, before you get down on yourself, it’s important to know that negative self-talk is perfectly normal. Many people use it as a way to regulate behaviors they were taught were “bad” as a child – or even use it as a way to manage their expectations. But it’s important to know how to adjust those thoughts so you can get yourself out of a negative mindset and into a space that’s more conducive to your emotional and mental well-being. 

warming up for dance mentally

For Example…

 A few weeks ago I was in an advanced dance class. The teacher was excellent, the choreo was fun, and I was surrounded by my peers. But those final two counts of eight felt like they were taught at warp speed. I wasn’t nailing the turns, and I couldn’t seem to hit the transitions- making me fumble through the next four counts of choreography. The first time we ran it in groups I made an absolute mess of it. I was embarrassed and as we switched groups I looked around and thought,

“Is this class too hard for me? Maybe these aren’t my peers. Am I in the way? Maybe I don’t belong here.”

I sat in that for a moment and realized what I was saying to myself.  So, instead, I said to myself,

You are a professional dancer. You have a degree in this. You have danced on massive stages. You can get this, but you need to focus.”

 The next round, I nailed both the turns and the transitions.

Instead of allowing my negative self-talk to overwhelm my thoughts and disrupt my focus, I flipped the script. I affirmed my skills without negating the challenge ahead of me and I felt empowered. I had not only gotten the choreography, but I stood up to myself and gave myself the same encouragement I would have given a friend. This brings me to another effective tool for flipping the script on negative self-talk:

Talking to yourself as if you were someone else helps reverse negative self-talk.

Take a moment and picture someone you love. Maybe it’s a close friend, a niece or nephew, or maybe a younger sibling. Once you have this person, take a moment and imagine saying whatever you’re saying to yourself to that person. Odds are, you wouldn’t be as cruel. In fact, you might even be encouraging instead. Using that other person as a filter helps create distance between you and these thoughts.

I get it. Sometimes, mid-pirouette, it’s hard to imagine how you’d speak to your little sister. So what then?

Well, I have a little trick for you.  Studies have shown that using your own name instead of the “I” or “me” pronouns is just as effective at improving emotional regulation and self-control. The research team at MSU’s clinical psychophysiology lab discovered that using third-person self-talk can decrease emotional distress within one second of its use!

I know, SO COOL!

We have the power to change how we feel about ourselves immediately. This is because talking about yourself in the third person leads you to think about yourself as you would another person, creating distance from the situation–just like the visualization exercise above.   


So, next time you find yourself in a spiral of negative thoughts, take a moment and recognize what’s happening. Can you reframe your words to encourage rather than tear down? Now, insert your name and talk to yourself–it may feel silly at first, but once you start to notice a difference in how you feel it might become a daily habit! Have an audition? Have a chat with yourself in the mirror. Feeling the comparison thoughts pop into your head? Talk to yourself about how proud you are for showing up.

And if the thoughts become too heavy or too hard to talk yourself down from, it never hurts to reach out for professional help. In the meantime, these tools can be a big help. So, give it a try and let us know what you find! We’d love to hear all about how you’re cheering yourself on!