How do ballet dancers lose weight

The 8 Best Weight Loss Tips For Serious Dancers — Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles

Why do you dance?

Well, I dance for the same reason that I live, which is the mind, the body and the soul!  I believe that for the serious dancer, dancing should be a way of life.  How can you be in true harmony with life, if you only have the mindset of a dancer, the spirit of a dancer,  but are out of shape and/or overweight? 

(Oops! I can hear it now,  a lot of angry folk yelling at me for what I just said!)  

But think about it...

True dancing should cater to the overall essence of your existence which is being in harmony with your life.  When one of these elements, the mental, spiritual and physical,  is out of balance it is almost impossible to give yourself IN FULL to your audience.

So I ask again,  why do you dance?

 You see, it is your responsibility, as a dancer,  to deliver the HIGHEST VALUE and RESPECT to your audience, by keeping your physical body as healthy, fit and beautiful as possible. How can you deliver your BEST performance if you are out of shape?  Think of it as if you were an Olympic athlete who is going for the gold!

Now, if you are just starting out, or have not danced for several years, it's normal to be out of shape or overweight. It's not a bad thing, and I'm not here to talk down to anyone. But, if you are serious about this profession, then you understand the importance of delivering to your audience the VALUE they deserve, which is your BEST you!

So,  to help you out, what I have done below is listed the "8 Best Weight Loss Tips for Serious Dancers."


Dancers should drink at least 10 glasses of water daily.  Drinking water can boost your body's ability to burn fat.  Studies show that drinking water increases a person's metabolic rate by 30% and that even mild dehydration can slow down metabolism by as much as 3%.  Studies also show that drinking water before meals can help fill you up so that you don't overeat.



Being short on sleep can most definitely affect your weight. When you lack sleep you might be tempted to skip exercise, or in your case, dance rehearsal (too tired). A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people are in need of sleep, late night snacking increases, and they are more likely to choose high-carb snacks.  A sleepy brain and body appears to crave junk food and lacks  the impulse control to say no to certain foods.


Fasting is a great method for losing weight.  When I say fasting, I don't mean to say that you're not going to eat anything for days. There is a method to be followed.  Fast for 14 (women) to 16 (men) hours each day, and then “feed” for the remaining eight to 10 hours. During the fasting period, you consume no calories, though black coffee, calorie-free sweeteners, diet soda and sugar-free gum are permitted.  What and when you eat during the feeding window also depends on when you workout. On days you exercise, carbs are more important than fat. On rest days, fat intake should be higher. 


If it existed 10,000 years ago, it good for you. If it didn't exist 10,000 years ago, then  most likely it's bad for you. Some examples include, meat, fish, veggies, fruits, fats, nuts, and seeds. Protein consumption should be fairly high every day, though it will vary based on goals, gender, age, body fat and activity levels. 


There are so many benefits of strength training.  Strength training helps keep weight off for good.  Strength training translates to more calories burned because you'll burn calories while you're strength training, and your body will continue to burn calories afterward through a process called "physiologic homework." Additionally, it will help you build lean muscle mass and lean muscle will burn fat faster. More calories are used to maintain muscle than fat.  Strength training also boosts your metabolism up to 15 percent!


Top athletes and dancers recognize the importance of stability exercises because it helps them perform better. These exercises benefit your neuromuscular coordination. In other words, they help improve communication between your brain and muscles. Stability exercises also help with muscle isolation and help you burn more calories because your body has to work much harder to stabilize. Something that is also very exciting about these exercises is that they help with core stabilization which translates to better coordination, athletic skill, and POSTURE.  


Pilates truly is whole-body fitness. Pilates exercise focuses on core strength which is absolutely necessary for a dancer's movement.  You have to have core strength to be a good dancer.  Pilates helps build strength and helps develop balanced muscle movement as well as flexibility. Doing Pilates will also help you build strength without bulk and before you know it, you'll have a long and lean appearance. 


Cardio is absolutely necessary to lose weight and live a healthy life.  You should do at least 30-60 minutes of cardio on the days when you don't have rehearsal.  Another reason to perform cardio is for its effects on your metabolism. Along with speeding up your heart rate, cardiovascular exercise also increases the rate of other processes in your body, AKA YOUR METABOLISM.  

Now, you wanna burn fat without spending a lot of time at the gym?  Then, do some HIIT Training!  HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it's one of the best ways to burn fat off your body.  You can do this outdoors jogging or at the gym on any cardio machine.  Just do this for 20 minutes and no more.  You're basically going to sprint for one minute and then jog for a minute.  Then sprint for a minute and then jog for a minute and you keep doing this until the 20 minutes are up. Try it out. And be ready to sweat! 


So remember, if don't feel as confident as you would like to on stage, stop wishing you looked and moved a certain way and start doing. I'll leave you with some words of encouragement.


Believe in yourself. I believe in you!

Maestra Kareli =)



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5 dietary strategies that actually work

Too much stress has come from the misinformation out there about how to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. This information deluge on diet tricks is heightened in the dance world.

As a dietitian for dancers for the past 11 years, and a former professional dancer myself, I’ve seen the real-life damage that these internet and fad diets do to a dancer’s instrument and mental state. I’ve worked with numerous dancers and athletes to undo fad diet damage and help get them on track with a way of eating that not only supports their energy levels and health, but also helps achieve a body that’s competitive for scholarships and contracts. I know that it’s possible to achieve results in a healthy way with a little thought and preparation. For a deeper dive into the different fad diets, check out the Dance Informa articles linked below. As we move into the holiday season and new year, I want to highlight here the top tricks that I know work. 

Smaller, more frequent meals and snacks 

The first, and arguably most important, diet fad to avoid is going for too long without eating. I know that intermittent fasting is popular, but it backfires in the long run with added weight gain over time and compromises a dancer’s muscle tone, endurance and injury risk. Dancers will actually have an easier time losing fat but keeping muscle if they eat strategically 6+ smaller, more frequent meals/snacks per day based on their energy needs. 

For example, if dance class is in the morning, eat a strong breakfast with the types carbohydrates that improve weight management such as rolled oats, whole grain toast and fruit. Studies show that people who eat breakfast have an easier time managing weight over time. When dancers switch to eating about every 3 hours with portion sizes crafted to meet their energy needs for the next 2-3 hours after that meal, it supports maintaining or building muscle tissue. It also reduces the desire to overeat later in the day because dancers aren’t famished. People tend to make smarter food choices when they aren’t starving. It’s very hard to avoid tempting cookies and fried foods when you haven’t eaten in six hours.  

Focus on fiber

The second most important diet trick is to fill up on high fiber foods. These fill you up for less calories (and less money usually) but are packed with nutrients. Fiber is only found in plant foods, so make beans, lentils, peas, edamame, fruits, vegetables (particularly leafy greens) be the stars of your dietary plan. Let go of this outdated high protein, low carb fad. Of course, dancers need more protein than their non-active friends, but that doesn’t mean you eat excess protein with this mistaken belief that it will magically help with weight loss. What really works is filling up on a wide variety of plants. This takes a bit of planning and does require some food prep, but once you get used to bringing a container of carrots and apples for snack, having a large salad as part of your overall lunch and having 1-2 servings of roasted or steamed veggies for dinner, it will feel like second nature. The trick is not overdoing the oil, cream dressings or cheese as toppings for veggies. A little goes a long way. 

Eating soups regularly has been shown to fill up study participants with less overall calories. Many soups can be nutrition powerhouses with beans and lentils, greens, carrots, whole grain pasta or wild rice like in a Minestrone soup, for example1. Just limit the creamy soups.   


Too much refined sugar can knock a hole in even the most carefully planned diet. Keep added sugars in beverages, baked goods and candy to occasional treats, not daily occurrences. (I’m looking at that fancy coffee drink that at only 16 ounces has twice the sugar as a king sized Snickers.) Many fad diets include fruit in the “sugar” category, and this couldn’t be more false. While fruit does have fructose (a type of sugar), it is also a good source of fiber and vitamins. Bottom line, eat fruit to fill that sweet craving while filling up on fiber, and keep refined sweets to occasional treats. Eating fruit can be a great way to have a filling snack between meals. It’s also hydrating. 

Smart dietary fats 

Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, low fat diets were popular. These types of fad diets still come back in different forms today. They didn’t work mostly because people didn’t really eat as low fat as they thought they were and because fats were often replaced with sugars in the American diet at that time (and still today). Studies show that a diet with primarily unsaturated fats, found in plants like nuts, seeds, avocados and olives, for example, is better at helping people lose and maintain weight than a diet with saturated fats like butter, pork, beef, palm oil and even too much coconut oil. We should all be avoiding trans fats in foods like shelf-stable baked goods (like Twinkies, for example). 

I tend to recommend about 25 percent of total calories from mostly plant-based fats for my clients, but it’s been shown that even moving from a 38 percent fat saturated fat diet to a 28 percent unsaturated fat diet will result in weight loss1. You do not have to fear or avoid all dietary fats to have a professional-level dancer body; you just have to make smarter choices most of the time. Meaning have a palm full of nuts every day. Cook with a teaspoon of olive oil per serving, add seeds to your recipes and smoothies, add avocado to your meals. Avocado is actually high in fiber anyway. Enjoy plant-centric fat sources, and minimize saturated fats in butter, cheese and animal meats. I will never tell anyone to avoid grandma’s pie. You must eat her pie.  

Additional strategies shown to work

Getting adequate sleep is essential. It has been shown that even a small sleep deficit can lead to increased caloric intake during the day and weight gain over time. Another key strategy is to have a solid hydration plan. Don’t just say you’re going to try to drink more. Make a specific goal such as 1-2 cups before each meal and 1-2 cups between meals and snacks. Adequate water intake and smart beverage choices can make or break a diet plan. Many sodas can have 20+ spoonfuls of sugar in them. Some studies show that hibiscus tea, green tea and ginger can aid in weight loss. Whether they do or do not, they’re certainly delicious and healthy. 

Links to take a deeper dive into Dance Informa’s past articles on fad diets:  

How eating more, not less, leads to a healthy dancer weight

Intermittent Fasting: What dancers need to know about this latest diet trend

Why energy balance is the underappreciated secret to healthy weight and more energy

Keto Concerns: Is Keto Diet unsafe for dancers?

Paleo — good diet for dancers? Nutrition experts weigh in


  1. Greger M. How Not To Diet: the groundbreaking science of healthy, permanent weight loss. Flatiron Books NY, 2019

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RDN, LDN of Nutrition for Great Performances.

Emily Cook Harrison MS, RD, LD 
Emily is a registered dietitian and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University, USA. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and nutrition and she has experience providing nutrition services for weight management, sports nutrition, disordered eating, disease prevention, and food allergies. Emily was a professional dancer for eleven years with the Atlanta Ballet and several other companies. She is a dance educator and the mother of two young children. She now runs the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Items:dance health, dancer health, dancer health advice, dancer nutrition, dancer wellness, diet tips, fad diets, health advice, health advice for dancers, intermittent fasting, keto diet, nutrition advice, nutrition advice for dancers, nutrition for dancers, nutritionist, wellness

Secrets of losing weight Nikolai Tsiskaridze - how ballet dancers keep fit

Star diets055.6k.

The famous dancer, ballet dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze is quite strict about his appearance. Despite leaving the big stage, he does not like to relax. With a height of 183 cm, the weight of the honored worker of art does not exceed 70 kg. To keep the body in shape, moderation in nutrition and a high level of physical activity help him.

Gourmet habits

The artist spent his childhood in Tbilisi. On vacation, the family often traveled to Moscow. The nanny of young Nikolay was from Ukraine. Caucasian cuisine was loved and welcomed in the house, rich Russian pastries, dumplings, pancakes and cheesecakes. The favorite dishes of the future ballerun were fried potatoes in butter and homemade cakes with custard. He preferred them even to gentle Georgian satsivi or lobio.

As an adult, Tsiskaridze fell in love with dishes from other peoples of the world: German pork sausages with sauerkraut, French croissants, Japanese sashimi and shabu-shabu. But the main cuisine was still Ukrainian. The taste of black pudding, potato pancakes and Kyiv cake is still dearer to Nikolai than the most expensive delicacies.

Tsiskaridze can discuss restaurant menus, comparing them with home cooking creations, for hours, despite the strict dietary restrictions inherent in people of his profession. As the artist admits, the problem of excess weight during his studies at the ballet school and in the first years of his career did not bother him. Tsiskaridze owes his graceful build to genetics, so in his youth he could eat whatever he wanted, in any quantity. Diet for him remained a conditional concept. The scales invariably showed less than 60 kg, and the waist did not reach 66 cm. All the calories received quickly burned out during intense hours of training.

Years go by, kilograms grow

Having celebrated his 30th birthday, Tsiskaridze began to notice that he had difficulty getting into stage costumes after heavy meals, and his body was gradually losing its former lightness. To cope with the trouble, Nikolai decided to revise the diet and switched to separate meals. Meat dishes began to be consumed with cheese, vegetables and lots of greens. I ate potatoes and pasta separately. For a while, the results were pleasing. However, soon I had to urgently look for a more radical method - there was a responsible performance ahead.

A little bit of everything

To lose a few kilos, Tsiskaridze fasts regularly. For almost two months, the artist does not consume animal fats and favorite meat, thanks to which he achieves the desired result without denying himself pies and sweets.

To get rid of excess body weight without feeling severe hunger and weakness, Pierre Dukan's method helps Nikolai: refusal for several weeks from simple carbohydrates, flour, potatoes, cereals. The diet consists mainly of fish, cottage cheese, eggs and meat.

The artist has been accustomed to discipline since childhood, but he cannot stand the regime of restrictions or mono-nutrition. According to him, not eating is generally much easier than finding out the fat content or calorie content of foods, wondering if the desired dish is harmful.

The method of experiments Tsiskaridze solved the problem with the diet simply. He refused any food after 4 pm.

  • In the morning the artist drinks black coffee.
  • Snacks and dine in a restaurant: steak, sausages with cheese.
  • Periodically orders his favorite fried potatoes, chakhokhbili, khachapuri, meat pie.
  • For dessert, she can afford a piece of cake with fresh fruit.

After dinner, which is no later than 4:00 pm, Nikolay does not allow himself even a sip of tea. In the summer, in the heat, he even tries not to drink water in the evenings, as he begins to suffer from edema. Such a weight control system helps the artist to keep the weight at the same level and to put on the stage costumes of his youth without any problems.

Tsiskaridze does not do sports additionally. Ballet, according to him, gives the body a load that is incomparable with any type of fitness, and dancing works out and strengthens all muscle groups. Nikolai combines daily teaching activities with home workouts and stretching.

Figure of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, photo of the artist on stage

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the main secrets of Volochkova, Vishneva, Meskova and others

The graceful figure of a ballerina is the result of not only grueling workouts, but also a diet. Find out how Russian ballet dancers keep fit.

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Anastasia Volochkova

Anastasia Meskova

Diana Vishneva

weight loss


photos from open sources

Anastasia Volochkova

The actress was fired from the Bolshoi Theater allegedly because she gained weight. Anastasia sued and proved that it was a lie. The twine queen has always tried to keep fit, but since 2019years began to melt before our eyes. The star rapidly lost weight and told how she did it.

In addition to regular training, Volochkova adheres to a strict diet. In her diet, there are almost only vegetables and lettuce leaves. She also eats boiled or raw eggs, boiled chicken and vegetable soups. Her favorite is spicy tom yum. There are days when Anastasia goes hungry. The ballerina's diet is extreme and not for everyone.

Diana Vishneva

Star of the world stage, soloist of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theaters is in great shape. Vishneva strictly observes the sleep schedule. She always gets up and goes to bed at the same time, the body gets used to it and has time to rest.

The artist never skips breakfast. Ideally, this is oatmeal on water. Under the condition of strong physical exertion, the star allows herself to eat whatever she wants for lunch. Vishneva is categorically against snacking and junk food. She prefers to wait for dinner than to eat something on the run.

Svetlana Zakharova

The prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, three months after the birth of her daughter, was already shining on the stage again. Svetlana adheres to strict rules in nutrition. She almost completely gave up salt, eats porridge on the water for breakfast and replaced meat with fish. If the artist needs to lose weight urgently, she reduces the portions and the size of the slices. Svetlana also makes sure that there are enough proteins and carbohydrates, and she can reduce fats to a minimum.

Ekaterina Shipulina

Leading soloist of the Bolshoi Theater against strict diets. She is convinced that you need to listen to your body and not deny yourself what you want. But at the same time, you need to eat small portions. Ekaterina prefers to eat at the same time. Shipulina eats a hearty breakfast and never misses dinner. The artist loves to eat delicious food and learns new recipes. Everything that can negatively affect the figure of the artist, she works out in the ballet hall.

Anastasia Meskova

The soloist of the Bolshoi Theater and the star of the TV series "Sweet Life" quickly got into shape after her second birth. During pregnancy, the actress was drawn to sweets, although before that she was indifferent to them. Nevertheless, the young mother did not allow herself to break loose and "eat for two." After giving birth, Meskova does not follow a strict diet, but her diet is balanced. It is based on steamed white meat, raw vegetables and fruits.

The artist believes that playing sports a couple of times a week will not get rid of excess weight. To lose weight, you need to be constantly on the move: walk longer, climb stairs instead of the elevator, actively relax with friends.

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