It is possible that a dancer who is slightly ‘heavier’ does has enough strength to hold their weight en pointe, however how heavy is too heavy to dance en pointe? This issue of “weight” is very common in dancing, and often girls get a distorted idea of what is normal when involved in dance for a long period of time. However it is commonly asked what is about the ideal weight for pointe work.

It is possible to be too big for pointe work, and bigger girls do need to be stronger to go en pointe due to more pressure going through the ankle ligaments. However, you do not need to be a ‘stick’ either! “Les Trocaderos De Monte Carlo” there are plenty of fully grown men en pointe, who I am sure will be vastly heavier than any girl.

Basically, it depends whether you carry weight as muscle or as fatty tissue, and how strong you are. If you have done all the preparation exercises in The Perfect Pointe Book, and are sure that you are doing all the tests correctly and can demonstrate your strength to you teacher. I feel it is reasonable to dance on pointe.

If you know that you could do with losing a little weight, do make sure you go about it sensibly. Starving is not the way to lose weight, and will actually often slow your metabolism down, as well as making you crave the foods you are missing. The first thing I would do is cut out all the simple sugars in your diet. (Sugar, sweets, white bread, crackers, potatoes and white rice etc). Replace them with whole grain versions as much as possible, and have fruits to satisfy you sweet cravings as much as possible.

It is often really hard at first, so maybe give yourself one day when you can have a small amount of your favourite food if it is not in the good list! This means you won’t be as tempted to break your good habits on other days, and before long, you will probably not feel like the “treats” anymore!

The next is to take a look at your weekly exercise regime. How much cardio-vascular exercise do you get each week? According to the Heart Society Guidelines, at least 30 mins of aerobic activity, three times per week is essential for a healthy heart, and this is a good level to have as a baseline. When we are dancing, it is often not sustained aerobic work (although it can be very tiring) so maybe try to include some swimming, brisk walking or jogging to keep you heart rate up for the 30 mins, three times a week.

Good things take time, but do not get discouraged! This is a very health practice to get into for the rest of your life, and I promise that you will feel the benefits before long. Keep up a good intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein (eggs, tofu, fish, red meat and or chicken) and remember to drink loads of water to keep yourself hydrated!

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