Your Body Tips
Steal This Sports Psychology Trick
Struggling to give it your all in a tough class? When athletes are tempted to bail on their training plans, sport psychologists suggest they focus on what it will feel like later if they give up. Sure, it can sometimes be tempting to mark through tough combinations. But it’s always more satisfying to leave the studio soaked in hard-earned sweat.
100 Milliseconds to Ace Your Audition
What you look like when you arrive at an audition could make more of an impact than you might think. According to the Harvard Business Review, it only takes about 100 milliseconds for people to form judgments on everything from likeability to trustworthiness, competence and aggressiveness. Of course, it’s ultimately your dancing that will matter most in an audition setting. But first impressions are strong—make sure you’re dressed the part and projecting confidence from the moment
you walk in the building.
If you’ve got a stamina-testing performance coming up, start sipping beet juice. A number of studies over the past few years have shown that it improves endurance in many people (though not all). Apparently, the nitrate in beets encourages muscle fibers to twitch harder, making them more efficient. You can load up on beet juice at your favorite local juicer or healthy market.
Recover Faster Upside Down
At the end of a long rehearsal, sometimes all you want to do is collapse onto the floor. But a better idea might be to make your way into a yoga inversion. Whether you elevate your feet in a headstand or lower your head below your hips in a downward dog, inversions are known to boost circulation, bringing more blood to sore muscles that need to heal. Spending a minute or two upside down has also been shown to have a calming effect—just the thing you need when it’s time to call it a night.
Inversions also strengthen your diaphragm, which can improve the efficiency of your lungs during tough variations.
The Spice Is Right
Spices and herbs have some of the highest percentages of antioxidants of all foods. But which are the best ones for dancers? Make over your cupboard with these five nutritional superstars: They add flavor and health benefits without loading up your meals with excess calories.
USDA researchers found it has up to 20 times more antioxidants than other herbs, helping minimize soreness and improving recovery time.
The pungent herb is used to fight stress and fatigue, and to strengthen the immune system.
A good source of iron, which helps give you energy.
Red Chili Peppers: Research shows these crank up your metabolism, and can make your body burn up to 50 more calories a day.
Cinnamon: Some believe it can be used to reduce pain.
Did You Know?
As a rule of thumb, harder cheeses have more fat than softer varieties—but also more calcium.
Feeling sore from last night’s rehearsals? Try drizzling a little hemp seed oil onto your next meal. It contains gamma-linolenic acid, an inflammation-fighting omega-6 that is absent from most of the fats we usually eat. You can use it on salad, pasta or other foods that you’d usually put olive oil on. Bonus: It adds a tasty nutty flavor to the dish.
Chill Out Before Your Show
Many dancers today juggle their professional career with college courses—which means squeezing study time into any free moments at the studio or theater. But be sure to give yourself a break backstage before performances. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, mental fatigue could lower our tolerance for physical endurance. That means cramming information right before stepping onstage might make strenuous choreography feel even harder. Set aside a dedicated block of downtime to de-stress and focus on your roles. You can hit the books again tomorrow.