Monday. Today is day 1 of my summer training…my summer intensive has not yet kicked into full gear, but I have a 4-classes-a-week schedule going on in addition to my cross training.
Anyways, taking a full ballet class after a chunk of time off is very bittersweet.
Your muscles are super, super fatigued almost immediately, because pretty much no matter how much cardio you do at the gym, it will never match the amount of stamina and physical strength needed to do ballet.
But, after not having danced in so long, the adrenaline that rushes through your body and the endorphins that are released put you in a super, super good mood and makes dancing feel amazing.
So, that is what I was going through today. The biggest problem with this is, because of the adrenaline, endorphins, and somewhat “shock” your muscles are in from being thrown into ballet again, your mindset about being overworked can be distorted.
I have learned from experience to take it easy the first day and hold yourself back from doing everything 150% and taking every single opportunity to go the extra mile. This is just because I don’t want the endorphins and adrenaline to keep me from listening to my body.
The first day back is also a great time to focus on the basics of your technique. Time off can serve as somewhat of a “detox cleanse” for your ballet technique – not pointing your feet or turning out for 2 or 3 weeks can give you a fresh new start.
Take advantage of this and really focus on using the correct muscles and breaking old habits right from the get-go…ingrain better muscle memory in your body. When you feel like you need to expend all of your energy, focus on these things rather than getting your leg to your head, gripping the positions, or trying to jump through the ceiling. On the first day, always choose quality over quantity.
Since much of my focus has been on healthy eating lately, I want to take you through what I ate today to serve as somewhat of a guide for what is good on the first day back:
Breakfast: Sourdough bread w/ sugar-free, natural peanut butter, fried egg, coffee
Lunch: 1/2 cup whole-grain pasta, 1/4 avocado (sliced), blueberries, almond milk
Snack: Banana, mini-cup of coffee
Dinner: Sandwich with 1/4 avocado (mashed/spread), shredded chicken, parmesan cheese on whole-grain bread, fresh strawberries
Snack: Popcorn topped with olive oil, salt, and pepper
The meal plan example here has sufficient healthy carbohydrates to keep energy flowing, lots of healthy fats, and features fruits and vegetables as well. The biggest point to stress here is to have a really nutritious dinner after class, slightly on the carb-heavier side. This is just because you want to have a dinner that helps your muscles recover all the way.
Make sure you check out my other recent posts, and see what I’m doing for the rest of the summer. Happy dancing!