Dancers talk about food a lot. For some dancers, food can even become an obsession. This fixation on diet is not surprising considering the countless hours dancers spend in front of mirrors, criticizing their bodies and dance technique.
The pressure to be thin is prevalent across the entire industry. Therefore, most dancers are hyper-aware of what they consume—many implement extreme measures to meet the aesthetics of the profession. Paradoxically, dancers are athletes, and athletes need to fuel their bodies with nutrients in order to achieve and maintain optimal performance.
What to eat, what not to eat, it can be daunting to determine what foods will help achieve a streamlined physique and also attribute to peak strength and energy. Nutrition and fitness guru Bree Argetsinger, aka the Betty Rocker, gets to the bottom of nutrition for athletes — sharing insight on how to stay healthy and happy, without skimping on taste.
A self-proclaimed “fit foodie,” Betty Rocker has spent the greater part of her life discerning what a balanced diet looks like, one that is wholesome and sustaining as well as delicious. Learning from her own journey with food and fluctuating weight, Betty Rocker has turned her passion for health and fitness into a thriving business. Now, she has a standing relationship with Whole Foods Market—where she conducts cooking and baking demos—is a sought after nutrition and fitness consultant, and has penned her own book, The Body Fuel System.
She devotes her time to helping people obtain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Her knowledge comes from years of schooling, learning about human anatomy and kinesiology. “From riding that roller costar most of my life, I decided I needed to get more education and learn more about how this works,” says Betty Rocker, hoping she can help others avoid the same ups and downs she experienced.
Having grown up dancing, she is drawn to working with dancers. “The most interesting things to me about dancers is the psychological relationship with food,” she says. “[It] makes sense, since dancers are performers and their bodies are their works of art, their vessels. They must care for themselves with the food they eat to support their athletic pursuits, but there is just so much pressure.”
She is also intrigued and impress by their discipline. She says, “They are remarkably strong minded.” Betty Rocker hopes to shatter this twisted mentality and move dancers away from number dependency when it comes to their bodies. “You can’t sustain your lean muscle unless you eat balanced nutrients,” says Betty Rocker.
One of her primary aspirations is to educate others about “the science of food.” Reading labels isn’t enough; Betty Rocker empowers individuals, encouraging them to take their own responsibility for their health by understanding what they are looking for in food and cooking at home more often. Knowledge and preparation are key components to looking great and feeling great on stage.
Busting diet myths
She cautions against fad diets, saying they can be too restrictive and misleading. “The more you restrict yourself the harder it is to not have those cravings,” she says.
Eating fat will make you fat…Not true! According to Betty Rocker, eating wholesome fat from foods like walnuts, avocados, and olive oil can help you burn fat and maintain energy levels.
Carbs will make you fat…Also false! Betty Rocker explains that, as athletes, dancers need carbohydrates in their diets. Carbs are the number one energy source for the body—it comes down to the quality and type of carbohydrates being consumed. “Everyone should eat wholesome, complex carbohydrates to maintain energy, especially athletes who need to replenish their muscle glycogen store,” she says.
Don’t eat grains…Betty Rocker cautions against abstaining from grains completely. She tried the Paleo diet for six weeks and found she craved sugar on it. Rather than eliminating grains entirely, she suggests preparing grains differently. Soaking them overnight, sprouting grains, or fermenting them aids digestion and nutrient absorption.
Skip breakfast to curb cravings throughout the day…Definitely not a good idea. “You need to get your system running,” says Betty Rocker. “You need a good solid base to carry you throughout the day.” She suggests a solid breakfast with a balance of protein and carbs and then eating several more times throughout the days, including lunch, post-workout snacks, and dinner.
Follow a specific caloric intake…There is no ideal daily caloric intake. Betty Rocker explains that nutritional needs change everyday. “Learn to listen to your own body,” she says. “Your body will tell you when it’s done and [what it needs].” If you are hungry, then eat and be sure to stay hydrated.
Save on eating out, invest in kitchen appliances
While the price tag might seem unnerving at first, Betty Rocker encourages dancers to “first make some changes to the habits and then get the tools to make them work.” These are investments in health, but there is no need to stray from a budget.
- Good quality vendor: Betty Rocker recommends a Vitamix, or something that will pulverize foods. These will run around $300 to $400.
- Food processor: Invest $50 to $100.
- A shaker bottle: These are inexpensive and great for protein shakes on the go.
- Insulated lunch cooler: Keep healthy snacks and meals fresh while out and about.
Betty Rocker recipes
Betty Rocker is known for her green smoothie recipes. These are great to refuel post workout and, this particular one, will be handy with cold and flu season around the corner.
The name of the dish says it all!
No need to give up American favorites like burgers. Betty Rocker offers this inventive and delicious alternative to a typical white bread bun.
Dessert has gotten a bad rap, but Betty Rocker keeps it light, delicious, and healthy. Plus, there are many health benefits to dark chocolate.
For additional information about Betty Rocker as well as more delicious recipes, recommendations, or to follow her 30-day challenge, visit her website at TheBettyRocker.com.