Weight Loss Through Dance and Diet

We all know people who work out furiously at the gym without losing much, if any, weight.


Some of them rationalize it – if I exercise, I can eat what I want. That’s what they say, even as the weight creeps on a bit at a time and rarely leaves for long.

You cannot consume food with no regard for fat and calories and expect it to melt off because you rode the exercise bike for 30 minutes. Even if inordinate sessions of exercise and physical training could keep weight down, the input of high-fat, high-calorie foods laced with salt (think about that juicy cheeseburger and French fries) would in no way be beneficial to one’s health.

The simple fact is this: What you put out is less important than what you put in. In other words, maintain a reasonable diet and tailor your exercise program appropriately. Exercise is great, and dance is one of the prescriptions you will always get from Fred Astaire Dance Studios. For cardio conditioning, muscle tone and improved balance, dance is very hard to beat. And vigorous dances such as salsa will burn some calories!

Dance also provides many benefits less likely to be derived from the gym. There’s social interaction, mutual support and the learning of lifelong skills, both social and on the dance floor.

Yet diet and exercise do work well together, and we’re emphasizing that now as we near the start of the beach and swim season in much of the country. You want to look and feel your best, you want to fit into that swimsuit, and the answer is diet and exercise.

Actual numbers will vary with a person’s metabolism, but here are some rough examples of what we’re talking about in the input vs. output conversation. Consider this:

You want to behave at lunch, and so you have a turkey sandwich. Hey, turkey is good. And lean. If you stick to that. But the turkey club sandwich with bacon, mayo and three ounces of bread often proves irresistible. Congratulations! You’ve just scarfed down 510 calories.  Think you’re going to make that go away by running a couple of miles later in the day? Think again. The average person burns about 100 calories per mile of running. You run three miles and you’ve got 210 calories still lurking in your body. To lose a pound you need to burn about 3,500 calories. Maybe you want to rethink that sandwich – at least the bacon and mayo parts.

We urge moderation at meals. We encourage dancing as a great way to keep your mind off food and on a physical and mental activity that leaves more lasting benefits than two slices of pizza (nearly 600 calories). Lunch might be 510 calories or more – an hour of dance instead will burn about 390 calories. That’s a 900-calorie swing. It’s easier to cut 500 calories a day from your diet than to work off those calories.

Put in a little less, put out a little more, come and dance with us and you will be ready for beach season!