The Fall television season is upon us which can only mean one thing. For four hours each week the television in my apartment will be tuned to a show called “Dancing With The Stars”. For those of you who, like me, spend more time in a squat rack than in front of a television, DWTS is a competition reality show in which various celebrities are teamed up with professional ballroom dancers and then judged on performances in various dance styles. You truly have not lived until you’ve seen Jerry Springer dance the Cha-Cha-Cha.
At the risk of seemlng less than manly, I actually like DWTS. Well, ‘like’ may be too strong a word. Saying I ‘appreciate it’ may be truer to how I feel. The show features mostly non-athletes attempting to do something that is rather athletic and way outisde of their comfort zones. This is not too far removed from what I ask of my clients on a daily basis. I, however, do not require my clients to train in sequins or get spray tans.
One of the side-effects of the DWTS phenomenon is that it has increased the amount of people out there who are looking for a “dancer’s body”. Not a bad aspiration and certainly many of the celebrities on the show do get in much better shape throughout the season. This drives many people to dancing classes at their local health club or dance studio in the hopes of twirling, dipping and pirouetting their way to a ballerina’s bod (ironically, these same people attend many ‘boot camp’ classes with absolutely no aspirations of looking like a soldier).
I’m going to save all of you a lot of time by letting you know up front that this will not work.
Not that I am opposed to dance classes or dancing. Heck, being the biggest, baldest white guy at any Bar-Mitzvah I attend doesn’t stop me from standing out on the dance floor and shaking my thang. However, you should be taking dance lessons or attending the Zumba class because you get joy out of dancing in those types of settings. If you are doing it to get lean, ripped, toned or whatever other infomercial adjectives you’d like to use, you are truly not making good use of your time.
The problem is that dancers (and even celebrities on DWTS) spend hours and hours dancing every day. It is not likely that you are going to get those kind of results by doing the tango for 45 minutes twice per week, which is just about the amount of time that most people spend of fitness. On top of which, most of the dancers you see who are performing on a stage are genetically predispositioned to be dancers – otherwise they would never reach that elite level.
Now, I am certainly not here to crush your dreams of getting the physique you desire, whether it be of a dancer, bodybuilder or fitness model. But if you are like most people who can dedicate only 3 -5 hours towards physical activity per week, you are going to have to find the most efficient way to get the body you desire.
So, for the majority of indiviuals, resistance training and a good nutrition plan are the absolute best ways to get these types of results. The details of these plans will be based on the goals that you are looking to acheive, however I recommend these two components for nearly everyone looking to make body composition changes above all other modalities of fitness.
Some of you may be thinking “of course Dan recommends resistance training and nutrition, that’s his business and how he makes a living.” It’s sort of like an orthepedist always recommending surgery or the guy at the Genius Bar who convinces you you can not live without the latest iPad. But here’s the possible difference between myself and those other professionals — I became a strength coach and a nutritional consultant because those modalities work, rather than recommending them because that is who I already was. I don’t own a facility. I don’t own a cattle ranch. I don’t sell barbells. I chose to do what I do because they are the best methods to get people the results they want. If I believed dance class or spin class or standing on your head for an hour got you better results, believe me, that is what I would be doing and have my clients doing. I am not a slave to the modality, I am a slave to the result.
I personally only train between 4 -5 hours a week. It’s about all I really have time for and all I need at this point. I’m particular about my nutrition. I try to be smart about supplementation. These factors have gotten me pretty darn far. They’ve worked for my clients too.
So, the takeaway from all this is dance if you love to dance, run if you love to run, spin if you love to spin. However if you want to get the best health and physique results possible in the time you realistically spend on fitness, a great resistance training and sound nutrition plan are the way to go. And if you need an unabashed dance partner at your cousin’s wedding next month, don’t be afraid to give me a call.