What Can a Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for Dancers Do for You?

Dancers need support. The number of support services and people available to you is growing! That’s amazing and so very needed. When you’re open to different people, programs, coaching, and support services, you’re more likely to succeed. 

Be diligent in choosing a support person who you connect with. Without a strong connection, progress is less likely to happen. Many coaches, nutritionists, and other support service providers offer a complimentary chat to discuss your goals, share their approach, and help you determine if it’s a good fit.

What a health coach can’t do for you

It may seem strange, but I’m going to start with what I can’t help you with. This way, you’ll know right off the bat if someone else would be a better fit for your needs.

As a health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach, I can’t prescribe diets or supplements to treat medical or clinical conditions. I can’t prescribe diets to treat symptoms of medical or clinical conditions, and I also don’t diagnose medical conditions.

If you’re dealing with diabetes, a chronic illness, or another condition that requires a specific diet as a potential form of treatment, seek out support from a registered dietitian. They’re trained to work in clinical settings to provide nutrition therapy.

What a health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach can do for you

You can reach your goals in dance; setting goals is one of the first things I help dancers do. Your journey doesn’t have to be stressful, lonely, low in confidence, or riddled with body and food insecurities. Somehow, I managed to have a professional career, even though my journey was quite negative. However, I often think back and wonder how much further I could have gone in my dance career if I found a balance with food and a positive view of my body.

That’s what I want you to have, and that’s what I help dancers do. A health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach for dancers can educate you on the benefits of different macros, offer recipes or teach food prep skills, and make sure you’re clear on principles of good nutrition. 

You’ll feel empowered and confident to experiment with your food choices and make dietary changes. If you’re unsure of what’s “good” or “bad” and what foods to include in your meal plan, I’ll help you get clear on the conflicting information. A health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach for dancers will guide you along that path.

Check out this related post :   Claudia's Journey to her "Best Body"

Health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach training

While there are unfortunately no standards for who can call themselves a health coach, my own training is extensive and ongoing. I see it as a point of personal responsibility to continue to educate myself with updated nutrition information and progressive approaches to behavior change and mindset mastery. Some well-known universities,  including Duke and Cornell, provide holistic nutrition courses and I’ve completed some continuing education through Duke’s programs.

My first health coaching training, a plant-based nutrition program, was completed through Whole Foods Market in 2010 when I was hired as their Health Eating Specialist. At the time, I was still dancing professionally in Boston and knew I was interested in nutrition. 

My main role was to support customers in finding food options to fit their dietary preferences and provide nutritional resources for Whole Foods team members. It was a great first experience coaching people to a more balanced approach to food.

In 2013, I went through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s Health Coach Training Program, and each year, I seek out courses on varying dietary approaches, nutritional science, emotional eating psychology, finding digestive balance, or food allergies (to name a few).

Last year, I completed the nutrition coaching certification through Precision Nutrition, which puts a significant focus on sports nutrition.

Supporting you as a whole person

Finding balance and health as you pursue dance is possible. It requires a holistic approach and support for your whole person. Here are a few things I often tell dancers as I’m getting to know them: Dancers benefit greatly from employing morning and evening routines. It’s a great idea to incorporate journaling and meditation into your life. Prioritizing meal planning and meal prep allows food choices to feel easy and intentional. 

When you try to tackle any or all of that at the same time, it can feel extremely overwhelming and easy to get discouraged. Dancers have a tendency to put too much pressure on themselves to accomplish and start new things quickly. When I work with dancers, it’s my job to ensure that they’re taking small, manageable steps towards their goals each and every week.

Check out this related post :   Emotional Eating

Why a former pro may be the best fit

Pre-professional training is intense. Anyone who has experienced that can tell you it can be a lot. The transition into professional dancing, whether you go through a university program first or directly into a pro position, takes things to a whole other level. My experience dancing professionally allows me to relate to aspiring and professional dancers deeply. 

The dancers I work with tell me how understood they feel and how comforting it is to have the support of someone who has been in their shoes. I’m intimately connected to your schedule, experience, stresses, and struggles. The body pressure you feel, I felt. That concern that you may be fired at any moment, I had. The distress around auditions and job transitions, I’ve been through. 

In times of transition, a health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach for dancers is an invaluable resource. You can feel confident in your body, food choices, and dancing through all of it. 

Acknowledging the still existing body pressure in the industry

While I would have liked the dance industry to have changed yesterday, body pressure still exists at the professional and pre-professional level. You can navigate that pressure with mindset strategies, a strategic nutrition approach, and a balanced view of dance, your body, and your goals. 

Staying in a place of growth and positivity amid industry pressures isn’t always easy, but it is possible. A health, nutrition, and lifestyle coach for dancers can help you stay there. 

Where to start

Free Resources:


One-on-One Coaching:

Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coaching for Dancers

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.