11 March 2015

On Looking Like A Dancer

When I spoke to a personal trainer last year in a free assessment at my new gym, I told him my fitness goals were to increase my strength and stamina.

"But what do you envision your body looking like?" he prodded.
"I don't have anything specific in mind," I explained. "I just want to be able to go swing dancing with my friends without having to sit out every other song."
"So you want a dancer's body," he concluded, relieved that he'd finally identified a goal body type I'd been resisting providing. "We could put together a program to improve your legs-"
"That's great," I interrupted, "but I'm really more concerned with my lung capacity. I seem to run out of breath really easily."
"Well, losing weight will help that."
"I get that, I really do, but-"
"I'll just go over the outline of a program we can do that would give you a dancer's body."

I gave up. As he kept talking and I nodded occasionally, it became very clear what he thought a dancer's body should look like: tall, lithe, and slender. I thought about all the women whose dancing I envied. A few of them fit this type, of course, but they were a widely varied bunch who knew their bodies and inhabited them with grace and apparent ease.

I think the dancers pictured in this article are beautiful: The 'dancer's body' is fat. All bodies can be beautiful. It just depends on what you do with them and how you feel in them.

I am currently trying to lose weight, but mainly because I think it'll help my knee heal better, and I'm doing it in coordination with exercising because while I have a goal weight (you have to, in Weight Watchers) my main metric is still increased capabilities. And I'm certainly not losing weight to "look like a dancer." All I have to do to look like a dancer is dance.