Not if you’re overweight, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at the University of North Carolina.
Researchers observed 30 dancers who competed in both the professional and amateur dancing competitions at the 2016 World Cup in Brazil. They discovered that weightlifting did not help to lose belly fat, but it made for better dancing experience.
“We noticed that some people gained a lot of weight, and that they could not keep up with the pace; that they couldn’t dance like they did before. They stopped dancing at about 4 percent body fat,” said study co-author and UNC Charlotte professor Robert Czeisler. “They couldn’t sustain the pace, so they could not keep weight on.”
Dr. Czeisler, who co-authored the book “Thinness: A Physiology and an Ideology” along with co-authors Dr. Jens Ludwig and Dr. Robert Gurnett II, said the study’s co-authors have a new explanation for the phenomenon, in part because this phenomenon occurs as dancers gain weight. They are attempting to lose muscle mass.
“This is one more reason. We were interested in how dancers might lose fat — how they might look better,” he said. “Because they lose their muscle mass. We did not expect that. That could be what we were looking for, and it turns out that it does happen. It turns out that losing muscle mass does increase a dancer’s risk of looking like she’s eating herself to death. And if you do lose fat, you can make more money when competing.”
Cue the music
One reason to weightlifting may be money, the researchers say.
“That was a huge surprise, and it made total sense to us,” Dr. Czeisler said. “Our analysis of the performance data suggests that you can make more by moving less, which is kind of an intuitive thing. It’s not rocket science. It just doesn’t make sense to put weight on.”
The study was published recently in the journal Nutrition Research.
The study’s co-authors wrote a research article titled “The Effects of Weightlifting on Performance: A Case Study of Gymnasts” and were interviewed by The Carolina Journal of Medicine.
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