I’m not going to lie, I have totally experienced body image issues. I remember when Broadway Bares started to become such a huge trend within the theatre community. Seeing all of these ripped bodies was intimidating.
In the age of Instagram, it’s hard not to “compare and despair” after seeing image after image of airbrushed, photoshopped people online. Fitness is a such a huge trend on social media, and most accounts are filled with toned abs and crazy flexible yoga poses. We can often be left feeling guilty about our own bodies even if we’re already in great shape.
At the same time, or maybe in response to the polished perfection of the fitness industry, body positivity has becoming a growing movement. There is even an awesome blog and Instagram account, Fit for Broadway, filled with holistic recipes, workout inspiration, and fun merchandise to help you reach your full potential in a healthy, positive way.
The cultural shift is good, but not every industry moves at the same speed. When it comes to their careers, my clients still want to know: Do you need to be fit to be on Broadway?
What's important is not so much that you look like everyone else, but that you feel the best that you can be.
Yes, eight shows a week requires a certain level of stamina, but honestly, it's a kind of stamina that you're not going to get unless you're doing eight shows a week. However, there are ways for you to build up your body by keeping up some form of regular exercise.
If you’re a dancer, you’re probably already getting that just by taking classes. For people who consider themselves singers, it becomes more of a challenge because your practice doesn't require as much physical activity. The key is just finding what works for you because keeping stamina up is a must.
In fact, I recently hosted a 5 day Balanced Broadway Life Challenge, and on Day 3, we talked about a concept I call Feed The Human.
You can click here to check out the training video along with the rest of the Challenge, but part of the lesson was about figuring out what kind of exercise works best for you. Our bodies are all unique, so what works for one person isn’t always going to work for another. And that’s totally normal!
Don’t waste energy worrying about what you look like in the mirror because, like me, we are not always the best judge of what we look like.
Think about Broadway actors you admire that don’t fit conventional norms in regards to being “fit”. Why are they successful? Is it because of how they look? No. They exude confidence in who they are and what they can do as a performer. Maybe they don’t feel great in their bodies either, but it doesn’t show in the work that they do because the focus is not on their appearance, it’s on their craft.
And that’s what is more important for you to focus on than whether you’re the “right” size and shape to meet someone else’s expectations.
It takes all kinds of people to create a Broadway show, just like it takes all kinds of people to create the world around us. So being fit for Broadway is really a subjective issue. Remember, if everyone on Broadway looked like a fitness model, there wouldn't be a full representation of the real world.
My challenge for you this week is to take some time to get serious about how you feel about your body. There are so many things within this industry that are beyond our control, and the one thing we can control is how we feel about ourselves. That shouldn’t be based off of some arbitrary weight, or size, or who you see out there booking work. Those are the misconceptions that just don’t fit.
Do you struggle with this issue of fitness and fitting in? What steps have you taken to overcome it and take back your power? Let me know in the comments below or in our Broadway Life Facebook group.