Dancing On Ice legend reveals 5 reasons figure skaters are in such great shape


Dancing On Ice is back on our screens, which means so are the gorgeous figure skaters. Skating show legend Dan Whiston, reveals 5 reasons they are all in such great shape 

Dancing On Ice – and the incredibly gorgeous figure skaters – came back to our screens in January.

Every Sunday evening at around 6pm, the nation watches ITV in awe as the latest brave celebrities and their professional ice skater partners take to the ice.

Not only are we all in wonderment of their amazing dance routines, but also how AMAZING the professional skaters look and how effortlessly they move across the ice.

So how do they do it? How do they reach such inspiring fitness levels?

Unsure how on earth the celebs pick up such great skills so quickly, what Healthista can be sure of is that it takes some serious strength and stamina to be that good.

So how do they do it? How do they reach such inspiring fitness levels? Healthista decided to speak to a Dancing on Ice legend – Dan Whiston.

Born and raised in Blackpool, Dan Whiston, 45, was seven years old when he had his first skating lesson.

‘I was instantly hooked and despite slipping to begin with, it wasn’t long before I picked up confidence and was speeding around the rink gliding in circles and attempting spins,’ describes Whiston.

Dan won the first series of Dancing on Ice while partnering actress Gaynor Faye, he then went on to win Dancing On Ice twice more.

‘I consider myself lucky to have been part of Dancing on Ice since its inception in 2006, though my role on the show has changed in recent years,’ explains Whiston

‘For the first ten series I was one of the professional skaters, but since 2019 I’ve been Associate Creative Director on the show, creating, choreographing and performing in the big professional show numbers.

Dan won the first series of Dancing on Ice while partnering actress Gaynor Faye

‘I also coach the celebrity contestants. So, my working week is very busy, but I love it, as I have the best of both worlds, creating and performing’.

Healthista quizzed Dan on exactly what the professional skaters get up to. How long do they train for? What other exercise do they do? What do they eat?

Here’s what Dan had to say…

#1 They train for hours

During the 10 series that I was partnered with a celebrity contestant I’d train for around four hours a day  on the ice and 45 minutes to an hour and a half off ice.

In addition to training with my celebrity partner I used to spend two to three hours, a few days each week training with the other professional skaters learning and finessing the group routines.

Any kind of ice skating can burn off between 300 to 500 calories per hour.


It really is a total body workout, although certain muscle groups get more of a workout than others, particularly your core and lower body muscles such as your gluteus maximus, quads and hamstrings muscles.

ice skating can burn off between 300 to 500 calories per hour

Now that I’m working on the creative team, it’s more usual for me to be on the ice choreographing and training around eight hours most days, sometimes more if we have group numbers or a contestant is struggling with something and needs some extra support.


Other figure skaters training hours are governed by whether they are working towards skating in a show or whether they are working towards competing in a championship.

You will find that practice really does make perfect, the more hours you spend on the ice, the better your performance will be.

Dan Whiston Dancing on ice


#2 As well as training, they also hit the gym!

In addition to the training and preparation I do on the ice, I regularly lift weights at the gym and do cardio based endurance exercises, such as running on the treadmill or going on the cross-trainer.

As well as training at the gym, I also run Zumba classes which for me is a fun and enjoyable way of doing exercise whilst helping other people increase their fitness and body confidence.

I regularly lift weights at the gym and do cardio based endurance exercises


I also factor regular breaks into my training schedule, they are a must to let your body and mind recover before you start training again.

#3 Peak physical fitness is paramount

It’s important for me and all pro skaters to keep at peak physical fitness, as figure skating requires a lot of stamina, flexibility and core strength.

Pairs figure skaters often perform jumps, spins and lifts, so strength training is necessary to help increase our speed and power, and it means we can perform more spectacular and daring moves.

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On Dancing on Ice, I’ve performed ariel silks and aerial strap routines which is dependent on my upper body being strong and is particularly demanding on my biceps and triceps.

#4 They follow a healthy balanced diet

I and other figure skaters generally try to maintain as much of a healthful, balanced diet as possible and keep properly hydrated to help keep us going through our training and performance schedules.

Breakfast is generally high-fibre cereal with low fat milk and fresh fruit.

Lunch is often vegetable based soups, and a sandwich, while dinner is often centred on lean meat and vegetables to ensure we get enough muscle-repairing protein in our diet.

dinner is often centred on lean meat and vegetables

Most skaters I know will consume snacks such as fruit, yogurt and crackers in between each meal of the day, to help keep their energy levels high.

I’m also a firm believer in factoring in occasional ‘treat’ days, where you reward yourself with your favourite food.

#5 They love what they do

Every figure skater I know loves what they do. I know from my experience it can give you a real buzz mastering a skating move, and it’s invigorating gliding across the ice and doing spins.

I think when you are happy doing something, you feel good within yourself and maybe that’s what people pick up on.

improves your cardio health, and it helps with weight management

I’d thoroughly encourage people to take up figure skating, or any type of skating whether it’s on the ice or off the ice.

Aside from being a fun activity it is great for your health for so many reasons. For example it improves your cardio health, and it helps with weight management, it also improves your co-ordination, balance and tones your muscles.

Plus it can hugely help with stress management and can boost your happiness…..what’s not to love about it?

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