I did it! I finished my first full workout since I submitted my thesis, which means it’s been 2 weeks since I last worked out.
I’ve been off of my daily ballet conditioning workout for about a month, and only worked out for a week in the past month because of thesis crunch + recovery, but I’m planning to resume my daily routine now that I restarted today.
My workout routine is a combination of 30 minutes of active warmup and 60-90 minutes of ballet conditioning.
For the ballet conditioning, I use the Custom Workout option on Mary Helen Bowers’ Ballet Beautiful (I have a monthly subscription.) You can select different options, but I use the Fat Burning option, and you get 3 weeks worth of variations every month, and the routines are updated every month.
I love Ballet Beautiful because it combines pilates-esque strength training with ballet-inspired cardio and basic ballet stretching. You basically get everything you need in your routine, and Mary Helen Bowers actually recommends not doing other workouts other than light walking/swimming because they can target muscles that you don’t want if your goal is to get a lean dancer’s body.
Note: Ballet Beautiful isn’t intended to be real ballet even though there are some ballet-inspired cardio workouts. It’s technically ballet conditioning, which is what dancers/ballerinas do to train and get in good shape so they can dance at their best.
I won’t lie, the workout is TOUGH, but somehow there’s no dread factor because I enjoy it so much. All you need is enough space for a yoga mat, which makes it perfect to do in my dorm room. I spread a yoga mat and a yoga towel to make a soft surface for the workout and wear regular workout clothes with ballet shoes I got on Amazon. The ballet shoes are optional for the strength training, but for the cardio videos, wearing them helps me with some of the moves, especially the tendus and the jumps.
I’m a little soft again after not working out for a month, but back when I was on my daily routine, I did Ballet Beautiful for 6 weeks straight and my body was TRANSFORMED. I’ve always suffered from a lot of fat (esp. visceral fat) in my midsection, and even when I was thin I had a lot of abdominal fat, but Ballet Beautiful made my midsection flat for the first time ever in my life. I saw my parents over spring break and they were shocked by the change. In addition, it made my legs long and lean, making my thighs seem longer, and the saddlebags I always had around my hips just disappeared. I would say that the biggest transformations happened in my stomach, hips, butt, and legs, and my arms/back were a little slower, probably because the back is not really a focus in this regimen and the arms because I just have a lot of arm flab. Compared to when I did Pilates Reformer classes daily for a month and a half, I would say that for belly fat and legs Ballet Beautiful is far superior, while my arms and back were what changed drastically when I did Pilates.
I know MHB says not to do much else for that perfect ballet body, but I plan to start walking around campus after dinner now that I have lots of time in my post-thesis life and enjoy the warm spring weather, too. I also plan to go back to yoga if I can since it’s more about the spiritual/mental/emotional benefits for me. But I know that I’m definitely going to keep Ballet Beautiful my primary workout and continue even after graduating! The convenience, enjoyment, and results all keep me addicted to BB. I also plan to go try real ballet classes for the first time since I was 10 years old this summer in Korea after graduation.
Loving my ballet slippers and the sweaty, refreshing feeling of a good workout! xx