Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Favorite Workout: Ballet Beautiful

Ballet Beautiful Workout Review

After not posting in a LONG time, I had to return to write about my new favorite workout. A little Ballet Beautiful Review - but not an in depth review play by play like I've done with some of the TA method stuff. I still like the Tracy Anderson Method and have also tried some others like Pop Physique (thumbs up) but this new workout takes it to another level. It really made my muscles sore (insanely!) the first couple of times I did the workout and continues to be a challenge but one I crave rather than run from, which is definitely a good thing for a workout regiment.

I am crazy about the founder/instructor Mary Helen Bowers. Besides her obviously covetable ballet body and external beauty, she seems beautiful on the inside as well. She has a really positive but low key vibe, is very likable, and is in my opinion, exactly what you want in a teacher or fitness coach, even if it's virtual or on your tv screen.

More on that later, but first, the workout: Ballet Beautiful You can read more about it or buy it on amazon HERE
I bought and recommend the DVD bundle which has both the Ballet Beautiful Classic 60 Minute workout and the Ballet Beautiful Blast DVD which has four 15 min segments that target various areas for when you need a quick workout or want to add on some intensive work to your longer workout. You can buy the DVDs separately, but you may end up wishing you'd bought both....

The Ballet Beautiful workout is not a ballet class format so if you are looking for that, this definitely is not the one. However, if you want a workout created by a NYC Ballet dancer with training focusing on developing a ballet body, it's worth checking out.

Most of the exercises are done on mat. Really intense series of repetitions separated into different sections targeting key areas of the body. Starting with an intense bottom and thighs workout, going into an abdominal workout, I didn't expect to feel my muscles burn as much, and as quickly as they did. Wow.
My favorite sections were those targeting inner thighs and outer thighs. These involved motions of typical ballet exercises but done on the floor in small but targeted motion. I have to admit, I had to hit pause and stretch during those series the first several times I did the workouts. My muscles were SO exhausted - and I loved it. Following that, a great arm series and a quick standing series wraps everything up nicely.
This is the link for the 60 minute workout: Ballet Beautiful Classic 60-Minute Workout by Mary Helen Bowers

The Ballet Beautiful Blast DVD has short approximately 15 minute workouts that target different areas of the body. My favorite is the Swan Arms series. Using some basic and easy to follow arm series inspired by the beautiful choreographer of Swan Lake, this short blast definitely left my arms fatigued and feeling pain in areas I don't think I've felt before. I like to add the Swan Arms series in after doing the Classic workout or in conjunction with a brief cardio workout from the Ballet Beautiful website.

(If you go to the website you can purchase these and other fantastic streaming workouts including my favorite, the super intense (for me) "Allegra Workout")

This is the link for the Blast series DVD: Ballet Beautiful Blast Series by Mary Helen Bowers

As I mentioned before, I really enjoy the instructor/creator of this workout, Mary Helen Bowers. She is never annoying, and seems to acknowledge the pain felt at just the right times. Her personality is very appealing and she made me want to keep going and strive for excellence.(and to complete that workout the first time!) She also just seems cool, like someone you'd want to be friends with.

The setting and tone of the workouts is great too - it feels serene and very well produced. It has an elegance which I think is generally lacking in fitness videos but that works perfectly here. Also, it is easy to skip through to sections you want to find. Classical music accompanies the workouts - I enjoyed the music and it kept me feeling peaceful when my muscles were screaming.

I've not had the pleasure of reading her book which is sold separately: Ballet Beautiful: Transform Your Body and Gain the Strength, Grace, and Focus of a Ballet Dancer but from reading sections available on amazon, it seems she has a very positive and holistic type of approach to health and happiness which I find very appealing. Beyond that, her body speaks for itself. When I do a workout, I like for the instructor to have the kind of body I want to achieve. I've been disappointed with some 'ballet type' workouts I've purchased where the instructor does not have the body of a dancer, (but instead has a more athletic build likely achieved with weight training and other non-ballet fitness activities) where it seems they were just thrown into a ballet setting. This is not the case here, Mary Helen Bowers is a former NYC ballet dancer and looks like one. She has long lean muscles and a feminine ballet dancer body. So, if that is what you want too, check out the Ballet Beautiful workout and see if it is one you want to try.
 Would love to hear if anyone else is doing the Ballet Beautiful workouts and loving them too.

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