Anyone here watched the movie Black Swan? If you haven’t its time to come out from under the rock and go and watch it!! If you have, I’m sure you were thinking how on earth did Natalie Portman transform her body into that of a professional Ballerina!? Or was that just me? Either way, I have the answer. Mary Helen Bowers, that’s who. Mary is the owner of Ballet Beautiful, a company she developed consisting of Ballet techniques and exercises that are adapted for us non-ballet gals to do at home! As an ex ballet dancer she has created a variety of workouts that can be done either on a mat or the carpet that target trouble areas around the core, bum, back of the legs, hips and thighs. Finding this was like finding gold for me as the muscle groups activated in her workouts aren’t too dissimilar to the ones I use as a Ballroom dancer. So for all my fellow dancing girls out there, this one’s for you!
There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes as a professional Ballroom dancer that most people don’t know about. We have to juggle our own dancing with teaching and travel but another important part is nutrition and fitness. I’ve tried a few different things in the past for toning my body; weights at the gym, cardio and HIIT, Kayla Itsines BBG, yoga, Pilates and whilst I enjoyed all of these activities I feel Ballet Beautiful has the best pay off for me. It tones and sculpts my muscles and leans them out at the same time, without leaving me bulky. Let me tell you, I bulk really easily. I was once told that I could switch out my dancing career and become a body builder, no problems! Not reaaaally the look I’m going for y’know? So yeah, I learnt that one the hard way of course.. hence no more jump squats or box jumps or jump lunges or any type of squatting action for me! I’ve been practicing Ballet Beautiful now for about 4 years and it really has worked wonders on my legs, core and bum! It may sound silly but if I don’t do it for a couple of weeks I can really feel the difference in my body.
Ballet Beautiful is available online via YouTube videos or you can buy the book. I have the book but I personally find it so much easier following Mary on YouTube. She counts you through each set and rep and all you need to do is follow. She will also stop and take time in between each set to stretch and allow you to have a sip (or guzzle) of water. I usually allocate about an hour so that I can comfortably work my way through 5 or so of her workouts and I do this once or twice a week. My favourites are the lean legs and butt shaper workout, lean hips and outer thighs workout, lean legs and buns workout, lean and firm inner thighs workout and the ab workout (click each link to take you straight to each workout on YouTube!) While these workouts don’t have you jumping around like a loony, they will make you sweat and they will burn the muscles like crazy! Not only is it great for targeting zones that you want to burn but it works on perfecting your poise and posture too.. #winwin. No need to worry if your just starting out either as with most of the workouts she offers a few different options depending on what you’re capable of. I started off not being able to complete any of the exercises without yelling profanities and stopping for breathers but have slowly worked my way towards completing it comfortably without hitting the pause button!
So even if you are a non-dancer I really recommend you give these workouts a go. Besides what lady doesn’t want perfectly toned lean legs and a perkier bum?! Your legs will shake and you should be sore the next day but it is so WORTH IT! If I had the time to do this workout every other day (need that rest day guys!) I would, because the results are there.. just look at Natalie Portman in Black Swan if you need some more motivation! Mary Helen Bowers, you legend 🙂
To check out Mary Helen Bowers’ YouTube channel for more workouts click HERE.