I'm going to go straight to the point. This workout series by trainer and professional ballerina Mary Helen Bowers is simply excellent. It is unlike anything I've done before, and it challenged my muscles more than I'd have ever expected. And if I'm honest, I wasn't really expecting it to be any good at all. I've always wanted to do ballet, but I'm one of those girls who didn't do it from a young age so sadly I could never pursue it later, right when I actually wanted to do it. Hence, despite my doubts, I was lured in by the idea of being able to do ballet-style exercises at home, with an expert like Mary.
Another misnomer about this workout series that I myself fell into the trap of, is that it's just ballet on a DVD with a ballerina. That's totally untrue, from what I've experienced Ballet Beautiful takes the moves and positions from Ballet that give Ballerina's that toned, slender figure and channels them into a workout that challenges your body in a similar way. However, there are the typical moves like demi-pointes, plies, and rondes to add a finishing touch to the already elegant moves you'll be doing.
Since starting the series (the 4 dvd's shown above) I have a noticed a difference in my body; my thighs are smaller and appear longer; my arms are toned and less wobbly; and my abs are also toned and flatter. Mary recommends a 2-3 times a week schedule, which I always try to stick to (ok, almost always), because I really do want to see results doing the recommended amount of exercise, instead of just what I manage to fit in. I still do my usual cardio and strength training at the gym or at home, and of course sprinkle that with a bit of yoga too. I think the combination of exercises that I'm doing have added to the effects of Ballet Beautiful, and I don't recommend you drop every other form of exercise you do to start this. Don't do that. All the trainers these days are saying that if you give your body a variety of different exercises and constantly challenge it, then your likely to reach your goals quicker and maintain your figure a lot easier.
Body Blast is a series of four 15 minute targeted workouts put into an hour long DVD, which allows you to do either all of them, or do whichever ones you fancy. If you've been for a jog (and don't need to work your legs) then you can do the Swan Arm series, or if your strength training focused on your upper body, do the 2-part Butt series (be warned, it is really hard!). Total Body (my personal favourite), does exactly what it says on the cover; works your entire body. The beginning Bridge series is by far the hardest part of the routine, and that works your abs, inner thighs and back. Then you move onto abs, inner thighs, outer thighs, arms and a finishing standing series. 50 minutes of pure toning gold!
Cardio Fat Burn is quite a stand out routine in this series, as it can quite easily replace your usual cardio routine and makes me break a sweat every time. Like Body Blast, Cardio Fat Burn also includes four 15 minute workouts on and off the mat and a brilliant stretch at the end. Sculpt and Burn is kind of a mixture between a light strength workout and a low-impact cardio workout. You get to use weights and the workout is split into to 30 minute challenging sessions; so again they're interchangeable and flexible to fit any schedule.
The great thing about all these workouts is most definitely Mary's guidance and expertise. She always makes sure you take water breaks and thoroughly stretch to prevent injury. Often people forget how important a sip of water and a stretch of your muscles is to your overall fitness condition and endurance capabilities, but Mary ensures that that's not forgotten. As I've described above, these workouts are often split into shorter sessions to allow for people with a limited amount of time or those wanting to work particular muscle groups to tailor their workouts to suit them. I've got to say these are a fantastic addition to a workout regime in anyone's life and surely if the Victoria's Secret models are doing it, then so should the rest of us!
Get these DVD'S here.
*Photo's courtesy of Mary Helen Bowers.