– Mary Helen Bowers
Ballet-inspired exercises that anyone can do along with healthy, easy to make meals are at the foundation of the Ballet Beautiful program and closely tied to its incredible results.
The relationship between food and exercise is an important one. The way you move and feed your body informs the way that your body looks and feels. Below are some of my go-to exercises for sculpting elegant ballet muscles without ever setting foot in a dance studio along with my healthy tips for delicious summer meals that will keep you on track for your most gorgeous body yet.
Healthy Summer Meals
My approach to nutrition has always been to listen to your body and fuel it with healthy, whole foods that make you feel good. When you focus on how you feel instead of how you look, and think about eating healthy food as taking care of your body rather than punishing it, you will be happier and see better results. Summer is a great time to intensify your workouts and feel your best. Vacations can actually be a great opportunity to create your own mini boot camp! Indulge in extra fresh salads, fruits and veggies, and treat yourself to extra workouts! One of the keys to healthy eating is taking advantage of the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables in summer months!
My summer grocery list is basically anything fresh, local and in season. Summer greens, cucumbers, zucchini and squash, fresh herbs, berries, melons and nectarines are all fantastic and in their highest season now. When it comes to cooking, I’m a fan of meals that are ultra-healthy, delicious and simple to serve and prepare. What could be better? When building meals, I like a combination of fresh produce with lots of fiber, healthy fats, protein and whole grains.
Here are some easy ways that I like to balance healthy eating while traveling and working out, to enjoy the delicious, local, in-season produce and feel my best!
One of the best ways to refresh your summer diet is to try adding crisp salads and fresh vegetables to each meal. It might sound crazy if you’ve never tried it, but salad and eggs make for a great breakfast! Take advantage of the abundance of vegetables and produce in the warmer months by upping your veggie intake. There are literally endless possibilities for what you can create in one bowl! I love to mix and match my favorite veggies, fruits, proteins, cheeses, nuts, and fun snacks and toppings to make the perfect lunch (or dinner). This is an easy way to add nourishing greens, which will give you gorgeous glowing skin, lots of energy and add healthy fiber to your daily diet!
2. Fresh Fruits
Swap sweet desserts and treats or pastries for ripe, delicious fruits – like strawberries, blueberries and peaches for extra energizing snacks that keep you on track with your workouts! I also love a simple fresh cut watermelon – it doesn’t get much easier or more delicious than this! Chill, slice and serve for a snack or post meal treat that is healthy, hydrating and hits the spot.
You can also add fruits to protein-rich and satisfying full fat yogurt for a healthy, filling snack or breakfast. Choose your favorite Greek yogurt (preferably unsweetened and full-fat) and top with fresh berries and raw nuts. Enjoy with hot coffee, tea or your favorite breakfast beverage.
Protein helps our bodies repair and build muscles and is an important part of your summer fitness and diet plan. Look for organic beans, lentils and grains for terrific vegetarian sources of protein that provide long lasting energy or high fat fish like salmon, a roasted chicken or lean cut of beef. Pair with vegetables galore to satisfy and satiate hunger. Some of my favorite meal combinations include: salmon with arugula salad and whole wheat bread, roasted chicken and vegetables, or homemade lentil soup!
4. Post Workout Snacks
Deprivation and punishment often lead to cravings and overeating and sometimes even resentment. After a tough workout your body needs healthy nutrients (protein, fiber, healthy fats, and good carbs – yes, carbs!) to keep your blood sugar stable until your next meal and keep your metabolism burning.
Some favorite post workout snacks that keep me going throughout long days of training, traveling, dancing and being a mother are:
- Organic Popcorn, Organic Apple, and White Cheddar Cheese
- Whole Wheat Crackers, Organic Nut Butter, and Organic Strawberries
- Hummus, Organic Veggies, White Cheddar, and Whole Grain Crackers
- Tea, Almonds, and Dark Chocolate
5 Exercises for Your Best Summer Body!
During the summer months I may not be able to find a full hour for myself but I love knowing that I can build shorter workouts that focus on toning and strengthening to keep myself feeling energized. My overall summer fitness goals are to relax and have fun while staying connected to a program that lets me feel my most confident and best.
Here is a super effective workout that is done by some of our top Ballet Beautiful clients. Everyone can experience the amazing benefits of lengthened and toned ballet muscles.
To get access to more of these workouts and exercises, you can subscribe to our online Custom Workout Subscription, which includes our exclusive Streaming Library of over 200 videos! It is a highly personalized weekly workout program based on individual fitness goals and availability that can be updated and changed at any time. I love the ability that this gives our subscribers to experience the customization of private training regardless of location!
Whether the goal is to burn fat, sculpt long, lean ballerina legs, tighten and tone the abs and arms, or simply enjoy a killer full body workout, our Custom Workout Subscription offers a huge array of impactful and challenging workouts that deliver big results. From advanced exercisers to beginners, expectant mothers to new moms, from aspiring dancers to pros, our Custom Workout subscription has been designed to grow and develop along with our members over time. I understand how busy life is for all of our members – especially during the summer months – and how rewarding a terrific workout can be. My goal is to keep you challenged with: transformative workouts and innovative online delivery for the ultimate Ballet Beautiful experience. I believe that exercise should be an empowering and fun part of everyday life.
Hope you enjoy this challenging, feel good workout and are able to join me to stay fit and reach our health goals this summer!
1. Arabesque Lift with Swan Arms:
Works the full body, arms, back, butt and legs (2 sets of 8 reps)
Begin by standing with your right leg in front of your left. Slightly bend the right knee, keeping your knee over your toes, extending your left leg long behind you (ballet lunge). Now straighten your right knee, standing straight and lift your left leg off the floor. As you lift your leg off the floor engage your stomach and lift your arms up above your head in a V position. Lower your left leg down to the floor and bend your right knee to return to a ballet lunge, lowering your arms down by your side at the same time. Repeat this sequence. Switch sides.
2. Ballet Twist:
Targets the abs, obliques,waist and core(4 sets of 10 reps)
From a seated position on the floor, extend your legs out long. Pull your stomach towards your spine and extend your upper body behind you. Lift your arms to a ballet first position and twist your upper body to the right, scooping your lower abs in. Keep pulling your abs in as you rotate from right to left. Repeat 4 sets of 10 reps.
3. Classic Ballet Beautiful Bridge:
Works the hamstring, butt, hips and core (4 sets of 8 reps)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor (or bring on to demi-pointe for a more advanced version). Press your shoulders and upper back into the floor and pull in tight through your stomach. Keep your feet together and knees closed to engage your inner thighs. Lift your hips high towards the ceiling while keeping your stomach tight to take stress out of your lower back, and engage your butt. Lower your back without letting your hips and butt touch the mat.
4. Low Arabesque Lunge:
Works the core, butt, thighs and back (2 sets of 8 reps)
From the same starting position as the Arabesque Lift with Swan Arms you will keep your back leg (left) on the floor. Deepening the bed of your right knee, reach for the floor as your back leg slides out further behind you. Make sure to keep your right knee over your toes. Press into the right leg and heel as you bring your body back to upright and come to standing leaving your left toes on the floor. Repeat the bend and reach forward, stretch and stand series for 2 sets of 8 reps. Switch sides.
5. Classic Inner Thigh Lift:
Targets the inner thighs and legs (4 sets of 8 reps)
Lie on your mat on your side. Bend your left knee and place your foot either in front or behind your right leg. Your right leg should be stretching out long. Pull your stomach in to engage your center and stretch long through your right knee. Raise and lower your right leg, never fully releasing it to the mat. Practice 4 sets of 8 reps and repeat on the other side.
Created by professional ballerina, celebrity trainer and visionary fitness guru Mary Helen Bowers, Ballet Beautiful is a world famous ballet-inspired fitness and lifestyle brand delivering signature workouts via online subscription, streaming videos, DVDs and books along with activewear to members in over 130 countries worldwide. A pioneer in the world of online fitness, Ballet Beautiful created one of the first online fitness studios offering live interactive classes via the Ballet Beautiful website. Founder Mary Helen Bowers is a leader of today’s explosive barre based fitness movement and one of the most sought after names in fitness.