Bookstore Finds

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I go into my local bookstore today to do some perusing.  I can easily spend hours in a bookstore dreaming of all the books I want to read and wishing I had a room of my house just dedicated to books.  It will  have comfy broken in old leather chairs and a roaring fire… Of course this room will be located next to my in-house dance studio too.  I wish!  I’ll keep dreaming it though, because, well, it’s fun!

I find that the bookstore has added a large-sized used book section.  Oh yeah…love me a deal…so I start walking around…and lo and behold on an aisle end-cap is the biography Margot Fonteyn: A Life by Meredith Daneman.  I say to myself,  “Winner-winner-chicken-dinner!!!”  Ok, not out loud, at least I don’t think  I did..anyways… Very excited to find this book.  She was one of my idols growing up..so beautiful, graceful, and strong.  I snatch that right up. It looks new to me and had a great price of $6.50.

So this leads me in search of more ballet bibliophilia.  I go to the magazines and to every book section that ballet or dance could possibly be stocked.  I mean this bookstore is like a warehouse…and all I find is Apollo’s Angels and two others that didn’t tickle my fancy.  Apollo’s Angels is on my list of must reads but the budget this week say’s it is not.  So I settle for flipping through it while sipping my coffee and admiring the pictures and notating in my mind to set aside some moolah to come back and get this one day.

Now that I am on the ballet book hunt, I dash over to the other big bookstore in town and find Pointe Magazine.  I know I am ages away from getting back en pointe but I couldn’t resist.  It’s so pretty and glossy!!!  I also picked up a new notebook as my new ballet journal for writing thoughts and blog ideas in now.  Ballet is pretty and had to upgrade from my boring plain blue one, right? Right.

I had to throw in one last picture of Margot, because, well she is just so beautiful!

Margot Fonteyn

Review of Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled

First off, I was so excited to start my new “dancery” workout video I had to start wearing some dance gear!  I broke out some of my ballet items I had bought a few years ago when I took some classes.

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How about them leg warmers and ballet shoes for ya?  I loved every second that I wore them!

Ok, so back to the subject matter at hand…

I thought Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled was AWESOME.  It felt like it was a ballet dancer’s workout video. My Jillian Michaels video’s do not shine a light to this one.  It truly gave me a fantastic workout and it kept ballet and dance elements throughout the whole workout. The movements were not your typical workout moves,which was very refreshing.  By the end of it, I was very glad I decided to start  getting some conditioning because I learned that I am severely out of shape. At several points, I had to modify the exercises by stopping or just doing some demi-plies or tendu’s to give myself a breather. I got a very thorough workout without any high impact movements. I need to be able to strengthen my ankles and feet for ballet class and this workout will certainly be helping.

Ok, so I admit it, I was sweating by the end of the upper body workout..shhh….  So, I really did get what I was asking for in this workout!

Here is a breakdown of the whole thing…

The workout is a total of 55 minutes long.  You can do the whole workout from beginning to end or you can choose which segments you want to do that day.  I like that a lot.  At this point, I need to break it up until I have gotten in better shape and can do it all from start to finish at once. Below is the order of the workout:

  1. Warm-Up (Great!)
  2. Upper Body (Seriously, this will make you sweat)
  3. Barre ( Very good, almost felt like a ballet class)
  4. Core (Not your average crunches)
  5. Cool-down (Just ok)

Since I need to break these up due to my fitness level, I will do Barre/Core on one day and Upper Body/Core on another day.  Of course, I’ll do the warm up each day as well.

The only cons I have for this workout is the music is a little cheesy rumba-zumba like.  It truly would be better with some classical music but that is just my preference.  I didn’t really like the cool down either.  It was too fast paced.  I did some of their stretches and I ended up doing my own slow stretches for about 20 minutes to work in time on increasing my flexibility.  They do some stretching at certain points during the barre section of the workout, which I liked.  Trust me, you will need them at those points!

In conclusion, if you are looking for a good workout to compliment your dance class or want just a ballet-esque workout Xtend Barre: Lean and Chiseled is a good one to do!

Water World

Now that I have made the decision to get back into dance, my whole life has changed.  I am making changes with a purpose and I can’t wait to make them.  I have made a lot of changes to my diet by eating just healthier and my body is feeling better.  Like it hasn’t felt in years!  I’ve really just added in more veggies, choosing good proteins and eating more of it, and limiting sugar and carbs.  All while maintaining a good portion control.  I have eaten what I wanted and did not deprive myself.  I even had a scoop of chocolate ice cream the other night.  The world did not end. I woke up the next morning and did my week #2 weigh-in…I had lost a total of 4 lbs for the week.

Now here is the shocker for anyone who knows me in real life…I am drinking water. Crazy?  I know! Like out of the tap with ice!  I’m a rebel with a cause. (Scoffing at Britta pitchers everywhere).  It just happened one day.  I am a sweet tea drinker…like me and Uncle Si could go head-to-head sweet tea drinker.  I drank the last of a pitcher Saturday and I was still thirsty and didn’t want to make another one at the moment.  Reluctantly I thought, I need to drink more water anyways, filled up my glass with ice, and poured on the tap.  I haven’t looked back since.  It’s been  five days now and I feel like I can’t drink enough water.  I had one-count-em ONE glass of iced tea with dinner last night.  I drank six glasses of water total yesterday.  VERY proud of myself.  Plus, I want the water.  I’m practically craving it.  I wake up in the morning parched and reaching for my water-glass on the night stand.

Water tastes awesome!  I just think of all the calories I am saving and giving my body the goodness it needs to help me with my weight loss.  Drinking more water has always been such a hurdle for me and feeling like I did a grande jete over it with ease and leaving it in the rosin dust, is awesome.

Weight Loss Results Week #2

I am so excited about these results!  Drum roll please…

I weighed in this morning at 188!!!!!  I lost 4 lbs this week.  WOW!  I have not seen the underside of 190 in over 2 years.  I am shocked at the results I am having.  I have only adjusted my diet (eating plenty..no starving myself at all) and I am beyond pleased with how things are going.

I have lost a total of 7 lbs in the past 2…count em…2 weeks!  I  did not expect this at all.  I was going to be happy to lose 1-2 a week.  I have a lot to lose and it is so encouraging to have gotten off to a good start.

33 lbs to go!

 

 

 

Let’s Get Physical, Physical!

Now that I have your attention, that phrase isn’t what you think it means and no, I can’t sing it like Olivia Newton John…

I am just getting itchy to dance.  I seriously feel like a kid getting all antsy with excitement thinking about Christmas.  Only, my Christmas is in August, in a ballet studio, with no tree or decorations.

The other night I even had a dream I was back in the studio dancing.  I had on my pink tights, long-sleeved black leo, and pointe shoes.  I couldn’t do all of the combinations, but I was out there and dancing!  It felt so good to extend my legs and the pointe shoes were the prettiest shade of pink satin. After I woke up, I realized I must be thinking about dancing too much or reading too many ballet blogs.  I think it must be a combination of both!

So, I realized I needed to start doing some kind of physical fitness to help with getting ready for ballet class.  The Jillian Michaels on my DVD rack just isn’t cutting it.  I want something that feels…dancey!  I scoped out Amazon and found some really great options. Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast and, Xtend Barre: Lean & Chiseled.  I ended up ordering the Xtend Barre video because from its description and reviews will help me with the conditioning I need with the “dancey” feel I want.  I can stream Ballet Beautiful (which was cheaper than its’ DVD equivalent), so when I want to branch out on my workout options, I can!

              

I don’t expect my dance training to come from a video, I am saving that for the dance studio. I was amazed at how many ballet class instructions DVD’s there were…little scary! I am so excited to receive my video , it should arrive by Thursday.  Yay!

I can’t wait to get started and I hope these are some great appetizers.  I’ll let you know how I like them.  If you have any suggestions on what would be a good video or a conditioning activity, I welcome your comments!

This Never Gets Old…

I received an email from my mom today titled, “Your blogs”

The content read:

 I am sooo proud of you. 

Much love
Mom

Even when you are a 37-year-old wife and mother yourself,  it is always good to hear that from your mom when starting on something new. 🙂  This definitely works in with my latest motivational post and I had to share it.  Thanks Mom!  Love you!

Keeping Up the Motivation…

“I can either keep my dream bottled up inside my tiny head, perfect and safe, and die filled with regret.  Or, I can do the hard work and attempt something beautiful and amazing.”   This is a quote from the blogger at Beauty. Grace. Strength.

I found it resounding with so much of what is propelling me back into dance classes.  Also, I think it speaks to many adult beginners of ballet of why we are pulling on tights and funny shoes to push ourselves, work sore muscles, and spend countless hours dreaming and thinking of the next time we’ll be back in the studio.

Knowing I have 4 months until my first class, I am working hard at keeping up my motivation, and I wanted to share her quote because it was very motivational for me and I hope it is for others too.

Weight Loss Results Week #1

I know I have done a lot of posts today…trying to do a little catch up!

I do all of my weigh-ins on Wednesdays and today was my first one.  I lost 3 lbs! Yay!  I am very pleased with the results of my first week.

I need to lose 2 lbs on average to achieve the loss of 40 lbs in 20 weeks and I feel so good about the start I have made.  I feel like I am finally on the right track after so many false starts.  I am looking forward to weigh-in next week!

37 lbs to go!

 

 

Here’s is How I am Going to Achieve the Golden Goal

OK, so some of you may be thinking…that’s a lot to a goal, and I agree with you!  What I like is that it is something for now, soon, a bit later, and long distance.  I am sure that I will add some incremental goals as I go along but this will lay the tracks to keep me moving along.  I will be able to feel some sense of accomplishment as I move along which will help me in my motivation.  Plus I won’t just be sitting around waiting to start class, I am doing something for taking class.

OK, here are my stats: (GULP!)

  • Age: 37
  • Height: 5’2″
  • Weight: 195
  • Time until first ballet class – 4 months/ 20 weeks
  • Goal weight for starting classes – 155
  • Final goal weight – 130

If you remember the previous post I’ve Got a Golden Goal I listed in order the goals I want to achieve by returning to ballet.  The “Now” goals are

  1. Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months
  2. Improve flexibility, foot point/strengthen ankles, and improved posture for taking ballet classes

How exactly am I going to do this?  Well, here is my solution:

1. Weight Loss – Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months

So, I have got my work cut out for me and you can understand why I need to lose weight in preparation for starting ballet classes.  My weight at my height = health disaster.  Amazingly, I have not had anything serious develop but why give it more time to do so?  I need to get moving.  When I took ballet classes two years ago my weight was a hindrance and I had to be very careful to prevent injury especially when jumping, which is my favorite.  Let’s not talk about the difficulty of fifth position with those thighs either…My weight is not healthy and I need to get healthy regardless.

I have a little over 4 months to go and according to the calendar that is 20 weeks.  Losing 2 lbs a week is achievable and considered good medically, it’s not too fast, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

I am not going to go on a fad diet.  I have looked into so many of them and going to pull out the things I have tried that worked and eliminate the things that don’t.  What this boils down to is just common sense for me.  Eat good food and don’t eat too many calories, especially empty calories. I am a champion at over eating so portion size is key for me.

  •  I am going to make healthier food choices – less fried for more grilled
  • Watch my sugar/carbohydrate intake – I am reducing the amount of sweets, candy, and sugary drinks in my diet
  • Going to eat what I want to eat and not beat myself up about it – just do it in moderation
  • Watch my portion sizes and eat my food slower
  • Drink plenty of fluids

2. Body Preparation – Improve flexibility, stamina, foot point/strengthen ankles, and posture for taking ballet classes

I read in a blog one day (when I find it again I will credit the blog) that to not wait for the day you will become a ballerina, but to think of yourself as one now.  WOW!  What a great way of thinking! “You are a ballerina.”  In determining how I am going to do all of this, this thought has been the cornerstone to it all.  This will become my mantra.  It has been floating in my thoughts and keeping me in check.

  • Flexibility – Spend 30 minutes a day doing stretches and loosening up the body.
  • Stamina – I need to start smart on this because I am so out of shape and I don’t want to injure myself.  So I am going to take my dog out for daily walks and increase the difficulty as progress is made.  Eventually I will start doing some workout videos to get a deeper workout to give me a better cardio workout for stamina.
  • Foot Point – As part of my stretching routine, work on pointing and flexing my feet.  I remember as a child we would always try to point our feet to the floor.  I used to be able to do that.  With practice we’ll see what I achieve.
  • Ankle Strengthening – As part of my stretching routine, add in ankle exercises.  Any tips on this is appreciated!  I have developed weak ankles over the years and a year ago I badly sprained one of them. So I really need to get them stronger.
  • Posture – Hold myself higher, sit properly (Ha!  Just caught myself slouching again).  This is where my mantra has been so useful.  I check myself in the grocery, in my truck, at the computer. “You are a ballerina.” Instantly I stretch taller, my ab muscles activate, and my tail goes down.  I feel three inches taller and thinner already.  My back actually feels better and the low ache I get in my lower back is relieved.  Just having good posture works my muscles too.

As a note, I officially started this on April 10th and that is the date I am counting from until August 31st.  I weigh myself every Wednesday.  Wish me luck!

I’ve Got a Golden Goal

So,  I have a goal of starting ballet classes on August 19th when the new season starts.  Every time I think about it my heart skips a little beat.  This gives me four months to get my body prepared for taking classes.  My intention with taking the classes is to continue to lose weight and get my body back into shape but also to do something that I love and that my heart has missed for so many years.  It’s a win-win situation for me.  Despite all of the other attempts in the past 7-8 years of losing weight, nothing has spoken to me at my core like my desire to start back into dance classes.

From my brief experience of taking some ballet classes a few years ago, I know I need to work on my flexibility, pointing my feet and strengthening my ankles, and better posture.   So those are things I can definitely be working on now and get my body prepared for classes.  It will also keep my motivation up over the next four months and feel like I have been moving towards my goal.

I first want to take 1-2 classes a week to get my muscles working again.  In addition to adult beginner classes, the studio I will be joining also offers open intermediate ballet classes during the day and I hope to have worked myself up to that level soon.  I do have an extensive dance background when I danced up until I was 13.  I had been en pointe since the age of 9 and had regularly taken advanced and master level classes.  So I truly believe with hard work I could be up to 3-4 classes per week within 6 months of starting ballet classes in August.  If I need to branch to some other studios in my area to gain the extra classes I am willing to do so.

I also hope to perform again.  My studio does a year-end recital and I hope to be a part of it!  I miss the lights, nervous excitement, peeking from behind the curtain at the audience and feeling in awe those people came to see us dance!  The thought of that definitely gets me motivated for getting healthy and back into shape!

My other deep goal, I so desire, is to get back en pointe.  It has been such a motivating force to see other adult beginners getting en pointe that after several years of getting stronger I know I can do that too.  I feel like a young girl again dreaming about her first pair of pointe shoes!

So to break down what I am calling my “Golden Goal” is as follows:

  1. Lose 40 lbs over the next 4 months
  2. Improve flexibility, stamina, foot point/strengthen ankles, and posture for taking ballet classes
  3. Start ballet classes on August 19th
  4. After 6 months be conditioned enough to take 3-4 classes per week, one or two of those being intermediate.
  5. Start performing
  6. When ready, start dancing en pointe.

I do want to preface that no one must lose weight or prepare their body for taking ballet classes.  That is something I want and need to do nor do I want to try and be as svelte as a prima ballerina.  I want what is healthy for my body.  I do know that the dance world can be perceived negatively when it comes to body image and I am not going to perpetuate that image.  I remember when I was dancing 25 -30 hours a week I was in amazing shape and I had to eat well to have the ability to dance that much.  So not all dancers are starving themselves to be skinny.  It is highly demanding physical exercise that develops long and lean muscles, which gives you beautiful long body lines.

How exactly am I going to achieve this “Golden Goal”?  I have thought long and hard about this and I have a solution that is reasonable and workable.  I will put that into my next post!

Below are some studio pictures taken of me at the age of 11.  The time has gone by in the blink of an eye!

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