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Mary Helen’s Tips for Staying Motivated

Staying motivated and having the right mindset is key for achieving your goals. Your mindset is what kicks in when you have to overcome an obstacle or solve a problem, and ultimately it is your mindset that keeps you on course to succeed.

We know it can get hard when you’re tired, when you feel like you have no time, or when you have had a hard day – but that is when having the right perspective will carry you through. To get the most out of your workout you need to form a positive and healthy outlook, where you view exercise and eating healthy as a way to pamper and take care of your body, not a punishment for going overboard!

Here are some of Mary Helen’s top tips for staying positive and keeping motivated:

Tune Out Negative Voices, Tune Into You

There are all sorts of negative voices and statements that can dwell in your head and mix with your own voice. They are fueled by self-doubt, insecurity, and fear and can only lead to more of the same. They are also your worst enemy when you are trying to reach your goals and build a happy, healthy life for yourself.

By simply becoming aware of the negative voices in your head and remembering that in fact they come from the outside, not from within, you can begin to take away their power. Try this the next time you hear yourself saying something negative about yourself:

– Pause and take a moment to think about what you’ve just said.

– Think about why you said that and why you are feeling that.

– Remind yourself that you are capable.

– Shift your focus to a challenge that you recently met successfully.

– Take a moment to remember and reconnect to your belief that you can achieve your goals.

It is extremely important that you work hard to replace negative, destructive voices with positive, encouraging, and challenging thoughts about yourself, your life, and your body!

Stay Away From Extremes and Work the Margins: 

To achieve even the loftiest of goals you must employ a simple approach that comes down to steady, consistent work, every day. Don’t put pressure on yourself to take on an extreme goal – instead focus on a realistic goal that you can take on each day. Think about how you can take care of yourself and choose at least one thing to do from the BB program each day, and then focus on that. That might be a 15-minute workout, or a 60-minute workout (60% off your 1st month with code: BALLETFIT17), or swapping out your nightly dessert for fresh fruit.

Think big but remember your pacing — small steps. Stay focused on the goal that is right in front of you. 

For more of Mary Helen’s lifestyle, health or fitness tips, pick up the Ballet Beautiful book

Pro Tips, Inner Thigh

Inner thigh exercises are one of the cornerstones of the Ballet Beautiful method. Strengthening the muscles in your inner thigh helps to dramatically change the results of your leg workout and helps to achieve the long, sleek and strong look of a dancers legs. In ballet, dancers rely on the strength of their inner thighs to properly turn out and stabilize from their hips, as well as, to execute jumps and beats with speed and precision. Focusing on the muscles of your inner thigh will help to balance the overall strength and tone in your legs.  This allows the muscles in your quads, butt and outer thighs not to over work.

To get a jump start on your inner thigh workout try the newly released streaming workout Thigh Bundle. This bundle combines our Classic Inner Thigh exercises on the mat and ballet cardio workout in Plié a la seconde. Here are a few tips to help maximize your results.

Pro Tips, Inner Thigh

          Classic Inner Thigh

– Work through your complete range of motion and stretch your working leg all the way long
– Your working leg can be parallel or turned out. Working in parallel targets the muscles lower down on your leg, closer to your knee, while working in turn out targets the muscles higher up
– The position of the leg that is on top, or stabilizing, does not matter. The most important thing is to find a position where you can keep your hips stacked on top of each other and use your maximum range of motion
– Make sure to keep your abs engaged throughout the workout this will assist you in activating your inner thigh

        Plié a la seconde

– Stretch your legs all the way long and straight out of the plié, think of pulling up instead of locking your knees back
– Imagine that you are trying to pull your feet together to activate your inner thighs, but your feet will not actually move
– In relevé imagine trying to pull both inner thighs, in and up, towards your mid-line
– As you slide your foot along the floor into first position try to relax the muscles in the front of your thigh and only use your inner thigh muscles

Use these tips during your next inner thigh workout and you’ll be on the way towards beautiful dancer legs in no time!

Ballet Beautiful Around the Web

Hello Ballet Beauties! We have a new roundup of some of the inspiring Ballet Beautiful pictures we have seen around the web. We always love seeing your snaps so please tag us or use the #BalletBeautiful hashtag so we can see how you #TrainLikeABallerina! Please keep sharing them with us!

Huge thanks to @edition_marabout, @odorantes_official, @pearlt_, @mcheckinin, @lkgimelli!

Here is a list of the Ballet Beautiful pieces featured above:

Ballet Beautiful Book

Ballet Beautiful DVDs

Custom Workout

Ballet Beautiful In-Studio Classes

BB Trainer Snack Tips!

 

Healthy snacks are an important part of the Ballet Beautiful eating principles. It is important to feed your body the right foods on a regular basis to maintain your energy and keep your metabolism humming! You never want to let yourself get too hungry because that can trigger cravings and lead to overeating.

Our BB trainers are constantly running around the city to train clients, attend dance classes, and go to auditions, so having nutritious snacks that keep them energized and feeling good is a must. We asked them to share their favorites with us for some snack inspiration! Pick the ones that look good to you and have them on hand to keep you feeling energized throughout your day and to help you power through your Ballet Beautiful workouts!

xoxo — The BB Team

Danielle: I make myself a super smoothie nearly every day (mixed berries, orange juice, 1 banana, chia seeds, almond butter, coconut oil, and mint). The combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, and protein keeps me going for hours.

Yuki: I love having overnight soaked oatmeal and chia seeds. I like making it with coconut or almond milk!

Nicholas: When I’m on the run, which is pretty much everyday for me, I rely a lot on snacks – like a handful of raw almonds or cashews, apples, bananas or plain greek yogurt with a bit of honey.

Brittany: Almonds! I always keep some on hand.

Katelyn: I live on Kind bars! Right now my favorite is the Maple Glazed Pecan and Sea Salt. It is slightly sweet, but the salt makes it so tasty!

Lucy: If I have time in the morning I love to make a hearty snack of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, honey, pomegranate seeds, granola, and ground flaxseed.

Dioni: Lots of fruit, nuts and all natural smoothies and juices.

Nancy: Raw Almonds.

Alexandra: Fage Greek yogurt with honey and almonds!

Jackie: I love avocado! You can add it to so many meals or smoothies to give it that extra flavor and texture.

 

Summer Stretch

Hi Beauties!

Summer is the perfect time to get started with a new daily stretch routine. Your muscles are ready for a little extra love and care after a day in the sun. In dance and Ballet Beautiful stretching is an important part of daily life to keep your muscles loose and body limber. Gentle stretches along with the Ballet Beautiful exercises will make an incredible difference in how you look and feel and how your body moves. You do not need to have extreme flexibility and a full split to receive the amazing benefits of a daily stretch routine. We like to look at stretching as a necessary luxury that you can use to help keep your muscles released, focus on your body and give you a chance to relax.

Using the ballet barre for stretching is a great way to provide extra stability while allowing you to go a little deeper and fully relax into your stretches. If you don’t have access to a barre you can still benefit from these stretches. Read No Barre, No Problem to find out some of our favorite substitutions when you don’t have a barre handy.

If you need a little extra help with your stretch routine make sure to check out these streaming videos or subscribe to the Custom Workout for complete access to the streaming library.

NEW! Stretch & Tone: Barre Stretch
Ballet Basics Barre, Classic Stretch 
Ballet Beautiful Stretch Bundle
Classic Split & Hamstring Stretch
Center Splits

A few of our FAVORITES!!

Hamstring Stretch

– pull in tight through your stomach
– keep your hips square
– flexing your foot can add a nice calf stretch
– adding a port de bras helps to deepen the stretch and stretch through your waist
– hold for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths and relaxing

Hip Opener 

– keep your supporting leg straight
– don’t worry if the knee on the barre is not flat work within your range of motion
– keep your hips square to the barre
– gently lean forward to deepen the stretch
– hold for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths and relaxing

Stretch a la Seconde

– keep both legs straight
– keep your hips facing the barre
– add a port de bras towards the leg on the barre to increase the stretch
– hold for 30-60 seconds taking deep breaths and relaxing

 

 

 

 

Inside the Custom Workout, July!

Hi Beauties!

Summer has officially begun and we are loving the ballet burn from our two newest workouts!

I love how effective working in 6th position (parallel) can be to target the ballet muscles of you inner and outer thigh, and especially glutes! The Side Lunge Cardio Workout provides a full body burn that targets all of your ballet muscles with special focus on the butt and waist. The workout progresses from small movements like tendu, to large battement movements just like exercises in a ballet barre. The progression is great way to pay extra attention to your form and prepare your body for fuller, bigger movements. Don’t forget to check that you’re staying truly parallel with your feet and legs to get the most out of your Side Lunge Cardio workout.

Pro Tip, Side Lunge Cardio – Throughout the workout you plié and bend forward at the waist, this will charge up the muscles in your butt and core. Think of pulling your belly button in to your spine to protect your low back as you bend forward at the waist and stick your butt out. The position should feel like you’re sitting in a chair in order to achieve the extra booty burn.

Side Lunge Cardio, Mini

 

The Temps Lié Workout is inspired by the dance step Temps lié, meaning a step to connect. Temps lié can be performed in any direction and it is used to transfer your weight from one leg to another while dancing. Temps lié is also a great step to strengthen and tone your ballerina leg muscles, paying close attention to fully bending and straightening your legs each time you move through the position. The Temps Lié Workout is a fun dance-y workout that incorporates some of the most elemental steps in ballet to lift your heart rate and tone your Ballet Beautiful body.

Pro Tip, Temps Lié Workout – This workout is meant to be danc-y and fun. You should feel like you’re gliding across stage. Don’t get caught up in the steps, just have fun! The most important part is to keep moving so that your heart rate stays up. Keep your core tight, shoulders relaxed and enjoy!

Temps Lié Workout, Mini

Take a peek, and get started today!

xoxo Mary Helen

Street Style

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When it comes to summer style we love all things ballet-inspired!  Peel off your tights and add a skirt, shorts or jeans to a sleek leotard or bodysuit for an instant ballet style makeover. These looks are classic, practical and oh-so-chic!

Some of our favorite summer street style looks are below. Pair with our Ballerina flats, espadrilles or your favorite heels to dress things up!

Daytime/casual

A pale pink or white leotard paired with a simple summer skirt makes for a lightweight, easy to pack outfit that will take you from the studio to the street and show off your Ballet Beautiful style! Add a sun hat, your favorite shades and our gorgeous handmade pink Ballerina flats for the ultimate off duty Ballerina look.

A dark colored leotard and high-waisted jeans is my go to look for summer travel. Stretchy and comfortable, the combination of a high-waisted jean and sleek bodysuit is easy to move in and great for those days when you are running errands, in and out of the airport, car or train and all around  or on-the-go.

Cocktail

I love surprising people by mixing my dancewear into evening looks! A jewel colored leotard with a silk a-line skirt and ballet flat or heels is always chic. Tie your hair into a bun and add a red lip for an extra dose of glamour!

Event

To me the combination of a full ball gown with a simple leotard is the perfect mix of volume with drama. I love the contrast between a tight bodysuit and very full skirt.  Add a few bud roses to your bun for some Ballet Inspired beauty.

Show us how you wear your Ballerina Style! Don’t forget to tag us #balletbeautifulstyle

Inside Ballet Basics

Ballet Beautiful exists at the intersection of fitness and dance, combining core aspects of both into a ballet inspired workout that anyone can do. Our streaming workout series Ballet Basics takes you back to the foundations of classical ballet, by breaking down many of the basic ballet steps in highly effective workouts designed for all of our Ballet Beautiful beauties.

If you’re new to the Ballet Beautiful method the Ballet Basics series is a wonderful place to start! You will learn common vocabulary and steps that you will use throughout your Ballet Beautiful journey. For our more experienced members Ballet Basics is a great way to work on your technique to ensure that you continue to challenge yourself and achieve your workout goals.

Think about Ballet Basics as your Ballet Beautiful “barre”. Every dancer, no matter how long they’ve been dancing, starts their day with a ballet barre to train their ballet muscles and prepare for a rehearsal or performance. You can use Ballet Basics the same way and prepare for your Swan Lake, or Sleeping Beauty workouts!

Here is a sample of how to use the complete Ballet Basic program, from the classroom to stage:

Ballet Basics Barre, Rond de Jambe
Ballet Basics: Port de Bras Workout
Ballet Basics: Arabesque
Ballet Basics: Sleeping Beauty, Lilac Fairy

All of the videos are also highly effective on their own, and a perfect supplement to any of your favorite Ballet Beautiful workouts!

Meet the Trainer: Jackie Aitken

How did you start dancing?

I am Australian, I started dancing when I was 4 years old in my hometown Brisbane. My mum put me in dancing for fun, then it turned into something serious. I studied ballet, jazz and tap. My parents never thought when they put me in dance class at 4 years old it was going to be a long life passion and career of mine.

What is your favorite Ballet Beautiful workout move?

Any abs and core workout! Core is so important for dancing, it centers and controls all your movement. And it is also so important in everyday life and for your posture.

I also love a good swan arm workout. It engages a lot more muscles in your body than you think.

What is your best healthy living tip?

Drink lots and lots of water and plenty of sleep.

What is your favorite dance memory?

I will never forget the first time I performed at Radio City Music Hall. When the curtains rose up and you heard the applause from 6000+ audience members, it was mesmerizing. It is unbelievable every time I get to perform there.

Favorite ballet?

I’m a classic — I love Romeo and Juliet.

Favorite go-to healthy food?

I love avocado! You can add it to so many meals or smoothies to give it that extra flavor and texture.

What is your favorite indulgence or treat?

Nutella! I have been addicted to Nutella my whole life. All my family and friends know this.

How do you style your dancewear from the studio to the streets?

I love pairing the beautiful leotards with some high waisted boyfriend jeans and sneakers, or sandals. It gives it a more casual and edgy look though still feminine.

Do you have a favorite app that makes your life easier?

With the busy New Yorker life commuting multiple times in a day from dance classes, rehearsals or teaching at Ballet Beautiful, Spotify definitely makes my life more pleasant by being able to listen to some fun or calming music throughout my day.

When you’re not dancing, we can find you… 

At my favorite Aussie cafes having brunch – Two hands, Banter, Citizens of Chelsea or Bluestone lane. I mentioned above I love avocado, Aussies know how to make a great avo’ on toast, my fav!

Postnatal Training – Making Time for Mom

Dear Beauties,

Life is busy and with kids! Working out and staying active can become even more of a challenge. The biggest issue that I face and struggle with, as a mother is time. Time for kids, time for work, time for me… most days I just can’t do it all!

As a mom of two I’ve found that my time is even more in demand and making sure that both kids get enough mommy time can make it hard to leave time for other things. What I am learning is that the more we can do as a family to support a healthy, active lifestyle, the happier we all are!

People ask me all the time about the secret to getting back in shape after a baby. Truthfully there isn’t a quick solution or magic formula. The answer to rebuilding muscle tone and strength is about finding a way to make exercise a part of your life again. Is it tough as a mom? Definitely. But taking care of yourself and taking charge of your health is also doable and completely worth the time spent. You are worth it!

I found the recovery process to be very different with each of our daughters as the deliveries were so different. With Lumina I had an emergency c-section after over 24hrs of labor. The recovery process from the surgery was something I had never even contemplated – I was completely unprepared for what was in store. I can’t think of a time when I have felt less connected to my body or more terrified about how I felt physically than after delivering Lumina. I was swollen everywhere and had intense back pain. When we left the hospital my stomach was still so big that I couldn’t zip my jacket over my tummy.  Everything settled down in time but in those early days I feared that I would never be able to physically recover. For any moms that had a c-section and are ready to start working out again don’t miss my new c-section recovery workouts here. I filmed these when Lumina was around 4-5 months old. You might notice that my body looks pretty different than it does today, all completely healthy, normal and good!

Violette, my second, was born via VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) and the experience could not have been more different. As an experienced mom I was much more confident with the baby, but I also felt so much more like me in the days after her delivery. I had to remind myself to slow down and not push too quickly. Even a short walk in the neighborhood felt like too much for about 3 weeks.

After my Doctor cleared me to workout I started back slowly both times. With Lumina I took extra care not to target my core for many weeks and months after delivery, starting first with focusing on strengthening my legs, arms and butt. As I felt stronger and my body was more healed I began incorporating bridge work and gentle abdominal exercises to slowly rebuild. I took a lot of care to stay hydrated and making sure I was also eating enough calories and protein so that I could maintain my milk production as I breastfed both girls over a year.  Dieting and breastfeeding do not mix, I found I had to drink tons of water and eat a lot of high quality proteins to maintain my supply. With Violette everything moved more quickly and I was ready for more challenges more quickly.

When it comes to postnatal workouts it is so important to be patient and kind to yourself. Remember to always treat your body and yourself with love. A workout should empower and strengthen you. Go slowly, set realistic goals and don’t compare your progress to others.

Have a beautiful workout!

Love,

Xoxo Mary Helen