Because I like to keep my body in a state of perpetual shock, for my next experiment I am going to do the complete opposite of my last experiment. Seriously, one of these days my body is going to rebel and force me to do something normal like eat vanilla ice cream whilst wearing a white dress and riding a white horse. Oops! That’s a tampon ad. My bad.
If you recall, CrossFit was all about lifting short and h-e-a-v-y, which I totally loved, with minimal cardio. However, the Ballerina/Madonna workout got me thinking about high-rep, low-weight, mostly bodyweight lifting. The current conventional wisdom says that this will cause me to lose muscle and generally be a wimp but all the ballerinas I have known are neither weak nor wimpy.
Plus they’re gorgeous. And I’m not just talking about the girls. Back in Seattle I was friends with a professional male ballerina (ballerino?). Let me tell you, he was one beautiful human being. At least on the outside. Inside, not so much. Which is probably why we’re not friends anymore. But don’t worry, I’m not going to make you check “yes” or “no” on the note I slide you under the cafeteria table asking whether or not we should still sit by him on the bus. Because we totally should. I’m all for inclusiveness on buses. Unless you have no pants on. Then you should be riding bike and getting what you deserve.
The Universe Likes Ballerinas
As if it could feel my slight reservations (I really don’t want to lose any of that muscle I just worked so darn hard to build), the Universe sent me a message. Part 1: A lovely, tall, thin woman at my gym, Julie, saw the Gym Buddies and I massacring the basic plie and offered to instruct us in proper form. Since I’ll take all the (free) help I can get, we jumped at the chance. It turns out she was a ballerina from age 5 to 20 and as soon as we saw her execute a beautiful, perfect plie, the tutu-loving-yet-uncoordinated-5-year-old in me came out and I decided that I want to be her. Part 2: my local library has the New York City Ballet Company workout and DVD checked IN. If that’s not a sign then I don’t know what one is (and probably shouldn’t be driving, in that case). I la-la-love libraries! So – free help + free workout = whee!
The Ballet Workout
Based on this book and video set and the two other ballet workouts I found pieces of online, cobbled together with some Tracy Anderson stuff, the Gym Buddies and I are going to work it like a ballerina for the next month. Since this program doesn’t say too much about cardio – they’re probably assuming that we will be dancing a lot – we’re going to stick with our current cardio schedule.
The program promises stronger but “longer and leaner” muscles than traditional workouts. Which is a selling point since Gym Buddy Allison – the one of us who puts on muscle the easiest, lucky girl – says that her thighs are bigger since doing CrossFit. For the record, her legs look exactly the same to me (gorgeous) as before but really you should have seen the looks we got from all the men on the weight floor today as we discussed it!
The theory behind the program is not the silly “toning” idea that went out with jelly shoes in the ’80s but rather working the “small” muscles that are deep inside. Rather than targeting a large muscle group(s), like we did in CrossFit, we’ll be focusing on movements that, according the book anyhow, use muscles we don’t even know we have. Yet:)
In addition to the usual stat tracking I do, myself and all the Gym Buddies will also be watching our calf, thigh, hip, waist and arm measurements to see if this program lives up to it’s Pilates-inspired claims.
Has anyone else noticed what Allison is talking about? Obv. we’re girls so we’re not going to bulk out like dudes no matter how much we lift, but some people do put on muscle more easily and I can see how perhaps switching to a low-weight, high-rep workout might counteract that a bit. I’m not trying to scare anyone off of heavy lifting but I am interested to see what happens with this experiment! Anyone else want to join us??