What’s in my tool box? A little strength training please..

Strength–It comes in all shapes, sizes, and especially circumstances.

It was in the face of parents–who despite the loss of their own child’s life, found the courage to donate their organs so others may live.  It is in the hands of adult children, caring for an aging parent struggling with mental clarity.  It was in the eyes of a former nurse, now a patient–battling breast cancer.  Strength is much too complex to be confined to one ideal.  With this in mind, a little strength training please..

When most of us think fit and strong, something like this comes to mind.strong pull upA well chiseled male physique certainly gets my attention.  I have to admit–this was and still is (to a degree) my idea of what fitness embodies.  Yet as with running (my belief was it was the only exercise worth doing) I’ve had to re-think this.

If you’ve read my previous “toolbox” post, I wrote about INSANITY.  Just to reiterate, it was a wake-up call to my senses as well as my body.  It made me realize there was more to fitness than running.   What else is in my toolbox?  If you want something that incinerates fat and a little cellulite too, try this.  It also builds long, lean, defined muscle.  So for now, put down the dumbbells and put on your tutu.pink dancer Give ballet–or at least a ballet inspired workout, a try.  I know what you’re probably thinking.  Never being a fan of anything too “girlie” I understand.  My scarred right knee still testifies to falling from a tree onto pavement.

As many little girls, my mother enrolled me in ballet classes.  However, it soon became evident I was not going to be anyone’s sugar-plum fairy.

I’m not a dancer (except for my short stint at 5 yrs old) and the word “graceful” has never been used to describe me.  Therefore, I decided to purchase DVDs entitled “ballet inspired” workouts.  Choreography is not part of the ones I use.   My results?

First and foremost, the leg exercises had me thinking my thighs were on fire–from the inside out.  The continuous arm movements rivaled any machine or dumbbell work I did at the gym.  The next day..well I’ll say this.  Even when I ran 10 miles for the 1st time, I was not this tired.  My favorite arm work, free weights, machines, or otherwise, never left me feeling this sore.  INSANITY–move over.  You still corner the market (for me) on intensity and sweat equity.  However, this is mostly due to the plyometrics.  BUT–I believe even Shaun T. may buckle under some of these simple, yet effective workouts.

If you still need convincing about the mental and physical endurance ballet provides, I would like to call your attention to a fairly well-known actor.  Remember, I started this segment addressing strength and its many diversities.  I believe he embodied these and more.

Does anyone remember Dirty Dancing?  Roadhouse?  Patrick Swayze?  Patrick Swayze was a rough and tumble Texan.  He happened to be blessed with charisma, talent; and he wasn’t too bad on the eyes either.  He also possessed an athleticism beyond most.  It saw him through working on a show called THE BEAST–WHILE enduring chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.  I wondered–from where did such athleticism and determination come?  Personal grit–and the discipline of ballet.  Mr. Swayze was a classically trained ballet dancer.

What has my time with this workout revealed?  A longer leaner effect on my limbs.  While I’ve always had a small to medium rear, it still has been a source of consternation for me to tone.  INSANITY definitely helped; but these workouts took it to the next level; refining and defining.

For my male readers–before you pass judgment or cast dispersion, why not give these workouts a try?  Sure, you’re strong now, but the question is, are you Patrick Swayze strong?

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Which DVDs have I used?  BALLET BEAUTIFUL BODY BLAST by Mary Helen Bowers.  There are 4 segments–arms, 15 minute body blast, as well as butt series 1&2.  Simple, a little redundant; but effective.  I also use BALLET BODY–TOTAL BODY by Leah Sarago.  This one for me, is quite challenging.  All segments–arms, core, as well as lower body are around 20 minutes.  She also includes a warm-up as well as cool down/stretching segment.  Both of these workouts are indeed workouts; no choreography.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

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