Focus On: Bellydance

Hey hey 😀 How was your day? Hope you’re having a great night so far 🙂


Work today was amazeballz. I just feel so fortunate to do what I love every single day. When I get paychecks, they’re kind of surprising because I have to remind myself that I actually worked. As the saying goes “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life” <3

So glad ya enjoyed the stretch playlist this morning- I adored all of your suggestions and have been a downloading machine 🙂 I’ll post my new playlist sometime this week with your additions <3

Since I didn’t have to participate or teach any intense classes today, I thought it would be fun to try out a Physique 57 DVD on my lunch break:


The verdict?


I did the 30-minute advanced DVD and I have to say it’s one of the most effective quick workout DVDs I’ve tried. From the start, it was burn city and was over SO quickly. My thighs, arms and abs were all worked to failure – I will most definitely be pleasantly sore in the morning. Can’t wait to try the other DVDs!

physique (2)

Post-workout, I enjoyed an almond butter and jelly smoothie:


-1.5 C almond milk

-1 scoop vanilla Sun Warrior

-3/4 C frozen organic strawberries

-half banana


-1 heaping T of almond butter

+ two Twin Cakes mesquite cacao biscotti (promo tomorrow!)


Crunchy, chocolate bites of heaven <3

Went back to work to teach stretch and now I’m chilling at the madre’s. She had to have a surgical procedure this morning (all is well now), so I laid in her bed with her for a while to rest and keep her company. The healer (aka Bella) has also been snuggling with her today <3

I’m off to do the shower thang and then figure out dinner 🙂

See ya in the morning with a Reader’s Request!



Focus On: Bellydance



What is it: Bellydance classes are traditional Middle Eastern dance classes, utilizing small isometric movements. It’s a misnomer because you use your entire body while bellydancing, with a focus on the hips and core. The class usually will follow a traditional aerobics-style workout format with a warm-up, cardio (usually some type of choreography combination) and a cool down/stretch.

What to expect: Expect an instructor who will most likely blow your mind with body parts that she can move. The first time I took Bellydance, I was actually a little discouraged that I couldn’t pick it up right away. It’s definitely something that takes practice, so be patient with yourself and have fun with it. It’s a very sensual, empowering and unique style of dancing.

What to wear: Tighter fitting athletic pants (so you can see that you’re doing the movements correctly) and any type of top. The instructor may have fun coin belts for you to wear, tambourines, finger cymbals or veils to play with. Bare feet.

belt01 Source

The pros:

-Sore abbies! Bellydance will work your core like a mofo. It helps to target your abs in a different way than traditional ab movements, which can influence some awesome results.

-It’s very low impact, so those with join problems would most likely be able to participate in bellydance sans injury (pending doc approval, of course)

The cons:

-Maybe it’s because I”m still not fab at it –I can pretend for Zumba but that’s where it ends- but I don’t get a great cardio workout from Bellydance. I do it as more of a fun way to switch things up, rather than a serious workout. It’s great for lower-intensity days.

-Like I said before, it takes practice. It’s not one of the classes you can walk into and be a pro at (unless you’re a freak, I kid, I kid), so have fun with it, pick up what you can, and practice at home! There’s even a show called Shimmy on FitTV, which I LOVE and helped me learn a lot of the basics so I had more confidence with a live class.

Have you tried Bellydancing before? Can you roll a quarter up and down your belly? (<—if this is you, I’m jealous and please show me your ways haha)

Post Navigation:


  1. Holly @ The Runny Egg on May 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I’d love to try a real bellydancing class. A friend of mine had a bellydancing dvd in high school and I remember there was a disclaimer at the beginning that you might have “extreme bowel movements” after completing the workout — I wish I was kidding!

    • Fitnessista on May 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      omg. i am laughing so hard.

  2. Cait @ Beyond Bananas on May 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I have never tried belly dancing. They actually had a class at my gym last weekend.. it used to be a latin dance.. but everyone was wearing coin belts. I definitely do not have the rhythm to do this. I tend to shy away from dance classes : /

  3. Jess @ Fit Chick in the City on May 11, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    I did the exact same dvd today! I’m shocked at how challenging the 30 minute dvd is. LOVE it!!

    • Fitnessista on May 11, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      right? it blew my mind, in the best way possible

  4. Jennifer on May 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I have seen this video before and it is so amazing and beautiful! I love belly dancing. If I’m not Zumba-ing, that’s my other choice for exercise. I love dancing! Might as well have fun while working out, right? I love the shimmy series–so gorgeous! I take classes which are also fun to experience more movement. I own my own hip scarf too. 🙂 Belly dancing definitely makes me feel hot and sexy again!

  5. Mara @ What's For Dinner? on May 11, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I grew up with a lot of middle eastern friends who could just “do” that belly thing… I do want to be able to move like Shakira though 🙂 <3 you friend!

    • Fitnessista on May 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      shakira is my hero 🙂
      love you!

  6. Maria on May 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I want to try the physique 57 DVDs. I do bar method now, so I’d like to compare the two. Do you need any accessories to go with it??

  7. Allison @ Food For Healing on May 11, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    i can’t wait to not have to “work” another day in my life, i am working my way towards doing what i want and love.
    that smoothie definitely sounds tasty!
    I have bellydanced before, a few years ago, a friend and I joined, it wasn’t super challenging, but it sure was fun.

  8. I took a dance class at my gym this evening that incorporated a bunch of latin dances, hip hop, ballet and belly dancing. It was awesome! I’d love to take a straight belly dancing class

  9. Kristina @ spabettie on May 11, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    one of my best friends used to bellydance – I couldn’t do it, but I was learning the tabla so I could be her live drummer! she was amazing, doing the traditional Egyptian style movements and could hold SEVEN MINUTE drum solos in a single performance (averaging 10-15 minutes total). she had beautiful elaborate costumes, and I have one I wore for Halloween one year – SO fun! 😀

  10. jodie on May 11, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I tried belly dancing, I really like it. I can’t roll a quarter but I can roll my belly.

    Would love to try that dvd.

  11. Morgan on May 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    As someone who struggles with figuring out her life’s purpose, I am truly thankful for what you said about loving your job so much it does not seem like actual work. It is a great reminder to find a career you really, whole heartedly love!! Thanks again Gina!!

  12. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) on May 11, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    almond butter and jelly smoothie looks delish!

    get well soon wishes for your mama!

    and bellydancing…I have tried half heartedly but you have to be willing to “let it all hang out” and not keep your abs and core muscles engaged (the opposite of yoga or pilates or even good weightlifting form) so yes, it’s a bit foreign for me!

  13. Krystina (Organically Me) on May 11, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    I’d lurve to bellydance, but given my total lack of grace and rhythm, I think it’d be a disaster.

  14. Ashley @ Feeding Ashley on May 11, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    It’s actually possible to roll a quarter up and down your belly? My mind is blown. My boyfriends sister actually paid her way through college by belly and snake dancing. Maybe next time she is in town I can get her to teach me her shimmying ways.

  15. Lindsay on May 12, 2011 at 12:05 am

    I would love to try a real bellydancing class. I had a DVD that I used to do in high school, it was called the Goddess workout! At my old gym, the Zumba instructor used to bring coin belts for the last song of the class… they were soooo much fun 🙂 We had a sub another time that incorporated bellydancing into one song and I LOVED it!

  16. Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food on May 12, 2011 at 12:07 am

    ohh what fun! I love to get the review on physique because I have never tried anything like it before.

    So glad that you’re enjoying your job, it is so necessary to live a joy filled life! 🙂

  17. Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips on May 12, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Love Love Love Physique 57! I need to get their new DVDs. They are such a great workout. I am a thigh warrior! hahaha

  18. Kilee on May 12, 2011 at 12:44 am

    I keep wanting to try the Physique DVD’s. Please let me know what you think of the other ones. So happy that you get to do what you love! If everyone was able to find their passion and pursue it, I think that world would be a much happier place. Have a good night!

  19. ellalinea on May 12, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Loved your stretch music list from yesterday! 🙂 Bellydancing isn’t my thing though.. I hate to show my tummy 🙂

  20. Christine @ Burning It Off on May 12, 2011 at 6:28 am

    I tried it once a long time ago and agree that it’s not a great cardio workout. It does work your abs though – I have a friend who’s a professional bellydancer and her abs have been looking great since she started a few years ago.

  21. Jennifer on May 12, 2011 at 6:28 am

    The phyisique dvd looks fun! I have a couple of bellydancing dvds, I haven’t found a class in my area. Its fun,but I agree its awkward and not the quickest thing to pick up. I feel more robotic than sensual most of the time haha.

  22. Katie on May 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Sometimes I ‘pretend’ I can belly dance in the privacy of my own home! Ha! I always tend to belly dance when i hear Shakira, Love her!

  23. The Teenage Taste on May 12, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I actually went to my first-ever Zumba class last night and I loved it! There were a few bellydancing songs in the mix and yes, they were pretty tough! For now, I think I’m just gonna stick with Zumba! 😉

  24. Pure2raw Twins on May 12, 2011 at 7:28 am

    Michelle and I bought a belly dancing dvd a few years and tried it out but never really got into it. I just do not think we were that coordinated to do it haha But it was fun. And now I am craving those biscotti 😉

  25. Jess on May 12, 2011 at 8:05 am

    I’ve taken belly-dancing classes before and had so much fun with it! Unfortunately, the place I was going to stopped offering it, and I haven’t been motivated to find another class, as I’ve been really digging some of the other classes offered. I’d do it again though. I’m terrible at it, but it’s so much fun to laugh at yourself for an hour and get a good workout at the same time!

  26. Sarah on May 12, 2011 at 8:17 am

    That’s so funny! I did that same DVD yesterday and I’m really feeling it today.
    Have you ever thought of doing a video post of how to engage your abs when doign these exercises? I have so much trouble ‘feeling’ it and I think I’m doing it wrong. Especially the Pysique DVD’s using that pad since I don’t have one.

  27. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on May 12, 2011 at 8:20 am

    My friend’s mom teaches belly dancing and she tried to show me some moves once, but my belly just does NOT move in that way! I gave up pretty quickly. 😛

  28. Ashley on May 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I’ve been taking bellydancing since 2008 and I absolutely love it!! While I can’t claim to roll a quarter up or down my belly, I can do some pretty cool things with my torso and hips. I’ve found an amazing teacher and have been dancing with a lot of the same girls for the same amount of time. I haven’t been able to take class regularly for quite some time now, but am looking forward to getting back ASAP.

  29. Carolyn (Life in the postcard) on May 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Glad to hear everything is okay with your madre. Medical procedures always creep me out no matter what level it is.
    Would you do a more in depth review of the Phyique video – such as gear and space needed?

    • Fitnessista on May 12, 2011 at 10:17 am

      all you need is a mat, a chair and a small ball (which can be bought at target or online)

  30. Heather on May 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I teach belly dance and perform in a professional troupe, so I guess it goes without saying that I love it. I consider it more of a muscular workout than a cardiovascular one. The cool thing about belly dance is all the different variations on the more traditional elements. You have Sadie’s you tube video posted (she’s AWESOME), but I also highly recommend checking out you tube videos of Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes, or Mardi Love to see what Tribal Fusion belly dance looks like.

    Also, the physique 57 dvd is definitely calling my name. It sounds like a great workout.

    • Amanda Kelly on June 15, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      I love Tribal and Cabaret both. Each have their own subtle beauty and power. 😀

  31. Kristal (from Valdosta) on May 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    bahahaha gina, you said mofo! lol sorry it made me do a double take on the word, i was like did gina just say that? hahahaha

    • Kristal (from Valdosta) on May 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

      oh yeh i meant to say i loved seeing the word mofo because now you are speakin my language… (chris rock montage comes in mind from rush hour… do you understand the words that are comin outta my mouth!?)

    • Fitnessista on May 13, 2011 at 1:08 am

      i totally said mofo. haha

  32. Beth on May 12, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I’ve tried bellydancing before but I have ZERO rhythm and ZERO hip mobility :p it is *super* frustrating for me! but somehow I keep hoping I can figure it out haha. I would like to try this again, but I’ve heard that bellydancing takes away the hourglass shape and makes you more straight thru the waist, is there any truth to that?? The woman in the video certainly doesn’t have this problem but with my luck I would :p thanks!

    • Fitnessista on May 13, 2011 at 1:06 am

      no i don’t think that’s true at all!

    • Amanda Kelly on June 15, 2011 at 3:01 pm

      It isn’t true at all! The ribcage movements really work the obliques, as do the hip movements. But you can do a lot of the hip lifts and drops using glutes as well. The key is to find balance. If the dancer does nothing but use obliques for her movements, she might seems a little thicker around the middle, but definitely not lose the hourglass shape! For the rhythm part, try using a coin hip scarf in class if the teacher allows. The noise of the coins to the beat really helps connect the two. Isolating the hips is harder – make sure you have the flexibility first (like taking yoga) and then it’s all about lightly lifting the ribs and upper body away from the lower torso and then use the hips to point and direct you where you want them to go, like arms & hands. Lifting the ribs up and away will help immensely in making this connection. 🙂 Good luck!

  33. shannonmarie on May 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I did a lot of belly dancing after having my son. It really helped me get my body back and feel sexy again. I’m not big on the Shimmy stuff on Fit TV, but I really like the DVDs put out by these twins (I forget their names). They kept your arms up most of the time, so you really could feel it. It worked the arms even better than the abs.

    • Amanda Kelly on June 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      Yeah, Veena and Neena are the Belly Twins. 🙂 That was their Fat Burning DVD I think… to this day I haven’t found anyone who survived the entire workout beginning to end without cheating! 😉

  34. Katie on May 12, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I tried it once at my old gym and loved it! But they stopped offering it because not many people showed up. 🙁 I’d love to get back into it, but I pretty much suck – and don’t care because my abs never felt more toned and worked out after just one class! 🙂

    • Amanda Kelly on June 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Try some DVDs Katie if you can’t find professional dancer who teaches in your area, totally worth it. Good luck! 😀

  35. Michelle @ Turning Over a New Leaf on May 24, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’d love to try bellydancing! I love the belly dance-ish moves we do in zumba. 🙂

    Actually, before I began Zumba I had looked up basic bellydancing instruction on YouTube, and learned some of it there before starting Zumba. In fact, I learned to Samba that way, too, when I couldn’t figure it out in Zumba class. Youtube is amazing!

  36. Amanda Kelly on June 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I love belly dancing! It’s true, it can be HARD. I have been belly dancing for a decade (wow, yikes!) and started with a DVD as well – Basic Belly Dance with the Belly Twins: Veena and Neena. The FitTV stuff is okay (at least it looks like they have a dancing background) but I wanted to share that, if possible, find an actual professional belly dancer for an instructor instead of just a general dance instructor at the gym who knows a few moves. The difference WILL BLOW YOUR MIND. These classes accept all ages, shapes, sizes, women and yes, a few brave male individuals. The belly dancing community is so warm and friendly, I don’t know why all women haven’t tried it. I used to call the All-levels class with my first teacher the “Wiggle and Giggle” class. Newcomers, no matter what age/shape/size, would be instructed how to move their hips/ribs. Then they would try it and then giggle – like they didn’t know their bodies could move like that (sensual, NOT sexual!) and felt a little naughty. It didn’t help that my instructor is a complete ham… ” Rib circles! Wash those windows with the girls, ladies!” 😉 For more cardio during a class, try using a veil with your arms, or stick with upbeat songs like the drum solos. You can also try the Fat Burning DVD by the Belly Twins (I think this is the one Shannonmarie was talking about). To this day, I haven’t found a person who has survived the whole workout!

  37. Fara on July 8, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Love this post! Anyway, do you know where i can get a worldwide bellydance instructor-ship? just like zumba instructorship.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.