Shake up your leg routine

My legs are SO sore today.


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I blame the gorgeous girl above, aka Mary Helen Bowers. After getting a taste of her Ballet Beautiful workout at the Reebok event, I was intrigued to give a full a class a try. Amazon Prime streams some of the workout DVDs for free! So when the Pilot got home for work, I headed into the garage, propped up the laptop, and got in a workout that made my legs beg for sweet mercy. Even at my mom’s house later last night, I was still a bit noodle-legged (<–the sign of a seriously intense workout).

Here is my thought process during the workout:

-She really looks like Amy Adams. I need to really watch Enchanted with Liv sometime soon. ‘How does she knooooowwww you love her?’

-Ok, this is burning. Really. Burning. Fiery.

-Ohhhh, ok, good, we get to stretch in between.

-Please don’t say ‘stretching makes your muscles longer.’ She said it. Face palm.

-Ok, burning again. I didn’t even know I could isolate my glute medius like that.

-Realize she’s wearing a WHITE leotard. It takes a magical talent to be able to flawlessly pull off a leotard, let alone a white one. 

Ballet beautiful


-Too much counting.

-I feel like a ballerina! [Flashback to my short-lived ballet days]

Remember this video, which makes me laugh and distract myself. 

-Stretch. The end.

The verdict?

It was a GREAT workout. I loved that it was easy to follow, MHB was kind and had a friendly demeanor (aka not the least bit condescending even though she danced with the NYC Ballet for 10 years). It was set up well with logical transition, and included entirely new-to-me moves that killed. One of my favorite things about this workout is that it’s very different from barre. Th obvious thing is missing (the barre), but the movements also utilize more full range of motion exercises, which makes them more challenging. I especially loved (hated? haha) the bridge series. I can tell I’ll definitely check out the other videos and come back to the moves in my own training. Since we don’t have a barre studio (yet! SD has quite a few), I’m always looking for barre options to do at home.

I found myself wishing that she would count less and coach more. I know she does a lot of one-on-one coaching and training, so her individual style could be totally different, but I would have loved more form cues and/or modifications. All in all, I give it a B+ 🙂

After my workout, we all went over to the madre’s for dinner. She made a legendary spread of corned beef, potatoes, and carrots in addition to lime soda floats, Waldorf salad and soda bread. We also had the cupcakes, salad and more soda bread that we took over. You can never have enough 😉

The evening ended with us watching a little bit of this:


and little Liv was totally entranced. She loved it!

This morning, it’s time to clean up the vacation and unpacking mountain that is slowly eating our house. 

See ya later with a healthy yet decadent snack recipe.

Hope you have a wonderful day <3



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Today’s tip:

Some of my tips to shake up your leg routine:

-Experiment with a different style. I notice better results when I combine traditional strength training with other fitness modes, including yoga and/or barre. Pilates is always a great way to change things up if you’re looking for something new. Back in the day, the much lower calorie burn would hinder me from doing lower-key workouts like yoga. Here’s the thing: if you go too hard without adequate rest, adaptation and burnout can occur. It’s a smart idea to alternate workout intensities by the day. 

-Choose new exercises. If you usually do one type of movement (like a lunge), google to find a quick variation, like a lateral or curtsy lunge instead.

-Add cardio burning leg blasts in between each set. Some favorites: jumping lunges, vertical jumps, squat jumps with a rotation, sumo burpees.


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  1. Sana on March 18, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    How would you add this DVD to the monthly calendar if we are following your monthly calendar?

  2. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on March 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I have been wanting to try Ballet Beautiful for awhile! I didn’t know it was available on Amazon Prime. I’ll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the review!

    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      i think you’ll LOVE it

  3. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on March 18, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I had seen her workouts on Amazon Prime and saved them to my list, but haven’t done them yet. Thanks for the review! I’ll definitely check them out once my legs aren’t quite as sore (courtesy of Jillian Michaels). Seriously contemplating an epsom salt bath tonight…

  4. Becky@TheSavedRunner on March 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I need to checkout that workout video! I love that it’s free!

  5. Maria on March 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    I ALWAYS forget about Amazon prime and streaming exercise videos. Maybe I’ll try this one out tomorrow 🙂

    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      i had no idea you could do that until last night!

  6. P on March 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    What do you mean by “I notice better results when I combine traditional strength training with other fitness modes”?

    Curious how you measure your personal fitness. How do you determine “results”? Is it by how much you can squat or how fast you can run? Or are you talking about the way you look?

    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      i notice that i’m less likely to be injured when i change things up, feel invigorated by change (so i can work out harder: squat higher weight, run faster, complete more quality reps, etc) and my booty looks perkier 🙂 it’s a nice combo of all of the above.

  7. Abi@AbsofSteel on March 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I love mixing up my leg work between pilates, heavier weight training, and plyometrics. They all have their benefits and they all give me a great workout!

  8. Jackie on March 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Now I am intrigued to try the video!

  9. Livi on March 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    She looks so much like Amy Adams- that was my first thought! And now I’m going to put on the Enchanted soundtrack !

  10. katie @ running a ragnar on March 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    SO excited to try this! Thanks for the amazon prime tip- hacking my sisters account to view a few freebies! Thanks!

  11. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on March 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    I love lord of the dance. It scares me this workout is harder than barre, because I think barre is the hardest thing ever, but I love it so I’m going to have to check this out on Amazon Prime. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Elizabeth {Positively Healthy} on March 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I loved your comments on the whole video! Those alone make me want to try it out! I always forget that I can stream as well! lol

  13. Cassie Vaughn on March 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I definitely tend to get stuck in my same ole routines. It’s good to get reminders and suggestions for how to shake things up!

  14. Melissa on March 18, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I just got Amazon Prime yesterday! I know, where have I been right?! Would u please share what brand of tights you are wearing in the picture? I only own 2 pairs (of the same tights) which are running compression tights from Under Armor Thanks

  15. Kari on March 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I discovered her DVD workouts a couple months ago. They all have a similar feel, but it’s nice to change them up here and there. I agree that the counting gets rather annoying. I do love that I can do the workouts with little space. And yes, they BUUUUUUURn so good.

  16. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on March 18, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I have been looking for a ballet ftness solution! I practiced ballet for 10+ years and ave always wanted to incorporate back into my fitness. I also have Amazon Prime. Thanks for the recommendation!

  17. Jennifer on March 18, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you for the idea, review, and motivation I needed today to get a work out in! Bad road conditions means its gotta happen at home. I’m a huge Pure Barre fan and have never tried Ballet Beautiful. Definitely checking it out later. You look beautiful in the above pose photo. Hope you have a great evening.

  18. Margaret on March 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, sounds really interested. Is this workout difficult for newbies?

  19. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on March 18, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Too funny! I love to hear that someone else has the same thought process during a workout. This happens to me a lot in classes. She really does look like Amy Adams. Liv would love Enchanted. So cute!

    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      i need to find it! maybe we’ll watch it tonight 🙂

  20. JG on March 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    As a former ballerina I LOVE ballet beautiful! But I have a (dumb) question about barre classes: I’ve never been to one, and I’d really like to try it out, but what do you wear on your feet if you don’t have special barre shoes? (I don’t want to invest in them when I’ve never tried it before.) Can I just wear ballet slippers, or something else?


    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      not a dumb question at all! most studios recommend socks 🙂

  21. gracekelle at leangirlsclub on March 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I have only taken one class via live stream/lap top…I’m curious to see what it’s like via Amazon Prime.

    I love anything ballet based because let’s face it, ballerinas have amazing bodies. I find myself standing taller and as a result feeling leaner after a ballet based workout. And the burn, is undeniable. It’s amazing what’s possible with “just” the weight of our bodies.

    And i completely agree that Mary Helen looks like Amy Adams! That’s the first thing I thought! Not a shabby person to be compared to!!

  22. Chrissy on March 18, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Do you think this is safe to do when pregnant? I am 14 weeks.

    • Fitnessista on March 18, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      i would check with your doctor to be sure, but generally it should be up until 20 weeks. i would skip the twisting ab series. after 20 weeks you’ll want to avoid supine and prone positions (lying on your back or stomach).

  23. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily on March 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    oooo! My inner younger ballerina self loves this idea! Off to check out this DVD right now.

  24. Cady @ This Is The Moment on March 18, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I did a T25 workout last night…and boy did that kill my legs! I’ve been a lot more consistent with strength training lately so I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, but plyometric moves are a lot different than heavy weight squats.

  25. Kelster on March 18, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    I saw these on Amazon but kept skipping over them. I’ll be sure to try one tomorrow.

  26. Bonnie on March 18, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    This was great! Did the vid as soon as I got a chance, and loved it! Please update us if you end up doing more of her workouts 🙂

  27. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on March 18, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Hooray for the ballet burrrrn! I’d love to try out the DVD to strengthen my ballerina muscles 😉
    Holy nuts that Lord of the Dance video brings back so many good memories. I used to loveee watching that as a little girl. I still kinda wanna be them. Ugh so fantastic.

  28. Domi @ Eat, Pray, Lift on March 18, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    I just read Julie’s post on Ballet Beautiful, and when she mentioned that you had a review up, I had to check it out! 🙂 So glad to hear it’s a good workout, because I’ve been dying to try ballet-style training…after working at a gym for so long, I’m trying to get out of the “bro training” mindset haha. Can’t wait to show my Prime membership some love and give this a try! Here’s hoping for lots of noodle-leg hobbling afterwards. 😉

    PS…look at that back definition in the last photo. Sexy mama!

  29. Julie on March 19, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Wow, her legs are ridiculously long!

  30. Ashley on March 19, 2014 at 2:58 am

    I LOVE Ballet Beautiful!! I found her through instagram while I was pregnant and have been doing her workouts postpartum. The bridge series is no joke– all those micro-movements and isolations are insane!!! I was sore for 2 days and felt it a lot in my gluteus medius and adductors!

  31. Lucie@FitSwissChick on March 19, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I LOVE what you said about burnout and rest. I had so many burnouts in my past cause I was always overtraining and it took me years to realize how important rest is. Since I’ve been switching up intensities and incorporating more rest, I feel so much better and make amazing progress!!

  32. Nikki on March 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I love how you inform your readers of different workouts. Your blog is one of the best out there and I read several dozen.

    • Fitnessista on March 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      thank you so much, nikki! made my morning <3

  33. Tracey on March 19, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Gonna give this a try! I totally had to do a double take because I legit thought that was Amy Adams.

  34. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on March 19, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Can you talk more about adaption and burnout? I struggle with not hitting my daily calorie burn since losing 80 pounds. I wish I could do things more low key like yoga. Any tips you have?

    • Fitnessista on March 19, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      there’s something referred to as the said principle: specific adaptation to imposed demands. your body gets used to doing the same thing and will result in a lower calorie burn from something that used to burn much more. a good idea is to change it up (adding hiit intervals or hills works nicely) or take a couple of weeks off. when you get back in the game slightly deconditioned, you have to work harder again which results in a higher burn. hope this helps a little!
      congratulations to you on your weight loss success!

      • Megan @ The Skinny-Life on March 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

        Thanks, it does! My weight-loss was 4 years ago. It’s hard to let go of the fear that the weight may come back if you don’t workout. I have known and understood that your body adapts to activities over time. I’ve incorporated weight training and swimming every other day as a way to keep things mixed up. Every few months I do that, but I still feel guilty when I do an at home DVD or yoga because I feel like I’m not really doing anything active.

  35. Alexa on March 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    She looks sooooooo much like Amy Adams on that dvd cover! i never even noticed the resemblance before!

  36. Maureen on March 19, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    You crack me up . . . Riverdance. I saw it when it came to town and those hard shoes sound like thunder – very very powerful – nothing like it. I had a feeling the pilot was a celtic lad . . . lucky lady. I’m the irish one in my family. So irish, my husband suggested I keep my maiden name (needless to say I was going to keep it any way!). You are the only blog I follow religiously. I can’t thank you enough for sharing so much of your life, your experiences and your opinions with your readers. You make living healthy and being a great mom and wife, a tangible thing. This reader appreciates it more than you know. Have a good rest of the week my friend.

    Mo aka Maureen O’Hara:)

  37. Tracy on March 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I’m tackling my post-vacay laundry mountain today, too. We just returned from a fun trip to see my parents in FL. So fun!! Back to reality though 🙁

    BTW i picked your Wildcats to go to the finals in my basketball bracket (even though I’m a Kansas Jayhawk)! I hope they don’t let me down!!!

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