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Lose Weight and/or Build Muscle Through Ballet

written by: Courtney Kent • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 8/9/2011

Traditional ballet isn't meant for weight loss, so it's intrinsic to your weight loss plan to create your own workout schedule. In addition to cardio movements, one must develop muscle and flexibility.

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    Workouts

    There are many health benefits to ballet dancing, including total calorie burn. A 30-minute ballet workout can burn as much as 170 calories. Ballet also stretches and strengthens muscles, and improves posture and balance. However, it is important to know the difference in learning ballet in the traditional sense and practicing ballet for fitness.

    Traditional ballet classes are all about teaching and perfecting the art of ballet. They are not interested in cardio work, and there is a lot of stop and start. The best way to lose weight via ballet is to either learn the moves in a 1 hour a week recreational class or purchase a video such as the New York City ballet's instructional video. From there, you can fashion your own regimen.

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    Frequency

    One hour in a recreational class a week will not cut it. If you're out of shape, start with 20 minutes of cardiovascular dancing, tacking on the minutes gradually each week. Aim for the final goal to be 30 minutes to an hour a workout for 3 to 5 days a week. But this is just cardio. Schedule two to three days a week focusing on strength-developing movements such as leg lifts. Warm up and cooling down with 10 minutes each of stretching movements to satisfy the flexibility component of your workouts.

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    Lifestyle

    Working out alone does not a sound weight loss plan make. Be sure you are watching your nutritional intake. You should be ingesting a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean animal products (unless you are vegetarian). Consider taking a daily multivitamin to help meet your nutritional needs. Keep a food diary if volume is a problem, and adopt an eating plan that addresses this issue. Last but not least, drink plenty of water each day. Stay far, far away from fried foods, alcohol and refined flour and sugar. If you find yourself unable to live without these things, moderation is key. Also consider reducing or eliminating carbonated beverages, including diet soda.

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    Resources

    http://www.calorie-counter.net/calories-burned-by-ballet.htm

    http://masterpuppeteer.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/ballet-for-fitness-and-weight-loss/