Alright! New Year’s resolution time! As usual, after we’ve gorged ourselves on the finest foods and wines of the holiday season, how many of us strive to work out again and get back into tip-top shape? I’m just as guilty as anyone, but I’ll be really honest here… does anyone else have flashbacks of The Jetsons when they look at a treadmill? Or feel like they’re going nowhere fast on those stationary bikes?
Working out takes… well, work. 😉 But for me, I have found that I’ve lost weight when I’ve done things that don’t feel like exercise to me. It’s come off without me even realizing it because I was too busy having so much fun, or I was just doing something I needed or wanted to do anyway. For example, I used to work for a television station, and would walk an hour there to get to work, and an hour back home. Even just working two shifts a week, I was shocked when people started making comments that I’d lost weight. I hadn’t consciously changed my diet or adopted a strict exercise program, and I wasn’t ill at the time, so the only thing I could attribute it to were those two hours of walking twice a week.
But let’s face it. If we don’t enjoy what we’re doing, we’re most likely not going to stick with it, right? It was a necessity for me to walk to work at that time, but in general, powerwalking and running are exercises in torture for me. Kung Fu is the most challenging and rewarding activity I’ve done physically, and I love it to bits. However, there are times that I don’t feel very feminine with it. I’m the only woman in my class, and sometimes I long for something a little more flirty… and with less bruising.
Bring on the dance party! Tada! We know that dance can be one of the most aerobic activities, and hey! It’s fun, right? Do I even have to mention Zumba here? With the world of pin-up being a fun, flirty, and empowering environment to boot, I thought it would be cool over the month of January to share some of the DVDs and dance styles I’ve found that have made me feel the most gorgeous and fantastic, and which you can actually try out on this side of the border. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something that tickles your fancy as well as your toes. 😉 So without further ado, let’s get these Workout Wednesdays started!
As I’ve mentioned before, the worlds of burlesque and pin-up tend to cross over quite often, with many burlesque performers doing pin-up work, and vice-versa. There is just something about embracing your inner sex kitten and allowing yourself the freedom to move and dance sensually—whether you are doing it on a stage for an audience, in the privacy of your home, or in the controlled setting of a dance class. Burlesque classes are popping up all over in dance schools and gyms across the country, and yet, they can be awkward because of some of the social stigma still found with burlesque. Believe me, the first time I took a burlesque class, I was so excited, but I was also terrified that my friends and family would judge me for it. Fortunately for me, the instructor preferred not to get into the extremely sexual parts of the style, and treated the class as more of a Jazz class. She also set the class as female-only, and for women 18 and over. Even with these safeguards, I still felt self-conscious about it all, and if anyone would ask, I would just say, “I’m going to Dance Class tonight!” 😉 But if it wasn’t for that class, I may never have checked out that shop next door that changed my life, the Drunken Sailor, and may never have started this blog with all of you wonderful readers.
If you’re not ready to take the step of joining a burlesque class, World Dance New York has produced some phenomenal DVDs in this genre that you can enjoy in the comfort of your home. Hosted by burlesque queens Peekaboo Pointe and Gal Friday, the Best Assets Burlesque Booty Workout and the Rock Bottom Burlesque Booty Workout are programs designed to help you tone and strengthen those gorgeous lower-body muscles while celebrating your femininity and prowess. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to pull a Miley Cyrus without anyone knowing, these workouts are your chance. 😉
Rock Bottom focuses more on the glutes through its lunge and squat variations, while Best Assets offers more Pilates-style leg training to go along with your bumps, grinds, and shimmies. Each DVD is broken into three instructional segments that slowly walk you through the moves, and then a 10-minute dance session with those steps after each one. You can also do the dance sessions as one giant 30-minute session once you’ve done the workout a few times. Gal and Peekaboo definitely make the process fun, and they help show you exactly what you need to do by showing you the moves from various angles—something I appreciate as a visual learner. Plus, you get a glamourous, sexy soundtrack in the background to dance to that is a nice alternative to the usual Buns of Steel material.
I found these workouts made me sweat in a good way, and gave me a great excuse to wear sexy workout wear without feeling inappropriately dressed or exposed. The one caveat to these workouts, though, is that they can be hard on the knees. You transition from floorwork to standing exercises at times, and there are movements done on the knees. If you have any issues with that part of your body, these may not be the best workouts for you.
As with any exercise program, it is always best to consult with your doctor, and play it safe with any moves you feel might be harmful. You alone know your body, and your doctor will be able to help you find alternative moves you can do that will help you achieve your goals without injuring yourself.
Both Burlesque Booty workouts are available through Amazon.ca, and of course Amazon.com. If you prefer, you can also stream the workouts directly onto your computer through World Dance New York’s website. For more information about this option, please visit http://worlddancenewyork.com/collections/worldwide-instant-video-streaming.
Always with love,
The Canuck Pin-up