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Ballet Beautiful: Cardio Fat Burn
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Blast major calories, strengthen and shape a lean dancer s body with high-intensity cardio intervals and targeted mat work. An energizing, fast-paced workout designed to challenge and sculpt sleek ballet muscles while revving the metabolism. Includes four 15-minute fat-burning cardio Allegra intervals with killer mat exercises focused on building lean, toned muscles in the abs, arms, butt and legs. Finish it all off with an extended stretch to lengthen the muscles and a cooldown for a body that is elegant, strong and uber Ballet Beautiful!
Core Workout: Get your heart rate up with a quick warm-up and then move into a high-intensity cardio interval followed by a targeted ab workout.
Upper Body: Tone a sleek, strong upper body and elegant posture with targeted arm exercises and a fast-paced cardio interval.
Lower Body: Focused exercises to tone the inner thigh and sculpt long, lean legs with cardio elements.
Total Body Workout: Burn calories and tighten and tone with this full body cardio workout, and then cool down with light stretching.
Note: Disc plays entire content on selecting "play all" from the menu.
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If you do the entire workout, it comes in at just under 58 minutes long, but you also have the option of dividing it up into shorter workouts.
From the main menu, you have several options:
* Play All -- 58 minutes long, including the Elongated Stretch segment
* Standing Cardio: Legs, Arms, and Core -- about 30 minutes
* Mat Work: Abs, Thighs, and Butt -- about 23 minutes long
* Elongated Stretch -- 7 minutes
* Audio Options -- gives you the options to play the workout with Mary Helen and music, just with the music, or just with Mary Helen
This is filmed in an all-white room that looks a bit different from her previous backdrops in that you can see large windows and the skyline behind Mary Helen. I wish they had used the space from the Ballet Baby series since that backdrop and the colorful flowers were so soothing in those four workouts; it was more interesting to look at. I usually enjoy the basic backdrop in the BB workouts, but in the Mat Work segment, Mary Helen is lying down on an all-white floor against an all-white wall in a white leotard, and the aesthetic of it felt a bit stark and not that soothing to me.
At the very beginning of the workout, Mary Helen gives a few pointers about form and posture, which is a nice reminder.
The Standing Cardio section includes some plie variations at the start, but is mostly standing leg lifts to the front and back and tendu work, all of which include swan arms motions. For each exercise, you'll do two sets of eight repetitions. This got my heart rate up nicely, and wasn't quite as challenging as the cardio segments on Ballet Beautiful: Cardio Fat Burn and Ballet Beautiful: Sculpt & Burn Cardio Blast. For that reason, this would probably be a good DVD to start with if you need to work up to Cardio Fat Burn or Sculpt & Burn Cardio Blast. Also, there isn't jumping in the cardio segment; you have one leg on the ground at all times, so it's a more low-impact and quieter workout to do if you're worried about noise or about it being too high impact.
The leg work is the Standing Cardio half is also more straightforward on this workout than it is on Cardio Fact Burn and Sculpt & Burn; since I don't have any ballet training (unless, of course, you count those lessons I took when I was four :-) ), I had a hard time keeping up with the cardio segments on those other two DVDs the first few times I did them, whereas the Standing Cardio segment on this DVD is easier in terms of its choreography and pacing. Another nice benefit of this Standing Cardio section is that a lot of the moves are done on one leg, so it's an excellent way to work on your balance and on strengthening your core. This whole section also really works the legs and glutes since you're doing a lot of work where you extend one leg in back of you.
The Mat Work segment opens with about ten minutes of C-curve work, and uses your arms a bit more than the ab work in her previous workouts. After working abs, Mary Helen moves into outer thigh lifts and small leg circles. There really wasn't much targeted glute work in this section at all (despite the sub-title of this set), which surprised me. I love her inner and outer thigh and glute work, so really wish that there was more outer thigh work and at least a bit of inner thigh work. There also wasn't anything that directly targeted the glutes; the outer thigh lifts hit the glutes a bit, but not as much as I was hoping there would be. In my mind, Mary Helen really excels in her mat work for the legs; even though the title of this workout makes it clear that the focus will be on standing cardio, I still wish that there had been more than just ten or so minutes of this workout devoted to leg floorwork.
The Elongated Stretch clocks in at seven minutes long, and it's part of the 58 total minutes of the workout. This nice, long stretch was a good treat, and is a nice addition to the BB model. Usually, Mary Helen stretches quite a bit between exercise sets (which is great), but doesn't include a longer stretch like she does here. On her Ballet Baby workouts, she includes longer stretch segments, which I love, but this was nicer in that the slightly shorter length (only seven minutes, compared to ten or fifteen on her Ballet Baby DVDs) means that I'm less likely to skip the end stretch. I hope that future DVDs include a longer stretch like this. It's the "Baby Bear" perfect length -- not too long, not too short, but rather just right.
While I enjoyed doing this for the first time, I kept feeling a bit disappointed in that the segments didn't feel "fresh" to me. I keep trying to figure out why that is, and think it's because this past week I splurged on a month of Ballet Beautiful's streaming workouts since they were on sale for half price, and have been so happy with the diversity of those shorter segments. I wish that she had brought some more of that creativity into this new DVD. The focus on using swan arms throughout each exercise was unique, but many of the exercises themselves didn't feel as fun to do. I can't quite put my finger on why I'm not liking this one as much as her previous DVDs . . . but that's all I can think of.
For some reason, the sound quality on this is also a bit off; Mary Helen's voice echoes, and it was a bit distracting at first. Once I got into the workout, I didn't notice it as much, but it's a shame that they didn't catch this during the production.
As a random side note, it seems like Mary Helen might have filmed this before she had her baby since she seems to have more of her pre-pregnancy look. She always looks amazing, though, but I thought that this was interesting.
As I mentioned at the start of my review, the Ballet Beautiful workouts are fantastic at shaping your muscles into long, lean lines. Many of the Victoria's Secret Angels train with her, and so does Alexa Chung. I am an hourglass shape who bulks up really easily in the thighs, and whenever I consistently use my BB DVDs, I slim up and look leaner. My pants fit more loosely, and my muscles look more defined. Her workouts are tough, but you will see results when doing them, even if you don't add in much cardio.
Overall, I'm glad I bought this workout and know I'll use it, but I'm not sure that it will get as much use in my repertoire as her other DVDs. I will also update my review when I do this workout again since it may grow on me more when I do it a second time. If you're new to Ballet Beautiful, I'd suggest starting with her first two DVDs, Ballet Beautiful: Total Body Workout and Ballet Beautiful: Body Blast. I have about 300 workout DVDs in my collection, and those two are some of my most frequently used DVDs since they're so fantastic.
UPDATE ON 3-18-15: I just did this workout the second time, and liked it more than I did the first time around. The standing cardio section really targets the legs nicely, while also helping to work on balance. It's still not one of my favorite BB workouts, but I do like the fact that the cardio is a bit more low-impact.
I've had wonderful results using Mary Helen Bowers' Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout and Ballet Beautiful Body Blast workouts together (which I liken to the results that many get from Tracy Anderson's workouts, in terms of the lengthening and tightening that you get), and had been eagerly awaiting this new one, which I pre-ordered from Amazon a few months ago. (In my reviews for those two other DVDs, I've mentioned the positive results I've gotten from doing Mary Helen's workouts in the past; when I was doing just those two workouts and no cardio, I lost several inches.) I'm really pleased with this new one, and know that I'll be using it a lot!
When you go to the main menu, you have the option of playing either the entire workout or individual chapters. Whether you choose the individual segments or the whole thing, you also have the option of playing the workout with Mary Helen's voice + music or just with the music. This is a nice feature since the counting on her other two DVDs can be a bit repetitious after doing the workouts a few times.
The individual segments (if you choose to do them one at a time) are:
* Warm-Up (about 8 minutes)
* Core Workout (about 11 minutes)
* Upper Body (about 16:30 minutes)
* Lower Body (about 13 minutes)
* Total Body (about 11 minutes; this is really the last cool-down stretch)
The entire workout comes in at 62 minutes, and all you need to do the workout is a mat. The music is classical piano music, and it's more upbeat than the music on her other workouts, which is nice since this has a cardio focus.
The workouts are filmed in the bright, white loft that is similar to the backdrop used in her other two workouts. Mary Helen uses ballet shoes to do the workout, but you could probably be barefoot and be fine. (I use the Capezio Women's Daisy Ballet Shoe when I do Mary Helen's workouts to feel a bit more ballerina-like! :-) )
The cardio segments/bursts (what Mary Helen calls "Allegro intervals") on this are mixed in with mat work, so it's not a pure cardio workout, where you'd be doing cardio for an entire hour. On the back of the DVD case, it mentions that these are designed to be "high-intensity cardio intervals," but they aren't as intense as other HIIT or cardio workouts. That being said, the cardio bursts still got my heart rate up during all of them. The cardio moves that she does all have a ballet focus, and include things like leaping in place and doing hopping plie lifts. Mary Helen will have you doing a few minutes of these cardio bursts, and then you'll get on the floor and do a toning segment that focuses on a body part (abs, arms, or legs), before moving into the next cardio and toning segment.
If you like ballet-inpsired workouts, I'd also recommend Leah Sarago's Ballet Body DVDs or Tracy Mallet's barre workouts. While Leah's and Tracy's workouts have a more athletic feel to them, they focus in similar ways as Mary Helen's workouts on lengthening and developing lean muscles.
Overall, this is a nice cardio workout that will fit in nicely with her other two Ballet Beautiful workouts! I always feel graceful when doing her workouts, and love how lean and lifted I feel afterwards!
UPDATE ON 3-18-15: If you need more of a low-impact cardio workout, then I'd recommend the new Ballet Beautiful: Swan Arms Cardio, which just came out last month. Since you leave one foot on the ground at all times with Swan Arms Cardio, it's easier on the joints.