Its been almost 4 months since birth and its time to do something about ‘the body’.
Watching Black Swan last night gave me goose bumps all over… leaving me awake till wee hours in the morning thanks to the *mind effing* suspense!
However, no doubt you have to give it to Natalie Portman for obtaining such success in her acting as well as her beautifully gained dancers body in a short period for this particular movie.
Being all inspired, i can’t help but to feed my curiosity on how she achieved her newly found defined body.. therefore i began my research.
“The Black Swan Diets” are popping up everywhere on the web and most center around low calorie diets and hours of ballet practice. The question is – if you want to look like ballet dancer (i know i would) – is doing hours of ballet dancing the most efficient way to do so? What if you can’t dance ballet for nuts?
To obtain “The Body’” Portman spent over a year getting up to speed as a ballet dancer. She had a personal trainer Mary Helen Bowers. Unlike some actors, She did have previous experience as she danced from ages 4 to 12 but this was not nearly enough experience to make her look like a credible professional dancer on screen. Essentially, Natalie had to be put in “ballet bootcamp.” Practice sessions ranged from a few hours a day up to 6-8 hrs per day (on top of cross training, shooting , rehearsing, and other time commitments.) On top of daily ballet training, she would also cross train in the evenings frequently swimming 1 mile to increase her endurance and to lengthen her upper body. Check out Ballet Beautiful of Mary Helen Bowers.
Despite training all day, she needed to stick to a very low calorie diet to take her body down to a typical ballet dancer’s weight – and then go even lower (to accurately portray the unstable mental state of her character) as her visible chest bones demonstrate. For her, this low calorie diet ranged around 1200 calories per day (and yes, it was vegan but it should be noted the actress was already eating a vegan diet and this change was NOT made to somehow supercharge her weight loss. Losing weight on a vegan diet is not necessarily easier) Total weight loss estimated to be 20 pounds – from a previously thin-to-normal weight range (Natalie was probably never heavier than 107lbs on her 5ft 3in frame.)
So What Happens When a Regular Woman Tries the Black Swan Diet?
Here’s an interesting article in NYPost about a journalist who creates her own self-styled “Black Swan diet” a month out from her wedding.
The author essentially did the following:
- Ate a 1200 calorie per day diet (vegetarian to match the author’s existing eating habits)
- 2-3 hour long ballet classes per week
- 2 strength training sessions per week with a personal trainer
- 20-30min swimming or steady cardio workouts each day
Time spent exercising per day – 1.5hrs.
Average meal calorie size – under 300
Are you inspired yet? I sure am! 🙂
The Keys to Building Your Own Ballet Body
Looking like a dancer does not mean you need to live or train like a dancer. Most dancers keep a very low body fat level (and small musculature) through lack of eating, genetics, and dancing/practicing 10-12hrs per day. When you really look at a dancer’s body – what sets them apart is not their low body fat levels or light/balanced musculature but rather the posture and grace with which a ballet dancer stands and moves. Ballet dancers have very long necks and open chests (no forward head posture or rolled forward shoulders from hours working at a computer), stand up very straight, and move with a higher center of balance. Ballet dancers also have great butts, its true, from all of the plies, kicks, and leg elevations.
Get Long and Lean
The easiest way to do this is through diet. Cutting calories to lose excess body fat. Until the fat sitting on top of your muscles is reduced, you will not have a long or lean look.
Watch your portion sizes and intake of calorie dense foods (like bread, pasta, sugar, juice, soda, oil, nuts, etc.)
Aim to fill half your plate with leafy greens and fiberous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
Choose lean proteins like chicken breast (no skin), extra lean ground beef, turkey, and fish.
Every good workout begins with mat work! Ballet Beautiful founder Mary Helen Bowers shares a few of her favorite exercises from her new video series, debuting online.
Lengthen Your Bod
“Stretching before and after every workout keeps muscles supple and helps elongate the lines of a ballerina’s limbs,” says Bowers. “Begin by lying on your back and bringing your leg above you, pulling the ankle gently toward your head. Work toward stretching your knee all the way straight over time. Change legs.”
Be Ab-Fab :
“For a ballerina, the center of balance is everything—creating a strong center of balance begins with building strong abdominal muscles,” says Bowers. “Lie on your back with your knees slightly bent and the arms open wide in second position. Lift the body up, contracting the abs as you close the arms to first position—a wide yet graceful circle with the hands—just above the abdomen. Pull the stomach in, closing and opening the arms as you lift up and lower. Repeat 30 times.”
Firm Your Behind
According to Bowers, ballerinas are known for their “tight, toned butts!” To work on your derrière, begin on your hands and knees and make sure you have plenty of cushion underneath. “Bring one knee into your chest and then extend the leg straight back, into arabesque,” says Bowers. “Stretch the knee all the way and be sure to pull in through your stomach. Repeat 30 times, then change legs.”
Tone Those Arms!
Ballerinas are known for their elegant posture and strong yet graceful upper bodies. “Sitting down on the mat, extend your legs out straight and place your hands just behind your hips, with the fingers facing the outer edge of the mat,” says Bowers. “Lift your hips off the mat as you stretch the elbows, keeping your chest open and your neck long. Pull your stomach in tight and then bend the elbows slightly. Repeat this 30 times.”
Also ballet inspired workout, check out the following:
ahhh enough said~ Lets stop dreaming and start building ‘The Perfect Body’ together-gether! 🙂