Thing of the Week: Ballet Beautiful

When I was pregnant I had this crazy elaborate plan for working out. I was going to CrossFit twice a week like my cousin, Erica did after her daughter, Jade was born. I was going to get in kick-ass shape no problem except... SAYING it is so much easier than making the appointment. And making the appointment is so much easier than (ahem) ATTENDING the appointment.

I have purchased approximately 7878932 yoga/pilates/tap dance classes and to this day NEVER attended a single one. Because? I HATE working out in public. The class atmosphere bums me out and gyms depress me. I feel like a hamster in a cage full of wheels in some kind of deranged dystopian futureworld, enslaved to calorie counting in a sea of calorie-counters with bad spray tans. (Or is that just an LA thing?)

Anyway. I decided it best to figure out a daily at-home workout plan. Something a little more vigorous than daily dog walks and strolls to the smoothie shop. We don't have a Wii or an X -Box so workout DVDs would be my go-to.

I looked to twitter and some trusted lady friends who continuously sang the praises of Mary Helen Bowers and her Ballet Beautiful classes. (Mary Helen Bowers is a ballerina with the New York City Ballet who also trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. She also teaches live online classes!) Mary Helen recommended (via twitter) I purchase her "Classic 60 Minutes" DVD so that's what I did.
Two weeks into excercising every morning after dropping the kids off, (REMEMBER! I have a sitter who comes every. single. weekday. at 7am. I am not in any way superhuman! I am a work-at-home mother with five-day-a-week childcare help!) I am happy to report a noticeable difference in my everything. My morning workouts have become not only physically important but an emotional stabilizer. I now have one hour every day when my office door closes and I am left alone to breathe and stretch and kick some fitness action in an otherwise quiet room.

(I am currently typing this with my yoga mat at my feet after just completing my tenth Ballet Beautiful workout since first purchasing the DVD. Go, me!)

And? I can already see a difference. That sounds crazy nuts but it's true. My body feels firm in places it previously... hadn't. My balance, posture and physical strength have vastly improved. My back, which has taken a considerable beating throughout pregnancy and postpartum baby-carrying seems to be BACK! My back is back!

I'm sure it's been said a thousand times before (and far more eloquently than this) but building my physical strength makes me feel stronger everywhere else...

And then I flexed my (little but promising) 'ceps in front of the mirror.
Welcome to my gym! It's very colorful here.


* Blast Series (my next purchase) is available, here
*Pink socks sold separately.



Crissy | 11:51 AM

I recently started working out, my dad purchased an gift card. Bought myself a cheap (relatively) cross trainer/elliptical machine. Trying to burn off the baby fat from my last baby, born almost 9 years ago. Better late than never. :) Good luck!

Unknown | 11:55 AM

I kept telling myself I should abide by your "9 months on, 9 months off rule," but we are now at 8 months and I have lost 2 lbs.

My doc said some women don't lose squat till they stop breastfeeding, and while your previous posts about bfing post reduction make me thankful that I can do it relatively easily, I am seriously over not being comfortable in my own skin. And while I'm a weirdo that actually likes the gym I doubt I'm gonna get my butt there anytime soon.

I almost bought this when you posted it on instagram, too, but one quick question. Do any of the poses have you lying face down? I get massive plugged ducts even thinking about it.


Nope! Nothing face down. Everything is done on back and side with a few standing exercises. GOOD LUCK!

holly | 12:16 PM

Can't wait to see your recital!

Tracey | 12:31 PM


AmyDanel | 12:31 PM

Good Idea, Holly, Bec has to make a recital video!

Question, have you had any dance experience? Do you think you need it to like this workout?


Amy - You do NOT need dance experience. At least not for the 60 minute videos. They're all very manageable stretching exercises with a little cardio at the end. I'll let you know about the BLAST!

Adrianne | 12:37 PM

Way to go Rebecca! I love that you put in a note about your childcare:) I often think to myself, oh if only I didn't have to go to work everyday and rush around when I get home and if only I had some household help, I'd get in shape!! But the truth of the matter is that it takes lots more than help with the baby(ies) or the house. It takes mental determination and consistency. Two things I've never really possessed. So I commend you on your hard work! You continue to inspire.

enna | 12:43 PM

I was about to order the DVD online, but then I figured there might be problems with playing the DVD on European DVD-Players. I'm not sure but I think the format is different over here. Does anyone know?

Amanda | 1:04 PM

This seems like exactly what I've been looking for. I hate gyms too and feel like a total moron in any fitness class I've ever had the displeasure of forcing myself through (f*$k you Zumba lady, f*%k you!). I definitely have to look into this. Thanks for sharing!

pamela | 1:08 PM

thanks for the share, looks interesting! Will have to check it out...but 60.whole.minutes?! ;-)

Unknown | 1:27 PM

That looks like something I would like, but 60 minutes?! I'm impressed that you have the energy and focus. Good for you. I have done nothing in the way of exercise (aside from walking and schlepping children and bags) since my daughter was born 5 months ago. I really want to feel in better shape, though. Thanks for giving me a little kick in the butt!

The Hojo Family | 1:41 PM

I know how it feels to get your body back to normal! I let myself gain WAY TOO MUCH weight when I was pregnant with my kids and then I let myself keep it on for FAR TOO LONG! This past year I FINALLY got it together and started working out. My cousin is a Crossfit trainer, so she sends me my workouts and then I do them in my own home! Or at the gym. Whatever I feel like :-) I have lost 129 pounds this past year with 13 left to lose!!!

Unknown | 2:04 PM



Helen | 2:45 PM

Are these the kind of exercises kids could do? I'm not looking to whip them into shape, but my 4 and 6 year olds do ballet, and maybe they would like to do this with me (because that would be the only way to get through it undisturbed!)


You had me at "my back is back!" My back has not been the same I first got pregnant...FIVE YEARS AGO.

Also, to Stephanie, above, regarding "9 months on, 9 months off"—I found this to be true, but not in the way it sounds. It took about 9 months for the weight to come off, but only after my son stopped nursing like a milk maniac (which happened around 9 months, coincidentally). I was at my pre-pregnancy weight by the time my son was 18 months old. You can do it!

Stephanie Wilson she/her @babysteph | 3:09 PM

Oh, this is wonderful! Ivy just started ballet & tap this week and as I was watching her class I was thinking how I want to do that, too!


Glenda | 4:46 PM

Maybe you can do a video / recital for all of us to see :)

Looks like something low key but tones the entire body.

I think I'm going to look into this. Thanks for sharing!

K | 5:08 PM

Thanks so much for the reminder that you have childcare at home - you know you were about to send us all into a void of vast mommy-guilt and comparison, and your reminder was perfectly timed. I so appreciate your love for your fellow-mama in this way!

Rosie | 5:29 PM

It looks like fun! But I always failed miserably in ballet class :-( Is your WAHM-job primarily blogging? I've always wondered if blogging here is how you make your full-time living.

Jack's Mama | 6:08 PM

I went to the gym two days in a row, yay me! But i just ate a handful or two of M&M's booo me, at least they were delicious. Thanks for sharing your post pregnancy weight lost struggles, my son is 2.5 and im still not at my prepregnancy weight but I'm getting closer!

Cait | 6:14 PM

@Enna - I had the same question, so I sent them an email (to which they responded in about 15 minutes - yeah for customer service!). They say the DVDs are region 0 so they can be played anywhere.

Good luck!



Thank you, Cait! Was just going to respond with the same. xo to all!

Anonymous | 6:21 PM

yayyyy, you're talking about what you're doing regarding excercising and hopefully food is coming in a post?? i've always been amazed with how you get your body back after kids, as i know you will this time!!!, and i waaaaaaant you to tell us how you do it! so thank you, please keep it coming.


And good for you, Jack's Mama! Keep it up, sister!

Hojo Fanily - WHOA, WHOA WHOA! That is MAJOR! You're my absolute hero! Good on you, mama!

Helen - it's definitely an adult workout. Lots of stretching and crunching and repetition. I wouldn't recommend it for kids. Doesn't seem... appropriate?

EB | 7:06 PM

If you have netflix, the Crunch Super Slim Down is a great 40 min workout that only requires a mat. I just bought the Ballet Beautiful 2 disc set! Thanks for sharing. Also, there's a 15% off coupon code on the Ballet Beautiful blog.

Garden Street Zoo | 8:14 PM

If you like the Ballet Beautiful (which looks lovely), you would probably like the Tracy Anderson Method - Post Pregnancy Workout. It is also dance/pilates inspired. You just have to get past the ridiculous cover shot of her in a tiny top and hot-pants. :) It is a great work-out with tons of core work. I need to find some inner motivation and dust off my work-out DVD collection!

oh, jenny mae | 7:03 AM

i've always wanted to do a ballet workout. i, too, don't love classes at the gym, but love yoga and pilates which require, for me at least, an instructor telling me i'm doing it right. i'll have to look into this one. seems just my style.

Anonymous | 8:29 AM

thanks for your candor regarding your child care situation. I am trying to lose post 6 mo old twin weight, also have 6, and 4 year olds. All boys-yeah testosterone. Anywho- can't stand the post c section poochy weird above the scar tummy gross thing- do you have that? Can you cure that? I may embrace the ballet, not sure if I could ever get an hour straight, maybe 3-4 am?? :)

Madeline Wilson | 9:13 AM

I agree completely with the working out at a gym sentiments. So I use a website call They have tons of yoga, pilates, and dance workouts and I can do them from the privacy of my home while my son naps. Total win win.

Unknown | 9:22 AM

I might have to check that program out. I am the opposite of you in that I find it nearly impossible to work out at home. I go to classes at the gym (which is small) and everyone is a regular mom like me for the most part so it is really nice. I need the motivation of a teacher and other ladies to work out and die (ha ha)with in solidarity. It is crazy how much better you feel about yourself and life when you are working out :) Good job!

Chara | 10:08 AM

"A hamster in a cage full of wheels in some kind of deranged dystopian futureworld..." Hilarious. I just quit my gym because I hated the parking lot, though I wish my reason had been more dire.

Stacey | 11:04 AM

Ooh, I just might have to download the online versions. I'm getting a big jiggly :)

Molly | 11:43 AM

This is going to sound dumb, but is that your usual set up with the laptop on a stool in front of your mat? does that work (is the screen too low)? I usually watch things on my laptop too and I was wondering how I could find a place in my (small) house to work out it...thanks for helping me figure out the setup.

L.L. | 4:55 PM

Thank you for this post - I am so going to buy this, it looks like just what I need. I didn't gain weight with my 2 pregnancies but I had gained a lot in the 2 years prior. I don't have a prob with cardio since I like to walk a lot but I need to tone and strengthen my back majorly and I need something low impact since I had my daughter only 11 weeks ago. You continue to inspire!

Kate | 6:36 PM

Oh, how I love you! For reminding women everywhere who don't have any help that you are not superhuman, and for making lucky women like me who DO have help not feel guilty about it.
: )

Kate | 6:38 PM

Oh, and I should add: WAY TO GO! GOOD FOR YOU!
Because I know first-hand that having some babysitting help doesn't somehow make it automatically easy to make oneself workout every day.

Amy | 1:55 PM

Just wanted to comment that my DVD pack arrived today and I'm going to give it a try as soon as possible. I took ballet as a child and in high school (instead of gym) and have been wanting to take classes again. What I'd really like is a barre workout DVD - wonder if Mary Helen will ever put one of those together? It would be fun to do an online course with her...

bluejeanamy | 10:52 AM

This looks delicious! I finally have a bedroom with a little space to do such things, so I think I'll treat myself!

And thank you for your parenthesis re: childcare and your recent posts on breastfeeding and tummy sleeping and the like. It's refreshing and awesome and makes me smile. I think the Internet would be such a happier place if we could *all* fess up a little bit more...

Liz | 9:59 AM

I just placed my order! I've been looking for something a bit mellow & low-impact to do at home. This seems right on pointe (see what I did there?). :)

robin | 1:40 PM

So, I ordered that immediately after reading your post (from Amazon, cheaper!) and I *just* did it for the first time. It KILLED! It was so hard! Good for you for doing it 5 times a week! I am going to try that, too, hoping it will eventually get easier and I won't have to rest 4,562 times...but I will be happy with 3 times a week!