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Turn Out That Turn Out!!

Summer session has officially begun and while the class was good overall one thing pestered me the entire class – my freaking turn out. Now, some people have told me that my turn out is fine, even heard the word “good” flung around once or twice. Regardless of the intermittent compliments, I still loathe my turn out.

To be fair – my turn out devant is pretty good. But any tendu executed en ar·rière (aka to the back) is just horse shit. There I said it. My tentus en ar·rière look like complete horse shit! Call it a freaking curse. I watch the other students in class and it amazes me how even the most novel student can execute the step without wincing in embarrassment. Then there is my sorry ass. What in the hell is the deal, yo?!?! I stretch (mind you not as often in the beginning but at least 4 times a week) and have tailored my weekly workouts to focus entirely on my lower body and here I am. A sad-sack of a ballerina who can barely tendu like a lady!!

Question: Is LB a quitter? Does LB shy away from a challenge and acquiesce to defeat before even attempting to overcome the adversity that befalls her?!?!

Answer: Ahhh dahhhhhh. No!! [Who is that lady? She sounds terrible. Maybe a hug will help? Or a Xanex?]

Just for the record, LB is a maniacal (and often hilarious) beast whose sole purpose in life is to show her peers, nay, the world, that she cannot be stopped. She won’t be stopped. Because you cannot stop this force of a woman from pursing the impossible!!!

…Ok. I’ll stop being so dramatic and talking in the third person. That’s just c(w)eepy. (Says my son)

Anywho. Dramatics aside, I do want to attempt and make my ever-so-blah-turn-out better. It would make me happy to see improvement in this area. I challenged myself to achieve the splits – what the hell?! Right?!

So in my research I found an article by The Ballet Blog which provides a little insight in how to achieve your ultimate turn out. Warning: The stretches are crazy. Forget the butterfly – these yoga inspired poses will kick the crap out you in seconds!! I am going to work these stretches into my routine and hope I see some results. I’m tired of having a crappy turn out!!! I’m tired, I say!!!

If you have any suggestions or links, you just send them on my way! I need all the help I can get!

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Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Listen ladies (and gents) – I am a strong proponent of stretching and when a good video comes my way I feel compelled to let my loyal readers know. The following video is from the incomparable, undeniable Goddess of Dance – Allison DeBona. I have taken a couple of her master classes and actually have driven her in my lowly Nissan Pathfinder. (I’m more like a Legal Chauffeur. Ha!). She is exquisite and a true professional. When she speaks, I listen.

So ladies, listen to Allison’s magical wisdom of stretching, compliments of the YouTube.

Enjoy.

Allison DeBona Stretching Video

Plyometrics + Ballet = Bliss

Hello dear readers. I hope all is well with all of you. I am doing great!! So many things to talk about. I know – “LB? What’s the haps, yo?! Have you quit ballet? Quit blogging? What’s the deal?” (In my head, everyone is under 25 and uses trendy lingo in his/her everyday conversations. Using words like “haps” and “yo” is totally the norm. In fact “totes” is often used, but I don’t want to scare you off with all my “cool” talk.)

Anywho – I have been here. Ballet-ting, working out and (the not so fun part) dieting. Yes dieting. Sweet Baby Jesus do I hate dieting. But the outcome is always worth it. I am actually on a “Weight Watchers” type of program. I down loaded an app that provides me with “points” and tracks the foods I eat. At my height, weight and age, I do not get many points. [Insert frowny-clown-face here.]. This diet is not always easy. I get hungry, but there are foods that don’t count as points (fruits and veggies), I literally munch on baby carrots between delicious meals of protein shakes, eggs with stir fried vegetables and hot sauce, ground turkey (turkey chili, shell-less tacos), fish and more and more and more vegetables! Mmmmmm. Are you salivating yet?! (The sad thing is, I am. Ha!). I also eat rice and raw oatmeal, but I limit my intake and I measure everything. I also eat spaghetti once a week because life isn’t worth living without noodles. So that is my diet. Pretty simple and sometimes boring, but it gets the job done. Oh yeah, and I no longer drink at all during the week. No more glass of Shiraz before bed for this fitness buff! Boring. [Insert frowny-faced-hobo here.]. It really isn’t that bad, but man do I miss fast food. I have abstained from crappy food for so long that I was even yearning for a cartoon (yes, cartoon) hamburger that I saw on the show “Bobs Burgers” the other night. Awesome show. Awesome food. Yes, I’m hungry. Enough said.

With the dieting, comes the exercise. I decided that since I am not in so many ballet classes, I might as well use the time wisely and get my ass in fighting shape. And I mean fighting shape. I want to successfully wrestle a giraffe to the ground with my bare hands. (Anyone? Answer: Step Brothers. Boom.). Honestly, I have wussed out with my workouts for long enough and I need to get my fitness-body back. Beautiful, brainy and brawny. That’s what a real woman is made of! Ha!

My plan of attack? Plyometric training. I created an intense circuit that is a combination of upper body weight training. and plyometric exercises. It takes 45 minutes to complete the entire circuit and by the time I’m done, I am toast. (Mmmmm. Toast. With jelly. *drool.). No breaks, no stopping, no excuses. I’m such a glutton for punishment. I have been at this program for one month and I am finally acclimated to it. I’m actually at the point where I can add one more circuit of exercises (I currently have 3 circuits, each has 4 different exercises and I do 4 sets of each). I’m seeing progress and I am finally leaning out and getting cut. I have a little more to go and I am confident to reach my goal by next month. I’m going to Disney and I want to look good. So what if it’s a place for kids! I want to be the most fit mama there!

Now with this program of dieting and exercises, you need to be patient. Remember folks – slow and steady wins the race. Stick to your diet, even if you don’t see the scale go down immediately or you reach a weight loss plateau. You need to keep plugging away at the training, no matter how tired or hung over you are (aka last Sunday – I had to make up for lost time!). In the end, you will see results and you will be so proud at yourself from setting, sticking with (and hopefully) meeting your goals! LB has spoken!

As for ballet, clearly my training has helped my progress. But the best part, I am feeling so confident in class now. My feet actually do I want them to. I thought the connection between my feet and brain would never happen. I am doing combinations with ease and have actually picked up my pace. It feels wonderful! My instructor, who still has us work on single pirouettes, asked me to start working on my doubles! Yeah! She thinks I’m ready for doubles!! (Ha!).

I need more practice and my instructor want me to take more classes. The problem is, in not ready (for her standards) to move up. That’s fine, I just have to find somewhere else to practice. And I did. There is a studio nearby that just opened up, and low and behold, they have an adult ballet class on Saturday afternoons! There is just one thing – the class is very, very beginner. I am not a beginner. However, this really isn’t a problem because only goal is to work on my alignment and improve basic technique. The teacher is spunky and has a youthful perspective on ballet. It’s quite refreshing. She makes me laugh and I have fun working on the combinations I learn at the other studio. The other day we were working on jetes. Well, the beginners were just running and then hoping over a stuffed alligator. Nope, the days of aimlessly leaping over children’s play thugs are over for me! I asked the instructor if I could work on my jete combination instead. Of course I can! The moto is “free you body and let your soul free with dance” here! When it was my turn, I tombe pada bourre glissade jete-ed across the floor (repeat 3 times!). I’m actually able to control them now. (Boom). When I was done, the women in my class liked it so much they wanted to do it too! I was happy to inspire the group. It is kind of weird being the best in the class. That’s a real first. Mind you, there are only two other students in the class, but I will happily take the title anyway! LB has no shame!

I am having fun with ballet again. I missed that feeling and I was without it for so long. No more stress. No more pressure to perform. Just a regimented, predictable, professional classical ballet technique class. Add awesome workouts at the gym and getting fit to that and that is what I call “pure bliss”, my friends. Pure bliss

I hope you are all doing well. I would love to hear from you so give me a shout!!

Kisses. LB

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Time to Kick my Own Butt

Is that even possible? I think I can do it. It may not be a graceful endeavor, but I need to set my ballet pride aside and do it. Let the butt kicking begin.

Since the fall, I suppose you can say I got a little lazy. (Perish the thought). It happens to me every 6 months or so. I go hard in the gym or studio and then over time I just lose steam. Literally. I slow down. I stop eating super clean. My motivation becomes completely depleted. Then after several weeks of being slug-girl I snap out of it. I look at myself in the mirror and go, “Eww. I look gw-oss. Bis-gusting.” (My son is so cute. Ha!) Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m not a hog beast. It’s my inner athlete getting pissed off at my laziness.

Which brings me to the present day. I’ve got my slug on and now I’m ready to buff up again. Although the motivation is back, it’s hard getting the wheels of fitness churning again. I always say that starting your fitness journey is harder then maintaining the path. So, I’m on day two of kicking my own ass. I started weight lifting again and doing a plyometric cardio program. It sucks. Hard. I hate being weak. But I know if I keep at it, I will be back in fighting shape in no time. Also know as “arm wrestling” and/or “wrestling” shape.

I’m hopeful the next time you see me, I’ll be wrestling a giraffe to the ground with my bare hands (anyone? Anyone?). I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. Watch me.

Boom.

Now what.

Love LB.

Kisses!!

Diet Dilemma Query

So about a week ago I got an email from a loyal Legal Ballerina reader asking about a little bit of a diet dilemma. I thought her question is something that a lot of adults can relate to, so with her permission, I am going to post her email and my response. I hope this helps and enjoy!

(Get ready – this is a long one!)

Adult Ballet Beginner writes:

“How do you hang with the diet thing? I went through weight issues after quitting dance but over the decades have mainly conquered the beast. And yet those last 7-8 lbs, the ones that no one but me cares about, that wouldn’t matter if I didn’t want to prance around in a leotard and tights balanced on two of my toes. I can’t make them go away. The best I’ve managed is half, and then I gain those back. (Cue the memory of the ballet teacher I had at age eight screaming at me, “Never say, ‘I can’t!’ in front of an entire class of 8-year-olds who could all do splits but me…ah, memories.)

Anyway, how do you navigate the mental and emotional aspects of dieting? I understand nutrition. I can count the heck out of calories and plan the stuffing out of a high-protein, mostly-low-carb diet. I can put small nutritious snacks in my bag and eat them when I’m hungry or before class so I don’t starve or space out. I can drive to the gym and (most of the time) enter the gym and do both cardio and weight resistance plus stretching, on a good day. I can drag in and do even-just-20 minutes at least half the time on a bad day. I take walks and do yoga. I can mix it up and even do a Zumba or Barre Vite class if I really want to spaz out just to stop taking myself so seriously and see if my hair will unwind from the ballet bun! I have even (and at this point in the email you may be about to suggest this) sought and received professional help.

Unfortunately, the one thing I apparently cannot do is stick to the diet enough to just get back down to a fighting ballet weight. Anytime something bothers me, I eventually eat my way through it (and stuff is always bothering me, because I’m a sensitive flower, and socially awkward, and I want my teachers to adore me). I know that things shouldn’t bother me this much and that I am very lucky, among other reasons, to get to be dancing in my forties.

Well by now you may think I’m a little insane for telling you all this, but if you do have a word of advice I assure you I will be eternally grateful.”

<My Response

Now, as to your question regarding dieting. Dieting isn’t easy. You are restricting yourself from eating the things you enjoy and that’s no fun. Especially when you are an emotional eater, as you have indicated in your email. Your task to lose those extra pounds will be exceptionally daunting given that you will have to stop a bad habit as well. But fear not young grasshopper, I believe your goal is completely doable. You are not seeking to lose tens of pounds; only pounds!! Although I realize those can be the toughest. I myself often struggle with losing the last couple. Let me queue you into my little secrets that will hopefully help you reach your goal.

It comes down the food and thought. Allow me to elaborate.

(1) Cut out sugared drinks (in fact drink water all day if you can), high calorie condiments and toppings (cheese, mayo, oil, bacon – yes bacon, or anything that adds calories!!), and processed foods as much as possible. Eat protein and veggies. Period. Lots of it.

You can easily avoid adding a lot of calories in your diet by cutting out any sugary drinks. One can of regular Coke has 120 cal in it. Personally, I would rather eat my calories than drink them. Wouldn’t you?

As for condiments or any toppings with calories, That is also easy to cut out. I have never been a real fan of mayonnaise or adding oil to anything so it is really easy for me to exclude it. If you think about it, she’s really doesn’t taste like anything. It’s the consistency that is the most delicious part of cheese. You can have a hamburger. Just don’t add the cheese. Boom – thats 60 cal. you just cut out! Stick with the main dish. Don’t add a lot of fancy because fancy equals high calories. Unless the fancy is involving vegetables. For example, spaghetti sauce is super delicious and has very low calories and is very healthy for you.

And then we come to the processed food concept. This is the most difficult for people to actually do. I’m not saying to cut it out completely. All I’m saying is to limit your intake during the day. And when you do eat processed foods, try to make them whole grain and earlier in the day so you have time to burn it off.

Eat your protein and veggies!! If you don’t eat meat – eat nuts. Do protein shakes. I make them every morning. Don’t worry about the calories involved. Those are stored differently in your body.

Veggies are a given, but are often thought of as gross allllll day long. I put spinach in my morning protein shakes. I eat baby carrots and humus for snacks. Veggies are a natural laxative! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice poop?!?!

(2) Your mind is your biggest enemy when it comes to dieting. No one likes abstaining from delicious food. Hence why so many people fail. So, it’s important to ask yourself one simple question – how important is losing this weight is to you???? And then follow it up with – if you do lose the weight, will it make you happy???

I mean – we are talking about a couple of pounds here. If you succeed, it probably wont change your life. Some people may not even notice that you lost it. (Boo). So, is the worth all the effort to lose it? If your answer is “yes” then it’s time to move to the next step.

It’s time you develop a new relationship with food. Food is your comfort. Like a blanket to a toddler. Except a blanket doesn’t make you fat. So you need to let the blanket go. Throw it away. Burn it. Whatever you need to do to stop holding on to the security you feel when you put a donut in your mouth. Because, guess what – This is a mental game. Food will not make your problems go away. It won’t make you feel better in the long run. A binge usually makes you feel worse, right?? Whatever is stressing you needs to be dealt with. Either create a new “blanket” or resolve the stress. Honestly, it’s easier to find a new blanket. So try exercise (healthily). Ballet has been my blanket as of late!!! I feel stress – I have my weekly classes. Also, I started running again. It has been amazing. Use your body to let the tension go (if you catch my drift. Ha!).

Food is your energy; your sustinence. That is all. Try to create a new relationship with it. It takes time, but it is possible. You just have to decide that it can’t solve your problems or make you feel better. It’s just something that makes us life and breathe. Take the power away and you will find the strength to reach your goal.

Conclusion:

I am not interested in promoting a bad habit. That being – eating disorder. I have been through it and would not wish that experience in my worse enemy. ….well maybe. (Ha!) I am only trying to help people in their short and long term goals in weight loss. What I just explained can help you maintain a healthy weight with lots of flexibility. Always try to be smart. Eat out. Have cake. Drink wine. Give yourself a 5 pound weight fluctuation. When you are pushing the 5 pounds, that’s when to get serious. Instill the rules, lose the weight and you will always achieve the balance. Only freaks of nature enjoy eating clean 24 hours a day. You and I are humans. We certainly not professional athletes or models. Embrace your body type and always strive to make your body “the best is can be” and nothing more. You have a pear shape – strive to be j-lo. (Ha!). I’m more like a pre-adolescence kid. No waist, hips, or thighs. That also means I’m build like a child. I’ve excepted it. So should you. You are beautiful – just like God intended. The more confident you are about yourself, the more people will will respond to you. You can shine no matter what your size. It’s your attitude that counts. Trust me on this one.

One thing I forgot to add – as you get older you lose muscle. It may be time to add some weight training to your exercise routine. Adding more muscle will definitely rev up the metabolism!!

Tomorrow, I Swear!

I was supposed to post pictures or a video of my arabesque penche for the challenge, but it didn’t turn out right. Ms. Disney promised to do a video tomorrow in between classes. So, I will post something by tomorrow night. I am committed to this challenge, I swear! “By the moon and the stars in the sky!” Anyone? Anyone? I hate that song. It reminds me of when I worked at Kohls during college.

Speaking of hell, I mean Kohls, did I ever tell you when I found a massive dump in the women’s dressing room?! Yeah, it was pretty magical. I was cleaning up some clothes that some delightful patron left in a pile on the seat. I smelled something….fart-like. I heard a women (at least that’s what I assumed was a women) in the dressing room next to me. I thought to myself, “Hello! Someone had Mexican for lunch. Ga-Ross.” And giggled softly to myself, because let’s face it, farts are funny. As I picked up the last item of clothing off of the seat, instead of lifting right up, it sort of pealed off. It even made a noise. Like a piece of tape being removed from skin. Underneath? You guessed it – a giant turd! Happy day! I found poop in the women’s dressing room! Has Christmas come early?! Why it must have, because I could have never dreamed of a gift so lovely for an under paid college student then to find a crap in a space that is so clearly not a toilet! The best part? There was no way a child could have created such splendor. An individual of the teenage or adult persuasion intentionally dropped trou and defecated in a Kohls dressing room. I was horrified. I mean, I have seen my fair share of puddles of pee around the children’s department, but never did I have the luxury of witnessing dung in such an unexpected place. I could only imagine the thought process of the the classy lady who decided that this was where poop should go. It probably went something like this,”MAN do I have to poop. Well, I could walk to the women’s restroom that is only a short jaunt from here. But then, I would delay trying on all these beautiful pieces of non-custom made, Chinese derived, poorly crafted, bedazzled, cotton t-shirts that have either a bird, kitten, sunflower, snowflake, pumpkin or palm tree on it! What to do, what to do. Well, it’s settled. I’m shitting right here!!!” So, without hesitation, I gingerly placed the soiled shirt back on the turd, gracefully walked to the employee phone and informed management, “I just found a shit in the women’s dressing room. You better get someone from maintenance over here right away, because I know I don’t get paid enough to clean up poop.”

And that’s my Kohls poop story.