Get Fit The Fun Way

Every since Black Swan started generating buzz women everywhere have been rediscovering ballet as a fabulous way to get fit. Here are 3 of the best ways to get fit the fun way.


She’s just picked up the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in Black Swan, and deservedly so. Natalie Portman trained for up to 18 hours a day to replicate a real ballerina’s physique, but you don’t have to go as overboard. Ballet has made a huge comeback thanks to this beautifully-filmed psychological thriller set at the New York City Ballet and luckily there are plenty of ballet studios open to adults.

Having trained for years as a little girl, I was intrigued at how I would go again after falling in love with Black Swan, and enrolled in an 8 week adult ballet course. I thought it would be lots of stretching and perhaps a plié or two. Boy was I wrong! Halfway into the first class we were doing routines, complete with pirouettes, and I was covered in sweat. It was the best workout I’ve had in years, albeit a little intimidating compared to the level of the other students. And seeing yourself reflected in those floor-to-ceiling mirrors, standing at the barre in nude tights and a leotard 20 years after having worn one is quite hilarious. It’s fantastic for posture and elongating the muscles, just make sure you find the level that’s right for you.

Try: In Sydney, try Adult Ballet Studio, or check your local community college for classes.

Belly Dancing

I always thought of belly dancing as the beautiful yet slightly uncomfortable distraction you put up with when dining at a Middle Eastern restaurant. A friend and I enrolled in a weekly class as a bit of a laugh, but enjoyed it so much we’re thinking of doing the next level up. It’s not as easy as just shaking your hips – you use your whole body, especially your tuckshop lady arms! It improves coordination and firms your tummy after the first lesson. The music is so exotic and those lovely coin-embellished shrugs to tie around your waist are all you need to get started.

Try: Visit Belly Dancing Classes Australia to find a class near you.

Hula Hooping

Hula hooping, seriously? Yes! It’s the latest celebrity craze and even Marisa Tomei has released a hula hoop workout DVD – and if you ever saw her amazing 40-something body in The Wrestler than you’ll want to sit up and take notice. So in the name of research, I borrowed my niece’s hula hoop and got grooving…

For the first five minutes I could barely keep the hula hoop up, much to the amusement of everyone around me. But then, my coordination kicked in, and I kept it up there for a minute, then two…And then my stomach muscles kicked in and I could feel the calories burning. I tried smaller hoops around my arms and after only 15 minutes I’d felt like I’d done a full body workout.

What I love about hula hooping is that there’s no excuses: if I don’t have much time, or even if it’s raining, it doesn’t matter. I can pull out the hoops and do a quick spin at home. It’s a great excuse to put some loud music on and have some fun while toning the tummy and arms.

Try: Get a hula hoop from your local Target or K-Mart and try Marisa Tomei’s Hoop Body DVD.

OK readers would you try ballet, belly dancing or hula hooping? What is your favourite way of getting fit?