How to Get a Dancer's Body

Simone De La Rue is responsible for the covetable toned limbs and abs of a bevy of boldface names like Karolina Kurkova, Naomi Watts and Sandra Bullock. Her clients, devotees of the Body by Simone method (or BBS for short), swear by her powerful dance cardio sweat sessions and tailored toning moves. The Aussie (who was born in England) opened her personal studio in November of 2011 and is quickly taking over the dance fitness world. "At some point in their lives every woman has danced, or wanted to dance," she says of the cult workout movement. But her studio is more than just a way to get in shape for the new year, it's a place to hang with your girlfriends and let loose. "I always say, leave your ego at the door. I don't care if you don't get the step right. Just keep moving!" Click through to learn the secrets behind her BBS method. How to Get a Dancer's Body

Harper's Bazaar: How did you get into fitness?

Simone De La Rue: I danced all my life and accidentally fell into fitness. I trained in classical ballet from the age of 3 and worked professionally for 16 years - I did the West End in London and Broadway here in New York. And it happens that one of the shows I was supposed to be doing was canceled two days before we were supposed to start rehearsals. And that was supposed to be a year-long contract. I had been working in fitness on the side at the time and it also happened to be the start of everyone's obsession with wanting to have a dancer's body - it was The Black Swan era.

HB: So how do you get a dancer's body?

SDLR: The typical way to get a dancers body is… dance! It's because dance is a total body workout. You are not sitting on a bike and cycling or running or weight training. The idea is the body is long and lean and never at rest, just really burning calories. It's fluid, liquid-like movement, and it's continuous. I developed my technique, Body by Simone, over years of being a professional dancer. You do 8 shows a week, and it gets quite strenuous on the body and repetitive. So before a show, you have half an hour on the stage where you can warm up. And that is where I created my BBS warm up that I used over the years to protect my body from injury. I kind of combined little bits of it into what is now my signature cardio dance routines.

HB: Growing up as a professional dancer did you always find that the industry had a relatively healthy body image?

SDLR: No, it is tough, especially for me since I grew up in classical ballet. I'm lucky I never had an eating disorder. Some of my friends did. That is why I took a detour to musicals, they are a little more accepting of different shapes. I've got really broad shoulders and I still remember the day when I was 16 and the ballet school didn't even let me dance, it was like being a model, they just made me stand there and turn, turn, turn, while they judged me.

HB: Can you explain the BBS method further and why it works so well.

SDLR: The classes we offer complement each other. It is basically 45 minutes to an hour of dance cardio and the other hour is just strictly toning. Obviously people don't have 2 hours a day to work out, so we also do some classes that are 45 minute body blasts. You need at least 20 minutes of cardio a day, I think. It used to be you were supposed to do 30 minutes straight and now scientific research has said short 10 minute bursts tend to work better. So you do like 10 minutes of cardio, sculpting and arms, then more cardio. Plus, it goes faster.

HB: Any recommendations for nutrition, any hard fast rules?

SDLR: I think fitness is 80% diet, 20% exercise, which as someone in my field I should be saying 80% exercise, but it really is about what you eat. Obviously the exercise will complement that, and you will see faster results and quicker weight loss with BBS, but it really is about what you are putting into your body. I try to keep the amount of alcohol down as much as possible can. We are going to have a cafe in our studio called Hu Kitchen, and it is based on the Paleo diet, so no grain, no dairy, no gluten, hardly any sugar or starch. It's a lot of vegetables and protein. For me that is what works best - a very heavy protein diet, I don't have many carbs at all.


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