Review of Ballet Body: Upper Body Ultra Sleek DVD

by fitforthesoul in , , ,


Finally, the time has come to do my first review on Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body DVDs.  Yayyyy!  I wish you guys could see me right now as I flutter with excitement to spill the truth on these workouts!  I mostly have positive things to say about Leah’s routines, but I’m trying to pick out any possible negative aspects that could be used as a word of precaution for those of you who might be beginning exercisers, or if you have weakened bones and muscles due to past injuries.  But let’s face it, it is wise to be aware your own fitness level as well as where you stand with your health in the first place, so it goes without saying that Ballet Body should be used with caution as with any other fitness DVD out in the market.  Smile

Here is my breakdown on the Upper Body DVD:

  • All you need is a yoga mat and a pair of 2-5 lb. dumbbells.
  • It is mainly comprised of ballet style exercises, the graceful and gentle moves of pilates, and the concentration and relaxation of a yoga sequence.  Let me clarify that the ballet component is not real ballet per se--but more of a ballet conditioning routine.
  • The instruction is perfectly on cue and quite precise.  It is done in a voice-over fashion rather than the instructor shouting the next cue in your face.  She’s pretty serious, but I like that style because it allows me to focus my mind on what I’m doing rather than on the instructor.
  • Leah provides modifications for certain exercises.
  • It lasts for a total of 45 minutes.  25 minutes are spent doing floor work such as variations of planks, twists, holds, etc.  16 minutes are spent doing standing positions with different dumbbell exercises, which include a deadly amount of pulses and lifts.  The last 4 minutes are for stretching and they perfectly target the muscles that have been fatigued.  Leah goes deep into the stretches instead of doing them haphazardly, which is something that I’ve noticed many fitness instructors tend to do.
  • Leah starts up with a sequence of plank variations and does NOT play around!  Within the first minute or so you will probably be sweating due to your still-cold muscles.  It’s a tough 1 minute but don’t give up and just keep going!
  • She moves on to side plank movements that require you to balance yourself, which provides a good workout for the whole body, including the abdominal muscles, glutes, and legs.  She also includes circular movements that are miniscule, yet they effectively fatigue every muscle that is being targeted.
  • The standing sequence requires light dumbbells and Leah challenges you to defy your own limits!  There are endless amounts of small lifts and pulses, which allow the thinnest and most unknown muscle fibers to be worked out.  Thus, resulting in a more “firm” and “elongated” look.
  • You will sweat regardless of your fitness level because these moves are as unconventional, yet as effective as they can get.
  • The more you practice the more fun it gets!

Things you should be aware of:

  • If you have weak wrists you may experience some discomfort, but Leah says that this issue will slowly fade away if you keep at it.  After all, the wrist is composed of muscles too, so the more you work them the stronger they will get.  If you have something like Tendonitis however, I would strongly suggest that you talk to your doctor first.
  • Weak shoulder and back muscles might become more tender at first, so make sure to use the right weight for your level of fitness.  I use a 3 lb. dumbbell in each hand.
  • Proper form is VERY important to prevent injury since the same muscles are worked to fatigue, so make sure to listen to Leah’s directions.
  • You might have to stop several times throughout the routine, but that’s okay! Don’t let that stop you because every time you practice this DVD you will get better—one little pulse at a time. Suddenly one position that was seemingly impossible is quite possible.



I’ve tried the Upper Body DVD two times so far and as you can tell I am pretty stoked about it.  The picture above should tell you just how TOUGH this workout is!  Pretty much every time I exercise I end up looking sexy like this—drenched in sweat and with cheeks as rosy as a Cabbage Patch Doll.  Let me first tell you in all possible humility that I consider myself an advanced exerciser, and it’s all because I am serious when I work out.  Also, years of adopting this habit has allowed me to increase my cardiovascular health as well as muscle strength.  Even so, this is how I felt after giving this DVD a try for the first time.

I am not certain if it’s all in my head but the last time I saw myself in the mirror I noticed that my arms seemed a bit less muscular.  Rather, they looked more firm and toned in the right places.  Does that make sense at all?  I hope so.  Maybe this means that my arms will eventually look longer for this 5’1” gal? Winking smile  Haha, oh the blessings of being short and petite.

Well, I hope my thoughts on Leah Sarago’s work has helped you a bit!  Let me know if you have any questions and I will make sure to do my best and answer them.

My hope is that I will stick to these routines and give you more updates in the near future.  Next up is my first review for the Lower Body DVD.  Have a blessed weekend y’all!

Do you see changes in your physique and in your health after doing Pilates and yoga routines?

What did you think of this breakdown?  Do you need more details on it?


Ellie <33

Spice up Your Glutes and Your Love Life

by fitforthesoul in , , , , , ,

Happy Wednesday everyone! Okay, so first I’m going to ask you…are you ready? “Ready for what?”

For another WIAW party of course.  Ok don’t leave yet!  Because this post has a chock-full of random stuff that’s been going on as of late and I hope you read along with me. :)

Yesterday was our 4 month wedding anniversary, and to say that those four months have zipped by in the blink of an eye is a total understatement.  I don’t know about the rest of you who are married or are in a relationship, but I feel like Greg and I have been married forever, yet it still seems as if we’re learning about each other and this beautiful journey called holy matrimony.

I wrote Greg a poem to celebrate this blessed day despite my lack of writing skills.  It is safe to say that he was profoundly touched by it and despite my lack of confidence in the writing department, I was delightfully surprised by how it came out.  If you do decide to read the poem, then I welcome you to be blessed by God’s amazing love.  Get some fire in ya!

Fear Not the Winter Days

As seasons change I fear the ruthlessness of time

It ticks on by, bidding me to forget just how much I’ve been blessed

Granted, having a lover like you is worth my every dime

For every night I lie down knowing that by your sweet hands I will be caressed.

Though trials and pain may come to us like a torrent

Forcing us to forget the blessings showered upon our lives

I am certain that Christ will flood in as a peaceful current

As we trust Him wholeheartedly because His love in us thrives.

Fear not when the piercing winter comes, my love

For everything must die before the spring flowers bloom

You will always be my lover sent from God above

And I pray that when trials and pain start to loom

You and I will remember that Christ is our joy and desire

With Him as the center we can never go wrong

And I would rather walk this narrow path with you through the mire

Because I love you more than anything, more than any ethereal song.

So trust in the Lord with all your heart

And believe that we are in the best of hands

Let us love each other just as we did from the very start

And behold each other’s beauty in the midst of life’s demands.

Your Lover and Friend,

Ellie Bear

Have you made it this far guys?  If you have, thank you for reading my love poem to my dearest husband!



In order to celebrate our day, we headed over to Anaheim in Orange County and had some amazing, get-your [cheap] money’s-worth of good Indian food.  We dined around 6:30 pm at Punjabi Tandoor, where the atmosphere is completely different from that of any other Indian eatery I’ve ever been to.  Punjabi Tandoor is more of a “fancy” fast-food type of place, where the customer orders at the register and gets to sit down at their nice wooden tables.


Decor wise, it’s rather simple but ultra neat and clean.  From the outside the restaurant looks rather small, but the inside is spacious and bright.


We started our meal off with a Samosa that came with a sweet red sauce and a really spicy green sauce.  The interesting and awesome thing about Indian cuisine is that its spices don’t just kick in from the very start—it’s more of a subtle sensation that starts to burn the tongue and then the stomach.  It’s so delicious!  But yeah, not very good for my stomach. :P


My entree consisted of Naan and a vegetable Korma, and both of them were so tasty that I had a hard time stopping myself from eating the whole dish.  The  cups are actually pretty small, but the sauce was so buttery and creamy that I don’t think I could have finished the whole thing by myself.


Greg got the chicken curry and the Chicken Tikka Masala.  Oh my goodness, was the Tikka Masala really good!  Full of tomatoey goodness and bold flavors.

After our meal, we headed to Downtown Disney to watch The Dark Knight Rises. 

As we waited for the movie to start, we walked around a bit to goof off as we normally do best.




I have only a few words for you regarding Dark Knight Rises.  It was so good!!! All the way from the effects to the plot of the story, it was an A+ film in my honest opinion—although, I have to say that one itty bitty part about the woman’s scar wasn’t explained as clearly as it should have been.  I got so absorbed into the movie that I was at the edge of my seat half of the time because of the creepy characters, twists at the end, and dark feel to it all.



Overnight Oats are the best in the summer!  Who am I kidding?  It’s good all year around.  This bowl contained lots of greek yogurt in the mix, and I sprinkled it with berries, Whole Foods’ ginger granola, and a drizzle of the best coconut oil.

I’ve been loving Talenti’s Gelato lately, and the creamy and fluffy texture is to die for.


Most stores that I go to have been selling these at sales price, so I highly recommend that you go and get some, especially the mint flavored one.


Last but certainly not least…Proventive sells a tasty vegan protein powder that is free of soy and gluten.  It is full of amino acids and I can tell that it’s very wholesome just by looking at its nutrition stats.  If you know me well enough by now, you would know that I enjoy a good stack of protein pancakes throughout the week, and this powder is a great choice for that.  I think I finally found the right one for me at a reasonable price! :D

Fire up Your Legs and Glutes

This routine is great for elongating the muscles while sculpting them at the same time.  It’s important to reap the full benefits of the movements, so make sure to perform them slowly and put your back into it! :P


  1. Jumping Star Jacks- 30 reps
  2. Incline Plank with Leg Movements- 30 reps
  3. Kneeling Knight Leg Lift- 30 reps
  4. Inner Thigh Lifts- 30 reps
  5. Frog Legged Abs- 30 reps
  6. Ballet Plie Squats- 30 reps

What do you think about the whole female and male geared workout debate?

Do you think women are able to bulk up without trying too hard?

-I honestly think that some women have higher testosterone levels than others, so it is definitely possible to get very muscular without trying.  For some it is easier to build muscle than others, so it really depends on the individual!

Are you a poem lover and writer?

-I’m not a writer type of gal, but when I do I actually enjoy it!  And if it’s a letter or a poem for someone else, then I really get into it.


Ellie <33