Shimmy into Shape

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I get asked a lot about how I manage to stay trim in the “off season” . Well, the first reason is eating by the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time eating a variety of vegetables, protein and carbs that are low on the GI index, and avoiding processed foods. 20% of the time I will enjoy, for example, my much loved pizza and wine combo.

The second reason for my staying trim is dancing, which I love. Just less than ten years ago I had never considered dance – I was a straight tom boy growing up and had no interest in dancing until I saw a Shakira video (lol). I knew I wanted to learn how to dance like her, so I signed up for my first belly dance class. To begin with I had two left feet and was frustrated and wanted to quit, but since I had already paid for my classes, I persevered. Fast forward a few years later, and I actually started to become pretty good at it and started getting requests to dance at restaurants and parties; nowadays it’s become my side gig, and I’ve never looked back. Two years ago my then belly dance partner and I made it to the auditions for Canada’s Got Talent, so if this little old tom boy can do it, anyone can!

Nowadays I’m dancing about 3-4 nights a week, and have also taken up ballet: if you’ve ever seen a ballerina’s legs you would know why I started!! And, ballet is the base for all dances (if you can do ballet you can pick up most any other dance). I am also taking jazz and lyrical dance. You would really be surprised nowadays there is a huge community of older gals in their late 20`s all the way up to their 50`s that still dance or are taking up dance, such as Zumba, which is so popular right now.

The main point I’d like to make is that any form of dance will work different muscle groups rather than your traditional weighted exercise or cardio machine workout.

Here is a variation of calories burned at a typical class:


Calories burned per hour

  • Hip Hop – Hip hop involves large movements of the entire body, which places it high on the expenditure scale. It also often involves freestyling, meaning that muscle groups are kept guessing and are less likely to stop responding to the exercise or hit a plateau. In 60 minutes, hip hop will use between 370 (for people of lighter bodyweights) to 610 (for those weighing 180 and up) calories.
  • Salsa dancing – approximately 405 per 60 minutes for someone weighing 140, or around 480 for a 180 lb person.
  • Ballet – there are 380 to 450 calories burnt per hour. As an added bonus, this form of dance tends to be associated with great posture, a strong core, increased flexibility and very strong legs. It is known for building that long and lean look that women so often strive for, but make no mistake; ballet requires a great deal of strength. For example, pro football players have been known to use ballet training to improve their performances.
  • Swing – Hurling around your own bodyweight (and possibly your partner’s too) in this moderate to intense cardio workout burns between 300 and 550 calories. Depending on how high impact your style is and how much intensive maneuvering you do with your partner, it could even be more.
  • Belly dancing – You’ll burn roughly 270-320 for less intense versions, and between 290 and 360 for faster & higher intensity styles.
  • Tap – This ends up being a full body cardio workout but the legs do the bulk of the work. This one has a high amount of variance in expenditure estimations; between 200 and 700 depending on pace, steps per hour, and the amount of effort required for the moves.
  • Break dancing – This kind of dancing can require a great deal of strength and agility, and it is estimated that it can burn between 400-650 calories per hour.


Dance also helps you obtain better body posture, agility and self-confidence, and for those of you that compete, it helps with your STAGE presence!!! This is one thing I love about competing is the stage, and having a dance background has definitely helped me tremendously.

So maybe this coming New Year’s resolution might be “I want to learn to dance” and “getting into shape” will follow. Don’t just run it off, shake it off!

What sound does the Cannon make ?!.. "Boom Boom" Heidi Cannon is a non stop high-energy on-the-go kinda gal who loves make people laugh and put a smile on their face. Pro fitness model, Pro bellydancer, dancer, motocross rider and lover of anything with two wheels. Heidi believes in living life to it's fullest and never thinking you're too old to try anything. Just as much as she loves extreme sports, she feels the same about baking and creating all things clean-eating.

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