If you’ve ever taken a cardio dance class or even busted a move in the privacy of your own home, you know that dance can get you sweating and get your heart pumping in just minutes. Plus, if you’ve seen the show Dance Your Ass Off, you know dance can be an effective weight loss tool. We sent a few reader questions along to Mara Hall, one of the final contestants in last summer’s installment of the show. After Mara lost a brother to diabetes, she vowed to get healthy. Now off her diabetes meds, she’s turned on the inspiration.
- FBG: In your experience, what is the best style of dance for weight loss?
- MH: I honestly feel that all styles of dance are great for weight loss. Each genre of dance works on and targets different parts of your body. I love ballet for flexibility, but it is also very good for achieving a great cardio workout. Jazz is similar to ballet—all of the fundamentals that are taught in ballet are transferred over to jazz, they are just implemented in different ways. I love both styles and they both serve as great ways to lose weight. On Dance Your Ass Off, we concentrated on ballroom styles, and out of those styles the cha-cha gave me the best workout.
- FBG: What was your reaction to having to dance on a stripper pole for all of America?!
- MH: I am pretty fearless when it comes to dancing in front of people. My biggest fear of the stripper pole was falling off it and hurting myself. I also did not have enough upper-body strength to swing effectively on itor execute any tricks.
- FBG: Have you kept up dancing since the show?
- MH: Yes. I attend dance classes at Crunch Gym here in LA. I also have started a dance troupe with Shayla and Pinky from the show. We are called the Charlie’s Angels. Pinky also has a phenomenal dance class here in LA that I attend once a week.
- FBG: How has the show changed your life?
- MH: I am truly healthy! Before the show I was overweight, out of shape and struggling with my type 2 diabetes. Now I’m 52 pounds lighter (I lost 26 pounds on the show and have lost another 26 since I left), and my blood sugar is down to a normal level. Since the show ended I have been on Nutrisystem D, a weight-loss program for people with diabetes. With the program, I have learned about portion control and how to enjoy the foods that I love but in moderation. I have also been working out at a place called Crossfit-Hollywood where I have taken my fitness to the next level. I have never been much of a fitness buff, but with my trainer Andy Thompson behind me I know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to!
- FBG: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
- MH: Take everything one step and one day at a time! It took you a long time to gain the weight, so it’s not going to disappear overnight.
Good advice, Mara! Keep up the good work and awesome dancing! —Erin