Achieving the dancer-like body: A 3-step fitness philosophy

by Erin Salvetti

Let’s get real for a moment…there is an overwhelming amount of fitness options, ideas, goals, motivational tips, meal plans, classes, equipment, and facts for us all to read, see and do right at our finger tips. Access is not the problem but choice might be. 

Create a routine that you'll stick to by finding what is right for you, doing what you love to do. I have struggled at times to find what not only felt right for my body, but what actually made me see results. It was not until I figured out my own personal fitness philosophy when the puzzle pieces started to fall right into place.

This personal philosophy can be broken down into three simple parts:

  1. Don’t lift more than three pounds
  2. Find workouts that connect your mind, body and soul
  3. Eat as clean as possible

Let me explain why these three principals have made me healthier and more fit in my thirties than ever before.

Don’t lift more than three pounds

Yep, that’s right only three pounds for me. There are a lot of fitness trends out there saying that lifting heavy is the way to build muscle and, while I agree it will build muscle, it was not best for my body. Of course I want to be strong (I have a toddler so I gotta keep up) but for me, my body wanted to become more toned versus bulkier.

I have been teaching group exercise for half of my life (yikes that makes me feel old!) and I have been teaching barre for the past five years. I had always been in relatively good shape, but found that no matter what I did my body never changed (I know, I know I could have worse problems). I worked hard to see a difference but seemed to always fall short. After introducing the barre workout into my life things started to transform on my body. The focus with a barre workout (barre as in ballet barre) is smaller weights with longer repetitions to create a longer, leaner physique like the one I wanted. There is a different mindset you have to embrace - most people think bigger is better - and that is not always the case.

Here’s the trick, you need to work until muscle fatigue. Basically, what that means is moving the muscle in various ways until you can’t do it any longer. The way to do this most effectively is to cut out gravity. When you think about a bicep curl it is a full range of motion going from extended arms up to your shoulders. In barre, we keep the muscle firing and literally only move about an inch up and down. By eliminating gravity, we are able to activate those tiny muscle fibers that enable the body to lengthen and tone, versus bulk.

Find workouts that connect your mind, body and soul

The mind, body and soul are a huge component in my daily workout routine. Right away you may think: yoga, she’s talking about yoga. Yes, but there’s a bit more to it. I do love my yoga practice and that is truly where this part of my philosophy stems from -- I love the idea that you can get completely lost in a trance while challenging your body to new heights.

The other impactful element to this mind, body connection I am talking about is music. I love, love, love a great playlist while I am working out. It is essential in my workout to have great music that fuses the mind and body to work together to please my soul. My barre classes have a huge focus on music. It tells the story for the class and gets us through the times you think you can’t keep going and then for the last 30 seconds, Sam Smith gets you through that final push.

You can find this Zen in your cycling classes too. The room is dark, the music is loud and you can be working to your anaerobic threshold with your eyes shut? Yes, please! You get what I am saying? It is the mind that makes the body move and the soul that keeps it there in its happy spot. Find the workout that touches your mind, body and soul harmoniously and you will come back for more and more.

It is the mind that makes the body move and the soul that keeps it there in its happy spot.

Eat as clean as possible

Finally, the piece that is so easy to overlook is what you are eating on a daily basis. In all honesty, I have a severe sweet tooth -- give me Skittles, ice cream and jelly beans and call it a day! I would eat healthy all day long and binge on sugar at night after dinner, then wonder why I felt constantly bloated. About two years ago, I made the conscious decision to cut out sweets at night. I went cold turkey, like ripping off a Band-Aid. I felt it was the only way I could do it. Immediately, I will tell you my body transformed. I went down a dress size and felt healthier and stronger than ever before. I replaced my sour treats with healthier options like applesauce with cinnamon or Greek yogurt. Eventually I got to the point where I didn’t need anything after dinner, and I was okay.

In our easily accessible world, try not to get overwhelmed with the gazillion choices you have. You have to find what works for you to help you achieve the results you strive for in your body. My personal fitness philosophy might work for you too: less is more when it comes to weights; connecting the mind, body and soul is priority; and, eating clean is ideal.

Bottom line, make simple yet strategic changes in your life and daily activity for a happier, healthier you.


About Erin Salvetti

A native of California's San Luis Obispo County, Erin grew up competitive dancing and working for her family's successful health club business. Naturally, dance and fitness have always been an integral part of her life. Dancing competitively since the age of five, Erin has trained under some of the best choreographers in the business. In 1998, Erin received her national Group Fitness Certification through AFAA and jumped into instructing with both feet! She was a member of the San Diego State University Championship Dance Team, where she received her B.A. in Communication. She was also a favored Spinning, Step and Strength Training instructor for SDSU. She was selected from over 400 dancers to become a member of the NFL's San Diego Chargers Cheerleaders. During her three seasons on the team, Erin choreographed NFL half time routines and was awarded "Top 10 Professional Dancer" at the USA Professional Convention for NFL & NBA. She continues to choreograph for professional dance teams and trains instructors to teach the exciting barre class she created. In September of 2014, Erin created a Lifestyle Blog called Living Lately ( with a focus on fitness and fashion for everyday women to lead their most vibrant life and look great doing it! In this short time she has gotten to partner with some amazing brands such as Adidas, Nordstrom, Free People, Stelari Clothing, Toesox and Athleta.






Erin has recently moved back to Sacramento from Southern California, with her husband Dante and daughter Grace. She is a full time mama, group exercise instructor and blogger just being true to myself and finding my own rhythm!



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.