Stay-Fit Secrets from a 'Dancing with the Stars' Pro


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  12 comments   :  15,945 Views

By Patty Adams Martinez, Fitness Magazine

Chelsie Hightower is always on her toes. As one of the principal dancers on Dancing with the Stars, she spends 10 hours a day perfecting her moves. "When you're watching us on TV, you don't realize how technically and physically difficult dancing is," says Chelsie, 21, who has been paired with rodeo star Ty Murray and former Bachelor Jake Pavelka in previous seasons of the show. "You're doing extremely fast movements. It's difficult mentally, too, because you'll be thinking about 10 different steps at once."

As she twirled and leaped around the set at the FITNESS photo shoot, Chelsie shared with us her energy-boosting, stay-fit secrets.

So many celebrities have lost weight on DWTS. Why is dance such great exercise?

Because it works every part of your body. And even though it's hard, it's fun, so that keeps you going. Dancing has a lot of other benefits. It also lifts your spirits in that it loosens you up, makes you more outgoing, raises your confidence level, and relieves stress.

Besides practicing for the show, what's your typical workout routine?

I like to mix things up by taking jazz, ballet, and contemporary dance classes that are an hour and a half each. I also do the P90X Ab Ripper X DVD. Plus, I walk uphill near my home in Beverly Hills, stopping to do some lunges and push-ups to keep my heart rate up.

What's your hands-down favorite exercise?

Hiking. I grew up in the mountains of Utah, and my fondest memories are of camping with my parents and five brothers, waking up at 6 a.m. and climbing to the peak of the mountain. In Los Angeles, I go to Runyon Canyon. It's not anything like Utah, but it still reminds me of home.

Did you step up your workouts when you heard you were going to be in FITNESS?

Totally! I was on vacation with my family, so I hadn't eaten healthy for two weeks. When I got the call from my publicist, I was like, "That's so amazing!" But then 30 seconds later I thought, "Oh my gosh, what did I just commit to?" So I got busy: I ate six small meals a day with plenty of veggies and protein. I also went to the gym at least once a day, if not more.

How do you eat healthy when you're on the road?

I typically order a salad with chicken. You can get that anyplace, including fast-food restaurants. And I always carry almonds and red seedless grapes with me for snacking.

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  • 12
    Dancing is my go to workout, since it is fun I can usually get myself moving wvwn when I am not feeling it. I love DWTS's so thanks for posting this! - 3/31/2011   1:18:03 PM
  • 11
    Thanks so much for posting many here on Spark are choosing dancing for their fitness so I greatly appreciate highlighting this particular form of cardio and's perfect exercise and great for balance and flex as well..your body never seems to tire of it since there are so many muscles being used and in so many ways... - 3/29/2011   1:15:19 AM
  • 10
    I have no idea who this lady is, but she looks STRONG! Strong and happy. I've never been into DWTS, but I do love how the show really seems to embrace all body shapes and sizes in their dancers and choreographers. They seem to understand that it's about how you move, and that anyone who can do those dance moves is worth showcasing -- not just the dancers who "look" right. - 3/27/2011   8:44:05 AM
  • 9
    Great article. I love her on DWTS. - 3/26/2011   3:45:07 PM
  • 8
    I square danced as a kid, in public school It was a must with our principal, at that time. As a teen, I danced to all of the rock n roll songs, and at 63 yrs. old, I'm still dancing. my husband and I go to all of the dances that we can, as a matter of fact, we have a dance coming up on April 9th. Thanks so much for the article. - 3/26/2011   3:04:03 PM
    I use to go square dancing at least 3x's a week. I really enjoyed it and looked forward to going. However, I wore out my knees. I had to give up the fun it was. Now my hips are going too. So I have to give up on any dancing. I do treadmill or stationary bike. It's not much fun, but I try anyway. - 3/25/2011   10:32:30 PM
  • 6
    I love dancing, because it doesn't seem like exercise to me! I'd like to find a good dance/exercise DVD. Anybody have any suggestions? I've heard good things about Zumba, but you can't just buy a DVD, you have to buy a whole package. I don't want to spend more than about $15. I don't really have the time or money to go to ballroom dancing classes right now. - 3/25/2011   5:23:36 PM
  • 5
    Good article...I love my DWTS dvd...I cha cha and mambo all the time. It is great exercise especially for this former dancer
    - 3/25/2011   4:09:46 PM
  • 4
    Some of my favorite workouts are some form of dance - even when I cannot totally follow the moves I am still moving my body, sweating and enjoying the music that goes with the workout. Never watch DWTS so can't give a pick on that - 3/24/2011   11:24:28 PM
  • 3
    One of my favorite exercises is to do Dance Dance Revolution on the Wii. It makes you sweat and make you use your mental muscle as well! - 3/24/2011   2:49:05 PM
  • 2
    I loved Chelsie on SYTYCD and was thrilled to see her and other SYTYCD alums on DWTS. - 3/24/2011   2:45:00 PM
    When I was a youngster I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up. I love dancing and do my own brand of it in my kitchen every morning! I am not as young as I once was so my routine is pretty simple! Thank you for this article. - 3/24/2011   2:45:00 PM

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