Sunscreen Q&A with Courtney Dunlop of

Interview by Guest blogger Crystal Zuzek

Oh, how I love sunscreen! Let me count the ways. I could go on all day, but here are just a couple:

  1. Daily use helps prevent skin cancer.
  2. Daily use leaves you looking younger.

48969017_d3dbcbefe1_bWant proof? According to results of a study published last year in the Annals of Internal Medicine, research participants who used sunscreen every day showed 24 percent less skin aging compared to individuals who applied lotion at their own discretion. And numerous scientific studies have demonstrated sunscreen’s effectiveness in preventing melanoma and other skin cancers.

But if you need more evidence, look no further than beauty editor Courtney Dunlop’s alabaster skin. The executive editor of and co-author of Break Into Beauty is a serious sunscreen poster child, wearing it every day, rain or shine. And she writes frequently on sunscreen and other health and beauty topics on her blog, Beauty to the People.

Here she shares her sunscreen wisdom, most-loved products, and daily regimen with you. Be kind to your skin, and take Dunlop’s words to heart with spring and summer upon us and sunnier days ahead.

Q: Why is it important to you to wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine?

Dunlop: Most people don’t realize sun damage is cumulative. Five minutes here, 10 there can add up over a lifetime to a lot of exposure. Wearing sun protection only at the beach or pool isn’t enough. You’re basically getting pummeled by ultraviolet (UV) rays constantly, every day, even if you don’t feel heat on your skin.

Cloudy days, shady areas, cold weather don’t provide a haven from damage. UV rays are insidious, and they will find you. Because of this, I wear sunscreen every single day of my life, rain or shine.

Q: How long have you been adhering to that practice?

Dunlop: When I was about 16 I read an article about skin cancer, and for some reason it flipped a switch, and I did a complete 180—from poolside sun worshipper to sun avoider. I am so thankful for that article because I stopped tanning cold turkey. But I still didn’t understand the impact of daily exposure. It was the ‘90s and that message hadn’t really gotten out yet.

I became a magazine beauty editor in my early 20s, and suddenly I was bombarded with skincare and dermatology presentations about the importance of everyday sun protection. I saw some slides that really freaked me out that depicted sagging, leathery faces; spotty chests; and wrinkly hands. Much like the skin cancer article, these images inspired me to become crazy-diligent about sun protection.

Q: What kinds of benefits have you noticed over the years?

Dunlop: I’m still young(ish) at 33, so compared to others my age, not having lines or sagging isn’t really that unusual. (Although I’ve seen some scary sun damage on young sun worshippers.)

3874012619_2eb74f4592_oThe main thing I’ve noticed with my skin is the texture. It’s subtle, but the reason little kids have such enviable skin is because it has an even glow and smooth texture. That’s the first thing to fade with sun damage.

I think I can safely say that my sunscreen habits have helped me maintain good, soft texture and a nice sheen. I hope as I get older I’ll hang on to the glow, and my face won’t look as droopy as others my age.

Q: Have you had any sun-related health scares? 

Dunlop: I had a big, ugly mole removed last summer, but because I get yearly mole checks, it hadn’t turned into anything yet. I learned that it’s important to pay attention to spots that change shape. This one had grown a lot in a year, and had I not been watching, it would have turned into skin cancer.

Q: What are your favorite brands of sunscreen?

Dunlop: My regimen is intense, so bear with me.

Every morning I use Marie Veronique Organics MVO Everyday Coverage SPF 30 on my face. For the delicate under eye area, I use Clinique SPF 20 eye cream daily. I apply Pratima Neem Vetiver Body Sunscreen SPF 30 to my neck, chest, shoulders, arms, and hands. All of the above products are made with zinc oxide, which is the most effective sunscreen ingredient.

Each day I also use Ocean Potion Lip SPF 45, which is the only lip sunscreen I’ve ever found that doesn’t get into my mouth and taste nasty. You can layer it under lipstick or gloss.

At the beach, it’s a different story. I use the thickest, zinc-rich sunscreen I can find on my face, neck, and hands. I wear a UV shirt so I can skip my chest and shoulders if I don’t feel like looking like a mime from the spackle-like texture of the sunscreen. On my legs, since it’s a bigger area to cover, I use MD Solar Sciences Quick Dry Body Spray SPF 40.  It’s the best spray I’ve found. It’s non-greasy, and it comes out in a nice mist. I also use this on my legs for summer days when I’m walking around the city.

This routine isn’t for everyone. For a simpler alternative, try Neutrogena Dry Touch and Ultra Sheer Body Mist for the beach and everyday use and Aveeno Positively Ageless SPF 30 moisturizer for everyday face and neck application.

Compliance is important, so whatever you’ll use consistently every day is the best sunscreen for you. With non-zinc sunscreen, though, you do have to reapply every 2-3 hours because it breaks down. It’s easy to reapply on your body, but if you don’t want to mess up your makeup, I recommend stashing a brush-on mineral sunscreen in your purse or office desk.

Q: What other products do you use for sun protection?

Dunlop: Parasol UV swim shirts changed my life.  I am terrified of getting a spotty, sun-damaged chest, but it’s such a sensitive area that I kept getting burned through the sunscreen. Swim shirts are the best to solve this problem.

I also obsessively wear a canvas bucket hat from J. Crew when I’m walking around in the summer, and I wear Oakley polarized sunglasses to protect my eyes and the skin around them. They have some really cute styles now, and once you go polarized you can never go back. They are so crystal clear.

courtney_dunlopCourtney’s love for beauty runs deep, starting with a B.S. in cosmetics and fragrance marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She is currently the executive editor at YouBeauty, a beauty and health website founded by Drs. Mehmet Oz and Michael Roizen. Previously, she was a beauty editor for Jane and Marie Clairemagazines, and has written about beauty for magazines such as Allure, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, InStyle, Self, and Real Simple. Courtney is the co-author of Break Into Beauty, the first-ever guide to starting a career in the beauty industry. Connect with Courtney on Twitter (@beautyeditornyc), Instagram (@courtneydunlop) or on her blog, Beauty to the People.

Top 5 Nutrition Myths You Need To Know

Chelsea Blackbird, Certified Nutritional Therapist, interviewed by guest blogger Crystal Zuzek

chelsea and kids

For Chelsea Blackbird, a certified nutritional therapist, diet is a dirty word.

“It implies a short-term goal with a sacrificial mindset. Health is an everyday, long-term goal full of delicious opportunities, and when we focus on health instead of fitting into our skinny jeans, our skinny jeans usually start fitting better by default,” she says.

However, Blackbird typically has to do some “dietary myth-busting” with clients to get them on the right health track. Here, she tackles the top-five nutrition myths that lead to common problematic mindsets.


This is not a health plan; this is a torture plan. Eighty percent of body composition is determined by the food you eat, and only 20 percent is exercise, genetics, and environmental factors. What’s important is the quality of calories that you do eat, not having less of them.

For instance, 200 calories worth of toast and 200 calories worth of eggs work completely differently in your body. The toast spikes your blood sugar, induces cravings, and depletes the body of important vitamins. Eggs steady blood sugar, reduce cravings, and promote brain power. The focus needs to be on foods that serve your body, which I call Foods With Benefits (FWBs). Also, too much exercise sends stress signals to the body and creates blood sugar problems and fat retention.

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You are either a sugar burner or a fat burner. Our bodies are designed to use fat as our main source of energy. But most people are afraid of fat, so they eat grains, sugar, and low fat foods that our bodies burn up too quickly as energy, triggering our bodies to require (crave!) more of these foods. This creates a viscous cycle of sugar burning.

Our bodies have limited places to store these kinds of calories, and when those places are full, those grain and sugar calories turn to circulating blood fat (triglycerides) or body fat (adipose). But the body has unlimited places to store healthy fat. Every cell requires fat to make its membrane. The brain is 60 percent fat, which is the greatest source of energy for the heart, and fats are required to make our hormones. Examples of healthy fats to eat are coconut oil, olive oil, organic (preferably grass-fed) butter, and avocados.


Wrong, wrong, wrong. Please, run to your kitchen and throw out every bottle of vegetable, corn, canola, peanut, grape seed, and soybean (check your salad dressing) oil that you have, plus all tubs of margarine or fake spreads. I beg you.

These are some of the most damaging substances to our bodies. They are processed in a way that creates oxidation (free radicals) and inflammation in the body, which lays the groundwork for chronic illness and disease. Manufacturers would like you to think that man-made, refined fat substances are better for you than fats easily derived from nature like olive oil, coconut oil, and butter. But they’re not. They’re absolutely not. Get old school and back to nature with healthy fats.


Nope, not so much. Wheat, corn, rice, beans and oats (among others) turn to blood sugar very quickly. Once these turn to blood sugar, the storage is limited. If these are a mainstay of your diet, then they are likely being converted to triglycerides or adipose fat (both of which are not heart-healthy).

Also, most grains have had all of the life (nutrients) processed right out of them. Manufacturers try to add some back in, but any time you see a product has been “fortified,” just know that the body does not easily assimilate these “after-thought” nutrients.

Finally, whole grains are often difficult to digest, and that is the way our bodies break down food to get the nutrients out of them. We don’t need to make this a more difficult process. Instead of making grains your primary source of carbohydrates, you are much better off eating vegetables to fill this need.

MYTH 5: A VEGETARIAN DIET IS HEALTHIER. I respect those who choose a vegetarian diet for religious and/or ethical reasons, I would redirect someone randomly choosing vegetarianism or veganism because they assume it’s a “healthier” way to eat. In reality, vegetarians and vegans have to work harder at finding nutrients that are as readily available and as easily absorbable as found in animal foods. Here’s a great example: People are on a major flax and chia seed bandwagon for sources of Omega-3s. But, unlike fish and grass-fed beef, which are easy-to-absorb sources of this essential fatty acid, flax and chia have to go through a serious bodily conversion process to become an available source of Omega-3. Most people do not or cannot make that conversion well.

Another example: Plant foods do not have vitamin A. They contain beta-carotene (found in those pretty vegetable colors), which must be converted to vitamin A. Again, this is a tough bodily conversion for many people to make. They could much more easily get vitamin A from eggs, seafood, meat, and full-fat dairy.

Vegetarians and vegans also risk deficiency in certain amino acids (critical for mental health) by relying solely on plant foods for protein. Animal protein offers the full spectrum of essential amino acids while plant proteins do not. Studies that show vegetarians are “healthier” than meat eaters are typically lumping in lifestyle factors (not just food) to make that claim. People who choose vegetarianism tend to be more conscious in all areas of health (not smoking, more exercise, choosing organic foods, etc.) over the average meat eater, which skews the study. But when you match a health-conscious omnivore with a health-conscious vegetarian, studies show that the meat eater’s health markers stack up just fine.


Truth: Focusing on nutrients and food quality is the best long-term health plan. Every day you have the opportunity to give your body everything it needs for optimal health and wellness and for looking good in those skinny jeans.

Chelsea Blackbird is a certified nutritional therapist who uses a holistic approach to health and wellness. For more information or to schedule a personalized nutritional assessment, go to or contact Chelsea at

Being an Instructor: The Significant Before and After Change

When the clients starting pointing out how toned up Dancers Shape instructor Emily B. was looking, we decided it was time to sit and chat about how she slimmed down this past year since she’s been an instructor at Dancers Shape.

Dancers Shape: As an instructor, can you share a little bit about how you’re working your own body during a class you’re teaching so we can get a realistic idea?
Emily B.: I currently teach class about 10-11 times a week, but it’s not the same as if I were taking 10-11 classes a week. When teaching the class, instructors have to take time out to do demonstrations and then watch to make corrections so that clients are properly (and safely) doing the movements. Talking on top of demonstrating actually amps up my work load – especially in the abdominals and weight sections.

Before and after Emily _with text.jpgDS: Other than teaching classes, what else do you do to stay active and fit?
EB: I really enjoy jogging about 2-3 times a week for about 3 miles each time. I also have been dancing since I was 11 years old. I really enjoy ballet and modern classes. I also take the Dancers Shape Yoga class as a supplement if I’m missing a dance class that week. I love the benefits of stretching and opening the joints.

DS: What do you think changed most when you became an instructor?
EB: I paid a lot more attention to healthy eating and portion control. Seeing other clients and instructors inspired me and I realized that many who were seeing physical changes also were focusing highly on eating healthy. Adding more greens to my diet and having smoothies every morning was something I did. I took away the bready carbs in the morning and replaced it with something fresh. I love apples!

DS: What changes have you noticed in your body?
EB: How much stronger and energetic I’ve gotten. At first, I felt like I could hardly get through pushups. Then I started feeling like it wasn’t as difficult getting through a class. I began seeing definition in my arms and torso. I was slimming down a little bit all over, and was especially noticing those super frustrating parts: hips and thighs. Ah the shrink wrap effect!

Emily Before and After _Text included.png

DS: Did it happen quickly?
EB: It didn’t seem like anything was happening at first, and then all of a sudden it just started sliding off. I first noticed it when I was putting on my pants and they were much roomier than I remember. I could even go down a size.

DS: We noticed people leaving comments on the Dancers Shape Facebook page when you modeled the new apparel! It looks like people have taken notice. 
EB: Yes! My fiancé definitely noticed, and his “wow” expression was fantastic. He noticed that I was trimming down and had a lot more muscle definition. A lot of friends were pointing out that my hips and thighs were looking slim. It’s a really great feeling!

Dancers Shape BarreDS: What motivates you when you start to have a draining day and the last thing you want to do is workout?
EB: Even though you have to push through and it’s not easy, I honestly love to workout. I like that feeling after: I crave it now. I just push myself because I know this pays off.

DS: How do you feel now?
EB: I feel much stronger and I have more energy since I joined Dancers Shape. I think my mental state has dramatically improved. I just feel more happy and fulfilled after I work out. I used to feel sluggish before working out, but now I really look forward to it!

DS: What would you tell your friends about Dancers Shape if they were afraid to try it?
EB: Just give it a try. You don’t have to do everything perfectly. Sometimes people feel like they need to be the best in class, but it’s important to remember everyone is at different levels. Give it a go! You don’t have to be an advanced student in class: Everything can be modified. I would tell them that everyone seems to walk away with a feeling of accomplishment. I know I do!

Read other inspiring stories. 

Favorite Beauty Products

Guest blog by Crystal Zuzek

We all have that one beauty product we can’t live without. Mine is sunscreen, but we’ll get to that in a future post.

I polled a few of the Dancers Shape instructors, and here are a some of their favorite, can’t-live-without items that you might find useful as well! 

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Baby yourself
Mariclaire Gamble’s favorite is an easy find at any drug store: baby powder. Gamble calls it the “duct tape of beauty” for its many functions. She uses it to avoid odor in her shoes and to absorb oil on her scalp. And she has a fun beauty trick. After applying mascara, Gamble adds a thin layer of baby powder on top of her eyelashes with a Q-tip. “It makes your lashes look two times as big,” she says.

Dancers Shape Make a splash with color
Sara Paul can’t live without Sephora’s nail polish by OPI in the shade metro chic. She says the lovely gray-purple hue can easily be dressed up or down and is appropriate for any season. “I travel a lot, and if I only have space for one nail color, that’s the one,” she says.


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Embrace your inner sexy bombshell
Andrea Lindzey likes to add a little oomph to her hair with Spray & Play texturizing hair spray from Big Sexy Hair. The product gives her the freedom to create a killer voluminous hairstyle. “It lets you play around with your hair to mold a rock star look, or you can flip your hair, spray, and flip it back over for a pumped-up, bombshell do,” she says. The product works great for fine hair, too. “I have a pixie cut, and this product is my best friend. I use it every day whether I’m teaching dance, meeting clients through my work in advertising or singing on stage.”

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Pamper your skin
Like many of us, Katie Martin is addicted to her Clarisonic cleansing device. “I love it because my face feels so clean when I use it, and then I can feel the moisturizer sinking into my thirsty pores,” she says.


What beauty products do you love? 

About the Author: Crystal Zuzek

Crystal Conde

Crystal Zuzek is an Austin-based writer with more than a decade of experience in the journalism industry. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in the magazine sequence. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with her husband, Patrick, and her dachshund mix, Saffron.

Client Spotlight: A Mom’s Tough Road Back

Guest blog post by Melanie Taliaferro

I will warn you in advance, this story is not super warm and fuzzy.  That’s just not how I roll.  But it is real and if nothing else, I hope it helps other mothers in some way—even if it is just by giving them a laugh in between changing poopy diapers.

pre baby

Pre-Baby Volleyball Tournament (2012) – Me on the right.

I have to start by saying that I had the best plan ever for after my baby was born—be back into a regular workout routine (including volleyball, my lifelong sport) as soon as I hit the mandatory six week wait post c-section. I had done prenatal pilates and worked out with an amazing prenatal personal trainer all the way through my pregnancy. I was certain I had set myself up for success and would be back in action in no time.  After my first baby was born (12 years earlier), I went on a run the day after I came home from the hospital (CRAZY, I know) and was back in shape and back on the volleyball court in just a few short months (note—this one was not a c-section).  Let’s just say that the second time around did not go as planned whatsoever…

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The baby shower—February 2013–8 weeks to go (was feeling gross)

I didn’t get to workout at all for nearly four months following a c-section because of a scary blood clot situation and then another major surgery.  By the time I was cleared to workout, I felt like I had an enormous mountain to climb—starting with not crying when I looked at my flabby self in the mirror.  

It had been over a year since I had played volleyball by this time.  My plan to “bounce right back” had been seriously derailed and all of the harsh realities of having a new baby again had hit me. I am not gonna lie—when I had a newborn baby, the simple thought of leaving the house and exercising in the presence of others was enough to convince myself that wearing maternity jeans forever is completely okay, especially since they were totally getting looser by the day! I’m sure other mothers can attest: It feels like you have, at best, 30 minutes to yourself during any decent stretch of time, and you have to choose only one of the following per day: 1) eat 2) bathe 3) wash hair (sorry, 2 and 3 are now separate—you will rarely get both at once) or 4) work out.

Melanie_Before and after without text.jpg

I could talk myself into not working out like nobody’s business.  A salesperson by trade, I sold myself on “waiting until I was caught up at work” or “waiting until my favorite lululemon leggings didn’t look like spanx that are two sizes too small.” Trust me, if you run out of excuses, I have 100 I could lend you but that would defeat the reason I wrote this. Onward…

I ended up at Dancer’s Shape after my neighbor (also a new mom) told me how much she loved it, and that it had really helped her get back in shape after her daughter was born.  15 seconds into my first class I was sweating and my legs were already burning.  I was like OMG THIS IS NOT GOOD, I AM A HOT MESS.  By the time we got to the ballet bar, I was actively thinking of potential excuses for needing to leave unexpectedly (Oh no, I think my c-section scar might have burst!  Gotta go!)  I even contemplated a possible “re-injury” of one of my many previous knee & shoulder injuries (I have had six knee/shoulder surgeries since 2001). But, I did it. I got through it!

I was so weak in the first class that trying to do a push-up on my knees felt like the hardest thing in the world.  During my last workout before the baby was born I did like 12 real push-ups! How was one “easy” push-up so hard??? I was mortified.  I knew I had to accept where I was and channel my inner crazy athlete power to start making real progress.  So I sucked it up and set a goal to get better every single class. Plus, my knee push-ups were getting pretty baller at this point…

Eventually, the shock to my body from being challenged and resulting soreness subsided and I had to shift my focus to keeping myself motivated and believing that I would kick the dang baby weight to the curb!

My internal mantra became- just push through. You can do it. You CAN do it! You’re almost there. Aaaaand the hour was over. VICTORY!

After a few weeks of going to Dancer’s Shape classes, things were starting to look and firm up, and I was feeling a little more like myself. I had survived the early newborn baby stage, gone back to work, fit back into some of my pants again, and was managing to workout 3-4 times a week. I decided it was time to try and start volleyball again.

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Second volleyball tournament after baby (3RD PLACE!!!)

I have played volleyball my entire life and a huge goal for me was to get back into the “sand volleyball uniform” (bikini) as soon as possible.  I gave it my first go in August (what was I thinking??!!! Holy burning hot!) and it was ugly.  But it got better as the day went on and I didn’t give up.  It gave me even more motivation to bust my butt at Dancer’s Shape and tighten everything up/get stronger to help my return to volleyball.

Finally, I was able to include working out, bathing, eating and sleeping!  SA-WEET! My confidence improved, and I even went to the Advanced class a few times (CRAZY HARD)! I wept inside through “8 more” push-ups/squats/lunges/chair sits/planks, etc. But I swear, it gets better!

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Back in action

As my brother in the Army says, you have to “embrace the suck”.  It never truly gets EASIER—the work-outs are hard. PERIOD. And no two are ever the same so your body is always guessing.  But you get stronger and your technique gets better and your butt looks better in your lulu pants—a little more each time.


If I can do it, you can do it. Now go check your shirt for spit up, spray some dry shampoo in your hair, get someone to watch your baby, and then go willingly get your butt kicked at Dancer’s Shape.  I will be the one in the corner cheering you on.

- Melanie Taliaferro, Dancers Shape client 


Get To Know The Chair Plus Class

We recently launched our March Madness Chair Plus special (5 Class Card: Limited Time 20% off AND your first class is FREE)! We have had great response with the Chair Plus class and we wanted to share what our clients are saying about it! Scroll down to see how to sign up.

Chair class“This class is great! It’s challenging and motivating and shows you precisely where your weak areas are.”

“Chair Plus is a lot of fun and breaks up challenging chair and balance sequences with more stabilized moves. I also loved the cardio mixed into it as well.”

“This class is just what I needed to get back in my workouts. I loved it!”


  • Chair Plus allows clients to experience a unique equipment class that pushes your concentration, balance and strength to a new level by incorporating an overhead resistance band system meshed with power packed choreography.
  • A smaller group setting allows for additional instructor attention while keeping a quick paced flow set to fun music for a non-stop strength and cardio burn.
  • By incorporating this sophisticated piece of Pilates equipment, clients are able to challenge their balance and body control in a way not possible with their own body weight.
  • The variety of modifications and spring loaded resistance options offers clients more or less assistance to accommodate different levels.
  • Rates stay affordable with a smaller group setting.



  1. Take the Basic Chair Workshop by using your current class card, monthly unlimited, or auto-debit (limited-time offer).
  2. Once you have taken the Workshop and are cleared, you may sign up for your first Chair Plus Class for free.
  3. Don’t miss the 20% off Chair Plus special during March for a 5 Class Card! When purchasing, use PROMO CODE: ChairPlus1. It may be used online or in the studio. *Limit one per client. Purchase in the Online Store now.


  1. Try our Introductory Special (1 hr private and 4 Chair Plus classes) or take the Basic Chair Workshop.
  2. Once you have taken the Workshop and are cleared, you may sign up for your first Chair Plus Class for free.
  3. Don’t miss the 20% off a Chair Plus special during March for a 5 Class Card! When purchasing, use PROMO CODE: ChairPlus1. May be used online or in studio. *Limit one per client. Purchase in the Online Store now.


  • The Chair Workshop is currently available on Sundays at 9:15 am.
  • This Chair Plus class is currently available: Saturday 1:15 pm, Sunday 10:30 am, Monday 5:45 pm

Always remember to check the online scheduler.

Special offer - March Madness at Dancers Shape

Client spotlight: 20 lbs in 4 months – How She Did It

Guest blog interview by Crystal Zuzek 

Dancers Shape client Amanda Kopp lost 20 pounds in four months — quite the fitness feat for a clinical trainer at Austin Regional Clinic who says the “stress and pressure” of her job took a “huge toll” on her physical and mental well-being.

“It was really the way I felt that inspired me to get in shape,” she says. “I realized my attitude changed drastically after I took a class at Dancers Shape. I felt happy and energized. I made the decision to feel like that more often and started taking four to five classes per week.”

Before and After Amanda Copp.jpg

As her fitness level improved with time, so did her energy and her attitude. “The rest just fell into place,” says Kopp, who started taking Dancers Shape classes about a year ago. During that time, she shed more than 19 inches from her body.

The journey wasn’t easy for Kopp, who says happy hours and trips to local breweries had become a routine part of her social life.

“Aside from foam rolling my newly developed quads, the most challenging aspect of this journey has been to balance my work and social life and still manage to keep up with my fitness goals,” she says, adding that she has learned to control her meal portion sizes and drinks much more water.

To lose weight and build muscle in a healthy, sustainable way, Kopp did the following:

  • In January, she wore a heart rate monitor to record calories burned per class.
  • She logged the calories she consumed and burned in the MyFitnessPal application.
  • She input her body measurements and calories burned per class in an Excel spreadsheet to keep her on track.
  • With her renewed energy level, she started taking longer walks with her little dog, Bond.
  • To help Kopp increase her flexibility, she incorporated a 20-minute yoga session into her workout regimen every other day.
  • She slowly altered her eating habits by making healthier choices like cutting out soda and reducing her alcohol and caffeine intake.

“The biggest change I’ve noticed in myself is absolutely, 100 percent, my attitude. My confidence is miles higher than it has ever been because I rise to these challenges and keep moving toward positive changes in my life. I’m just happier, and for that I am sincerely grateful to Dancers Shape,” Kopp says.

Crystal CondeAbout the Guest Blogger: Crystal Zuzek

Crystal Zuzek is an Austin-based writer with more than a decade of experience in the journalism industry. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in the magazine sequence. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with her husband, Patrick, and her dachshund mix, Saffron.

March Madness Sale – 1st CHAIR PLUS CLASS FREE + Special Offer

March Madness Social Media Image_2March Madness Sale – FIRST CHAIR PLUS CLASS FREE!
Have you been wondering about the Chair classes at the studio? Now is the time to try your first class out…for FREE! Chair Plus starts this Saturday so call (512-382-9150) or email ( us to reserve your free class today. Chair Plus is scheduled Saturdays 1:15 pm, Sundays 10:30 am, Mondays 5:45 pm.
***Clients must take a Basic Chair Workshop first - currently offered every Sunday at 9:15 am under existing class packages. Learn more about the Chair Class Workshop.
Chair Plus – 5 Class Card: Limited Time 20% OFF
During March, take advantage of this special offer of 20% off Chair Plus – 5 Class Card! When purchasing, use PROMO CODE: ChairPlus1. It may be used online or in the studio. *Limit one per client. Purchase in the Online Store now.
Chair class at Dancers Shape
What Makes Chair Plus A Completely New Experience for Austin? 
  • Chair Plus allows clients to experience a unique equipment class that pushes your concentration, balance, and strength to a new level by incorporating an overhead resistance band system meshed with power packed choreography.
  • A smaller group setting allows for additional instructor attention while keeping a fun quick paced flow for a non-stop strength and cardio burn.
  • By incorporating this sophisticated piece of Pilates equipment, clients are able to challenge their balance and body control in a way not possible with their own body weight.
  • The variety of modifications and spring loaded resistance options offers clients more or less assistance to accommodate different levels.
  • Rates stay affordable with a small group setting.
  • Learn more about this class.

Learn how to sign up for this class HERE. 

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to ask! 512-382-9150 or

5 Pre and Post Workout Snacks

Interview with Andrea Hinsdale from Snap Kitchen by Guest Blogger Crystal Zuzek. 

The cliché you are what you eat hits especially close to home when it’s time to exercise. Failure to eat an appropriate, healthy snack before and after a workout can be disastrous. For me, if I don’t eat a snack with complex carbohydrates and protein before I hit the gym, I feel faint and shaky midway though exercise. To help others avoid such a fate, Snap Kitchen’s Registered Dietitian Andrea Hinsdale helps take the guesswork out of healthy snacking with her top five pre-workout and post-workout snacks.

Hinsdale says that in general, energy-filled snacks featuring carbohydrates like whole grains and fruit combined with protein are your best bet before and after a workout.

Top 5 pre-workout snacks


  • Half a banana, half a piece of whole wheat toast, a handful of whole grain cereal, ora few bites of oatmeal (ideal for early morning workouts)
  • Plain low-fat Greek yogurt (add berries or sliced banana)
  • Apple or half a banana with a tablespoon of nut butter
  • A few nuts and some dried fruit
  • Boiled egg with hummus (Try Snap Kitchen “Devily” Eggs)

Hinsdale says it’s a good idea to eat about an hour before exercise. “It’s the complex carbohydrates that provide the fuel or energy needed for a great workout,” she adds.

If you plan to exercise in the evening, she suggests eating a mid-afternoon snack around 4 pm to “help you avoid the temptation of high-sugar snacks. You put the time and effort into making exercise part of your busy day, so you should get the most out of your workout.”

Top 5 post-workout snacks 

  • A balanced breakfast following early morning exercise
  • Protein bar with minimal and pronounceable ingredients, half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a handful of nuts, hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit, or hummus and veggies
  • Homemade protein shake with Greek yogurt or unsweetened almond milk, fresh or frozen fruit, and some chia or flaxseeds (stick to a single eight ounce serving)
  • Whole wheat or gluten-free wrap with hummus and veggies or breakfast wrap with eggs and avocado
  • Three ounces of lean protein like chicken or fish and at least one vegetable (ideal for dinner)

After you exercise, your muscles need protein, and it’s important for your body to replenish glycogen, or stored carbohydrates, Hinsdale explains. “Plan for a mixed carbohydrate-and-protein snack within an hour of exercise. For the average pre- or post-workday exerciser, a healthy breakfast or dinner makes for the most convenient after workout option,” she says.

Hinsdale cautions that high-fat, greasy, fried foods that could cause stomach discomfort are a bad idea. “It’s also best to avoid high-fiber foods prior to exercising for these same reasons. Avoid high-sugar sports drinks, protein shakes, and bars that may seem convenient at the time, but typically have too many artificial and processed ingredients,” she says.

Dancers Shape - barre austin. SnacksAbout the Specialist: Andrea Hinsdale, RD, LD, is the Snap Kitchen concept dietitian. With 5 stores in Austin, including the flagship location in the Triangle, locally owned Snap Kitchen offers a selection of “foodie” items made fresh daily, salads tossed-to-order (flagship locations), cold-pressed juices, high-energy snacks, and diet-friendly desserts for the person on the go. All of Snap’s menu items are portion controlled and labeled with the full nutritional content. Just stop by a convenient location, grab your food and go, or order online for delivery or curbside pickup.
Crystal Conde

About the Author: Crystal Zuzek: Crystal Zuzek is an Austin-based writer with more than a decade of experience in the journalism industry. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism in the magazine sequence. In her free time, she enjoys sewing, going to movies and concerts, and spending time with her husband, Patrick, and her dachshund mix, Saffron.

Valentine Giveaway: Private Chair or Reformer Class for 2

Many changes have been happening at the Dancers Shape studio (have you noticed the Pilates equipment?)! Dancers Shape is now offering Chair and Reformer Privates and group classes with a twist. Learn more here. 

To celebrate the occasion, we are giving away a Private Chair or Reformer class for two! It’s our Valentine Giveaway, and it’s super easy to get yourself entered. Oh, and if you’re wondering, the loved one in your picture doesn’t have to come with you to the class if you win.  Post away, ‘like’ other contestant’s photos, and enjoy time with your sweetie this weekend! 
Valentine Day GiveawayHOW TO ENTER:  

Post a picture of you and someone you love on our Facebook page and tell us what you do to stay fit together. The giveaway starts Wednesday, February 12 and ends Monday, February 17th 2014.

We’ll be picking a random winner and announcing on Facebook, so be sure to check back on Tuesday to see if you won!

Winner must respond within no more than 5 days after the announcement is made on Facebook. Prize cannot be redeemed for cash and expires 3 months after the winner is announced. Contact us if you have any other questions!