Brazilian performer Vanessa Agle Isaac is an actress, singer, dancer, choreographer, dance instructor, writer, and has some fabulous fitness DVDs! Check out my reviews to her workouts here. Vanessa is the founder of Hip Brazil, a lifestyle company that promotes the unique style and vibrant culture of Brazil with the world. She shares her passion with the world through many mediums. Vanessa has inspired thousands and has created a rapidly growing worldwide following. She has been featured in numerous magazines and publications such as Dance Spirit, InStyle, Shape, Fitness, Women’s Health and Fitness, Weight Watchers, Sweat Magazine and many others.
Lindsey: Being from Brazil your typical diet is probably vastly different than those of us in the US. I have heard great things about the Brazilian diet, what can you share with us looking for a more natural, healthier way of eating?
Vanessa: Over the years I have seen so many people, especially women, follow weight loss diets. It pains me to watch this “battle” against weight that so many people wage throughout their lives. They lose twenty pounds and start to feel great. Then they get stressed out, start eating poorly again and gain all the weight back, plus some. This is the typical rollercoaster of the yo-yo diet. All I know is that deprivation does not work! I don't like the word diet because it comes with negative connotation for so many, like people deprive themselves. I like the word nutrition, because it implies nurturing the body and soul. As you said I am Brazilian and I do love Brazilian food. But also, my mom is an amazing cook and she always cooked with fresh ingredients from the farms market. She is my inspiration! Growing up in our house was always with lots of vegetables, grains and fruits. I believe that if you want to look and feel good you have to eat well and cut out the processed food (really, the crap!). It’s important to provide the foundation by eating grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. I opt for less meat on my plates (but I am not a vegetarian). I believe that eating organic and as close to the garden is the key to a fit and healthy body. I like to boost my immune system with vitamin C, turmeric and vegan protein. I say: eat fresh, organic and not processed, cultivate a sense of proportion, and do not deprive yourself. Also, know where your food comes from and the impact it has on your body and on the planet.
Lindsey: I had the pleasure of reviewing your fun dance workouts, is dancing your workout genre
of choice? What does your typical workout week entail?
Vanessa: Thank you for reviewing my videos. Well, my daily workouts last anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending how much time I have in the day. I love working out in the morning, but sometimes it’s just not possible. So it all depends of the day. In terms of fitness, I usually like to do several things during the week so I don’t get bored. I dance four times per week or more because it involves the entire body. I love walking and light running on the beach because I get to be outside and sweat… I do it three times a week. I always add in toning exercises abs, butt, legs, upper-body. Compound exercises, such as squats, are great and a time saver because they work more than one muscle group at time. Usually I mix in squats and lunges in my dance routines on my videos and during the warm- ups too. People don’t even realize they have done so many of them, its just part of the dance choreography. Just the other day some of the dancers told me: “My God Vanessa, my butt was so sore after your class!” I do simple Pilates routines as well as they are a great core work out. But dance is a great cardio workout. It’s not only fun, but it works your flexibility and how you carry yourself. Brazilian dance allows you to really express yourself and move your whole body. You feel it… you feel sexy, you feel the energy, you feel your soul is smiling! When I really need to step up my fitness routine I just do more intense cardio sessions and more toning exercises. It usually works fast but the key is the intensity and the consistency. No skipping workouts! My motto: Live, love and sweat!
Lindsey: Do you have plans for more fitness programs (streaming? DVDs?) in the future that we can look forward to?
Vanessa: Yes, after so many requests for a whole samba program I am launching a whole new program for dancers and fitness enthusiasts out there. I can’t tell all the details yet but will be based on the beautiful, sensual and glamorous style (seen during carnaval times in Rio de Janeiro) and it comes out in the next months. Lot’s of hip shaking…. This program is all about beauty inside and out, confidence, dance and fitness. So please anyone interested in getting the information join my site and list for free at www.vanessaisaac.com
Lindsey: What is your background in fitness and what motivated you to put out fitness DVDs?
Vanessa: People don’t realize, or maybe they do, how physical dancing is. If you simply watch a dancer in rehearsal or in a class, you notice that they engage, tone and burn tons of calories. I never separate the athleticism of dance from its art. I have a very holistic approach. Dance is fitness, art, recreation, meditation and fun all wrapped into one. It was very obvious to me before I created my videos that people want to feel and look good, have fun and express their souls. Brazilian dance allows all of that to happen in a big way. Just working with my Dance Company and teaching dance classes motivated me to create my programs to inspire more women around the world to live a healthy, confident and fit life. I also have seen many of my students' lives, not just their bodies, transformed by the power of movement. Many people start dancing to get in shape, which is great, but in the process dance frees their minds as well. In learning to dance, you must overcome obstacles such as physical stiffness, balance, lack of coordination and inhibition. Dance is an education in freeing expression and flexibility for the body
and the mind.
Lindsey: What is your best advice for those of looking to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Vanessa: Remember to love yourself. Love is caring, so care for yourself on a daily basis. Think of your workouts as very important meetings you have with yourself. Show up for it. Don’t cancel on yourself. I find that when I don’t prioritize my wellness, everything else gets stuck. My creativity does not flow the same way. My immune system really declines and I get more colds and flus. Of course, I gain weight and I don’t feel good about my body, and I have less energy for life…. The good news is that as soon as I go back to my fitness and dancing routines, everything starts improving again. The body is really amazing! It wants to move… So move your body daily. Truly embrace, love and be committed to your own happiness and health.
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