Dancers have the most incredible bodies. Fact. And with Strictly Come Dancing UK in full swing, we’ve all been eyeballing those gorgeous ladies in the shimmer and heels. Oti Mabuse is back at Strictly for her fourth year running, and this time she’s competing with cricketer, Graeme Swann. She’s been in touch and shared a few tips on how to get that dancer’s physique…
Oti Mabuse is a 28-year-old South African professional Latin American and ballroom dancer. She started moving when she was four years old. Her two older sisters have been dancing their whole lives, “so I kind of come from a dance family where I grew up watching my sisters dance,” she says. It was always her dream to be like her sisters and, at four, her mother found her a dance partner and she started competing. “I haven’t stopped dancing ever since.”
READ MORE: 4 amazing health benefits of dance
Oti isn’t new to the Strictly family. First appearing on the scene in 2015 with Anthony Ogogo, she unfortunately didn’t go far in the competition. But 2016 was a much better result, with Oti and her partner, Danny Mac, making it all the way to the finals.
This year Oti is sweeping the dance floor in the arms of former English cricketer, Graeme Swann. Their fun energy and chemistry has definitely won a spot in all our hearts. With Week Five ending on a glorious tango note, we’re definitely team Oti and Graeme.
The training schedule of a dancer
“You know there’s no real training regime because we’re so busy dancing,” Oti begins. “It’s constant dancing.” Between dance competitions, it’s actually more effective to rest as these events are truly demanding.
READ MORE: Tone up the fun way with this strength and cardio dance workout
“I’m not really one for the gym,” Oti admits. “For me, the only way my body responds to any form of exercise is through dance.” And dance she does. Oti takes classes in all different styles, from hip-hop to jazz. “I think that’s what keeps me in shape,” she adds.
But she does enjoy running. “I do 45 minutes on the treadmill when I have time,” Oti says. With all this cardio, she does try to incorporate some weight training at the gym. “I prefer to actually just dance and run because that’s more fun,” she says. Add if you’ve seen Oti’s body, you’ll know she’s definitely doing something right.
READ MORE: 6 dance fitness lessons from the fitness marshall
Train like Oti Mabuse
Oti has her very own training programme called “Shake It”. This is a fun dance class for men and women of all ages, shapes and sporting backgrounds. Expect three hours of HIIT that will have you sweating – but it’s so much fun you won’t even realise how hard you’re working.
READ MORE: “I’m a dietician and these are the 3 healthy eating ‘rules’ I live by”
The best way to become a better dancer is… to dance. “Exercise makes you strong and it gives you stamina,” Oti begins, “but if you want to become a better dancer technically, technical dance training is the best way.” Taking lessons from a professional dancer who has been dancing for a while is a great way to get expert advice and training tips. Learn from the pro’s to become a pro.
What do dancers eat?
Strictly Come Salad? No so much. “I don’t restrict myself in any way,” Oti says. “I feel like if my body wants something, I should give it that. I would never advise anybody to take anything out of their diet.” That being said, supplementation is something Oti does believe in. “I do take vitamins and minerals like magnesium and iron, parsley and omega 3, just stuff to keep my muscle memory strong, to keep going and to feed my brain.” Otherwise, she loves to eat anything and everything. With so much cardio, she needs to fuel that fire.
READ MORE: “I started skipping a few minutes every day. This is how it transformed my legs”
Recovery, recovery, recovery
Recovery is critical in any sport. If you want to compete, you need to keep your body happy. “I like to stretch my back because I have a big chest and after a long day my back and shoulder start to hurt,” Oti says. Lunges and pulse rolling are key to her leg recovery. “A pulse roller vibrates so it doesn’t hurt as much,” Oti adds.
Make sure you don’t miss out all the latest Strictly action this Sunday on BBC Brit at 18:00.
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.