Spry: Your ballet-style workout “Booty Barre” has taken the fitness industry by storm. What inspired you to develop this workout?
Tracey Mallett: There are a lot of high-impact workouts on the market. I wanted to develop a low-impact program that was safe, effective and could be done for life. Booty Barre is based on two of my passions: Pilates and dance. Dance has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl—I’ve been standing at a ballet barre since I was three years old! Dance elevates your soul; when you’re moving and dancing, you feel better about yourself. But while Booty Barre is dance-inspired, you don’t have to be a dancer to do it. It’s for everyone!
Spry: What makes Booty Barre more effective than other workouts on the market?
TM: It may be called “Booty” Barre, but it really is a total body workout. Booty Barre touches on everything you need in order to be fit: It has a cardiovascular component to burn fat and calories; a flexibility component, which is important because we get stiff from slouching over computers all day; and a toning aspect. The program really targets the abdominals—if your center is strong, the rest of your body will be strong. And, of course, the “Booty” part, because a lot of the movements are designed to sculpt lean, toned thighs and a perky booty—what woman doesn’t want that?
Spry: You have two children. Was it difficult to lose the baby weight?
TM: I bounced back fairly quickly after my second pregnancy. But during my first pregnancy, I probably overindulged more than I should have—I gained 57 pounds! It was really difficult losing the weight. Suddenly, I had a new baby to look after and a business to run, and I couldn’t do everything.
In hindsight, I’m grateful for the experience because it gave me a lot of empathy for overweight people and their struggles. I had always been in good shape—I’ve been dancing since I was a little girl—but for the first time in my life, I felt a little out of control. It inspired me to release the Sexy in 6 book and DVDs. The Sexy in 6 workout plan is divided into six-minute intervals, so it’s a perfect way for time-crunched women to squeeze in an exercise segment here or there.
Spry: What advice would you have for busy mothers and working women who want to exercise but can’t find the time?
TM: When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. Fitness is like a piggy bank—you put a little money into the piggy bank every day, and after time you’ll get a huge reward. For most people, it’s just not feasible to dedicate an hour a day to exercise. You just have to work at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.
It sounds simple, but I always schedule my workouts into my iPhone—if I don’t, I know it won’t get precedence. Look at your schedule and your kid’s schedules and find a time that works for you. If that means you have to wake up a little earlier and exercise before the kids get up, that’s just the sacrifice you have to make to live a long, healthy life. Also, find a buddy! If you have a friend or family member who wants to get in shape too, schedule workouts together. It keeps you accountable.
Spry: Your health philosophy is “Gift yourself the gift of exercise.” What do you mean by this?
TM: As mothers, we feel guilty putting the baby in the baby carrier to go exercise—it’s just our nature. But really, we shouldn’t feel guilty, because that child is watching us from a young age and taking in our good habits. Exercise isn’t just a gift to yourself—it’s a gift to the whole family. My kids know that exercise is an important part of my life. I feel like I am giving them the gift of being healthy and in shape. If we don’t do it as parents, there’s no way the child will! That’s part of the reason why we have such a big childhood obesity problem in this country. It starts with us—moms, dads—we have to lose the guilt and give ourselves the gift of exercise.
My message is to all women, no matter what age, no matter whether they have 10 kids or no kids or are a busy entrepreneur: There are no excuses in life to not take a little bit of time out of your busy day to exercise—for yourself, for your longevity, for your health and your mind.
Spry: I understand you’ve gotten involved in Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. Can you tell us a little bit about this?
TM: There is a huge childhood obesity epidemic facing this nation, and as a fitness professional, I felt compelled to raise awareness about it. I recently joined Ellen DeGeneres and Michelle Obama on the Ellen DeGeneres Show to work with the “Let’s Move!” campaign. We visited an impoverished school in Las Vegas, where there was no P.E. program and a lot of the kids weren’t receiving adequate nutrition at home. I led the kids in a fun exercise routine, which involved a lot of dancing. Kids love to dance—it’s fun, and when they’re having fun, it doesn’t feel as much like exercise.
Spry: That’s really incredible. I bet it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a difference.
TM: Yes…it was very inspiring for me to give these kids some hope for living a healthy lifestyle. I don’t talk about this often, but I was brought up in a blue-collar environment in the middle of England. We didn’t have the money to go out and do fancy things. Traveling to these different schools with the campaign, I can relate to what the kids are going through, because I didn’t have a lot of money growing up either.
Coming to America, I truly feel like I lived “the American” dream. I feel like I’ve given and it’s given back to me, too. I would love to do more inspirational talks with these kids and get the message across that just because you’re born into certain class doesn’t mean that you can’t do what you want to do in life.