Q&A with the incredible Katie Boren
- What inspired you to start dancing?
I was inspired to start dancing after seeing a performance of The Nutcracker when I was very young. I wasn’t even three years old, and my mom took me to see Texas Ballet Theatre’s production of the Nutcracker. Apparently, I started crying after the first act because I thought it was over and I wanted to see more. After that, I begged her to enroll me in ballet class.
- How did your fitness trainer journey?
My fitness journey really began just as my professional career was starting. I became aware of the importance of cross training and conditioning. I noticed a huge change in my dancing and also in my mental state. It became a form of meditation for me. I was hungry for more and thus, began my path to becoming a certified trainer.
- What is the biggest takeaway that you learned from your career as a ballerina and a certified trainer?
My biggest takeaway is that failure is okay. So many times I’ve experienced failure and I have struggled. I always find that my greatest accomplishments or epiphanies come after a major fail. Ballet has taught me to accept the failures, learn from them, celebrate them, and use them as a tool to improve and increase my self awareness.
- As a fitness trainer, what kind of workouts do you recommend to dancers, especially ballerinas, who have to mould themselves to meet the visual aesthetics of their art form?
I am a big fan of Pilates and body weight exercises. I find that dancers benefit tremendously from these workouts while enhancing their technique and physique at the same time. HIIT workouts can be great for stamina as well and plyometrics exercises can increase power and improve jumps.
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of a ballet-inspired workout regime in comparison to other types of exercise?
Ballet-inspired workouts are unique in that they exercise the mind as well. Ballet requires the whole body to work in unison. So, ballet-inspired workouts address coordination and balance in a way that most other types of exercises do not.
- Pointe technique is beautiful, but it looks incredibly difficult. How long does it take to learn and master the technique?
Pointe is beautiful and incredibly difficult. It takes years to finesse pointe technique. But honestly, I find that it is a life-long journey. There is always something to work on or another layer to add…especially when it comes to pointe work.
- In your personal life, how do you address mental health concerns like anxiety, frustration, body dysmorphia, or self-doubt? What’s your mantra for mental health?
I’ve definitely dealt with anxiety, self-doubt, and insecurities about my body. It took years for me to let go of so much of that tension and allow myself to enjoy my work and my body’s abilities. I’m a huge fan of therapy and counselling because it helped me through several low points in my life. Now, I try to take the tools I learned through counselling and positive self-image and implement them every day when I look at myself in the mirror.
- It is common trivia that exercise and nutrition complement one another to help a person lose weight, stay active, and become healthier. So, what does your diet look like? What are some of your favourite foods?
Nutrition is so important for a healthy lifestyle. I feel so much better after I’ve fueled my body with proper nutrition that will help it perform in the manner that I am asking it to. I always start my day with breakfast and kombucha. I’ve never understood how people can skip breakfast! I’ll snack all day on nuts, fruit, and pretzels. I absolutely love sweet potatoes and avocado and usually incorporate them in my dinner every night.
- Finding the motivation to workout during this pandemic has been hard for a lot of people. How did you stay on track? What was the process that you followed to get into the mode?
Finding the motivation to workout at home was difficult at first, but it allowed me to have a structure in my day and made me feel a little more normal. I always feel so much better, so energized after a workout and working out at home forced me to flex my creative muscles. I genuinely enjoy working out and working up a sweat so for me it was never an option to not exercise. I had to figure out how to make my workouts work at home otherwise I knew I would restless and irritable.
- Besides ballet, do you have a preference for any other forms of exercise? Yoga or Pilates maybe?
I’ll try any form of exercise! I’m eager to learn as much as I can from as many different styles and regimens that I can. I do love Pilates and Yoga. I really love gyrotonics and encourage everyone to try iT. I’ve learned so much through working with Alejandro Piris.
- What workout regime would you recommend to an individual who has time constraints and cannot afford to spend time at a gym?
You can accomplish so much in just 15-20 minutes. The Train Like A Ballerina app offers several options for quick and effective workouts that don’t require a trip to the gym.
- Do you prefer to workout in the morning or in the evening? Does it matter whether one exercise in the morning, afternoon, or evening?
I’m definitely a morning person. First thing I do when I wake up (after breakfast, of course) is the workout. However, this a personal choice and everyone is different. I love the feeling of working out in the morning and starting my day on a high. But some people prefer the afternoon or evening because they have more energy then. find what works for you and stick to it.
- Can you share a memorable dance performance that has always stayed with you?
One of my favorite memories is performing the principal role of Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante in an outdoor theatre in Spain. I was just beginning my professional career with ABT II and had the incredible opportunity to perform this masterpiece in an outdoor theatre. As cliché as it sounds, it was definitely an out-of-body experience.
- What excites you most about being a Master Trainer on Train Like A Ballerina?
I’m so excited to reach a wider audience and have the opportunity to share my workouts with new people. It’s also so exciting to have a platform where people can access my workouts whenever, wherever they want to. This is all very exciting and I can’t wait to bring more workouts to Train Like A Ballerina.