Health & Medicine

Celebs credit 'Dancing with the Stars' for weight loss

LOS ANGELES — What do Kirstie Alley, Marie Osmond and Kelly Osbourne have in common?

The trio credit ABC's hit show Dancing With the Stars for kick-starting their weight-loss journeys.

Celebrity after celebrity said they saw their bodies transform while appearing on the reality competition series.

And it's not just women. This season, Jaleel White is attributing his body transformation to the hard work he put in with his partner, Kym Johnson.

"I think he's lost about 12 pounds," Johnson says. "I think it's more transforming his body, really. He didn't have to lose weight or anything, but he has definitely lost weight."

The pair were eliminated from the competition May 1, but the audience can dance alongside Johnson with her newly released workout DVD, Dancing With the Stars: Cardio Dance for Weight Loss.

Johnson and fellow Dancing With the Stars pro Mark Ballas have put together dance routines in various styles to help viewers accomplish the same weight-loss results as the show's participants.

It's the newest DVD in a series from the dance franchise that includes Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom, featuring Julianne Hough, and Latin Cardio Dance, featuring Cheryl Burke and Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

"I think everybody watches the show and sees all the celebrities transform their bodies, and we just wanted to be able to have that for everybody at home to do," Johnson says. "And you're learning new dance moves at the same time you're getting in shape."

The new DVD features a warm-up that introduces the signature moves used throughout the workout.

There are three routines, and dance styles include the samba, salsa and swing.

Dance in general is good for the entire body, but the samba is especially good for your core, thighs and glutes. Swing — which combines the jitterbug, the Lindy Hop and the jive — is a great leg workout.

"I think dance targets the whole body, and you don't realize you're working out because you're focusing too much on learning the steps, so I think that's why it's such a good workout. And you're targeting your legs and really toning your whole body," Johnson says.

"Probably the jive is the most high-intensity dance of all of them, just because you're really watching your legs and getting a really good heart rate because it's so fast, and there's a lot of twisting involved, which is really good for the midsection."

The moves taught can be seen on Dancing With the Stars, but no partner is needed to complete the DVD.

If anyone can teach the moves, it's Johnson.

The Australia native has won the coveted DWTS mirror ball trophy three times — first in the Australian version, then in America's Season 9 with partner Donny Osmond, and again in Season 12 with Hines Ward.

She began dancing at age 3, when she took classes for ballet, jazz and tap, but she didn't begin learning ballroom dance until she was 13.

Johnson's fit body is not just due to dancing, though. She says having a healthy diet and portion control are important as well, and even though she doesn't have much time to do anything else while the show is airing, during her off time, she enjoys Pilates and hiking.

Johnson has made three other DVDs for the franchise: Cardio Dance, Dance Off the Pounds and Dance Body Tone.

She says Cardio Dance for Weight Loss is different because there are new dance routines, and they start out at a slower pace and work their way up to an advanced routine that includes the jive.

Johnson recommends that people take it at their own pace, pausing and rewinding if they get lost, and work their way up to the more advanced routine.

Most of all, she said, she wants people to have fun while they do it.

"I've given it to a lot of my friends, and they love it. They feel like they're actually dancing and getting a great workout at the same time, but it's not tedious or boring like running on a treadmill," Johnson says.

"It's just really fun and you'll get a great workout. And you'll learn some fun dances at the same time."

And as for who might win the Dancing With the Stars title at the end of this season, she's not willing to place a bet on anyone.

"This season, especially, the dancing is amazing, so I think anyone that's left in the competition has a chance of taking the mirror ball trophy," Johnson says. "It's going to be a really close competition in that final."

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