Get fit by dancing, Riaan says

Thought getting fit and losing weight is hard work? Not if you're having fun by dancing.

Just ask "Die Nutsman" Riaan Venter, who, along with his dancing partner, came out tops in the recent Strictly Come Dancing series on SABC2.

Riaan lost a remarkable 20kg in 14 weeks – mainly by practising his ballroom, Latin and tango steps for the popular TV show. His weight dropped from 109kg to 89kg, and he now wears a size 34 pants, where he previously wore a 38.

The DIY handyman, who had no previous dance experience, was extremely dedicated and hardly took a day off during the 14-week period. Riaan practised with partner Hayley Hammond every day, including Sundays, anything from three to six hours at a time.

"I now feel fit and all my muscles are toned," Riaan told

Apart from strutting his stuff on the dance floor, Riaan also worked out at the gym during the first six weeks of the programme. These workouts comprised one-hour morning sessions, involving heavy cardiovascular training and light resistance training.

1050 calories in 3 hours
Ballroom dancing is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise and, therefore, a great, healthy way to lose weight.

Consider the following: when Riaan, who weighed 109kg at the start of the programme, did slow ballroom dancing (e.g. tango and chacha), he burned 981 calories (4120kJ) in three hours.

When he reverted to faster ballroom steps, he burned a whopping 1635 calories (6867kJ) in three hours' time.

A way of life for Riaan
When asked if he will put his dancing shoes aside now that the TV show is something of the past, Riaan quipped: "Definitely not. Just tomorrow morning, I'm travelling to Bloemfontein – to dance."

Riaan recommends dancing to anyone who would like to get fit and lose weight. "But you should still eat the right foods and do other forms of exercise," he says.

His diet regime is simple: "I steer clear of junk food."

- (Carine van Rooyen, October 2006)

Calculate the amount of calories you'll burn by dancing or doing other forms of exercise. Simply click here.

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