This story originally appeared in the April/May 2015 issue of Pointe.
Growing up, native New Yorker turned San Francisco Ballet corps member Kimberly Braylock learned to swiftly navigate the city streets and studied flamenco at Ballet Hispanico. Now, she infuses her cardio workouts on the treadmill with her city smarts and a dash of flavor.
Like New Yorkers do: Since she's from Manhattan, Braylock is used to speed-walking. When she's not overly busy during the season, she'll hop on the treadmill two to four days a week for a brisk 10- to 25- minute walk. She gradually increases her pace to a jog, which boosts her endurance for the stage. Speed-walking also gives her an opportunity to check her e-mail on her phone. “It's multitasking in a safe environment!"
Sultry steppin': During treadmill workouts, “I blast different types of music," says Braylock. “Carlos Santana's 'Maria Maria' has a Spanish flair, so I might start doing feet motions from salsa or samba." And it's also an easy way to integrate core work: “I use my abs to rotate my hips or my rib cage." But she doesn't limit herself to Latin-inspired strides. “Sometimes I vogue or even do Swan Lake arms."
Back to basics: When it comes to strength-training, Braylock says her best work happens during bonus studio sessions. She takes the hour-and-45-minute SFB School class with the trainees when her schedule permits. “They go a lot slower than in company class, so I can focus on using my muscles correctly." She especially concentrates on strengthening her inner thighs and making sure she's not gripping her hip flexors.
Super snacks: “You can always find me with fruit and a bar," says Braylock. “Apples, oranges, nectarines or bananas are my go-tos." And she knows exactly what to look for in a bar to keep her dancing strong: “I try to get something that's high in protein, low in sugar and has some fiber in it."
One session, multiple benefits: Once a week, Braylock visits one of SFB's in-house massage therapists. The 60-minute sessions (sometimes longer) are often part of her performance-week prep. But they're not merely an indulgence. “I go for injury prevention and rehabilitation," she says. “I usually ask them to target my psoas, calves and feet—especially my tendons and metatarsals."