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Dawn Petten, who?s appearing in the play Studies in Motion, enjoys a smorgasbord of exercises including aquafit classes.


Bare-body pride gives Dawn Petten, 36, motivation to exercise. In Studies in Motion, a stage production about the photography of Eadweard Muybridge currently playing in Toronto, the actor plays a nude model. She says it's like skinny-dipping in stage light.

My goal:

"To feel good in my body - strong, agile and limber and able to take on any movement demands of any show. I exercise regularly for stress relief, mental health and it helps my mood."

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My workout:

"I'm a combo-platter exerciser. In Vancouver, where I live, there's hiking and kayaking. I'm a cycle commuter, riding three hours a week. I've done Pilates twice a week for an hour and 15 minutes on the Reformer since February. I had a bike accident in January, in which I was car-doored, and my doctors prescribed Pilates to stabilize my core.

"I do aquafit, a group exercise class in summer and in winter. I love it because sometimes after a long rehearsal, when having a workout feels like it's the last thing I want to do, it's like having a bath and workout at the same time - hydrotherapy - and it harkens to childhood splashing in the pool once a week.

"When we were in rehearsals during lunch hours, someone brought in [the workout system]P90X. With this cast at the same hotel, when someone heads down to the gym we text everyone else - we work out together. We do eight shows weekly, and for my pre-show warm-up I do a yoga podcast."

My lifestyle:

"I'm largely pescetarian [fish-eating vegetarian] and I have a sweet tooth. With this show, I've had to adjust my diet to have a lighter meal for dinner before the show. Post-show, as a cast, we go to the pub and have chicken wings and nachos. Or back to the hotel room for poker games and tons of snacks and chips. The cast often brings in treats to have at intermission, which works against me."

My motivation:

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"Being naked is a great incentive to keep up with your current regime."

My anthem:

"For my gym workouts I listen to CBC Radio 3 podcasts non-stop."

My challenge:

"I spend a lot of time barefoot walking and running around on my toes, so physically my challenge is tight calves and plantar fasciitis in my left foot. I feel pain in the tendon that travels up from the heel to the ball of the big toe, making my toes cramp with a constant dull ache."

The critique

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Self-treat foot pain:

Jose Lopez, a fitness trainer in Toronto, prescribes some myofascial release and stretch techniques that Ms. Petten can use to loosen up adhesions in her foot and increase the range of motion in her ankle.

"Stand on a tennis ball with the left foot, rolling the ball back and forth, applying pressure on sore spots. Follow this with an ankle mobility drill: Stand in a lunge with the front foot a few inches away from a wall; touch the wall with the knee without allowing the heel to rise."

Order healthy pub grub:

Mr. Lopez, who has designed fitness nutrition plans, recommends options for healthier dining and drinking.

"When Dawn's at the pub, a turkey burger or sweet potato fries would be better alternatives. On average, one chicken wing has 100 calories, seven grams of fat and 100 grams of sodium." As for alcohol, "vodka with soda or champagne are her best bets - both are below 100 calories."

Special to The Globe and Mail

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