Unlike most people I know, dancers love their jobs. Even professional dancers don’t mind working overtime on a Friday night to make you look like a dork on the dance floor. (Have you ever gone dancing with a dancer? I do not recommend it.) But Cheryl Burke just spent 18 seasons on “Dancing with the Stars” making celebrities like Drew Lachey and Ian Ziering look good. She was beloved on DWTS, but after 10 years she’s decided to move on to new challenges in the form of a new NBC variety show called “I Can Do That.” We chatted over the phone on Tuesday to discuss her devotion to dance, fitness beauty tips, and the new gig.
Leah: I saw you guys taped your first episode of “I Can Do That” last week.
Cheryl: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s so nice to do something out of my comfort zone.
Leah: That’s great. I didn’t realize it was out of your comfort zone. Is it safe to assume you’re still dancing?
Cheryl: I can’t say much about it because they just announced the show last week, not details, but I’m definitely doing things that are out of my comfort zone, which is nice — to be able to be challenged again and feel inspired.
Leah: How long were you with “Dancing With the Stars” again?
Cheryl: I was with them for 18 seasons, so almost a decade.
Leah: Wow. I personally am really curious to hear workout tips from such an experienced dancer’s perspective. Can you tell me a little bit about what your regular workout is like and what your workout is like on a day off like today?
Cheryl: Because of my hectic schedule, I work seven days a week, so I’m always constantly active with whatever I do and it’s easy for me because part of my work is to stay active. I don’t have to set aside time to work out for the most part. I really just try and stick to my diet. It’s not really a diet I would say, it’s just eating healthy, eating breakfast, and trying not to eat about 4-5 hours before I go to sleep.
Leah: So on a regular day like today what does your workout consist of?
Cheryl: Well today is my day off because it’s important for me to rest my body and my mind for a day. I try not to overdo it. I feel like if you set a goal for seven days a week you’re bound to break it. I try and just relax on my days off and live a balanced lifestyle in that way. I think it’s important to change your workout up a bit so your body isn’t in shock. Let’s say you run 4 miles a day and do the same workout, I think your body gets used to that. You don’t see as much change. Its just important to be able to change it up.
Leah: Do you feel like you’re able to find change in dancing, or do you have to turn to other types of activity?
Cheryl: I feel like with dancing it’s such a great workout from head to toe and you’re not using any weights, you’re using your body weight. It’s just so different because you’re working out your mind as well. When you’re dancing, you’re literally constantly moving everything. When you’re just on the treadmill, you tend to just be doing the same movement over and over again. With dancing it just brings out more flexibility, more core strength, and you definitely get a great workout — if you’re dancing all the time, you sweat a lot as well.
Leah: Actually speaking of sweat, I was going to ask you if you have any tricks to prevent breakouts.
Cheryl: Oh, yeah. On TV they put so much makeup on us, and when I did “Dancing With The Stars” we’d get out of makeup at 8 in the morning and we’d have that same makeup on for like 12-13 hours. It’s just really important to be able to cleanse your skin. I was lucky because my mom has great skin so it runs in the family, but they layer and layer the makeup as the day goes by so I guess just drink lots of water and be able to cleanse all the toxins in your body. I drink lots of green tea. In the morning, I’ll drink caffeinated green tea and at night its great to drink decaf green tea because it’s really good for you. I try to skip coffee. I have maybe a cup of coffee a day and then the rest I’ll drink green tea.
Leah: Out of all that, the thing that sticks out is that your mom had great skin, because your skin is great and it just feels natural to me.
Cheryl: Thanks, yeah I was blessed to have great skin but I do make sure I wash my face and I definitely make sure that I take the time to take off my makeup. Sometimes people sleep with their makeup on, so you’ll wake up and have a breakup.
Leah: I was also going to ask if you have tricks for keeping makeup on, because I feel like you’re dancing and sweating and it can fall off, but it sounds like you have a thorough process throughout the day.
Cheryl: Well the trick is having a great makeup artist by your side. But yeah, I am a sweater. I try not to put a lot of foundation on if I’m doing my own makeup. I try to keep it pretty simple. I’ll use a light foundation and then mascara. I always do brows — brows are always important to frame the face. A little bit of blush and then a gloss. I just try not to overdo it.
Leah: I also wanted to ask you about your new QVC collection cee bee. Its such a nice price point, especially when compared to a Lulu Lemon or comparable fashion-forward activewear.
Cheryl: Definitely. This was something I always wanted to do. I live in activewear, it’s important for me to be comfortable and yet look stylish. QVC and I teamed up because we had the same kind of vision to make affordable clothes for the everyday woman of any size. Or line goes from XXS to 3X. And the most expensive piece is $59.99, which is the jacket. And the jacket itself has just so many details. The quality of the actual material is amazing. And what’s great about the activewear line is you can layer so you can be active in it or you don’t have to be active in it. It’s for the normal everyday housewife who needs to bring her kids to school, or if you’re working and need to go out to meet your friends for a drink you could easily use some of the pieces in the cee bee activewear line.
Leah: I feel like I’m always wondering what to wear if I want to grab a drink or dinner after the gym.
Cheryl: Yup, exactly. We have colorblock tanks or looser tanks with a sports bra, so it’s not just for people that want to work out. It’s for the everyday woman. The color is great. I love colorblocking. I used to be a bit terrified of wearing color on my bottom half and I was able to do the colorblocking on the bottom. I get the “I don’t want to accent my hips” or my butt, but with some of the different pieces we’ve worked to get them to flatter your body.
Leah: Did you work with a team of designers to help get to that point?
Cheryl: Yes, I have a great team of designers. I’ve been very involve — this isn’t something they’re just doing and I’m putting my name on. My weight fluctuates like every other woman and its important for me to be able to relate to all the women out there who have gone through ups and downs with their weight and have them feel comfortable and confident and look great at the same time.
Leah: Yeah and I guess especially with activewear you know what you’re talking about at this point.
Cheryl: Yeah I live in it, literally.
Leah: Do you have a type of dancing you’d recommend for people who are just trying to work out?
Cheryl: There’s lots of things you can do. Jazzercise, Zumba, if you want to go into a class, get motivated; if you and your husband, or boyfriend or whatever want to learn how to salsa dance, salsa is one of the easier dances to learn. Salsa clubs are fun if you want to work out to live music. If you want to take it to the next level there’s so many dance studios around. I have a dance studio in the Bay Area called Cheryl Burke Dance. That’s where I’m from. There are so many different ways of exercising instead of feeling like you have to go to the gym every day.
This interview has been condensed and edited.