Being a professional dancer takes a lot of work, just ask Joseph Cavanaugh with Ballet Arizona.

While Cavanaugh can spend hours in rehearsal for upcoming performances, he also uses food and exercise to help him get prepared.

Health2Fit has a preview of what he does to be successful on and off stage.

“I took it and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted physically and mentally,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh discovered his love for ballet at the age of 16.

“I want to get on stage and run around and make my whole life dedicated to the art of it, which is the physical, mental and the training,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh has been doing that with Ballet Arizona since 2001.

“Every single performance is a little different,” Cavanaugh said. “There is story ballet versus contemporary ballet versus neoclassical ballet. Some we perform with live music, some is to tape.”

But being a professional dancer doesn’t come without a little hard work.

“We could rehearse from 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with only five-minute breaks every hour,” Cavanaugh said.

Spending a lot of time practicing is how Cavanaugh prepares for all of his performances, but he also adds a few other things into the mix to get his body in shape.

“We have to keep a certain aesthetic quality,” Cavanaugh said. “This is just part of our job description.”

One way is by eating healthy foods. Cavanaugh incorporates everything from protein shakes to a lot of fruits and vegetables.

“To look a certain way on stage, we do need calories, but we need good calories,” Cavanaugh said.

When it comes to exercise, Cavanaugh means business.

“I usually hit the gym and I swim a little bit to warm up because when you get old, I’m old now at 33, I’m old,” Cavanaugh laughs. “When your co-workers are 21, 22 and 23 years old.

“I try to warm up my body before I go to our technique class, which is basically used to warm up and to keep our skills at a certain level,” he continued.

Cavanaugh also does something called Gyrotonic at Kinesphere Studio in Phoenix.

“Gyrotonic is similar in a way, where it uses your own body weight, but it asks you to find the connection of muscles or movements and link them together,” Cavanaugh said.

Hard work that is definitely worth all of the sweat and tears the moment Cavanaugh walks out on stage.

“It is a very difficult life, but it has great reward for us personally and hopefully for them [the audience] when they see it,” Cavanaugh said.

The next Ballet Arizona performance, All Balanchine, starts May 2 at Symphony Hall. Click here for all the details http://balletaz.org/performance/all-balanchine/

Don’t forget about Topia at the Desert Botanical Garden running May 14 through June 1. http://balletaz.org/performance/topia/

For more information on Gyrotonic at Kinesphere Studio/visit http://www.kinesphere-studio.com