My legs were shaking, my heart was pumping, my entire body felt like it could give up at any second…and it was only the first exercise of an hour long class. The instructor was calling out, “you’re strong girls! Keep it going! Only 8 more reps!” 8 more reps turned into 16 and then 16 turned into 32. I have never been to a Barre class before and as I looked over to my friend hoping to see an exasperated expression on her face that matched mine, she only looked focused and determined as the instructor yelled and the song “Dance” by Jennifer Lopez blared. I looked around me to see the other women bending, lifting and moving in complete synchronization with each other and all I could do was try to follow along.
I thought I was in shape. I thought this class would be a complete breeze. I thought that I would just give this a try to see if I maybe liked switching up my workout routine. In my eyes, Barre had always been a trend that I didn’t think to try but on a cold November evening, I walked into the boutique studio a few blocks from my apartment, signed in and waited for the class to begin. All I knew before going to what I referred to as “that pilates place with twinkling lights in the window” was that I was supposed to wear “grippy socks” (which I did not wear), arrive at least 5 minutes before class (I arrived 15 minutes early) and to pick a spot at the ballet bar (I chose one all the way in the back). As someone who loves high intensity interval training on the treadmill as well as doing my own arm, ab and leg exercises at the gym, I was hesitant to try a class that didn’t involve any hardcore running or weight lifting. My self-proclaimed philosophy has always been that if I’m not sweating immensely, then I’m not truly working out. Needless to say, yoga has NEVER been my thing.
As I stood at the bar with the minimal equipment next to me, the instructor yelled out, “just so everyone knows, if you’re looking for a ballerina instructor, I’m not it.” I smiled to myself. That was exactly what I wanted to hear before hopping into the workout. The next hour was one of the toughest workouts I have ever endured and made me feel muscles that I never knew existed. My arms could barely handle 2 pound weights and my legs trembled. I walked out of the studio that night feeling excited and invigorated to workout again. And you know what? I went back the next day.
Now that Barre is my new favorite workout, I wanted to share with you my favorite and least favorite things about it:
Intense workout: Tiny, repetitive movements combined with a bit of cardio make Barre intensely work out each muscle group. Throughout the class, the exercises focus on targeting specific muscle groups for 3-5 minutes at a time. I swear, I always feel more toned after each class!
Girlfriend activity: I love that my girlfriends and I live down the street from each other and luckily, the studio where we take Barre is in the same neighborhood. Whether it’s a weeknight or a Saturday or Sunday morning class, we try to coordinate when we can go together. It’s so fun to workout with friends and we usually grab a coffee or cocktail afterwards to reward ourselves.
Working out on the weekends: Since the gym where I have my membership is closer to my work than my apartment, I used to only workout during the week on my way home. Having the Barre studio only be a 5 minute walk from where I live, I now love that I can easily attend a class on Saturday and/or Sunday morning to begin my weekend days on a high note.
Boutique studio: I love that the studio is small, cute and has the same batch of people attend the classes. Although I don’t know most of the women, I still feel a sense of familiarity every time I see the regulars next to me at the ballet bar. I also love that the instructors get to know you on a first-name basis.
Incorporating Barre exercises into my own gym routine: I still primarily work out at my gym but after getting into the groove of learning certain exercises at Barre, I now have incorporated some of those moves into my normal workout routine to add an extra element of burn.
Expensive: Most classes cost about $20 or more each which can add up very quickly! My advice is to take advantage of any introduction deals your studio offers. Also, if your birthday or holiday is right around the corner, asking for a gift card to the studio makes a great gift!
Limited class times with favorite instructors: Luckily, I like most of the instructors at the studio where I go but I do have a few favorites. I try to attend the classes when they are teaching but it becomes difficult when they only teach on certain days while I’m trying to plan around other commitments throughout the week.
I’m excited to hear! What do you think about Barre?