in the last few years, barre classes have swiftly gained in popularity. studios have popped up throughout the nation. i have heard mumbles of enthusiasm over the workouts; and yet i still had not managed to try it out for myself. it was about time that changed. so in thefirst2hours of my visit to my former zip code, i called up my “barrebabe” friend tracy for some inspiration, and a class schedule. tracy has been a class instructor at the bar method in hermosa beach for over 5 years, and she rocks the barre bun like it’s going out of style!
i’m convinced that barre classes must be packed full of awesome women … because tracy is awesome, and because this work-out was the brain child of this fancy, german dancing lady:
the barre method founder – lotte burke
photo credit: John Lawrence
barre workouts fall somewhere between yoga, ballet, and pilates. they say that barre will eventually sculpt the average body, into a dancer’s body, which sounds pretty good to me. so i entered the bar method with ignorant enthusiasm for what lie ahead. the class attendees came in every shape and size, and i was relieved to see that i wasn’t the only one in the studio with broad shoulders and volleyball quads.
(i am thankful to have been born with a tall and slender frame, but i certainly have never been mistaken for a dancer.)
my next observation was my sub par posture. each and every one of the regular barre students clearly benefit in their strength and overall awareness of their bodies. i admire a woman (or man) who holds themselves to a higher standard – both literally and figuratively. so i made a conscious effort, and a new 2015 goal, to stand taller.
music played lightly in the background as tracy transitioned us from one exercise to the next. we were swept away in subtle movements and pointed toes. as the newbie, i was given a tad bit of extra attention to be sure i was making the most of the work out and studio time. much of barre is about being cognizant of one’s body. in holding a pose, it’s important that each part of the body is properly aligned. it’s also important to activate the core, as opposed to trying to muscle through every exercise as i tend to do. every move should be meaningful.
our class was organized into three parts, the most difficult of which is what i will refer to as the “quiver phase.” standing up and using the bar as support, we lifted our legs, stood on our toes, flexed and squatted, until there was an earthquake beneath us. i would look down and my legs would be hilariously shaking back and forth from exhaustion. but the quiver meant that improvement was happening, so i laughed, and welcomed it. tracy snapped an image of me holding a pose long enough to make it appear as if i knew what i was doing.
at the end of the class I had a light sweat, throbbing bum muscles, and a new appreciation for barre fitness. as a lifelong athlete, i used to be the type who would overlook this kind of work-out. i thought that if i wasn’t gasping for breathe, it wasn’t worth my time. but now i am the older and the wiser, and i know that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
i may not burn as many overall calories in a barre class as i would if i were kick boxing or running, but i think that i may actually gain more overall. in walking away from some high intensity workouts i feel exhausted, but i don’t necessarily feel any immediate changes. however post barre i immediately noticed a difference in my body. i felt leaner, and i felt more toned. consequentially i was walking taller, and i felt encouraged to try it again. if one class made me feel so good, i can only imagine how my body would transform if i dedicated myself to more.
for those living in the south bay, the bar method offers a $100 trial pass to take as many classes as one desires within the one month time frame. if i lived here, i would sign up in a heart beat, and recruit you to join me; but my life in a suitcase carries on, and i will have to continue to barre elsewhere in the world.
barre fitness is good for the body, mind and soul, and i will most definitely be doing it again.
click here to read about tracy’s and i’s adventure in hiking:
what kind of studio workout do you suggest i try next?
what's your favorite part of barre fitness?