Thursday, March 20, 2014

My New Addiction

I absolutely am in *love* with barre.  All of the classes I have taken over the past week or so were uniquely different, yet a freaking crazy awesome workout. 

So far, I have gone to two classes at Lifetime Fitness and two at a barre studio. 

Let me tell you a little bit about my trips to the barre…

Barre Fusion at Lifetime was more of a barre/pilates/yoga mix.  My new friend, Elaine, from MRTT had invited me and I am *so* happy she did!  Since there was no actual barre, we used body bars, planted vertically on the ground, for balance and performed what seemed to be hundreds of plies.  I think my legs are pretty strong and in relatively good shape, but DANG, they were nothing but shaky jello when I was through.  I did my second class at LTF this past Tuesday and had the same experience.  Shaking legs.  You are instructed to “embrace the shake”.  Easier said than done!

I ran three miles after class and felt I had some trouble finding my groove.  I liken it to the brick workouts all my tri friends do.  Difficult! 

While it would seem like it is all about the legs & bootie, there is a good deal of ab and arm work as well.  With all those plies and leg lifts, you start to feel very graceful and like a *real* ballerina!

Cue “Tiny Dancer” in my head. 

My favorite version can be seen here:

The class even ends with a super cute curtsy at the end!

The instructor is the same each week.  She is adorable and spunky & knows her stuff.  This made the class even more enjoyable.

This past Sunday, I tried another barre class, with my friend Rene from work.  It was INTENSE.  Non-stop from the minute it started until the minute it ended, yet the hour flew by.  The class was held at a barre only studio called Pure Barre.  It was a very new, cozy studio in a neighboring city, about a thirty minute drive from my house, but well worth it.  I was sore the next day (a sign of a good workout!).

Only a few items of equipment were needed for both workouts.  Grippy socks are a bonus to help stay in position (they really help with plank!).

It was for real.  

Their catch phrase is LTB.  Lift. Tone. Burn. 

They aren’t joking. 

After a very short warm up, Kendra “fab” (the instructor) took us straight into ab work.  We worked through a series of some arm work with very light weights (which sounds easy, but becomes incredibly HARD) and then moved to the actual barre.  Leg work, bootie work and more ab work ensued. 
The class moves by fast and so did the time; not a minute wasted. 

I went to a second class last night the Pure Barre closer to my home, which has only been there for three weeks.  I was greeted by the owner, who is also a teacher (just not that night). 

I found that after attending one class already, a lot of the moves were much more familiar and it was easier to follow the flow.

I have also come to the solid realization that there is another way to get a great booty without doing hundreds of squats.  I know it sounds too good to be true, but it does not come without hard work.

While both barre workouts focused mainly on lower body exercises, each of them provided a great full body workout.  They were slightly different in some ways and alike in others.  I am really enjoying them both.
I think this is a great way to improve balance, flexibility, strength and core stability.  It definitely will increase foot and ankle stability as you spend a lot of time on pointy toes…feeling that *burn* in the calf muscles.  Hip flexor strength and flexibility is also a target during the workout (*great* for runners). 

Barre is also a great workout for all fitness levels.  It is not jarring to the joints, modifications can easily be made and it is not high impact by any means.  The method has proven results. 

It is my intention to make a 30 day focused commitment to barre to see how it can improve my running (all in the name of research of course!).  I’ll let you in on the results next month!  Until then, I'll be LTB'ing at the barre!

So…have you ever done a barre workout?  What did you think?

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