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Barre Class: What is it and why the hype?

Before I dive into the details of barre, let me set this up a bit to explain why I love it so much. I am not a big gym person.  (Yes this is a fitness blog, stay with me).  I just have a really hard time staying motivated.  I get bored pretty quickly on the treadmill, I do a few reps and look at the clock and skip through my Spotify playlist for a better song.  So when I took the plunge and started working out at the gym again, I found myself stuck in this oh so familiar slump, until a good friend of mine invited me to barre class.

Why Barre Class Changed My Life

I wasn’t too familiar with fitness classes because I had never tried one.  Honestly, I found them to be intimidating.  I felt like all eyes would be on me, as I stumbled my way through the class.  Which – let me tell you, after doing fitness classes for a long time now, NO ONE IS STARING AT YOU!!!  So, I went to the class with my friend and absolutely loved it – like, I may be addicted to this, kind of love. Don’t get me wrong, it was rough, I was out of shape. But, it was so great to feel like I was really working out and making progress.

I wish I could sit with you face to face and share my experience and how this fitness class truly changed my life, because it really did, in so many ways.  For the first time ever, fitness was fun for me and I could actually start seeing results in my body composition. Also, there was something really awesome about grunting and sweating it out with a community of other girls.  I quickly realized no one was staring at me or judging me, we were all working together, and encouraging one another through our fitness journeys.

Barre Class

What is Barre?

Barre uses a combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga, and pilates.  The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on strength training. Barre focuses on high reps and small range of motion movements with several repetitions. Barre is a full body exercise program that is suggested to be done 3 to 4 times per week. It is a low impact workout that is easy on the joints. Many barre classes also incorporate light handheld weights to make it burn!

Why Has Barre Become So Popular?

Barre is a fun and inviting workout activity that is appealing to all levels.  There are so many different modifications you can do, based on your level.  I have done this class with women in their third trimester of pregnancy and also those with a broken bone in their body.  They still can do barre with modifications!  It is a full body workout that does not require expensive equipment. Barre uses your own body as resistance.  So, this also makes it easy and convenient to do at home.  All you need is a chair or countertop for stability, light weights, a ball and rag (depending on what exercises you are doing).

Barre at home

What to Know For Your First Barre Class…

  1. Focus on small. I was a little thrown off at my first class because they offered 2 and 3 pound weights. I thought, how am I going to get a workout with 2lb weights?  But let me tell you, if it’s your first time, get the 2lb weights! I had NO idea how much my arms could burn with 2lb weights! Also, in barre, you focus on very small movements, nothing dramatic.  Doing small movements allows you to directly target the area that you are working on.
  2. If you shake – you’re doing it right. Don’t be embarrassed if your legs start to shake when you are in relevé (on your tiptoes) or any other position.  This is a good sign!! And if you look around the room, everyone else will be shaking too.  This means you’re working it, girl!
  3. Dress Appropriately. Yoga pants and a tighter tank top/shirt are recommended for barre.  You will be in all kinds of poses and a normal t-shirt will go all the way up if you know what I mean.  Also, tighter clothes allow you to see your form in the mirror and correct something when needed.
  4. You don’t need to wear tennis shoes. Some barre classes require socks, so you will want to make sure you wear socks that have some grip on the bottom. Some classes allow you to go barefoot as well. Check what is required before attending your class (or pack a pair just in case)
  5. The instructor is there to help you. If you have a question, ASK! If you don’t feel the burn, ask the instructor what you are doing wrong. You should always feel something working!  If you’re there, make it count. Your instructor appreciates the feedback and questions.  It also helps them know what you are having issues with and what they may need to go over with the class as a whole.
  6. Your abdominal muscles should always be engaged. Barre is all about the core and if done properly, it is one of the best core workouts you can do.  I hate crunches a lot.  But, since doing barre, my stomach is the strongest it has EVER been (even post kids) and I don’t do traditional sit-ups very often. Be sure your core is engaged and you’ll see results, I promise. Keeping your core engaged will also prevent back pain.
  7. Get a spot close to the mirror. Form is everything with barre. The mirror is there for you and you need to use it.  Especially when you are first beginning, you need to always check your form.  The mirror will show you what you are doing right and wrong, use it and be in front of it.
  8. You will be sore the next day. Your body will ache the next day, guaranteed.  It will be hard to walk down the stairs and when your child wants you to hold them, it will probably hurt. But gals, it’s the BEST feeling! You’ll know that you spent your time wisely.  You killed it and you’re on your way to amazing results.
  9. Prepare to be addicted. I was. And you may be too, just sayin!

If you already have a great workout routine that is working for you, stick with it – that is so great! Barre is by no means, the end all be all.  There are so many great programs and classes out there.  For me personally, I feel passionate about barre because it is what really leaped me into a great fitness routine and lifestyle.  If you have never tried a fitness class or are new to the fitness world, barre is a really great place to start and you will see results, I promise!

There are so many barre options out there today, most of which do offer childcare.  Many places offer a free trial period as well, so it is super easy and non-committal if it’s not a great fit for you. But, don’t just go once and give up if you weren’t convinced.  Commit to going at least 3 times before making a decision.  It has been so life changing for me, and I hope it is for you too!

 

 

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