An athlete I am not; that’s why my rotations of fitness classes are typically low impact, slow, and involve lots of breaks in between to socialize and sip my water. One method of fitness that has always been good to me has been Barre. There are all kinds of variations that incorporate additional factors like extra cardio, heavier weights, and some that are performed totally on the floor (my favorite). If you’ve never taken a Barre class do me a favor and just give it a go. The seasoned fitness junkie may find it a little mundane, but for the rest of us it’s a refreshing way to build up your core strength and break out a sweat without jiggling around and gasping for air.
Here are the basics: Barre utilizes different positions and postures inspired by Ballet and sometimes even Pilates and Yoga to create a sequence of highly controlled body conditioning. You may think that it will be impossible to break a sweat at the often times slower pace, but if you engage your core and purposefully complete each move it’s as intense as it gets. Flexibility plays an important role as you are gradually able to lift higher, sink deeper, and reach further the more you practice. It may surprise some when measly 1-2 pound weights are brought out mid class to aid in the sequence only to feel like boulders after rep 25.
The poster child for Barre devotees (think lean, tall, and taut ladies) deterred me from trying the method for years.
I figured anything that was producing waifish swans was not something I’d ever be any good at. Nowadays it’s one of my favorite workouts and I feel ahhhhhmazing each and every time. If you are thinking of hitting up a class bring a large, cushy towel as almost every class will have a floor component. Another factor that sets it apart, it’s almost always performed barefoot although grippy, toeless socks add a dimension of pro so I like to look the part. One last piece of advice…wear stretchy clothing; think yoga pants and breathable athletic tops, but you may want to avoid anything oversized as some of the positions will have you (and the rest of the room) staring down the entire length of your loose shirt (just saying). I found my space at the barre at Cardio Barre.
Opal Rockport is a small business owner with a background in Psychology, Clinical Sexuality, Holistic Health Sciences, and is a Certified Reiki Practitioner. She is a mom of four young children including a set of twins and is a self-proclaimed foodie, health-spa enthusiast, and beauty junkie.