Leg day got nothing on this.
Ever heard of Barre? It’s gained popularity in the last few years with more and more studios like Barre3 and PureBarre popping up, but what is it? It’s essentially ballet barre x pilates x yoga. While it’s easy to see the words ‘ballet’, ‘pilates’ and ‘yoga’ and assume this is some gentle workout that leaves you feeling all ‘om’ I can assure you, it’s not.
Last Friday, as part of a bootcamp run for us by Fitness Collection, we went to a barre class at Prima Ballet Fitness. I knew it would be tough, because any exercise where you need to ‘pulse’ or ‘hold’ usually has me screaming on the inside.
Before we went, a lot of the guys were cynical. Whenever I could I assured them that they didn’t need to worry, it would be tough in ways they had not anticipated. And I was right.
Our instructor, Jennifer, was elegant, poised and a total badass. She wasn’t hard on us, but the exercises she had us doing were hard to do, and as we sweat and grimaced through them, she smiled sweetly and acted like nothing was wrong.
At the end of the 60-minute session I was soaked in sweat, my arms were sore, my thighs were sore, my butt was sore, but I felt awesome. I knew that session of pain had made me stronger.
Here’s why barre is so great:
IT TORCHES FAT
Granted this isn’t Crossfit, but trust me when I say it burns fat. It’s hard work, despite the simplicity of the movements involved and PureBarre claims that after just 10 of their classes you’ll start seeing results. Dancer’s body for the win!
IT TONES MUSCLE
Barre is pretty low-impact but still creates tension in your muscles (you might shake, I did!), meaning it’s a nice way to shape up without having to worry about bulking. You’ll definitely be stronger.
IT SHIFTS WEIGHT
I never thought ballet moves could get my heart-rate up. Well, now I know different. Barre is cardio. And cardio is aerobic exercise, which boosts your metabolism, helping your body to burn more calories.
There’s more to it than weight and muscle though. I think Barre is great if you’re pregnant or don’t want to risk injury – because it’s low-intensity; if you want to improve your posture – a good instructor like Jennifer will walk around and correct your posture if it’s not quite right, and you see yourself in a mirror the whole time; is great if you’re a beginner – there aren’t any weird terms or techniques you need to know in advance; and is perfect if you’re overweight – seriously size has nothing to do with it, it’s as hard as you make it.
Some people are hesitant to recommend Barre as a be all end all, as they say it lacks variation and won’t get your heart-rate up enough. I think if you’re doing it right, then it will, but if you’re unsure or feel like you need something more intense, combine Barre with running, Tabata, or Circuit Training.
/Femi, The Girl Who Hates Working Out
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