Barre is a class I’ve been wanting to take for years. I've heard wonderful things about it, but was always afraid that it was going to be too difficult. I spoke to some workout friends about it over the course of the last year and they said good things about it. The common thread to those conversations was that it was a more challenging workout than you would think.
Barre was developed in the 1950’s by a German ballerina - who created the workout based on her dance conditioning and her rehabilitative therapy. Over the years, Barre went through it’s maturity and was redeveloped by instructors to the format that it is today. Like many forms of exercise, Barre has many variations.
My gym recently started Barre classes and I was thrilled to participate in the very first class - 5:15 AM on a Monday.
I walked into the room not really knowing what to expect. I grabbed a mat, a squishy ball, a few weights and found myself a place by the barre. I took off my shoes and waited patiently for the class to begin. Not knowing what to expect, I was surprised when we started with simple isometric movements that only moved my legs, my feet, my arms, an inch or two. In my mind, I thought it was going to be easy - but after a few reps, I really felt it. WOW. Soft murmurings of surprise from my classmates validated that I wasn’t the only one feeling the burn in my muscle groups.
It was very different than the other strength and core classes that I’ve been taking. While those classes focus on more compound movements (like squats and burpees), these smaller movements really focus on slow twitch muscles which help increase endurance, while fast twitch muscles help with power and speed. In addition, it was not faced paced, so I found it somewhat relaxing mentally.
The class started with us working our arms and legs and then we went to the floor to work our core. We put the squishy ball between our calfs and began working our abdominals. A few minutes later, somewhere in class, I heard someone rip a stinky. Yes, you read that right - someone farted.
I stopped for a moment and looked around, trying to ascertain if I really heard it or if it was a figment of my imagination. No one else seemed to be bothered, so I shrugged it off and refocused.
A few minutes later, I heard it again.
This time, i was absolutely certain that someone had secretly farted in class. I looked around again, and the sweet, mature, southern women in my class made absolutely no indication that anything had happened. Of course, on the outside, I had the utmost decorum. I continued with my abdominal crunches - but on the inside I was hysterical.
I know it is juvenile, but it was so unexpected and truly, there’s something about a fart that just makes me laugh.
By the end of class, I wasn’t sweating up a storm but I felt the impact to my muscles and I felt great. As it wasn’t a cardio based workout, I jumped on the treadmill for about 30 minutes after class, so I could maximize my calorie burn. At the end - I felt amazing.
If you’ve ever considered Barre, but you’ve been afraid to try it, I highly recommend it as part of a multi-faceted exercise routine that includes cardio, strength, core and HIIT.
Just be sure you go to the bathroom before class.
Bee healthy. Bee happy.