Notice how “barre” is spelled, not your alcoholic bar (even though we all say this on multiple occasions), but the “ballet barre”. When discussing gyms and workouts, my friend brought up barre exercise and suggested I try it. Intrigue, I started doing some research and looking up classes in the local area. I found some information online and youtube videos that explained the exercise: a mix of yoga, Pilates, and ballet to give you an all body workout. For someone who has hard time planking, I was a little worried. And I’m the least flexible person and can be very uncoordinated at times. My ballet experience ended when we no longer jumped through the hula-hoop, as my friend pointed out.
This was also the same time period when I was looking to join a gym in the area and decided to go shopping on my days off. I gave in and took my first barre class at the local Pure Barre, and fell in LOVE! Then I joined a local gym that offered my all-time favorite spin classes, AND barre fusion classes AND 12 classes later, I can wait to do the next one!
If you are like me, you can easily be intimidated by those who are perfect at the moves around you. And yoga and I don’t really get along, just ask my former roommate in Florida when we tried a DVD. But at these classes, I find that each move and exercise is challenging AND I can feel it working. By the time you end it, you feel like you have had a whole body workout. And believe it or not, you don’t do the same class twice!
So, here are 5 tips to remember for your first barre workout from your least flexible, extremely yoga ball and planking challenged, graceful friend:
1. Wear the proper attire: Leggings are pants (especially in this workout), and wear the length of top you like best. You will sweat and get hot, so most people have on tank tops. But plenty of people wear t-shirts or yoga long sleeve shirts. Leggings are best due to lifting your legs all over the place. Some places recommend special socks with grips on the bottom. You can get away with it on your first workout, but if you do it regularly, I recommend you purchase their special kind.
2. Focus. On yourself. On each movement. If your like me, you want to glance around to make sure you are doing it right. All the places have instructors that will walk around and help move you in the right direction. Even when I was the only newbie in the class, the instructor was great about making sure I was doing the move correctly.
3. Breathe! As the barre instructor pointed out today, you want to focus on your inhale and exhale as you lift and contract. I know, I know, its already a lot going through your mind as your trying to perfect each move, and were asking you to focus on your breathing, but give it a try, you will definitely notice a difference.
4. Small movement, small movements. That’s what makes this a total body workout are the small, isometric movements that make you work each muscle group and tone all over. The weights used range from 1 to 3 lb weights, but believe me, you will feel it within a few minutes and know you are working those muscle groups.
5. Mind over Matter! I have heard this in every class, no matter where I took it, they all say the same thing. Remember to work through it mentally, it is so much easier to say “I’m done, I’m not doing this” but your overall health and mental state will feel better when you push through. Remember to always listen to your body but also push yourself so that you can make the best of it!
But most of all. have fun! I can’t thank the studios enough for being so welcoming and helpful during each session! You really do have a great experience and you are sure to be hooked after your first class. Trust me, if the person who causes a yoga ball to shoot across the room when trying to sit on it can do it, you most definitely can. I found this type of exercise to be intimidating but now that I have challenged myself, I have fallen in love. Find your challenge and embrace it, even if it’s not barre, but another form of exercise, you will feel so much better once you do.