I don’t know exactly when the barre workout trend started to hit the west coast but within the past six months or so, so many of my fitness-conscious friends have extolled the value of barre (as in ballet barre) workouts. And it seems just as soon as I heard of barre studios, my own neighborhood became home to a XtendBarre franchise.
I was dubious. I’ve had a lifetime of dance and fitness classes, starting at age 3 in ballet (my mom enrolled me because I was klutzy), Jazzercise in 4th grade, and from 6th grade through high school I tagged along with my mom to all of her aerobics classes. I continued seeking new classes through college and beyond – low-impact, high-impact, Step, Callanetics, Hip-hop, Cardio Glide, Zumba, etc. I always enjoyed the music and dance moves but eventually I got bored. And worst of all, I didn’t really notice any results that were better than say, running or yoga. So as such, over the past couple of years, I’ve gotten my fitness high solely from my track shoes… until now.
From the first day I took XtendBarre, I was hooked– and so many of the other women who take barre class say the same thing. The best way I can describe it is “cardio ballet.” The class format is roughly:
- Warm-up (cardio, stretches, some light arm strength stuff)
- Arm work with light weights, many repetitions
- Continue arm work on the mat including push-ups and dips
- Cardio session at the barre
- Leg work on the barre (sometimes a stretchy band and/or ball is used) <See Video clip I snagged from YouTube below>
- Stomach and core work on the mat
- Possibly more leg work on the mat
- Stretching (often with a strap)
The workouts are comprised of classic ballet movements – and I think that is the appeal for me. You just look so PRETTY doing the movements… everyone does. It’s a tough workout but it’s filled with grace and beauty. If you have a good imagination, you can pretend you are a ballerina, striving for a ballerina-type body; lean, strong and tight.
I’ve written about numerous of the classes on my DailyMile log, but overall what I enjoy most is (1) each class is different, (2) the high-energy, fast pop music, (3) the RESULTS. Over the past 2 months, I’ve lost a couple of pounds without changing my not-so-stellar eating habits, I fit into my clothes better, and have actually gotten stronger. I think that’s what makes it so addicting… you like the way you look and feel when you’re regularly doing the workouts. On the first or second class, I signed up for a 3-month membership on the spot. And I’m delighted I have not gotten bored.
While memories of my own childhood include following mom’s lead on the yellow leotard, red shiny tights and legwarmers and doing Jane Fonda-esque repetitive moves, XtendBarre is much more elegant and provides amazing results. Most if not all of the locations let you take one class for free – I highly recommend giving it a try.
Note: I was offered a free one-month membership to try the class but was under no obligation to blog or tweet about the experience. I signed up for a 3-month membership (which I paid for) after the first class. Everyoe can take their first class free at the Scripps Poway location.