Barre 3 Class Review

Lately, I’m all about trying out new fitness classes.  I recently gave OrangeTheory a try, and absolutely loved it, so when I heard about a new Barre 3 studio opening just around the corner from my house I was intrigued.

When I saw they were offering free classes during their Grand Opening week, I decided I had to give it a try.

I recruited one of my femme fitness friends to sign up and come along for the ride as we decided to take on our first ever Barre class.  We had no idea what to expect, and the class was definitely a different animal than we were prepared for.

Read on for my full review about my Barre 3 experience.

What is Barre 3?

Barre 3 takes an approach to fitness that’s different than anything in my current workout repertoire.

According to their website:

Barre 3 is where ballet barre meets yoga and pilates

 

The low impact workout incorporates three main movement elements.  Large, dynamic movements, or “moving big” as they called in in class are used in the warm up and to help to release the lactic acid build up throughout the workout.  Isometric holds are seen throughout the workout, typically after long continuous sets, and they are designed to really fatigue your muscles and give you a bit of the shakes.  Finally, the most commonly seen element are the 1 inch movements for most every major body part.  These tiny contracts create heat and a “burn” in your muscles throughout the duration of the workout.

barre 3 props

All of these things are achieved with the help of some nifty equipment including very small weights, balls, and straps, not to mention popular dance music with a fun pounding beat.

The Studio

While the class didn’t exactly tickle my fancy, the studio itself rocked my world.

barre 3 studio

Not only was everything brand spankin’ new, but it was an aesthetically gorgeous design built to specifically cater to their female clientele.

The lobby was bright and welcoming with a child care alcove off to one side complete with games, toys, and staff to supervise.  They had a large merchandise area with more than one thing that was calling to my checkbook.

barre 3 merchandise

The storage area was thoughtfully designed with cubbies for shoes, socks, cell phones and keys on top of spacious benches for preparing for class.  The restrooms were spotless and well stocked with fun extras like body spray, hand lotion, tampons, towels and tampons.

The studio itself had barre’s on both sides, one wall of mirrors, and probably about 30 stations for participants.  Like the rest of the building, it was clean and tidy, and well organized.

The Class

The class itself began with a lengthy warm up.  For the first 10 minutes or so we concentrated on “moving big” to wake up our muscles, and added in some deep stretching.  The instructor did an exceptional job of moving around the room to ensure everyone could see her, giving modifications, and keeping the energy high.

After the warm up we went to the bar, and for the next 30 or so minutes we ran through a series of exercises comprised of isometric holds, 1 inch movements, and breaks to stretch out.

Following this piece we went down to the floor on mats for a 10 minute series of glute bridge work, and ended the class with around 10 minutes of ab work.

What I liked:

The class format was dynamic, moving quickly from one exercise to the next and doing a good job of giving us breaks and large movements to flush out our muscles before going to the next thing.

The music was fantastic, and more of what I would have expected in a traditional group exercise class.  I was actually kind of relieved that it wasn’t Yoga-esque music, as the tracks they were playing were really fun and current and motivational.

The instructor, Jenna, was great.  She was perky and fun, had no problems showing us modifications, and even at times did them herself.  She gave everyone as much individual attention as they needed to do the movements safely and effectively, which was great to see considering how many new exercisers were in the class.

Jenna
Jenna

What didn’t do it for me:

All that said, this workout wasn’t one I would ever do again.  While I can’t claim that I didn’t sweat (it was actually pouring off of me in buckets by the end of the workout), I didn’t feel particularly challenged in the workout.

The movements weren’t exactly easy, and while I certainly felt the burn during some of the isometric holds, I felt like there wasn’t much functional about the workout.  I will never, ever need to do 10 full minutes of hip thrusts in real life, and while it burned in the moment, my glutes and hamstrings are strong enough from other training and I had no soreness at all the next day.

In fact, once the workout was over I felt similar to what I might have felt like after a hard pilates class, but without the benefits of any deep stretching.

All of that said, I consider myself to be pretty fit.  I can see this class format being really welcoming for anyone who is new to exercise and like a group fitness environment.

The Cost

As a new studio, this Barre 3 location offered several new client specials and rates to help to build their membership.

They have both an unlimited membership option at between $55-$99 per month, depending on the length of your commitment.  They also offered class packages where you could buy 1-30 classes at a time for between $20 and $15 per class, depending on the number you purchased at once (i.e. 1 class is $10, a 30 class package is $450, or $15 per class).

To me, the pricing was on par with the quality of the studio, the area it’s located in, and the clientele that they cater to.

Conclusion

While this wasn’t a workout for me, Barre 3 is totally something everyone should try at least once.  It’s nothing like anything else out there, including yoga, pilates or even ballet itself, and is a completely unique fitness experience.

Be ready to sweat, wear your cutest leggings, and be prepared to do enough hip thrusts that you’ll get the giggles.

Ok, so maybe you won’t actually get the giggles, maybe that’s just the prepubescent boy who lives in my head and comes out at the most inappropriate moments.

 

With my girl, Jill, after class.
With my girl, Jill, after class.

 


All right readers, it’s your turn.  Have you ever tried Barre 3?  Was it for you?  What did you love about it?  And importantly, what should I try next? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

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You’re About to Ride in a Time Machine

My favorite day of the year is coming up this weekend!!!  No, it’s totally NOT Halloween (have I ever mentioned how much clowns and scary movies absolutely terrify me?!), it’s the day we all get to “Fall Back,” or as I like to call it:

TIME TRAVEL!!!!

No seriously, you go to bed at night and wake up the next day and have a whole shiny new hour that you didn’t have before!  It’s good stuff kittens.

This year, I’ve got a challenge for my lovely readers.  There’s lots of research out there that says folks who do stuff in the morning are more likely to stick to it and make it a habit, yes?  Yes.  True statement.

With an extra hour in our day, wouldn’t it be cool if we could kick off our Fall right and use that hour to work towards a goal we’ve been wanting to achieve?

If you’ve really been trying to get out of bed in the mornings to workout, that is totally the day to start.  Or if you have it in your head that you would just eat better if you took the time to prep some meals, do it with that hour!  Let’s all challenge ourselves to use that hour to start a new healthy habit, before our bodies have a chance to miss it!

Personally, my extra hour is going to be spent on stretching and mobility.  My once a week yoga classes are great, but I really need to spend some focused time every day foam rolling and stretching.  I always plan to do it when I wake up in the morning, but seem to constantly get distracted.  I’m using my hour to start this new habit.

What about you?  What will you do with your hour?  What new healthy habit are you going to start this weekend?

I’m irritatingly happy enough I deserve that face punch

Holy crap kittens.  I feel like some sort of self-help-believe-in-your-dreams-and-they-will-come-true book right now.  I’m actually kind of pissing myself off with how happy I am.

Remember that epiphany on Wednesday that I cheesily said would “change my life.”  Well um, yeah.  Apparently that was like, true.

I promise to give ya’ll the gory details once everything is officially official, but the short version is that, at 30 years old, I finally realized what I want to be when I grow up.  On Wednesday I started the process of pursuing it, and by FRIDAY I was on the path.  I can’t believe how quickly it’s happening, and how easy it’s been.

For now, stay tuned for more painfully happy posts, and the usual work out crap.  Because I really really love working out.

What is your key to success?  What’s the last thing that made you really really really happy?

Have a great weekend friends!

Aligning my cha-cha-chakras

I do yoga every Wednesday.  If you’ve ever watched a walrus do yoga, you already have a mental picture of just how bad this is in your minds eye.  It’s not pretty kittens.  But my muscles need the yoga.  My brain really needs the yoga.

Apparently, my chakras need the yoga too.

Today during class, while holding a particularly difficult pose and panting and sweating and just generally questioning why-in-the-hell-am-I-doing-this-to-myself?! the instructor announced that our deep breathing in that pose was opening our creativity chakra.

I’m talking SECONDS later… BAM!

I’ve been struggling with an idea for months, and it was to the point that I was ready to simply throw in the towel and quit the project all together.  This week especially I’ve been trying everything in my power to have the ephiphany that I needed to move forward, but to no avail.

Until today.  I opened my chakra and suddenly my idea was reborn.

This is a game changer kids.  I’m so excited.

Any readers have a great moment this week you want to share?

 

5 Rut-Busting Workout Changes

We’ve all been there.  You start a new exercise program and you see amazing results.  Your pants are looser, the number on the scale is ticking down, you have lots of energy and you see consistent improvements week after week.  Eventually, those gains (or losses) slow down, and while you still love exercise and activity, you’re not seeing the results you once were.

All too often this lack of progress causes even the most die hard fitness fanatic to consider quitting all together.  Luckily, for every fitness plateau there is a quick and easy fix to help push you to the next level.  These are my top 5 favorite ways to change up a workout, and get back to seeing great results fast!

1.  Change up your cardio

We are all guilty of it.  If you’re a runner, when it comes to cardio, you run.  If you’re a cyclist, you bike.  When left to our own devices we will always do our favorite form of cardio at an intensity that is comfortable and rarely will we reach outside of our comfort zone to really challenge ourselves, and really see results.

If your fitness and progress has reached a plateau, try changing up your cardio.  Either change up the intensity or duration of your favorite form, or try something entirely new.  Are you a runner?  Try a hill interval workout.  Cyclist?  Try riding with a faster pace group, or joining a cycling class at the gym.

If you’re feeling adventurous jump into a different form of cardio all together.  The step mill, elliptical and rower are all great equipment choices to offer challenging cardio choices.

Incorporate new forms of cardio for four weeks and watch your results kick into high gear!

2.  Tinker with your strength training

By now we all know that every well rounded fitness program includes an element of strength training.  Lean muscle is the foundation of every physique, and scientific studies have proven that muscle burns more calories at rest than fat.

It’s important to regularly change up your strength training to continue to build muscle, burn calories, and see improvements.  If you find yourself stuck in your progress, try tinkering with your strength routine.

This can be as simple as changing up your rep scheme and the weight you’re using for each exercise.  For example, if you typically do sets of 10, try doing sets of 6 but using 20-30% more weight.   Keep your form perfect, but push your muscles to move more.

Alternately try changing up your exercises to target the same muscles in a different way.  If you typically use the leg press machine, try doing a barbell squat instead.  If lunges are your jam, try doing them walking or back wards to activate different muscle fibers and increase the burn.

3.  Play with new equipment 

New equipment creates a new challenge
New equipment creates a new challenge

Fitness should never be boring.  With so many exercises to chose from, it’s easy to put together a routine that incorporates all of your major muscle groups and helps you reach your goals.

If you find yourself in a rut, try the simple change of using a different piece of equipment while going through your routine.

If you usually use dumbbells for an exercise, try switching to kettle bells instead.   Hanging leg raises?  Try doing them hanging from a pull up bar by your hands, rather than laying on the floor or from the Roman Chair.

By changing one little pice of your movement your body will be forced to recruit different muscles and burn even more calories during your workouts.

4.  Take a class

There’s no better way to get new ideas, make new friends, or push extra hard in a workout than in a group setting.  Sometimes everyone needs a little extra inspiration, and taking a class is a great way to get it.

Regardless of what aspect of your fitness you are hoping to improve, there is a class out there for you.

Flexibility?  Try Yoga or Pilates.  Need a good cardio burn?  Try Cycling or a Les Mills BODYATTACK class.  Want to throw around heavy weights?  Drop into a Crossfit box.  Check out your local area for specialty classes like Bikram Yoga, Barre Classes, Soul Cycle, Arial Yoga, Pole Dancing and more.

Sometimes all it takes is one class to give you new ideas and a push for your future workouts.  And you never know, you might love it so much that you end up incorporating the class into your regular routine.

5.  Talk to a trainer or coach

Having a professional resource take a look at your fitness goals, your progress, and your slump, can be the key to moving on successfully.  At many fitness facilities trainers will do an initial consultation for a minimal fee, and give you great feedback on ways you can improve.

Be sure to do some research on your trainer to ensure they are certified and have a background that appeals to you.  Sometimes, having a little expert advice is all you need to push you to the next level.

 

What easy tips do you have for pushing through a plateau?  What has worked for you?