Rekindling my love of barre with Barreworks

23Jul12

I may need to start adding these to Pinterest as fitness goals!

Last week I had the pleasure of going to my first Mixed Level class at Barreworks. I’ve heard such great things from friends so I thought it was time I gave it a shot and put my instructor through her paces. You see, I have a few injuries I’m working around so I’m not your typical student. Plus, I’m not overly coordinated without a lot of practice so I thought I’d be a bit of a challenge. Funny thing is I don’t think I even fazed her. 😛

What’s Barreworks?

Barreworks is a ballet barre-inspired workout that combines body sculpting, cardio training, core sculpting and deep stretching. The workouts focus on posture and alignment of the body to build long, lean physiques – think of building a dancer’s body without the tutu’s (although I’ll take mine with a tutu thankyouverymuch). Developed by a team of fitness instructors and dance professionals, Barreworks is Toronto’s answer to the barre-inspired workouts that are all the rage in NY, LA and Vancity.

The studio

The studio is beautiful and calming complete with oversized doors, high ceilings, lots of light and a friendly atmosphere. On my first visit I was greeted at the front desk and quickly whisked away to see all the great perks of the studio like brand new, state of the art spin bikes for SpinBarre, a more intimate studio for YogaBarre, and a cool water filtration system saving hundreds of bottles in the mere eight weeks the studio’s been open! Another great thing about the studio is you can book your classes online so you know you’ve got a spot and pay in advance so it’s one less thing to worry about when you show up!

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The workout

And how was it? In two words: amazingly fun!

The Mixed Level class is where all beginners start but it’s by no means easy! My instructor Paulina was great – she was upbeat and knew when to push us and when to make us laugh. In fact I didn’t look at the class once – time just seemed to fly.

Paulina took us through a series of lunges, pliés, bicep curls, core work and cardio activity using a combination of resistance bands, weighted balls, and mats working every inch of your body. And although it was a challenging workout, Paulina kept us laughing and engaged every step of the way! I even had a chance to talk to her beforehand so I could modify some of the weighted activities I couldn’t do (like push ups) with items I could do (tricep extensions with the weighted balls or extended plank poses).

I happened to be in a lucky class of six (of which five people were new to the workout) so we had really great one-on-one attention so we knew we were doing things right. I can’t imagine how hard it must have be as a teacher to give a class of 21 that kind of attention but somehow I’m sure it doesn’t phase an energizer bunny like Paulina.

The aftermath (and afterburn!)

I left that class feeling elated. Who cares about runner’s high when I can have a dancing-at-the-barre high!  It was so much fun and yes I worked up a sweat – in fact for your own good (and mine) I’m not going to post the picture of myself I took halfway through the workout. It’s embarrassing for me – and I don’t feel like I’d be inspiring you all to attend the classes if you saw my sweaty mess.

For the next few days after my first few classes I was sore. My hamstrings were tight, my inner thighs burned and my glutes were stiff which was all expected. What wasn’t expected was how sore my abs, shoulders and triceps were which was a pleasant surprise. This really is a full body workout.

Final thoughts

I definitely recommend this workout to anyone – beginners, seasoned dancers or anyone who just wants to try something new like I did!

And the best part? Your first workout is half price at only $10! You’ll get hooked but you won’t regret it. Find out more at the Barreworks website or by following their Twitter feed.

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