Happy Friday everyone! Another goal of mine for this year is to try a couple new fitness classes and Wednesday morning, I survived my first barre class!
To prepare for the new class (since the gym website didn’t offer info about what to bring) I googled ‘taking your first barre class’ and discovered it wouldn’t be too different than yoga. Suggestions included: bringing a water bottle, wearing athletic clothing (tight capri length preferred), grip socks and a yoga mat (for some places). Fortunately I have grip socks (I like to wear around the house), so I brought a couple pairs just in case. Turned out, I didn’t need the socks or my yoga mat! However, I decided to use my mat when I saw some girl put her yoga mat on top of the small foam one. Seemed like a smart idea because I’d rather have my own sweat all over my own yoga mat than have contact with some old mat that had probably never been cleaned (icky germs).
Once I got my mat set up, I noticed everyone grab a squishy ball (like arm balance clinic!) and a set of weights. Let me just say that I am so thankful to myself for grabbing a set of LIGHT weights (3lb-ers) because that was all I could handle…more on that in a bit. Then I spent time stretching my quads and hammies since I went on a 3 mi run/walk just before this class (yes, a double duty day!).
Then class started.
At first we did a ‘warm up’ with some plie squats and leg kicks with sweeping arms, then quickly moved on to the weights for the next 15 minutes. For example, while continuing to hold a bouncing squat we would do arm raises and holds, punches, etc… aaannnd my arms were dying. There were only a few counts (of the whole 15 minute period) where I had to put the weights down to give my arms a break. After the arms were warmed and worked, we did some light stretching. Then we moved to the barre.
During that warm up (not super rigorous by the way), I started to feel light headed and nauseous. Not sure if my breakfast wasn’t sitting right or if I should have eaten a larger breakfast or hydrated more for the back to back workouts…though I did eat a couple bites of my odwalla bar with gulps of water after the run/walk for a little extra fuel. Whatever the reason for my body’s rebellion, I just walked out of class and sat on the floor around the corner for a minute with my head between my legs. After a few big deep breaths I felt much better and went back to class. Didn’t have a problem after that.
So innocent looking…yet its the place where my legs turned to jelly. Plies flat footed with some transitions to releve (on the toes), back leg raises, back leg raises with front leg ‘squats’… some small bouncing, over and over until everyone’s legs were quivering. Which is the point of barre, to get your muscles to shake aka. fatigue the muscles. It is customary for the teacher to walk by and compliment you if you are shaking, like “Nice shaking“! Between these different exercises we would do some light stretching. I only wish the stretching lasted longer…felt so nice…Even though the actual movements don’t look like much (if you were to watch a class, check out youtube video below), holding them for minutes on end and doing them over and over for a half hour…is tough work!
After the barre, we went back to the floor for the final 15 minutes to do core work and stretching. Modified bridge poses with squishy ball between thighs, plank poses (side, front), crunches with legs high up in the air…and then finished with some light stretching. I was pooped. But I didn’t feel like my body was locking up at any point! Due to my paranoia about injury I did stay an extra 10 minutes after class just stretching (fortunately no class after for another hour). Pretty sure everyone thought I was weird for doing that. Oh well!
The next day.
Yep, I was sore. But at least I could still walk (was a bit worried)! Definitely stretched a few times yesterday, rolled out my muscles with my sprinter stick and slathered BioFreeze all over! Hopefully I won’t have too much residual soreness for yoga tonight 🙂
What I learned (from this particular class)
- Stick with my yoga mat and forego the small foam mat. Being 5’7″, the not-even-4 foot mats were not long enough for me to hold a plank comfortably. The extra ‘cushion’ just got in the way and didn’t offer any additional benefit to me personally…. but then again I am used to doing poses on the floor in my yoga class.
- Socks not required (would likely change if I went to a real barre studio).
- Stick with light weights (for now, add more weight later).
- It will kick my butt again, but at least I know what to expect and that I can actually do a full hour.
Consensus: Loved the challenge! Even though it was my first class, I feel that my regular yoga and strength training routines over the past year made a HUGE difference in my ability to keep up with the class! I certainly wasn’t struggling, but I wasn’t ‘the best’ either. Not that I’m supposed to compare myself to others….There will be more barre in my future for sure! 🙂
Have you ever taken a Barre class?
If so, what have you learned? If not, would you ever try one?