First Barre

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!

IMG_3548To 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.

IMG_3551Did I mention that I almost fainted?

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.

The barre.

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!

The floor.

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)

  • IMG_3549Stick 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?


24 thoughts on “First Barre

  1. I have recently started to see more about these barre classes.. looks like a lot of fun! I like the idea of unconventional workouts, just never seem to fit it in my own life.
    What sort of skills do you do for it? Like what’s something a pro would be able to do?

    • Check out the YouTube video for examples of what they do. The more “pro” people can lift their legs higher and hold the poses longer without shaking. As well as have good form while doing it. More like what ballet dancers can do at the barre (to a point, since its not a dance class). It was fun for sure! Might shake up regular strength training routines with some barre videos for sure!

  2. BARRE! I’ve been wanting to try so bad, but running always seems to take precedence 🙂 I have a studio that offers a free class to a first timer, so I have NO EXCUSE! I’m so glad you enjoyed it… and you’ve motivated me to sign up for one next weekend 🙂 🙂

    • Thats awesome! AND free!!!!! Can’t beat that! And you could do what I did and go on a run beforehand (just give at least 15 min in between to get to the place early, scope a spot and stretch a little. Hope it goes well for you next weekend!

  3. A Barre class is definitely on my list of things to try! I really need to add something other than running and yoga to my routine! I also just bought a package of bootcamp classes through Groupon, I’ve been waiting until after my marathon to try it…maybe this week!

    • Definitely going to incorporate a barre routine here and there during strength training sessions as a way to mix things up! Its amazing what type of challenge your own body can pose!

      Congrats on the goofy challenge! let me know if you go to a barre class and how it goes!

  4. I haven’t taken one. My sister has been asking me to to get certification every since she saw Tia & Tamara doing it on their reality show. We don’t live in a city that would demographically embrace the cost, in my opinion. Thank you for posting this though, I was very curious to get the “scoop” on participating from someone other than superstars:) Biofreeze is the bomb! BTW, I’m 5″7″ too.. totally not the point of this post:)

    • For me the barre class is 20 mi away because I live in the middle of nowhere, so its not feasible to attend every week, but I loved the experience and would like to go once a month! But in the meantime Ill just stick to free youtube videos!

  5. I wonder if the almost fainting incident had to do with low blood sugar. Since you went on a 3 mile run/walk the few bites of Odwalla bar may not have been enough. Something else to consider is having a physical done. Two years ago I was at the gym and almost blacked out, turns out I have a slight heart murmur. Definitely don’t discount random situations like that.

    Good call on using your yoga mat, I’m pretty weirded out by using other’s – ewwwwww. I’m so excited that you liked the class, I’ve heard a lot of good things about Barre but there aren’t any around me. Alas, it’s not meant to be.

    • I should probably get a physical since the last one I had was 2 years ago (I think they recommend every 2 years or something), but I also have inner ear problems which may also be to blame…and probably should have eaten a bigger breakfast before the run! I left my extra snack at home…so I didn’t get a chance to buy anything until I was at the gym and wasn’t sure how scarfing a whole bar down 10 min before class would feel in my tummy… Definitely going to learn from this!

  6. Thank you for the wonderful blog. I love barre classes, love to do dance always as well as yoga. Pure Barre is exercise at its best. The technique is joint-friendly and builds long, lean muscles without bulk. You’ll be amazed at how effective the small movements are in burning fat and in toning and lifting all of your trouble spots, including abs, hips, butt, and arms. Forget about the stresses of the outside world while you jam to fantastic music and transform your body, one tiny lift at a time.

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