Hello all. It is Abby from www.backatsquarezero.com where I blog about my quest to go from completely out of shape to fit by transforming myself from a couch potato to a marathon runner and learning to eat right and live healthy in the process.
Not That Bar Get Your Head Out of the Wine Glass Barre
When you tell someone you’re going to barre they do not picture a fitness studio, but that is exactly what I do one day a week. If you would have asked me a few months ago if I would ever attend a barre class I would have laughed at you like you were crazy. As far as I knew barre was something celebrities in LA and NY did and after a few horrible attempts at yoga, picture my clumsy, awkward 5’10 frame tipping over numerous times and almost taking others out with me, I was sure running long slow distances was my destiny. I have absolutely fallen in love with running and in particular distance running so I was very happy that this was my main only form of fitness.
However, as I entered my thirties I began to realize that running six or seven days a week may not be what is best for me. I don’t recover from exercise as well as I did when I was younger. I am not sure if this is because I am getting older or if it is because I’ve been running for a long time without many breaks, but either way it sucks. I started to notice that I was sore on a regular basis and what used to be little bumps in the road seemed to turn into more serious injuries. I decided it was time to do something about this in order to keep myself healthy and running. I knew I was horrible about stretching post run and that my flexibility mirrored that of the tin man so I decided I needed to force myself to focus on these areas of weakness by attending a class. I thought about yoga and was terrified by horrible memories so I began to look at pilates studios instead.
Luckily at that exact time I got an email from Groupon – Four Barre classes for super cheap. I knew nothing about barre, but on my teacher salary realized I could try four barre classes for the same price as two at the pilates studio and I signed up. You might find this crazy or amusing, but walking into that barre class I was more nervous than I was at my first marathon. I am a total klutz and was terrified I was going to do something really embarrassing, like go crashing down ripping the entire bar out of the wall with me. (Seriously I had nightmares about that.)
However, I was shocked at how welcoming everyone was in the studio and how helpful they were. I had signed up for a beginner class and they walked me through the equipment first: your own barre station, free weights, a strap, and a barre. Plus when I called on the phone they had explained that I would need to make sure I wore or brought socks. I have since bought special barre socks which I always put on before class so my feet don’t slip on the carpet. I loved that if you ever felt uncomfortable or off balance at the barre you could use your strap to help hold you up. Woohoo, that meant no crashing to the ground, my fears were eased. However, what has kept me going back to barre, even now that my Groupon has expired, is the workout I got. It was not the sweat dripping cardio I am used to, but it definitely worked my muscles in different ways.
The barre class was split into four sections: arms, legs, butts (glutes if you want to be all PC), and abs. Each section was fifteen minutes long and focused on exhausting one part of the body through multiple repetitions using free weights or body weight. I loved the feeling I got that first day when I could actually sense my legs shaking at certain points as I held tightly to the barre for stability, I have since learned to loosen my grips and make my legs work even harder. I enjoyed glancing down as I did small squats on my tip toes and seeing my calf muscles twitch and my thighs quiver because while it made me feel weak, it also made me feel strong and happy knowing I was working my muscles differently than I do when I run. On top of that I liked that they incorporated in flexibility moves and stretching which I lack in my daily running routine. I was so happy I took a chance and tried barre. I now go once a week on my active rest day (as I am currently marathon training) and I could not be more pleased with the results. I may never look like the picture hanging in the barre studio, but I am working harder to be the best, healthiest me I can be by doing something new in order to improve my flexibility and hopefully relieve some of my muscle soreness not only by stretching, but also by strengthening my muscles.
I hope you will consider giving barre a try. I was the ultimate reluctant runner, convinced I would hate anything besides my intense cardio workouts and I am here to say… I was proven wrong! Barre is a fun workout, goes by surprisingly fast, and works you body is ways you may not be used to. Check it out.
Then let me know how it goes:
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