There are seldom fitness trends I won’t try, and do so with eagerness and gusto. Some I stick with, (HIIT workouts) some I don’t (Zumba). There’s been one trend I’ve been dying to try for quite some time now, and yesterday, I finally made my way to my first barre exercise class.
Initially, I thought it would be similar to pilates: lots of dance-like exercises, slow movements that burn your muscles in a good way, and a relaxed vibe. Boy, was I wrong! As soon as I stepped into Toronto’s Barreworks at their Queen St. West, location, I felt a rush of positive, happy energy and couldn’t wait to get started.
I was pleasantly greeted and upon learning it was my first time at the studio, the super-friendly (and not in the cheesy buy a water bottle and yearlong membership right now kind of way) front desk staff showed me the different studio rooms, including a spin-cylce studio, where to get necessary equipment for my class, their eco-friendly in-house water filtration system, and after handing me a towel, sent me off to the really nice looking locker room. (Forgot your lock? They supply! Nice touch, right?)
After changing and delightfully discovering the classes are done barefoot (my favourite!) everyone took their positions and lined up at the barre, which follows the perimeter of the room. Upbeat mashup-mixed tunes filled the room as soon as we started, and the warm-up alone was a zippy, heart-pumping routine that incorporated all kinds of leg and arm movements while holding weighted balls.
The fun, peppy music continued throughout the entire class, as did the positive energy – hugely in part to the perfectly toned instructor who hollered “great work!” and other positive encouragements throughout the class, also peppering in a few tough pushes to keep us going through the routines. Each routine consisted of both leg and arm exercises, used the barre and either the weighted balls or a resistance band, and lasted just long enough until you felt like you couldn’t do any more repetitions before moving onto the next set of moves. Although tough, the movements were incredibly enjoyable; the fluidity of the motions made it feel graceful and fun, and the lithe, limber bodies surrounding me made it easy to be inspired to keep up.
As it was my first time taking a barre class, I decided to try the classic mixed level class. After falling in love with the studio and method, I can’t wait to get back and try their bAAAre class (which focuses on arms, abs and ass,) DripBarre (which scares me slightly as I already dripped sweat in the traditional class and incorporates cardio as well), and BarreExpress (for when I need to squeeze in some barre time before work or the bar!). Also, as previously mentioned, Barreworks also offers spin classes, which are $10 before 1pm for the month of January. See you at the barre!
Click here to see their schedule and sign up for classes online.