Barre fitness has been around since the 1960s when it got its start in London. Lotte Berk had the idea of combining rehabilitative therapy with barre ballet training. Then in 1971, one of his students Lydia Bach opened The Lotte Berk Method in Manhattan. In the past five years or so, barre fitness has picked up in popularity. It has been featured in magazines and grown in popularity through celebrity endorsements. So what is barre fitness all about?
To get an insider look, I got some help from Tori.
Callie: Why did you choose barre fitness?
Tori: I had just finished training and running a half marathon and decided that I never wanted to run again. I just hate running! But, I still wanted to stay fit so I did the Groupon thing to get into Barre classes and signed up for any free trials that I could. I chose I did dance practically my whole life and thought that it would be similar. I was completely wrong.
I chose Barre because I did dance practically my whole life and thought that it would be similar. I was completely wrong.
Callie: So what is barre fitness like?
Tori: Barre class starts with arm work, then the bulk of the class is spent on the lower body. Lower body work was a lot of isometric exercises which are basically positional holds for legs. Then the class wraps up with core work.
Barre is a mix between cardio and strength training although I didn’t feel like I was doing either of these. Does that make sense? Some classes like ‘Barre Amped’ were structured like Tabata in which you hold for 20 seconds, rest for 10-seconds, and repeat 4-8 times. I liked those classes best because I felt like I was working harder. Other classes focused less on cardio and were structured more like Pilates.
Callie: How long does it take to get results with Barre?
Tori: Well, you have to remember that I had just trained and run a half marathon and also that I continued to workout at the Y and when I wasn’t going to a Barre class. So I was already in pretty good shape but, like I said I wanted to maintain that.
I noticed a change in my body, which I attribute to Barre, in just one month. And that was going to class about 2-3 times a week. I wasn’t losing any weight but again, I didn’t feel like I needed to lose weight at that time. Instead, I felt more toned all over and especially in my butt. My butt and thighs were really tight! And I felt strong. I could hold my own body weight for longer amounts of time. I didn’t notice much of a change in my arms but, did I mentioned my butt?!
Callie: What would you tell someone who is thinking of heading in for their first barre class?
Tori: You don’t need anything for class! Just go in your flip-flops or those grippy socks. I recommend that you go to at least a couple classes before throwing in the towel. That way you can experience different teachers and different routines.
It took me 2-3 weeks to get really good at Barre so keep your expectations realistic. In my first few classes, I could not believe how hard this was and I just did the best I could to keep up with everyone else. Once I got good at Barre I could feel my strength and that just boosted my confidence all the more.
Callie: Are you still doing Barre?
Tori: Sadly, no. Barre can be an expensive hobby. I did all the Groupons and deals I could and by the time I ran out it was summertime and I felt like I had a summer body to be proud of.
And then shortly after the summer, I got pregnant, had my first child and, although I walk regularly and try to eat healthy, I haven’t quite figured out how to work exercise back into my new “stay-at-home PLUS working-mom” routine.
Callie: So will you do Barre again?
Tori: Yes! Once I start working out again. Haha.
If you want to know more about Tori’s experience or her small business adventures with Rodan+Fields send her a quick email: victoria.harvey2 (at) gmail.com. She’d love to get to know you!
Wanna try a Barre workout from the comfort of your home? Here are four youtube videos I found and, bonus, the first two are from my favorite youtube workout channel FitnessBlender! (I have done these and if you squeeze all your muscles the whole time you will truly feel the burn and get a great workout!) Just grab a sturdy chair and you are ready to go!
Sources: Studios ETC