See You At The Barre
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
Have you heard the joke about the girl who walked into a bar? Well this story is about a different type of bar – The Bar Method! Barre workouts have been the trendy workout for a few years now, and it just so happens that it’s the first workout I’ve ever done for more than a few weeks in a row!
I’ve struggled with weight for longer than I can remember and haven’t been smaller than a size 16 since probably middle school. Even in elementary school I was always the tallest and biggest kid in class. My weight never held me back, but of course I always wished of being thinner. Growing up I was always on a swim team, joined a local synchronized team and swam competitively in high school, but once I went to college, swimming phased out and I never filled the void with any other sort of physical activity. All through my twenties my weight fluctuated with various fad diets and short bouts of gym commitments.
Then one day in March 2015 I decided to try this new workout studio called The Bar Method. I did ballet as a kid so I assumed that would help me in some way since this was a workout based around a ballet bar. I researched the workout on their website page by page, psyched myself up, signed up for class and got my yoga pants ready to go!
When I walked into the studio I was greeted by the instructors, Gayle and Kaitlin, the mother/daughter team who own and manage the studio. The studio was beautiful and clean with some fancy spa vibes. I purchased some cute sticky socks, grabbed my two and three pound weights and picked my spot near the back corner of the room – maybe no one would notice me there.
The class began and I was in for a rude awakening as to how out of shape I was. It may look easy but my legs felt like noodles mid-way thru class. During stretch at the bar I had to use a lower bar because I had zero flexibility and could barely get my leg up to hip height. I was definitely the biggest girl in class, but I never once felt judged or looked down on. Everyone was so encouraging, including the instructors, and after I successfully finished my first class I felt so accomplished while I was standing there dripping in sweat.
Over the course of the next few months I really started noticing changes in my body. My flexibility was improving, so much so that I graduated to the tall bar. My debilitating back pain I was experiencing from my desk job had subsided and my core strength really began to improve. I felt strong, powerful and proud during class. My posture improved and each week I noticed improvements in my endurance, flexibility and just overall well-being.
My first year of doing Bar Method I attended two - three classes a week, which was more than I had ever done consistently in my life, but I knew if I wanted to see more significant changes I would need to do more. In 2017 I began going four to six times a week, which meant making myself a priority and sometimes saying no to other plans with friends and family when they would invite me to do things on weeknights. This was especially challenging for me because I definitely suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but putting myself first was the only way I was going to see any results. Besides, it’s only an hour out of your day!
At the same time I increased my weekly classes I also started eating healthier and immediately began to see the weight melt off. Over the next nine months I lost over 40 pounds and 30 inches! As the inches melted off I definitely started noticing I could do certain parts of class easier and better. As my stomach and waist areas got smaller I was able to do the core exercises with better form and felt the exercises differently than I had in the past. Seeing results definitely inspired me to work harder in class and stick to eating healthier.
Back in October I took things one step further and tried a Bar Move class which is more of a cardio class and very fast paced. When I successfully completed my first Bar Move class, I stood there dripping in sweat, breathing heavily, but feeling so accomplished and strong. It’s always scary to try something new, even a bar class, but now it’s something I look forward to each week! Bar Move is the one hour each week where I’m challenged more physically and mentally to finish strong and I never regret going.
It’s hard to remember where I started in my barre journey and I never thought I would be able to progress as far as I have. I now stand proudly at the tall bar, I make it through all of thigh without coming out, my leg is higher in fold over and arabesque, I don’t need as many mini mats during floor exercises, I can do pushups from the balls of my feet and so many more things that I never would’ve guessed I could achieve after my first class three years ago. I can only imagine how far I’ll continue to improve and progress as I continue to embrace the shake at Barre!
10 Reasons I love The Bar Method:
1. You never get bored. Every class is different which keeps things fun. While the overall layout and flow of the classes are the same, the specific thigh, seat, and abs sets change so you never know what is up next. I think this also makes your favorite exercises more special because you only do them once a week or so (pretzel days are my fav!)
2. You’ll leave class feeling encouraged. One of my favorite things about my Bar Method studio is the community of women who lift each other up and encourage one another. I’ve never once felt judged or looked down on by anyone and the instructors are always there to show you how to improve.
3. Class is never easy. Even after 3 and a half years of taking bar classes I haven’t plateaued or thought class was easy. Class actually gets harder because the longer you take, the easier you get right into the exercise which pushes you to reach new heights! There’s always ways you can improve and new goals you can achieve.
4. The mind/body connection. It’s easy to just go through the motion of class and zone out. Staying present is essential and makes class so much more effective. Our instructors remind us of this often because they can tell when we aren’t tuned in to class. When I’m really concentrating on the exercising and my form, I get so much more out of class and feel even more accomplished when it’s over.
5. There are always ways to improve. One of the greatest things about Bar Method is that no matter how many classes you take, there are always ways to improve and get better. Whether you’re working on better posture, having better form, going lower past your challenge point, or doing pushups from the balls of your feet, there is always something you can work on to do better.
6. Modifications are key. One of my favorite things about Bar Method are the modifications. If you have a previous injury, there’s a modification you can do to prevent pain in class. If you’re pregnant, there are modifications. If for some reason you can’t do a certain exercise, there’s another one you could do to ensure an effective workout. So many options!
7. The instructors are amazing. From day 1 I was always impressed with the instructors at my studio. I know they have gone through rigorous training and are well versed on the human anatomy where they know off the top of their heads how to help you during class modify or adjust to keep us safe. Their hands-on approach really makes all the difference.
8. Options, Options, Options. Not only are two classes never the same, but there are also options available to challenge you even more. At first these options may sound impossible, but believe me, eventually you can conquer anything you put your mind to! The first time I tried doing push-ups from the balls of my feet I felt so proud and unstoppable! Start small by just doing a few reps to see how far you can push yourself, but always try the options when given!
9. There is No Age Limit. Bar Method is great for any and all ages. At my studio there is quite a wide range of ladies from high school all the way up to 70 years old. It’s so inspiring to go through class with strong women (and sometimes a few men) who are at so many different stages of life.
10. It really works! Like any exercise routine, if you commit to it and do it on a regular basis you will see results! Be determined to commit to going to class 3-5 times a week and make time for you! I really started noticing changes in my body when I took class 3-5 times a week. I felt so proud when I started noticing my body looking more toned. My arms were toned, my thighs were thinning, my seat was lifting and my waist was shrinking! Hard work and dedication will definitely pay off and help you reach your goals!