Calorie Burn, Weight Loss, Strength Training and the barre!

One of the most common questions we get at the barre is, “how many calories do we burn in class?”. Typically people ask this question because they have some weight-loss goal in mind, and want to do some quick calculations as to the edge the barre is giving them. I’ll attack this with a three-pronged answer: first, a general guideline to potential calorie burn in our classes; second, the incredibly important role that diet plays in weight loss; and third, the incredible benefits of our classes as a compliment to your lifestyle.

First, calories burned in class. Frankly, this is one of the hardest questions to answer because it truly depends on so many variables: your sex, age, weight, muscle mass, level of fitness, how hard you push yourself in class and even when you last ate! Given all of these, you can see why it’s so difficult to answer this question accurately for you. But here’s what I can tell you: research has shown that in a similar beginner/intermediate level barre class (which is quite comparable to our open barre class), a 125-pound woman in good shape burns about 400 calories during class. In addition, there is an bonus post-class calorie burn of about an additional 100 calories, from the build up of lactic acid and the rebuilding “after burn” effect that occurs in your muscles.

And speaking of “burn” – our advanced level class, barre burn, is even faster-paced than open barre and increases the intensity, which increases the caloric expenditure potential: we had one open barre regular attendee come to a burn class with her heart-rate monitor that she always wears, and she burned 200 additional calories in our barre burn class!

Of course, as you’ve probably seen in class – it’s easy to “take it easy” and not push yourself to that muscle-shaking zone, which would decrease calories burned both during and after class – but you’ve also seen the women working so hard they’ve got a grimace on their face and it’s all they can do to stay upright during thigh work –  so these numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt because there is a big range here, probably a plus/minus 200+ calories!

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look to diet for a moment.
What you eat matters, and is frankly the most important component of getting to your goal weight: understand that diet accounts for the vast majority of your scale-swing. It’s as simple as – calories in: eat more than you burn in a day and it will result in weight gain, and the inverse results in weight loss! Mayo Clinic research tells us that 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, so you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose 1 pound. So if you cut 500 calories from your diet each day, you’d lose about 1 pound a week (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories).

This explains why diet is so important: for most people, it’s probably pretty darn difficult to eliminate the amount of calories necessary through exercise that you could through dieting – which is why your diet matters so much! However, that being said, doing both — cutting calories and exercising — can help give you the weight-loss edge. Exercise can help burn off even more calories than just dieting, and more importantly, a healthy exercise routine can help you maintain your ideal weight.

Finally, in addition to the calorie-burn, why we love the barre and its benefits:

  • We are building more lean muscle mass in your body. The higher this %, the lower the % of fat (which, as most of us know actually weighs less than muscle, which is why we shouldn’t focus quite so much on the scale when strength training) in your body. At work and at rest, muscle burns much more energy (calories) than fat – therefore raising your resting metabolic rate! The beautiful compound effect here is that with the more lean muscle mass you build, not only do you start to burn more calories during class, but you will be burning more calories at rest – the 23 hours a day you’re not at the barre!
  • Redistributing inches: some of the best feedback we’ve received is that clothes just start to fit better! It’s like an overall reduction, firming up and redistribution of inches on your body as you sculpt, helping you look and feel longer and leaner!
  • The isometric movements we perform in class are helping to build and protect your bone density and health, which becomes increasingly important as women age!

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