Answer (from Paula): No. I’ve heard numerous times in class that the workout seems to get harder the more classes students take, and I agree completely! A very common question is “Will this get any easier?” While the positions are challenging from the start, as you start to master the form, it’s easier to understand how to engage your muscles in a deeper way, and how to engage (or ignore!) your mind’s cues as you experience the deep burning of your muscles that signifies you getting stronger. Students thereby develop a craving for not only the physical results they see emerge from their hard work, but the mental challenge and emotional boost they get from committing and conquering a series.
Answer from Paula: Yes. The barre’s classes were built around the traditional Lotte Berk method, which has been lauded as the exercise of choice to tone and transform bodies since the 1970s! There’s a reason dancers enjoy sculpted thighs and perfect posture – they work at it, and we do, too. During the first three-to-five months that you take class however, you may feel your muscles more. This is because newly toned muscles hold additional water, and also because intra-muscular fat that has been pushed outwards.
After around five months of classes, the intramuscular fat will burn away, your muscles will become more compact and elongated, and you will lose inches.So if you’re going through the initial strengthening stage, have faith! A few more months of classes will tighten your muscles, burn away excess intramuscular fat, and give you a new, trimmed down shape. And bonus, our stretching will elongate your muscles, while our focus on posture will have you walking taller throughout life.
Question: If I need to give my wrists a break, what modifications might be available?
- Pushups: There are a few different options I tried with pushups. First of all, using a heavy set of weights (one weight in each hand) can help keep wrists more in line with your forearms. This may actually be more challenging since you are creating more distance between you and the mat. Another option is to use the barre for pushups starting in a similar position as the semi-pushup seat position. This has been a great option for me and still allows for taking different challenge options like pulsing one foot.
- Straight arm plank: One modification here is to stay in the forearm plank position instead of moving up to straight arms. Forearm planks still offer a great challenge and there is always the option to send your hands out in front of you for a deeper challenge. Another option is to use heavy weights under your hands, but I would only do this when you have both hands down and not for side planks. The side plank modification is to stay on your forearm which you will always see me do when on my right side.
- Tricep dips: Similar to pushups, using heavy weights in your hands is a great modification to keep wrists in line with your forearms. I began using weights for tricep dips and will probably continue to use weights. Not only has it helped my wrists, but it also helps me go even deeper in my tricep dips because I am lifted further off the ground. I have also had clients tell me that using weights has completely changed this part of class for them in a positive way. Give it a try sometime to change your routine a bit! One other option is to keep your seat on the ground with hands pressing into the mat and just focus on pressing your elbows back to flex the tricep muscle.
- Tabletop: This might be my favorite seat position so I am thrilled that there are so many options available to modify. First, you can use a heavy set of weights under your hands. Another option is to make fists with your hands instead of placing your hands flat on the mat. I tend to shy away from this option because I feel unstable. My favorite modification is to come down to my forearms. I find that it gives my wrists a break allowing me to really focus in on my seat and legs. The beauty of tabletop is that you do get some upper body work along with a killer seat burn, but we never want anyone to lose focus on their seat because of too much upper body distraction.
- Semi-pushup: If this position causes you any wrist pain, first ensure your wrists are staying in line with your forearms and are not bending. If it is still too much, modify with the standing bent knee position. You can still do the same combos but are standing up instead of leaning in to the barre. The only thing you miss out on is that added upper body bonus work!
Again, these are some tips that have helped me. If you have any questions please talk with your instructor as modifications are always available. Keep in mind that modifications may not make a position easier. A modification may indeed add an extra challenge!
Answer (From Erin O.):
“It totally enhances your barre workout! Yes, you can still fire up those thighs and feel those shakes without a ball, but when you add that ball it’s an extra challenge! It targets those inner thighs to sculpt and strengthen them. Each time you squeeze in the ball you are burning fat and creating muscle! The more fat you burn the more muscle you create and the more muscle you build the higher your metabolism, and more calories you burn!
The ball also helps promote stability and a proud posture. When you place the ball in between your thighs you immediately stand up a little taller, your shoulders roll back and you engage your core, your lower abdominals always get a workout when you use the Barre ball! It’s a little extra cardio work too because your heart rate goes up!”
Question: How do I know if I’m ready to try the HIT class?
Question: What are the benefits of doing barre while pregnant?
Answer (From Kim D.):
Oh I love this question because you get all the regular benefits plus even MORE!
First, assuming you have no complications upon doctors approval, barre is absolutely safe throughout your pregnancy! It is the perfect way to stay toned and keep up that desired strength for delivery and just overall in general. I always tell clients to “listen” to your body and let it be your guide. Maybe at times you need to take a little break (which is NO biggie), and other times you will be simply amazed at what your body can and will do for you! Also, the strength of your mind is a powerful tool! Throughout pregnancy, and the three trimesters, you will be challenged in different ways! For example, when I was pregnant with my third, I had to really focus on my breathing throughout first trimester. In my second trimester, I had so much energy to push myself and felt so empowered by the strength and endurance I still had. In my the third and final trimester, simple modifications and mental power came into play. I remember having to fight through tricep dips, but also knew I could push myself for such a small increment of time. 🙂 Our instructors are always there to support you so if you have any questions on those modifications just ask as we are more than happy to help!
One of the best benefits is when other clients watch you working so hard and see that you CAN do it, you motivate every person in class to work even harder! The ladies at our studio are so incredibly supportive that you will love coming to barre pregnant and will feel so great about yourself!
Lastly, continuing barre throughout your pregnancy will help in delivery, keep off the extra pounds, and absolutely will help you bounce back after baby (who doesn’t want that)? You will be craving to come back after maternity leave!
WARNING – You better be ready to come show that little bundle off upon delivery; we love babies! 🙂
Is there a certain body type that is more likely to get a bigger benefit out of barre classes?
Answer: (from Kim D.)That is great question, and one I’ve been asked many times. The answer is…no! The barre is a place for all body shapes, sizes, heights, and ages. It’s a practice for anyone who wants to strengthen, tone, and create longer – leaner muscle. Naturally, we all have different body shapes, metabolisms, as well as genetics, but our studio is the perfect place for all body types. Ideally for best results, we suggest taking at least three to four classes a week accompanied with healthy nutrition, and a good nights sleep to mentally push yourself in class! Also, its very important to challenge yourself throughout our stretching portions of class – these are built in with much purpose to create those long muscles (who doesn’t want that?). Once that heat is radiating within (especially after our thigh burn), you’ll be so impressed by the flexibility you’ll be gifted with!
So… come one, come all, the barre studio has something to offer everyone! And remember: “No body transformations happen overnight or without consistency and dedication!”.
-Can’t wait to see you in class!