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I thought I would take some time to sit back and regroup after this big transition over to WordPress. Don’t you worry. I will have a full review for everyone because I have been getting tons of questions about why I switched and what are the big differences. I know I have been pretty consistent with Wedding Wednesdays. However, I have seen a lot of new faces popping over here and I wanted to go back to my roots and talk about my passion and where this blog is stemmed from. We know my main job as a health care provider but my other daily life commitment is teaching barre. I know it can sound cliche but it is the truth. Pure Barre changed my life and I want to share my top ten tips for taking barre classes.
I was in my mid twenties when I moved to Tampa post graduate school and I was schlepping away with the typical sign up for a fitness class a half hour early, then dillydally around the gym till it started. Then fight for equipment/spin bike/machine/free weights in the gym only to go home with a total waste of time warp and never really feeling like I got that good of a workout. I signed up for a Pure Barre class and after the first one…..I was hooked. It literally transformed my body. I am lean but with strength I’ve never had before. I can do full body pushups. Something I’ve never been able to accomplish. With the strength also comes flexibility. I can now do a split in both directions. Even when I was in my prime skating years…..could not do that.
The other aspect of barre is the community of driven women that surround you. Everyone is friendly, warm and are just as hooked as you are. You don’t have to fight with guys for free weights anymore maybe just your coveted spot by the side mirror. I have been taking and teaching for a few years now and I’m still just as in love with it as I was from day one. Try one class you will be hooked. So let’s answer some of the biggest questions I get when it comes to taking barre classes.
First as an overview, barre classes are a total body workout that are tailored to target all the hard to work areas thighs, hips, seat, abdominal area and arms. It is low impact (no jumping around), you target the muscles to fatigue and then stretch them out to create long lean muscles. There are women (and men!) that take these classes who span across many age ranges. A lot of women ask me “isn’t it a bunch of skinny Lululemon wearing 20 year olds in these classes?” My answer is no! There are women in their 20’s, 30s, 40, 50’s 60’s and beyond. Women of all different body types and structures. Everybody is friendly and open. It is such a warm and welcoming environment. You think I’m joking when I say it feels like a family or small community but once you get hooked you will totally get when I mean!
First things first
You don’t have to be a ballerina or have prior dance experience. The ballet bar is there just for balance don’t let it intimidate you.
Here are my top ten tips about taking barre classes especially in regards to your first class.
Arrive 15 Minutes at Least Before the Class Starts
The majority of studios have their schedules online. I would check the times or even stop by and grab a schedule. Then arrive at least 15 minutes before so you can fill out paperwork and get acquainted with the studio. You don’t want to feel rushed at your first class if you arrive a few minutes before class starts. Trust me when you are teaching a class at 6 in the morning and you are the only one there opening and closing…..we really appreciate it.
Take a Friend
If you are nervous about going to class on your own convince one of your friends to come with you. Or what is the best recommendation, if you have a friend who already takes classes, have them bring you to your first class. They can walk you through the setups and help you feel more comfortable.
Let the Instructor Know About Any Limitations
If you have any pain or previous injuries let the instructor know. That way we can keep an eye out to make sure you are staying in the form that is the safest for you. There are always modifications if you need them. Listen to your body if you need to come out of a position do it and then try to get back into it when you are ready.
Listen to the Cues Throughout the Class
Throughout class the instructor will set up every move and then listen for cues and additional feedback. Think about the muscle or area you are working and focus all your energy there. Think about very small movements and range of motion. Try not to swing or use momentum instead think about squeezing and pressing from that area. Focus on your form. If you have a question just grab one of the teachers after class. I promise you we are not scary and I love giving individual feedback!
Expect Your Legs to Shake
You work your legs and seat muscles till they fatigue so they make shake and that is normal! Shaking muscles means you are changing muscles. After each area that is worked you will stretch it creating long lean muscles.
What to Wear
Wear long pants or capris so you can keep your muscles warm. You don’t have to wear sticky socks but they do help you not slip during plank work. You can get them at the studio or online. Also most studios carry amazing retail that you can check out when you are there.
Here are a few of my picks! I’m not going to lie, sometimes when I can’t even muster the energy to go to class I think about the cute outfit I can put together and that helps push me over the edge to go. Don’t lie….you do it as well right? Here are a few of my favs right now! I am obsessed with all of the Solow pants right now. They are on sale and then you can take additional money off with the Bloomingdale’s sale. Probably the most affordable you will ever find the side mesh cutout here.
Close Your Eyes and Focus on Yourself
There may be some challenging moves, try to stay in but if you need to take a break listen to your body. I sometimes close my eyes to try and stay in for that last 30 seconds of hard work. What that said really let the music drive you. Most classes have specific music for each muscle group. Try to let the music guide and motivate you throughout class.
Don’t Worry About What Others Think
Everyone tells me they are scared or intimated by the other people in the class. Trust me everyone is there to work and take the class time to really focus on yourself. Nobody is noticing if you can’t stay in a particular move or if your legs are shaking. This class is all about you. I can’t stress that point enough.
What the Heck is the Instructor Saying?
It may take you a few classes to get down the lingo. You may here things like “heavy tailbone”. This is a cue to pull in your abs and keep a straight back, pulling your hips under to help protect your lower back. You may also hear “tuck” which means to pull your hips forward while drawing your abs back in opposing motion. Or things such as “inch movements” that helps to cue you to make small isometric tiny moments. The biggest thing I see newer clients do when they take their first class is move big. Concentrate on the muscle group you are focusing on and move from there. The smaller the movement the bigger the change.
Make Sure to Prepare Prior to Class.
Try to stay well hydrated before class. Feel free to bring water and a small towel with you. Every studio is different but at the one I teach at your equipment consists of a tube, ball and light weights….and you…..getting on your highest tippie toes in some instances.
So what do you think? Do you have any questions I can answer? Do you have a studio by you that you’ve wanted to try out but haven’t yet? I have tried a lot of studios! Barre Method, Pure Barre, Barre3 and they all have their own variations. I am comfortable to speak of all of them! Don’t be shy ask away!