before and after 100 barre classes

Last spring when I wrote about my first experiences with barre, I was already a devotee. So do barre classes work?. Did 10-20 sessions transform my body? Well, not directly or immediately. But a month or so of showing up at the Pure Barre studio marked the first time in my life that I did not dread exercising. Twenty classes led to to 30 classes then 40. If you read the title of this post, then you know I made it to 100, which was a MAJOR milestone for me.

BEFORE BARRE

To recap my previous barre post, prior to trying barre I was not an exercise person. In high school I exercised on and off to early-90s classics like Cindy Crawford’s Shape Your Body video. In college the random exercise routine I sometimes implemented could not undo the damage of eating too much too often. After college and in my early married years (which, incidentally, were one in the same since I was practically 12 on my wedding day) I belonged to a gym but rarely went there so I cancelled the membership.

Me in 1992. I'm certain my kids would recognize me, but NOT that thing called a phone cord.

Me in high school, 1992. I’m certain my kids would recognize me, but NOT that thing called a phone cord.

1999, college graduation. I was engaged six months later. I was also 30 pounds heavier than I am now.

College graduation, 1999. I was engaged six months later. I was also 30 pounds heavier than I am now. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 2012, a bit before my first barre class. This is a more fair "before" shot than the pictures from the 90s.

March 2012, a bit before my first barre class. This is a more fair “before” shot than the pictures from the 90s.

After my first son was born, I exercised regularly at home, but never with any gumption. Two daughters and another son later, I couldn’t imagine exercising in a group setting after so many years of sporting oversized t-shirts in the privacy of my basement. But I was intrigued when a barre studio opened close to my kids’ schools. I had heard others swear that barre really works your muscles and that the method is fun (in a loose definition of “fun” by which I mean “not completely dreadful”).

You can read more details on what the first barre class was like for me in my aforementioned post, “Pure Barre, Lululemon and My Search for Sculpted Arms.”

AFTER BARRE

Ten months and 100 classes later, I found some sculpt in my arms! I can complete the push-up sequence that nearly killed me during the first few classes. And I still find all the arm, leg, butt, and abdominal work difficult enough to make the class a good challenge. Barre classes made me comfortable enough in the group exercise format to seek out other classes, too. I joined Lifetime Fitness about seven months into my barre routine to keep things interesting. I’m now also a fan of Lifetime’s total conditioning classes with Heather, Katie, or Celeste, and warrior sculpt yoga, which is a fact I never would have predicted a year ago.

DO BARRE CLASSES WORK?

As barre has continued to gain popularity, I’ve noticed increased traffic to my blog with the search term “do barre classes work?” For the first seven months I went to classes an average of three times a week. Once I joined a gym, I went down to two barre classes a week and now it’s more like once a week. I think that at once a week I’m still benefitting as long as I’m doing other workouts during the week, but I feel best when I can get there twice. So, do barre classes work? Yes, I think they do if you go regularly. The same can probably be said for spinning or any form of exercise you can learn to love or at least tolerate. Right?

With Pure Barre teacher, Lindsey, at class #100

With Pure Barre teacher, Lindsey, at class #100

 


 

*Updated in May 2014 to say I tried Corepower Yoga for a month and the full report is here.

 

 

 


 

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at Kveller.com and Greatnewbooks.org. Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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