Setting the Barre

01/21/2014

Getting Paris-Ready with Barre Class

My 40th birthday was quickly approaching and to (kinda) surprise me, my hubby planned a trip to....Paris! Not the one in Texas, the real deal....City of Lights or La ville lumiere if you prefer the Parisian way.  Incredibly excited about my countdown to Europe, I jumped at the chance to try a barre class at Active Sports Clubs.
 
Let's 'set the stage' before we 'set the barre' shall we? I'm a large gal. 5'10" weighing in somewhere between ....eh no need for full disclosure! Nothing I do is graceful and when I work out it's not pretty. It's actually kind of disturbing to witness one of my workouts or another extracurricular activity of mine, like soccer. I'm a grinder. Clinched teeth and heavy feet, one exercising next to me may hear strange noises and opt for earphones. It is, however, slightly entertaining because I do consider myself a gamer....thus I tried the barre class.
 
Rumor had it you needed to know ballet to take the class. MYTH! It would however, help and that's where we circle back the 'lack of grace' thing. If you have prior knowledge of ballet then you will definitely have an advantage and LOOK A LOT better while taking the class. You will also know the specific ballet positions the instructor calls for and, as the movements get quicker in pace, you'll be able to anticipate the next choreographed call.
 
I never took ballet. Heck, I never took dance. I was too busy running the 'slant' play my dad drew on the palm of his hand with his "pointer man" so we could beat our neighbors in a game of street football. "Go long" would be familiar, "plié" "frappe" and "releve", not so much.
 
Clearly I left much to be desired when it came to class technique, but I still managed to receive a tough and very unique workout. The class is definitely deceptive.  The repetitive movements combined with body balance build to quite a burn in the booty and below. My arms were utilized as well. Besides needing to check my ego at the door and looking a bit awkward through a majority of the class, I actually really enjoyed barre. It was a relief to receive great strength conditioning without putting my body through its usual beat-down. The instructor was super pleasant with a great figure, so that was evidence that attending barre class on a regular basis would be beneficial. I recommend the class to anyone looking to change up their routine.
 
I'm a big believer in staying clear of a rut when it comes to exercise. Our bodies are ever-evolving so I think our workouts should too. Give it a go and let me know what you think. Rest assured no groans or grunts will escape during this class, but you will have a sore lower half.


Amy G. is the San Francisco Giants in-game reporter for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

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