A Workout Barre None

For Long Lean Muscles

I’m taking on new challenges as part of my ongoing quest for fitness.  Even your muscles get bored if you don’t change things up from time to time.  My first stop was barre classes. I confess, I watch the TV network show So You Think You Can Dance.  It’s a dance competition in which one dancer each season is crowned “America’s favourite dancer”.  The dancers are strong and graceful – and super fit.

I generally watch SYTYCD while sitting on the couch.  But I was intrigued when I heard about the barre exercise craze and checked out a couple of studios.  The barre concept is an exercise class using the barre that dancers use for training.  The goal is to develop the long and lean muscles that dancers work so hard to achieve.  Classes vary from emphasizing cardio   training, to muscle conditioning to a mix of both.  Some studios offer a combination of spin/barre or yoga/barre.  

I checked out the classes at Spynga and Barreworks.  Attendees are generally women, although apparently   men are jumping on the bandwagon.  Jamie, my husband and Tonic publisher, and my daughter Sarah came to Barreworks with me.   Classes were demanding but required no previous dance training or experience (believe me, we have none). 

Set to music, the instructor led us through warm-up, and then a series of exercises using the barre and light weights, focusing on upper body, abs, glutes and legs.   A “plie” is really a type of squat although it sounds nicer.  We did many, many squats and lunges, although with arms and legs extended and holding weights.  We felt like dancers (Sarah and I did).  Jamie not so much. Although he tried. Years of fitness classes helped me pick up the rhythm relatively easily.  

The instructors were professional and attentive, and the classes were fun.  We didn’t stop moving, with the exception of a couple of child’s poses.  In my slightly obsessive way, I was gratified that my muscles were tired at the end of the class.  I wasn’t stiff the next day either.

People who have taken these classes assure me they see results.  Can you argue with “my jeans are fitting really well”?  Bottom line = barre classes are challenging and fun.    Check it out.  I’ll do it again for sure.



Naomi Bussin is a lawyer, fitness enthusiast, healthy cook and the wife of Tonic’s publisher. It’s   about time that she wrote for the magazine. For more information visit barreworks.ca and spynga.com

Categories: Exercise Tips & Techniques