Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Belly up to the Barre!

This past Sunday, I attended my second Blog & Tweet NH event at Strength in Balance, New Hampshire's first barre fitness program.  As this was a completely new experience for me and honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect going in.  After doing a little research and learning that barre is a compilation on yoga, pilates and dance moves, I anticipated something flowing and moderately paced.  I was wrong.

The studio, located at 100 Factory Street, is an unassuming space in a converted mill building with high ceilings, 10 foot windows and original hard wood floors.  There's a certain charm to a space like this that I find incredibly captivating.  Coupled with the warm greeting I revived from instructor Becki Somers upon arrival, I was really excited to give this a try!

We were each given a designated space along the barre, a yoga mat, a small inflatable ball and a set of two pound weights.  By the end of the first segment, those two pound weights felt like they each weight about twenty.

I could definitely see the origins of the movements coming from yoga and ballet, but the pace of the class was far from relaxed.  The soundtrack for the class was also a lot more upbeat than I had anticipated, a combination of contemporary pop and hip hop music.  While not necessarily being what I had anticipated going in, I was pleasantly surprised with how much fun the class was.

Becki was one of the most upbeat, energetic fitness professional I've encountered and she really did a great job tailoring the class to meet the ability of her students while still offering a challenge.

Now, being a CrossFit athlete, I will openly admit I've scoffed at cardio-style worked outs thinking that in order to get a great burn, I needed a 150+ pound barbell lying across my back.  Please note this as my proclamation that I was wrong.  This class seriously kicked my booty!  I can certainly see the value of adding a program like this to my cross training to help improve balance and flexibility, coupled with CrossFit.

If you're interested in giving barre classes a try, the full schedule is available on their website.  The studio offers three variations on Barre including:
  • Booty Barre (a fast paced, calorie burring, cardio workout)
  • Barre Toning (a resistance training class) 
  • Ballerobica (a hybrid of the two using ballet training to lengthen muscles and help tone)
They offer a no-commitment, $12 per class option and your first class is free! 

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