I’ll just admit it straight up. I am barre addict. You’ve probably heard of it (though if you’re wondering how you say it – it’s bar. Yes, as in the place with the cute guy who keeps you happy with wine). It’s that class that all of Hollywood and at least half of the Victoria’s Secret Angels swear by.
If you’ve not heard of it, it’s a cross between ballet, yoga and pilates that strengthens and tones your body through small movements – no running for miles here! But it’s not just for the elite, or those with a dance background. It’s for the everygirl – it’s for you!
For me, it takes me right back to my youth and I love that it doesn’t matter that the last time I managed a full pirouette is too long ago for me to remember! That said, you do not, in any way, shape or form need to be a dancer, or former dancer. Maybe you just want to move your body a little more but the thought of going to the gym brings you out in hives. Or maybe kids have destroyed those abs and you’d love to pull on a pair of jeans and not worry about how you’ll look in them. Whatever your reason….here are my top 5 reasons why you should get yourself to your nearest barre class – pronto!
1. It’s low impact
You don’t need to worry whether your feet can withstand an hour in pointe shoes whilst you leap around the room. The toughest part is the battle inside your head when your instructor tells you “just a little longer” and you know she’s lying as your legs start to shake from holding a squat.
2. It’s a judgement-free zone
Can’t do bicep curls with a 2kg dumbbell in each hand? Don’t even worry about it! There is absolutely no judgement. If you can’t do something, stop, then carry on. And if you still can’t, then stretch or catch your instructor’s eye and she’ll come up with something else for you
3. It’s great for your flexibility
I’ve always been reasonably flexible, but for someone who used to be able to do the splits, barely being able to touch my toes was a big mental block. I still can’t quite do the full splits, but I’m a heck of a lot closer than I was six months ago!
4. You’ll tone muscles you never knew you had
Who knew that there were muscles in the back of your knee? Or that you actually can hold a squat on your tiptoes for a count of 16? At the start of each class, I always think there’s no way I can do another round of squats – and somehow I always do – and I can feel that all my muscles are more toned and stronger – even if I can’t quite see them yet!
5. It’s great for your head
I know we bang on about this all the time, but doing something for yourself is amazing for your mental health. And yes, I know an hour a day is a lot of time – I used to make the same excuse too (oh who are we kidding, some days I still do) – but honestly, you’ll thank yourself for it. In barre, there’s no time to think about school lunches, that work deadline or when the last time you had snuggles under the covers was. You’re far too busy telling yourself that you can do just one more lunge to have time to think about anything outside of those four walls. But if you need to think about all those things – there’s five minutes of relaxation time at the end of every class.
So, as you can probably tell by now, barre is my jam. And I’m trying to convert the entire world. There’s a chance it may not be for you. But can you do me a favour? Can you go to one class? Just to try? And then let me know what you think.