What is Barre?

Barre has origins in dance, but no dance experience needed.  Most barre classes follow the same basic structure:  You’ll start with a warm-up which heats the body and wakes up the brain:  usually knee marches with arm movement.  Then down to the mat for a full set of planks and pushups. Followed by a few yoga stretches and we are back on our feet for a series of arm exercises using light weight or exercise bands.  Continuing at the barre, with a lower-body section to work your thighs and glutes, which are the most challenging sets of the workout.  Finally, you’ll finish the session on the mat with a series of core-focused moves and a relaxing final stretch set.  All exercises come with options to modify.

As for gear, the moves are typically bodyweight only, but you can use light hand held weights (usually two or three pounds) or resistance bands to work your arms.  For lower-body work, a soft exercise ball is often used to help engage leg muscles.  And we do recommend wearing socks with sticky grips on the bottom.

So what’s the difference between barre and a typical strength training class?  Rather than large compound movements (think squats and shoulder press), you’ll perform tiny, one-inch increments called isometric movements.  You will often hear “down an inch, up an inch”, repeated by your instructors.

The isometric contractions that make up the bulk of a barre class occur when the muscle tenses without changing length.  Isometric exercise is a great way to maintain muscle strength.  What’s wonderful about the one-inch movements is that you can hold a posture and benefit from continuously engaging the muscles, but you also get a mini-recovery with each pulse, so can stay in the hold longer.  Isometric movements can help strengthen muscles without straining tendons or ligaments, so there’s less risk of injury compared to more traditional strength training.

Shaking is a sign of muscle fatigue-your muscles are telling you they are feeling it.  You may be tempted to pop out of the work if you start to shake, but try to embrace the shake!  This shaking happens most commonly in thigh work at the barre, as you’re spending an extended period of time in a muscle contraction, while performing an isometric hold to intensify the work.  Shaking is a good thing!

The smaller movements in a barre class can bring a new level of awareness to the body that you don’t get in regular strength workouts.  We focus on the breath and bring the mind to focus on the sensations the body is experiencing.

This kind of functional fitness, creates long-term health benefits, that you will continue to experience as you age.  Aging graceful, with strength and stamina.  Why not give it a try!



Letter From the Barre Boss

Hello Barre Babes! 

As the new season approaches, it is always a good time to evaluate where you are with your goals.  Many of us may have set goals to lose those last 5 or 10 pounds.  Many may have hoped to make fitness a more permanent part of their lifestyle.  Wherever you find yourself today, there are many opportunities to improve or meet those goals in so many ways.
We all know how amazing the results are from a consistent barre practice.  We feel and see the way barre shapes and changes our bodies.  However, it is really common and likely, when new clients are starting their barre practice, that they will actually gain weight.  This is very startling to most, because the whole purpose of exercising is to lose weight in the first place.  I always encourage them to continue their consistent practice.  At around five months of consistent classes, the intramuscular fat will burn away, your muscles will become more compact and elongated, and you will lose inches. You are changing the shape of your body from the inside out.  Your weight may never be what it was when you started because you have changed the composition of your body, from fat to muscle.  So, if you are going through the initial strengthening stage, have faith! A few more months of classes will tighten your muscles, burn away excess intramuscular fat, and give you a new trimmed down shape.
I have also had personal conversations with clients that have been coming for a year or so and are becoming dissatisfied with their body shape and/or their weight.  They express, they don’t feel like they are getting the same results as they did in the beginning.  I always like to dig a little deeper.  One question is, are you still taking the same number of classes each week? You may be surprised to find out, that you may not be getting to class as often as you once were.  We suggest 4-5 times per week.  
Barre is an excellent, results proven exercise regime.  Pairing this awesome workout with a clean diet will bring truly amazing results.  We give you the amazing workout, however, you are in control of what goes in your mouth.
The second factor I like to talk about is, what does your diet look like?  The famous saying: “You can’t out-train a crappy diet” -is very true.  This time of year, and then again after the holidays, is when these conversations take place most often.  Not surprising, we are coming off a great summer of cookouts and fun and soon we will be celebrating at holiday parties  (aka... drinking and over-eating)
So, if you can honestly say that your practice is spot on, your intensity level is high, and you are getting to class often, the real issue is diet. 

The Mayo Clinic, just released research on exercise, they report that, in general, studies “have demonstrated there is no or only modest weight loss with exercise alone”.  As a fitness studio owner that is hard to say out loud.  But, I agree with it.  Tru Barre can give you the best workout, but if you are not fueling and recovering properly, no exercise program in the area can help you.  Studies show that exercise is an important factor in maintaining weight loss and suggest it can help in preventing weight gain.  If weight loss is your goal, eating habits have to change to much lower calorie intake for so many of us. 

Nutrition is what many my clients struggle with the most.  Do you know how to fuel your workout? Do you know what to eat as a recovery meal and when to eat it?  How many meals/snacks do you have?  How much water do you drink in a day?  How much sleep do you get?  How many days a week do you consume alcohol?  Do you know how much sugar you eat in a day?  Do you know how many calories you eat in a meal/day?
The list could go on and on.  This is where the struggle is.  Did you realize – overeating by just 100 calories a day can lead to a weight increase of 10lbs over a year! :( 
Creating true wellness is finding the best exercise program for you and pairing it with a nutrient dense diet.  You have found your exercise -- you have picked the best workout in the city. Exercise is not enough.  Being fit and healthy is more than a number on the scale. So keep working hard in class, get to the studio more days than not, and pay attention to what you put in your mouth.  We have heard all of this before, but if your results are not what you desire, evaluate your diet and your workouts and have a long, hard talk with yourself about how you are managing your fitness. 
Our goal at Tru Barre is to have all our clients feel successful after every workout.  We are here to help you reach all your goals.  Meeting us half way, by doing your part, will put you on the path for success. We hope that you all feel empowered, centered, and calm at the end of class.  So that the next 23 hours you aren’t here at the studio with us, you are staying strong and centered taking all those lessons you learn in your practice and putting them to use in your daily life.
Happy Tucking,