“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” – however, when Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered these historical words, I don’t think he was envisioning a Barre Fitness class full of woman…
Nope. That one was all on me… and so it was…
As a Propel Ambassador, I was challenged to “get outside of my comfort zone and face my fitness fears”. After conquering a Drive Spin class last week, I was feeling pretty confident with my ability to take on new fitness challenges. After all, that’s why I workout daily? To be functionally fit and take on whatever life throws at me, right? Hmmmm… well it sounds good to me – worst case scenario, I can never have enough Zombie Apocalypse preparation. All joking aside, I ventured off my beaten path of weight-training and met-cons, stepping into a completely new world of functional fitness.
My #PropelFit Challenge: Barre Fitness meets Functional Fitness
I really had no idea what to expect. Some friends shared their experiences with the Barre Fitness method, assuring me that I had nothing to worry about. (famous last words no doubt)
Stepping in from the rainy street was refreshing – the studio was spic-and-span, well-lit and greeting me personally with a smile from ear-to-ear was Barre Fitness co-founder, Ella Jotie. She could tell right away I was anything but in my comfort zone, and after a few minutes of chatting, she put me at ease reassuring me that I can do this. Makes me realize how powerful empathy can be, not to mention how effective it can be at putting even the most nerve racked would-be-Barre-Fitness-class participant at ease.
**Note to reader:
When was the last time you helped someone through a tough challenge? Did you empathize with what they were experiencing? Did you utter the empowering phrase: “You can do it!” I invite you to share your experiences in the comment section below this post.
My Challenge: The Barre Xpress Class (can I last 45 minutes?)
You are probably wondering, “what is Barre Fitness”? The following description sums it up nicely:
Barre Fitness is an exceptional one-hour regime of ballet, Pilates, strength and flexibility training using a ballet barre. This total body conditioning technique has been intertwined to create an intense workout, guaranteed to transform and sculpt your entire body. The classes are choreographed to the hottest music in a fun, supportive and high-energy environment. Open to all levels.
Sounds awesome doesn't it? Trust me, from a guy that stands 6’1” and weighs in at 215 pounds, I thought I was in for trouble as soon as I read ballet, Pilates, and flexibility all in the same sentence… and with that, it was time to step out of my comfort zone and into the “grow zone”.
Right from the get-go the music started and the instructor, Nevada, had us all working. The warm-up is shortened for the Xpress class, but much of the prep movements are dynamic – working to both stretch and strengthen the muscles through a set path/range of motion. Five minutes into the 45 minute class and I had a nice glow on… (and I still had 40 minutes to go!)
Admittedly I found that I was laughing at myself throughout the next 40 minutes. Many of the movements like the demi-plier (and other French Ballet terms) were completely new to me. Like a Deer in headlight I’d turn frantically to the women around me and watch in amazement as they flowed from pose to pose to pose… trying to emulate their smooth, controlled and deliberate exercises was tough, and only further added to the sweat that was quickly accumulating around my feet. (thankfully I had my Propel at my side to hydrate on the move…)
Through a series of upper body, lower body and core exercises, but the time the class ended I was spent. My glutes and inner thighs have never had such a gruelling workout… in fact, a few days after class I had some aches in areas of my bodies that have never ached before. This is definitely a great option for total body fitness, balance and flexibility!
A short video of my Barre Experience and an interview with Ella
The Verdict’s Out: Barre Fitness vs CrossFit
To not sound like a broken record and echo what I said after my spin class experience, I’m just going to leave it like this – Barre Fitness is supremely challenging. It put me in my place and made me realize that I have a lot of fitness weaknesses that need some attention. Between balance, flexibility and core strength, these 3 areas alone were worked amazingly well throughout the Barre Fitness class. Whether you are a man or woman, gender doesn't apply when it comes to Barre training…
…however that being said, bros, no matter how much you lift, you’re going to want to leave the ego at the studio door because this workout is tough!
Thanks for the challenge Propel, I definitely learned a lot about myself and have a new appreciation for things outside my comfort zone.
Barre-1, CrossFit-0. But I’ll be back! Up for a rematch, Ella and Nevada?
“Just so you know, I have been compensated to share my ideas on this topic. Sometimes it is in the form of products, or services or even money… But here’s the thing; I won’t share anything with you that I don’t fully support. It doesn't matter what it is, or how much they are willing to give me, if I don’t believe in it, It won’t be on my site. Seriously. You’ll just have to trust me on this.” ~ Moose