Tone Up, Burn Fat, Have Fun.
By Natalie Yerkovich
Barre fitness is one of the most highly effective and fun ways Austin women are burning fat and toning up. Instructors lead classes through a course of thigh, glute, core and arm movements using body weight and small hand weights to tone, sculpt and lift. It may seem like a hot new workout trend, but the Barre fitness classes of today are actually based on the Lotte Berk Method developed in the ’70s. Lotte Berk was a professional dancer who, when faced with injury, developed her own method of fitness combining dance training, yoga and physical-therapy movements. This amazingly effective method of fitness has made a huge resurgence during the past five years and Austinites can now take Barre classes throughout town.
WHAT IS BARRE?
Barre fitness works the entire body while targeting individual body areas to burn fat and sculpt and tone your seat, arms, thighs and abs. This is achieved through small isometric movements that work the muscle to fatigue and then stretch to lengthen it out. Barre fitness is an athletic fusion of elements from dance, Pilates, yoga and weights. A few pieces of equipment beyond the barre itself may be used. This varies from studio to studio, but they may include light hand weights (two to five pounds), a rubber ball, a canvas stretching strap, etc.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Barre fitness aims to quickly create long, lean muscles. Toned thighs, a lifted seat, flat abs, and increased fat-burning and flexibility, as well as improved posture, are just some of the benefits of Barre fitness. Many fanatics of Barre say it has completely transformed their bodies. Barre is also a non-impact workout, making it safe for almost anyone.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR FIRST CLASS
Classes are fun, energetic, fast-paced and last about an hour. Each class starts with a warmup then a focus on each area of the body with movements and stretching. If you’re new to Barre, come to class with an open mind because the concept is so different and innovative. Expect to feel a serious burn and see results within your first 10 classes! Most studios recommend three to five classes per week for best results.
WHO IS BARRE BEST FOR?
Barre fitness is great for anyone looking to burn fat and tone their core, seat, arms and thighs in a fun group setting. Although this technique was inspired by ballet, you do not have to be a dancer to participate. Instructors will offer modifications to meet your current fitness level.
WHAT TO WEAR?
- Wear clothing you feel comfortable moving in like yoga pants and athletic tops.
- Wear pants that cover to at least your knees. Try not to wear extra baggy clothing. It’s important for instructors to see your body alignment.
- Some studios ask that you wear socks during class, others do not. Be sure to check with your studio to be sure.
WHERE TO GO?
Bar Method, Downtown on Fifth St.
Barre Workshop at Workshop Fitness, South on S. First St.
Dancers Shape, Central/Brentwood on Burnet Rd.
Mauro Pilates, Free group Barre-Pilates fusion classes at Bettysport at 12th and Lamar, and private and group Barre lessons in Westlake
Pure Barre, Two locations in Westlake and at the Arboretum