New year, new workouts. And there are hundreds of gyms, fitness classes and programs around the Metro Vancouver area, so where do I start? I decided to put the familiar aside (dearest yoga and gym, I still love you, but I need some time to see other workouts this year), and take on some of the new kids on the block.
Enter my first fitness class of 2014: The Bar Method.
While some Vancouverites may brush this off as a “fad” or the latest in a string of fitness trends, it is interesting to note that this workout method has been used since it was established in the 1930s by German ballerina Lotte Berk. In 2001, the first Bar Method studio opened in California. The Yaletown studio opened in 2010 and it was the first international Bar Method studio, and it remains one of two in Canada with the second location in West Vancouver.
From the warm up exercises, using two sets of two-pound and three-pound weights, I could immediately tell my body was going to be feeling the workout the next day. Simple, small movements are repeated throughout the class, and although weights are only used during the warm up, my arm muscles were on fire.
The Bar Method class is spent working on different muscle groups; arms, abs, thighs, gluts. A combination of standing workouts, as well as seated ones, really keeps you moving though out class. The Bar Method uses some Pilates and yoga stretches, along with ballet dance conditioning (hence the barres).
The instructor for the mixed level classes I attended was Kristine, and she was extremely friendly and attentive to new students like myself. She often came around to reposition my awkward tucks – yes, be ready to tuck and squeeze, tuck and squeeze – and by the end of my second class, I was feeling more confident about my hip-tucking abilities. This one-hour class is no joke, you will see legs (including my own) shaking throughout the workout. And you will sweat. And did I mention your legs will shake?
The studio itself is modern, clean and very well-equipped with showers, towels and blow-dryers. The class does have male attendees, in case you are wondering. Staff and the Bar goers are smiley and friendly.
“It is a very supportive environment filled with people of all ages, physical backgrounds etc. It is more than just a workout – it is a community,” said Bar Method Vancouver’s Marc Brunet. Brunet said that clients see changes in muscle strength, and increase in flexibility.
“Our clients lose inches, they drop in clothing size. I had one client recently tell me it was the first time she had worn a dress in 12 years and it was because she now loved the way her body looked and felt.”
Clients also see changes in muscle strength. So often we hear about how skiing or hiking has become so much more enjoyable because they can go for longer and the muscles never feel tired,” said Brunet. “Flexibility, especially for people that do a lot cardio, running, biking, the increase in flexibility as well as the increase in muscle strength help our clients to become stronger runners or bikers. We often hear about clients running in various races and how after integrating The Bar Method into their workout regime, they were able to shave off significant time.”
And honestly, I can see how doing this work out regularly would affect the body. Two classes in, and I am feeling muscles I did not know existed in me. I admit, I was hooked (dearest Bar Method, I think I am in love.)
Although the price is steep, until Jan. 31 new clients can currently pay $80 for 40 days. This workout is bound to get your fitness on the right path this new year.
Up next in my 2014 workout quest and Motivational Mondays: Aerial Yoga.