At first, it wasn’t a cakewalk
You know that bead of embarrassment that runs down your spine, ‘cause you don’t know
how to or what to do with the intimidating equipment at the gym? What about that pre-
workout jitters you experience when you hit the gym for the first time? You’re not alone.
Many women experience these feelings during the first few visits to their fitness centre.
While places like these are great, there are other ways to work up a sweat that doesn’t
involve lifting heavy gear or running on a treadmill. Enter: barre and Pilates!
What are Barre and Pilates?
Pilates is a workout routine designed to create low-impact flexibility, tone your muscles and improve your endurance levels while concentrating on proper postural alignment and strengthening your core muscles.
I’ve never been a gym junkie, thus the prospect of trying out a whole new method of exercise was quite intimidating, but eventually, the excitement set in and I even was making V-day plans to get down and dirty at the Barressentials studio!
My first time
The entire process was a bit nerve-wracking, but my instructor, Naamini Jayaratne, was extremely helpful and patient with me. She took it slow and made sure I didn’t fall behind the rest of the class. Not going to lie, you will feel those muscles burning to your core within 10 minutes of the lesson but the lingering ache after you’re done is worth it! Your manoeuvring capabilities will be extremely limited the following day, but trust me it’ll only make you more excited for your next lesson.
The lowdown on the classes
Since I was new to the experience, I was suggested classes that varied in difficulty and I took four classes a week for three consecutive weeks. Starting off with Core Mat Pilates, I fully anticipated this lesson to be super arduous. But I was way off base! This class is ideal for total newbies to the workout world. Sure, my abs were burning post-sesh, but time flew and I didn’t even realize I was working out non-stop for nearly an hour (that’s a total win in my book!).
Pilates Flow was next on the list and this was a little more intense. Incorporating the fundamentals of Core Mat Pilates, be sure to take at least three Core Mat Pilates sessions before attempting this. By the time I got to Barre Signature classes, I was pretty used to the ache in my thighs and the burning sensation in my muscles. This class uses a combination of Barre and Mat Pilates with a routine especially aimed to strengthen, tone and sculpt major muscles in the body by employing your body weight, lightweight tools (think small weights, resistance bands and Pilates circles) and many repetitions!
Barre Burnout was intense! It kinda felt like I was dying inside (mostly because I wasn’t breathing properly, so make sure you’re inhaling and exhaling properly), however, by the end of the session I never felt better. Eventually, I also did Barre Sculpt, a sweat-inducing, high-intensity session so go for at least four Barre Signature classes before attempting this one.
I also attended Reformer Fundamentals. This one uses the reformer machine that consists of a carriage, straps and springs built to strengthen your muscles and promote mobility and flexibility. Initially, I was a little sceptical (read: terrified) of the machine, but my instructor was patient and reminded me that I’m in control of the machine and not the other way around. Strongly suggest you start with Mat sessions and slowly work your way to Reformer classes.
As someone who didn’t work out regularly, my experience was great and I never felt better. I felt more energetic and it had a positive effect on my overall mental wellbeing. While I didn’t lose a lot of weight, I felt stronger, my endurance improved and I’ve toned a lot. Bonus: my clothes fit me so much better!
For more on my experience check out The 35 Under 35 edition and for more details on the classes I took, head to barressential.com.
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