I want to start off by saying that I was considered obese once. According to my BMI anyway. One time in my life I was at my heaviest. I was 78kg. Now for a 5” 2 woman (who has spent her life hovering around 51kg), this was absolutely atrocious! I was the heaviest I ever was. It was after my first child. Now, most women put on a few in and after their pregnancies, but mine was extreme. I blame the hospital. Their menu and VIP access to the cafeteria made for an inevitable few kilos to be put on over a three month period. I was hospitalised at 19 weeks and gave birth to a premature baby at 28 weeks. So being in the hospital for three months and living off infinite hospital food was not the best for my weight (or my health). So, fast forward to after his birth, after recovery and the sad sack of weight sitting on the couch crying about her figure and feeling sluggish, tired and sorry for herself.
Cue Barre! I attribute most of my weight loss to these classes. While I didn’t just train at Burnside, the instructors at the time whipped my butt into gear. With the smaller studio space, the Instructors tend to hone in on you when you slack off and can watch you through all mirrors to make sure you don’t do half-arsed plié’s just because your legs are about to drop off. In these classes, if you make your goals known, the instructors are likely to focus on them and you.
I think it was the absolute muscle endurance exercises which toned and tightened my whole body within a matter of months. I actually swore I could see a dimple/definition around my glute medius within about four. The exercises are powerful. It’s a mental game for the first few classes as you wrap your head around fighting to stay in the positions. I remember reflecting on the classes I attended vs the classes I taught and laughing at my favourites. I absolutely hated the exercises in the beginning, but they became my favourite in the end. I pushed the members just as hard (maybe a little harder, let's be honest) as I was pushed when I took the classes all those years ago.
I believe that Barre was so successful at helping me lose weight because they focus on:
- Small isometric movements (working into each muscle group) This hurts more than you would believe. Walking into class and seeing 1kg weights you think “pfffft; they won’t do anything.” You would be surprised how much it tests you.
- Long Repetitions, no heavyweights (holding each movement to create muscle endurance) This is so good for toning and really tests the endurance of the muscles. When you are done with eight, and there are fifteen more to go, it certainly gets you fit, quick!
- Posture, Alignment and Individualised attention. I found this the most integral to being in a class and teaching it. You can get the tired and loose form, in turn losing the effectiveness of the posture, so having an instructor there to guide and watch you makes you work even harder.
If you wanted to try Barre - don’t hesitate. Everyone I know who has tried it becomes hooked on the feeling of not being able to walk, sit on the toilet or stretch. Trust me, I’ve been there, and moving around is comical but painful!