So you're ready to try this new workout everyone keeps talkinga bout called barre. Awesome! Prepare to fall in love! Even the most seasoned athlete can be nervous to try a brand new form of exercise for the first time, so before you hit the barre, check out these 10 tips to make you feel like a barre class veteran.
1) Show up early. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get situated before your first class. There may be paperwork for you to sign, equipment to set up, and a restroom stop never hurts either. You don’t want to start class flustered because you arrived right as the instructor pushed play on the stereo.
2) Dress the part. There are no barre specific clothes you have to wear to class (I know you were hoping to have a reason to bust out your tutu from 4th grade), but it definitely helps to wear clothes that you will feel comfortable in. For bottoms, go with pants that fit below the knee and make sure your top won’t ride up when you are in a plank.
3) Don’t be shy. If your instructor isn’t standing by the door when you walk in, make it a point to say hi to him/her before class starts. We love meeting new students and want to make sure we have time to answer any questions you may have before class. This will also let the instructor know to keep an eye out for you so she can give you extra technique tips along the way!
4) Don’t hide in the back of the room. Most barre classes have barres on multiple walls, so make sure you set up at the barre with a good view of the instructor. Not sure where the instructor stands? Ask them or ask the friendly regular next to you. I’m sure they would be happy to help!
5) Fuel up ahead of time. Don’t forget to have a light easily digestible snack about 30 minutes to an hour prior to class if it’s been awhile since your last meal. When you exert as much energy as you do during a tough barre class, it is essential to have something in your stomach, especially for early morning classes.
6) Start with light weights. Although you may be able to bust out 12 bicep curls with 15lb dumbbells in the weight room, barre upper body exercises are quite different. We can make even the strongest athlete feel the burn with light weights. Start out with a fairly light set (say 2-3lbs) and work your way up from there.
7) Bigger isn’t always better. PulsePointe barre is a combination of small isometric moves that really target individual muscles and larger compound exercises that target multiple muscles groups at once and elevate the heart rate. Make sure you listen to the instructor as to how big your range of motion should be. Sometimes an exercise will be so concentrated, you may not be able to tell you are moving at all, but I promise your muscles will be feeling the burn!
8) Embrace the shake. In a barre class, you are sure to find your muscles shaking at one (or 10) point or the other. When your muscles begin to shake, they are reaching the point of fatigue and are being challenged to work harder than they have before. Try to stick with the exercise as long as you can but know it’s always ok to come out of the posture if you need to and rejoin the class when you are ready. Each class you will be able to hold it a little bit longer.
9) Focus on posture. Great posture is the foundation of any barre class. Focus on keeping your core engaged and shoulders down throughout every exercise. This will not only help you get the most out of your workout, but help you maintain great posture when you leave the class.
10) Stick with it. The day after your first barre class, don’t be surprise if you wake up so sore you curse your instructor under your breath (or maybe out loud) as you get out of bed. After you’ve imagined tossing your pillow right at his/her face, get your spandex on and head back to class. Yep, back into the lion’s den. It will actually help you to loosen up your muscles and help you stay committed to your fitness goals! After a week, you’ll be so hooked you’d rather skip happy hour than your favorite barre class. If you commit to taking barre classes regularly (3-5 times per week), you will most definitely see the results you are after!