Tag Archives: Barre

Let’s Go to the Barre!


Coaching Blog Photos1If you knew me when I was in my 20’s, it would probably be not too far of a stretch to say that I was addicted to going to the bar.  Now, in my 30’s, I’m also addicted to going to the Barre.  I never thought I’d enjoy going to a fitness class so much that I would drive 40 minutes to it, each way.  But I do.  In case you’ve never heard of Barre, the classes are fitness classes that are based on ballet, pilates and yoga.  I’ve had such a good experience with the classes that I wanted to share about them here.  I love sharing things that I love because I think you will love them too!

I started taking Barre classes at Strength in Balance NH (the first barre-only studio in NH) last November.  I bought a groupon/living social deal with a friend and settled in to enjoy what I thought would be a handful of reasonably priced fitness classes.  I’d workout and move on to something else when I used up all of my classes . . .because that’s what I usually do with trying something new (BECAUSE I HAVE ADD AND GET BORED EASILY. WHY AM I YELLING?).

I enjoyed my first classes.  I thought they were challenging but still doable no matter what your fitness level with modifications. I enjoyed the classes so much that I signed up for a 90 day 50 class challenge in January when I used up my deal classes. I knew it was going to be tough for me to make it to 50 classes in winter (when I live in a town that thinks snow plowing is optional) but I was determined to do it.  It was tough!  Towards the end of the challenge, I had to double up on classes just to get them all in but it was totally worth it.  I lost 8.6 lbs and 23 inches over the 90 days!

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of exercises – running, cycling, Body Pump, yoga, heavy weights – you name it. My body changed with those things for sure, but Barre hits spots that no other exercise gets to in the same way.  For the first time in my life I’m wearing skinny jeans.  Even when I weighed 30 lbs less than I do now you would never have caught me in a pair of skinny jeans because they just didn’t look right on me. I’m not a tiny girl but I now look fab in my skinny jeans.  I’m noticing definition in places that have never had definition before (hello abs? I have some under there?) and changes in places that have historically been impossible to change (for me at least), my inner thighs!   I can even now zip up knee high boots over my calves . . .something that was pretty tough even when I was my thinnest 5 years ago.  Barre can be crazy hard but it’s also crazy effective.

The instructors constantly change up the workouts so I’m not getting bored and my muscles continue to be challenged.  Just when I think I’ve got a certain move mastered or that something should be getting “easy”, we do something else and I feel like I’m at square one.  It never gets “easy”.  You’d think that would be unmotivating, but it’s not!  I keep coming back because I’m getting results (results I wasn’t getting even when I used to run 25 miles a week).

It’s not just a great workout.  It’s also a positive and warm environment. The instructors, Becki Somers (owner), and Julia LeFebvre make it a point to learn everyone’s name who comes to class. I’m always impressed at the effort they put into making newcomers feel welcome and comfortable.  There’s nothing worse than going to a new class for the first time and having it feel like a big high school clique. I’ve been to some straight up snotty & superficial classes before. That’s definitely not the case here.  Everyone is too busy trying not to slip on the floor in their own sweat puddle to spend a moment judging you.  There’s a lot of laughter and joking among the women who come to class. It’s a great group of women. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming.  We may not know each other’s names (in some cases) but if I’m sweating alongside you for months while we both curse the little blue sponge ball that we’re squeezing between our thighs (while on our toes and in a pulsing plié) I feel like we’ve bonded.  Sweaty sisterhood.

If you live in the Nashua or Hudson, NH area and are tired of your current workout or looking for something to help you get through a plateau, you should come check it out!  Strength in Balance NH is right on the Nashua/Hudson border on Bridge St.  There’s a fabulous deal/challenge going on right now. It’s the Bikini Challenge (no bikini involved) and it’s $99 for UNLIMITED classes for 6 weeks.  You can sign up between now and May 25th.  It’s a ridiculous deal and I’ve already signed myself up for it.  If you’re interested and thinking of checking it out but feeling intimidated, let me know when you’re going and I’ll come with you if I can!

A couple of things you might want to know before going:

  • Your first class is free!  And you can sign up online for it.
  • Class is done barefoot or in socks (if it’s cold)
  • Yoga mats, weights, thera-bands, and any other equipment you’ll need is provided
  • You don’t have to have a dance background or be graceful to take these classes
  • You’ll probably be really sore after your first class (even if you workout already). My calves were so tight after my first class that I almost fell getting out of bed the next morning.  Husband thought that was hilarious.

Oh and the studio just moved to a new location on Bridge St and they may not have signs up when you go, so check out my little dorky picture spread below to give you hints about how to get there.  It’s like fitness and a treasure hunt all in one.  Aren’t you lucky?!

The new studio is a little tricky to find if you've never been in this area before so I made you dorky OCD picture directions!

The new studio is a little tricky to find if you’ve never been in this area before so I made you dorky OCD picture directions!

Untitled drawing (1)

Day 4 – Commit to Movement Twice a Week

Climbing Cathedral Ledge in NH in 2008

Climbing Cathedral Ledge in NH in 2008

We’re already at day 4 of 31 Days of Healthy Ways to Enjoy the Holidays More!  Today’s tip is to commit to getting some form of movement at least twice a week . Bonus points if you are already doing that or more!  Keep it up!

For those of you who have regular exercise routines established already, this one is easy, but for those of you who haven’t had regular exercise since gym class in high school or before you had your first baby, it can be really hard to get back in to it.  You know how good it makes you feel and you know how good it is for you but you just haven’t been able to make yourself do it.  You’re tired.  You’re busy.  You have laundry to fold and dinner to cook, (isn’t that exercise? Not really).

The holidays are a perfect and important time to get back on the horse!  You’ll likely be taking in extra calories (at those parties & dinners) and your stress levels are probably high.  Committing to getting exercise at least two days a week will help you burn off the extra calories and some of that stress.  Two days is doable.  You can work in more as it becomes a part of your life.   As a bonus, exercise has been proven to boost your immune system, especially for exercise newbies!  People who exercise are less likely to get a cold and no one likes someone who’s sniffling and sneezing all over their Christmas dinner.  So be a guest that gets invited back and get some exercise between now and then.

If cold weather demotivates you and you don’t have a gym membership, there are plenty of things you can do to get some exercise from the convenience of your home.  Here are a few things to try:

1.  Have a yoga mat and an internet connection? Check out Do Yoga With Me, an entirely free streaming yoga class website.  You can choose from more than a dozen different styles of yoga classes, everything from beginner to advanced and as short as 5 minutes long all the way to 90 minutes. And did I mention it was Fabulously Free?

2.  Create a playlist of your favorite fast songs on Spotify or iTunes (or whatever your digital music source of choice is these days) and then dance your tail off in any room of your house.  You might feel silly at first, but you’ll get over it when you see how great it makes you feel!  Get the kids to join you.

3.  Visit Fitness Blender for free strength training and cardio workouts that are very well done.  Don’t have any weights at home? Do you have bottles of water?  Canned goods? Paper weights?  Get creative (but be safe of course).  My husband once came home to me doing overhead tricep presses with a cast iron skillet.  It got the job done.

4.  Drop to the floor and do a few sets of push ups, crunches, squats, jumping jacks, lunges and calf raises.   Jog in place. Kick your own butt, because you can.  No equipment needed.

5.  Lower body injury?  Search for seated workouts on youtube.  There are gazillions to try that will get your heart rate up.

6.  Have a little cash to spend and bored of your usual routine?  Check out Groupon or Living Social for great deals on local gyms, yoga studios and more.  I’ve been taking some fun Barre Classes at Strength in Balance NH and I’m about to take an Aerial Fitness workshop at Go Ninja Manchester.  Variety keeps me from burning out!

Do you need help figuring out how to fit a few of these ideas into your hectic lifestyle this December? Let’s talk.  I’d love to help you make exercise a fun priority.

Hiking in Lincoln, NH this fall

Hiking in Lincoln, NH this fall