If you’ve made any New Year resolutions, chances are health and fitness will feature amongst them.
Fitness. It’s a tricky one. New gym memberships soar in January, but from the end of February half will go dormant (Ok that’s a cliché but there’s truth behind it). Why the drop-off?
Perhaps we aren’t seeing the results we’d hoped for, or get bored doing the same thing week in and out. Whatever the reason, mixing things up might help. Adding some variety keeps things fresh and we may just hit upon a form of exercise that works better for us than the one originally chosen.
A smorgasborg of fitness is something I’m aiming for in 2016. I started experimenting with different disciplines at the tail end of last year, first with E-Fit in November (here) and yoga at the beginning of December (here). Then, just before Christmas, I went along to my first ever barre fitness class.
Barre classes combine moves inspired by ballet, yoga and pilates with high-intensity fat-burning cardio. The fusion is said to deliver the ultimate workout, one that burns loads of calories, tones the muscles and works deep into the core.
The Barrecore Mixed signature is low impact, full body, interval training using isometric exercises alternated with stretching. Movements are done using your own body weight as resistance, with or without small equipment and high repetition to overload the muscles and stretch them out again.
I haven’t done ballet since I was four but as a former competitive ballroom dancer throughout my childhood and teens (more on that in a future post – perhaps!) any exercise that incorporates some form of dance has got me poised.
But whether you’re a six-pack honed and toned super woman, or a happy couch potato who wants to incorporate a bit of fitness into your week, you’d feel at home at the Mayfair studio (located just behind John Lewis on Oxford Street).
The reception staff were delightful and helpful, and Rachel my Barrecore instructor hit a perfect note of fun, seriousness, motivational encouragement and support (not having done this before I needed some help ‘perfecting’ the moves).
Barrecore signature is not lightweight. I’m pretty fit and I felt the burn after 20 minutes. It’s cardio intensive at the start, and incorporates many gym favourites including planks, push-ups and lunges. I felt it in my glutes, quads and core in particular during this section.
Then there’s work at the barre focusing on the triceps and hamstrings, plus leg kicks using resistance bands (great for the bum!). Forty five minutes in, Rachel turned off the lights in preparation for some yoga. While it’s mainly floor-based exercises from here on, it remains tough with plenty of challenging stretches, and poses to improve stability and balance. The session ends with relaxing toe wiggling and head rolling.
More on Barrecore here.