My obsession with barre classes came from out of nowhere. I really like Yoga, but wanted something to give me that "wow, that was an intense workout" feeling instead of the "wow, I'm so relaxed" feel. I still don't know where I found out about barre (let's assume it was from Pinterest). I started off doing the absolute most intense workout EVER (everyone says "omg" or "whoa" or "yikes" when I tell that I did it), and realized I needed to slow down and start from the beginning.
Barre is a mix of ballet, yoga and pilates. Depending on your instructor, you'll probably use a combination of equipment, including very small dumbbells (2 lbs+), a squishy ball, a fitness ring, a yoga band and/or a mat. You'll need some grippy socks, which I purchased at the studio. The hour long class is packed with stretching and pulsing. You focus a lot on the arms, glutes and the core. The burn is absolutely out of this world. There are many times that I can't hold a pose or do an exercise in its entirety. You're challenging your body to do some serious work, so much so that your body shakes. I mean really shakes. And that shakes lets me know my body is getting it in. Just thinking about it makes me want to head to class now! In fact, I liked the classes so much, I started another Instagram account to share my yoga, pilates and barre inspirtation!
The only issue I have is the price. Most places charge about $20 a class, and I've seen unlimited monthly memberships that are $170+. I do NOT have that kind of money right now, especially since I owe Sallie Mae my life and my wedding is four months away. So I go when I find a Groupon or Living Social deal, and I stalk the company's Facebook page for flash sales. The two Baltimore studios that I've been to include Barre. and Pop Physique. (Barre. does have a $300 bride-to-be/new mom special for 3 months of unlimited workouts that I'm slightly considering..but that's still a lot of money to me!)
Barre This studio is in Pikesville. This is definitely a hoity-toity location. Everyone basically wears Lulu Lemon and Splits 59. I spotted a Birkin on my first visit, and there are a slew of luxury cars outside. No one seems to have back fat or love handles (but that's okay--more motivation for me!). I completed that crazy intense Megabarre class (read the review here) there, and as I said, there's a bit of a rich housewife feel. However, the staff and instructors always make me feel welcome, and I always go back without hesitation. Plus, the studio is gorgeous! If it were up to me, I'd attend 5-6 classes a week at this studio.
Pop Physique This studio is in Charles Village in Baltimore. Parking is hell during the week (ugh, meters and city traffic!), so I only go on the weekends when it's a little easier to find a spot. They have a huge, airy lobby that's super chic (check out my picture I posted on Instagram last week). There was a small crisis the day I went, so the staff seemed a bit rushed. In fact, the entire class was a bit rushed. But it won't stop me from going back--I've got four more classes left on my Groupon.
Want to see exactly what I'm talking about? Here's my Barre playlist with free workouts on Youtube. I do these at home, but I find that I slack more when I'm not in the class. Let me know what you think!