While I eat relatively healthy and workout almost every day, I’ve always been a bit “soft.” I attribute it to my candy habit and my penchant for cardio only activity- I rarely do muscle building exercises. Recently, I bought an eight-week, unlimited class package from Bar Method and was excited to challenge myself to do something new. Like other barre workouts, the Bar Method exercises target isolated muscle groups and keeps them working for body change. After a period of time, it stretches the muscles to create a more lean, graceful, and toned appearance. The structure of each class is pretty similar regardless of the instructor but each of them adds different exercises to switch up the routine. While this is only my second week of classes, Bar Method has lived up to its promise as I can already feel myself getting stronger and more toned!
I decided to take on these eight weeks as a challenge more than anything, and decided to see if the classes could tone and strengthen my body from head to toe similar to that of a dancer. I set a few parameters and am excited to share my progress with all of you Dumplings.
Bar Method Challenge Basic Parameters:
– Attend classes 3-5 times a week for the entire eight weeks
– Add at least 2 days of moderate cardio
– Do not drastically change eating habits
– Have fun!
Everything hurts. I didn’t know really what to expect during my first class and scoffed when I saw that we were going to be using 2lb. weights for the arm exercises. Because the barre classes use isolated muscle exercises, the teeny weights made my arms burn. I couldn’t even make it through the exercises and had to stop in the middle of some of them. My legs turned into jello during the thigh exercises and I had to “half-ass” most of the class because I physically could not do most of the routine. I left feeling deflated.
I didn’t want to go yet dragged myself to a later class after work. My legs could barely make it up the stairs but as soon as class started I felt a bit more energy and willpower. I could actually make it through the majority of arms today but had to stop several times during leg and seat work. It’s a tough class! The instructor was lovely and made sure to correct my movements so my lower back would not be strained. My favorite part of today was actually the stretching at the end 🙂
I was surprisingly super motivated to get to class today- it may have something to do with the exorbant amount of caffeine I consumed during the day. I made through most of the arm work out- including the modified portions I do for my wrists. Legs were not difficult for me today! I made it through class with a smile and burning abs.
Probably should have skipped today but since I had a friend with me I went anyway. It was a lot more comforting having someone to make faces at during a particularly challenging exercise. Glute work was the most challenging today and I am still learning how to do most of the moves correctly in order to maximize my results. I had a lot of corrections during this class which made me slightly uncomfortable (the instructors tend to verbally make corrections via microphone) but I made it to my favorite stretching portion. Decided to skip a few days after class ended.
I feel like most of my muscles have somehow doubled in size overnight. When I got to class, I asked my instructor about this and she laughed and said most women go through a “bulking” phase before the muscle stretch out and become lean. I didn’t feel like I was struggling during class as much as the last week and even got compliment on my posture and form. My legs did shake quite a bit and I had to take a few extra “resets” to fix my form, but class was fun today and I enjoyed the playlist.
My thighs are still killing me from two days ago but I decide to go last minute since I’m already in the area. Loved my instructor and was very appreciative of all of the corrections today. Not as much pressure on my back during ab work and was able to complete every set of exercises! I modified several of them for back support and realized that if I talk to the instructor a few moments during class, she is happy to help me make as many modifications as I need while still getting a full, toning workout in.
I CAN DO A PUSH-UP!! I normally do the push up segment on the actual barre for shoulder and wrist comfort (and mainly because I couldn’t actually do a push up on the ground) but today I decided to try and see if I could do at least one. This is a huge accomplishment since I’ve never actually been able to do one correctly in my life. Since this was at the beginning of class it set a positive mood for the remainder of the class but I struggled majorly during thigh work. I don’t know if it was because my body still isn’t completely used to isolated exercises or didn’t recover from the last class, but I can definitely say the entire hour was a challenge. On the plus side, I can somewhat see an outline of ab muscles.
See progress from weeks three and four!
Also by Karina: Clara’s Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes
In Fitness: The Thrive Nutrition Plan for Vegan Athletes
Check out our fun barre workouts on Your Dream Body!
Photo: Karina Alexander