Being back in the States this week has been awesome! Although a quick trip, I have (in true to Miranda form) tried to make the most of it with full days of family, friends, food, and fitness. I love my husband’s family and it has been great to spend time with them and some of my favorite Bostonians while here. Catching up over coffee, lunch or dinner has been so enlivening and uplifting! I have also had the chance to do a bit of shopping for things that are not available across the pond and, of course, have snuck in some barre and Pilates classes along the way! This trip included trying out bTONE’s Megaformer classes, The Bar Method, Xtend Barre, and of course a few classes at my home sweet home Pure Barre, including the new, super sweaty but amazing Pure Empower!
Recently, I was talking to someone (who doesn’t know me incredibly well OBVIously) who was surprised to hear that I “wouldn’t even give myself a break from working out on a vacation.” I was equally surprised to hear that she would assume that is how I view the situation. I can’t think of very many things that I love more to do than barre or reformer, so it only makes sense to me that I would want to do that while away and enjoying myself. Now I wouldn’t say the same is true about running for example, but I absolutely adore barre and crave the opportunity to lift-tone-burn daily. I proceeded to explain to her that I don’t view exercise as a punishment or something that I must do, but something that I genuinely want to do for fun. And this got me thinking about some of my favorite things I appreciate about barre (aka why I am a #barreaddict).
Oh how I love barre, let me count the ways!
- It never gets easier, but you get better.
I have written about this before, but every class and every exercise is a challenge. It is not an activity that you can outgrow and I am always amazed that in almost four years, as I have become immeasurably stronger and gained better understanding of the technique, I continue to find new ways to challenge myself mentally and physically in each and every exercise. Barre is truly the perfect workout for anyone because there are always modifications that you can choose to make based upon your current abilities whether a beginner or seasoned veteran. I love that although I continue to get stronger, I can always lift my heels higher, sink that one inch lower, or make my leg just that little bit straighter.
- It’s a perfect mix of familiarity and variety.
Although it’s always a full body exercise and the format and flow of class are generally the same; it’s always with a twist. There are endless new and different positions, props, and choreography which make it pretty much impossible to become bored. Just when you thought chair couldn’t be any worse, a new variation comes along and the muttering under your breath intensifies.
- It involves upbeat music and community.
Fun, feel good music with a beat, a motivating environment with smiling faces and the feeling of comradery among classmates cannot be beat. I have formed meaningful friendships through pre- and post- class chats and bonding over the mutual in-the-moment-distaste-for-the-instructor as we all push through it together. And it was so fun to be able to see some of my “Barre Squad” for the first time in forever this week!
- It produces results.
You see and feel results – physically and technique wise. I have seen massive changes in my own body and many others because of barre. It is a workout which truly sculpts and creates lean, elongated muscles. One of the best things about teaching is watching someone who thought they could never do X, now do Y and with totally toned arms/legs/abs.
- It provides an opportunity to be totally present and tune out all other distractions.
Barre involves a lot of concentration and mind-body connection, which requires me to focus on the exercise at hand and forget about all the pressures and demands outside of the studio. There are many times that you may feel that you simply.cannot.do.XYZ, but if you dig that little bit deeper you can really surprise yourself. Barre is as much mental training as strength and it creates increased discipline and self-mastery which spills over into so many other areas of life.