This weekend was SO.MUCH.FUN. On Saturday we hosted our first ever Flex in the City “Barre and Brunch” at The Oyster Tavern downtown Cork. We tucked at the “bar,” we ate delicious food (those poachies on avocado toast “went down a storm” as the Irish would say), we laughed and laughed and got to know each other just a little better. It was a great opportunity to sit together and chat over two of my personal favorite things – barre and brunch! I know that particular types of exercises and sports tend to lend themselves better to building a community and barre is definitely one of those. If you ask amongst barre devotees, literally around the world, one thing you will very often hear is an appreciation for and love of community barre creates. It’s a challenging workout that
leaves you feeling empowered, provides unprecedented results, and gives you a great opportunity to connect with others with similar goals, interests, and mindsets. Group exercise in general provides added benefits to your workouts, and in my humble (and totally biased) opinion, the barre community is one of the absolute best!
The benefits of group exercise sweat sessions, like barre, are well documented. As the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) pointed out, it provides us with an opportunity to be physically active around others, something we probably all enjoyed as children, but might otherwise seldom do. And that has a potent effect on our mental wellbeing with the potential to lower our stress by 26%, even more than individual workouts; which is no surprise since basically everything we do is better when we share the experience with others. There is something about the energy of the room that provides us with additional inspiration and motivation. The ACSM wrote that “a common reason given for quitting an exercise program is boredom… [but] people stay interested because of the social atmosphere provided by group exercise. This offers camaraderie and accountability among participants, as well as between participants and instructor.” As one our star clients described it recently, when you take a barre class – it can be seriously challenging, but there is “always a spirit of camaraderie, like we’re in all the trenches together and supporting each other to make to the best and final ten!” And it’s true, in the classroom, the barre community (as described by Live Strong) “challenges you to work beyond your perceived limitations. The instructor observes your body for signs of fatigue and pushes you to your limits. You are likely to work out harder, as everyone is exercising toward the same goal, than you would on your own [and the] instructor explains the benefits of each exercise which increases your reasons to complete the workout and keeps you returning to class.” It can be a big boost to your motivation and sense of self-efficacy, plus it’s a lot of fun! Being surrounded by dedicated, like-minded individuals across many settings can help us stay engaged and in the case of barre, encourage us to dig deeper and push that little bit harder.
When we decided to move to Ireland, the barre community I was leaving behind in Boston was one of the things that I knew I would miss most. I met new friends there, I had introduced as many friends as possible to the studio, and it was really a big part of my (literally everyday) life. But in coming here, I never could have anticipated all that I would I gain. I love my Flex in the City tribe and being connected to the studio has given me endless opportunities to get to know other people here in Cork, who (as we are always discovering) we have much more in common with than you might have thought at first glance. Our barre community is filled with kind, enthusiastic, and inspiring people who have fallen in love with the exercise and the results that it brings as well as the atmosphere of being surrounded by others who are working towards similar goals. It’s a space to have work hard AND to have fun – all set to the beat 🙂 And beyond the barre itself, things like Coffee Club in the morning, the Galentine’s Mean Girls Movie Night and Barre and Brunch this weekend only make me all the more grateful for my barre community. And I can’t wait for the next time!