Barre is the New Pilates

Remember those days when we were ballerinas? I hope I wasn’t the only 3-year-old in a ballet class wearing pink from head to toe. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it, it was fun learning how to dance, but I quit at the tender age of 5 and moved on to jazz hands. A couple of years ago I was listening to podcast with Beth from my favorite band in the entire world (sorry Oasis) Best Coast. She was talking about how she incorporates fitness while touring. She uses Ballet Beautiful. Now, I worship Beth, so naturally, I must try it. I went on to Amazon and order a Ballet Beautiful DVD. That was my extent with ballet fitness, I never took a real class until a couple of months ago and this is my story.


Despot not only has great food, but free fitness classes. (Photo: Lisa Castrichini)

Free Workout

Anyone living in central Phoenix knows there is a sense of community. It’s an urban area, but most of the local business try to create a community feel. I like to think of central Phoenix as a friendlier L.A. DeSoto Market is huge on putting on FREE events, there Drag Queen Bingo and Swing classes. They don’t forget about fitness. A partnership with the Lincoln YMCA, there are FREE barre and yoga classes every Saturday morning. Nothing is better than getting a workout in without spending any money. Now, barre is trendy which means it’s expensive. I don’t make money off this blog, so there was no way I was going to a barre studio. I am grateful for DeSoto and Lincoln Family YMCA for allowing girlbosses in the making to have access to this workout.

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I’m a cliche and wore ballet flats. (Photo: Lisa Castrichini)

Balls Were Flying

Barre is influenced by ballet, but it does have Pilate components to it. So, you do use balls in the workout, but it’s more for balancing and engaging your core then building muscles like a medicine ball. The first time I went, we had to place a ball between the back of our knees. The foot that didn’t have the ball would be the foot doing all the lunges. I think my ball was too big because it kept falling and roll away. I would have to grab it and put it back. This happened at least 10 times. The next time I went I picked a smaller ball and there was no dropping it. I liked the balls, I thought it was a practical choice for an isometric workout. I feel some trendy workouts just extra. Have you ever done a spin class and they bring out weights? It’s hard enough, lets really test your coordination and add free weights. I am pro balls and think they don’t make barre unbearable.

Ballerinas are Warriors

Barre isn’t cardio, it’s a mix of strengthening and flexibility, very similar to yoga. You might not feel your heartbeat, but you sweat like you’re doing cardio. Your body is doing more muscle type activities and therefore your respiratory system isn’t working at the same rate it does with cardio. It was not by any means an easy workout. Our instructor was in shape and probably in her fifties and we could not keep up. My friends and I tried, there were moves that my body was not there yet. I am a self-proclaim cardio queen, so this workout was not my normal. I have respect for ballerinas, they might wear tutus, but they are strong. You know it’s a good workout when you’re sore the next day.

It was a tough workout, but I would do it again. I think it’s a good addition to a person’s fitness routine. We can’t just do cardio all the time and this was something I could see myself doing once a week. If you hate cardio, then this would be a great workout for you. It’s not cardio driven, but will increase your heart rate without you feeling it. You don’t have to buy ballet shoes, we did it with bare feet. You don’t have to wear a bun. All you need is a Yoga mat and a water bottle and you are set.


I love gliders in a workout. (Photo: Lisa Castrichini)

I’m not too sure if barre has reached other rec centers yet, but Ballet Beautiful is a great alternative to a class. All her workouts don’t require equipment and you can customize your workout. She trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan. I am not saying Natalie Portman won the Oscar for her ballet moves, but it probably helped. Ditch whatever exercise plans you have and give barre a try.

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