Prior to this summer, I was 100% a barre newbie. You’d think that 12 years of ballet dancing in my childhood would have motivated me to seek out more barre classes, but for whatever reason, I never got around to it! I’ve been working from Portland (my hometown) this summer, though, and have religiously been going to Barre 3. It is the BEST workout and the most supportive community, and if you live close to a studio I highly recommend checking them out. I’m definitely going to miss Barre 3 when I’m back in Chicago in a couple weeks, but I plan on keeping up with their online workouts (could be fun to review those, too!). However, just before I flew out to the West Coast I had a chance to try a barre class in Chicago: The Barre Code. I absolutely loved the class, and it was one of the reasons I was interested in trying Barre 3 once I came home. It’s one of those workouts where you don’t even realize how hard you’re working…but boy, do you feel it the next day. Here’s what the Barre Code was like!
The workout: “Barre Code” at Barre Code River North
Quick description: A complete, full-body workout consisting of isometric holds and repetition, using props like exercise bands, light weights and the bar. (Though I tried the classic Barre Code workout, they do have programs specific to strengthening, cardio or stretching, which you can read about here.)
Price: 5-7 credits on ClassPass or $22 drop-in (various packages are also available). You should also know that socks are required for class—you can buy the special barre “sticky socks” at any studio, if you prefer more traction.
My experience: So, the day that I tried the Barre Code was one of those CRAZY rainy Chicago days where it never gets light all day long, your umbrella turns inside out as soon as you walk outside and any shoes you wear are guaranteed to get ruined. It was pitch black at 6:30 pm, and I really just wanted to cancel the class, get under a blanket and watch a movie. But I had signed up using ClassPass, which meant that my 12-hour window to cancel had already passed, and I decided to stick with it. Turns out, everyone else intending to take the class that night had canceled, and there was only one other person in the class. Our instructor, Susan, walked in and said, “Well, you guys are lucky—I’m one of the hard ones!” *Gulp*
Of course, Susan was amazing and completely comforting to a first-timer. It may have been an advantage to be one of two people in the class, actually, because I got lots of guidance through all the moves. It felt good to know that my posture was correct and I was doing all the moves the right way—sometimes you don’t get that in a big group class! We moved through a series of quad burners, booty work (omg), arms and then abs. The only props we used were an exercise band tied around the bar and light hand weights—I could not believe how heavy those 2-pound weights felt by the end of class. And the next day? It hurt to sneeze, my abs were so sore. #hurtssogood
Overall Impression: It’s amazing how doing barre consistently this summer has helped so many other areas of my life. I spend a lot of time at the computer, so my shoulders can get sore, and I have always struggled with hip imbalances. The barre workouts I’ve been doing have essentially eliminated all muscle tightness that I was feeling, and I’ve noticed that my running, posture, sleep etc have all improved. It’s probably only at the point where I can notice it, but I do feel a bit more toned, as well! I will most certainly be looking for more barre classes when I get back to Chicago, and The Barre Code is top of my list. Plus, as Liz so kindly mentioned in her weekly preview email a couple of weeks ago, I just got engaged! The wedding workout routine has officially begun. 😉
Are any of you fans of barre? Let me know if there are any other classes I should try in Chicago!