For the last several months, I’d been slacking on my fitness regime because the gym I joined was clear across town. So when Barre Forte Wichita opened just two miles from my house, I had no excuse not to try. I had always been skeptical of barre, mostly because I don’t look anything like a tall and slender dancer, but when I dropped in for an introductory class, I immediately fell in love. Here are a few of the myths that I debunked myself that day:
1. You have to have a background in dance.
False. I was on drill team in high school, mostly for the socialization aspect, and I danced as a youth (like 2nd grade level, “step-ball-change” is as much as I remember) but I am NOT, nor was I ever, a ballerina. I can barely keep count. I don’t know dance postures or positions, and I can barely manage to identify the different between left and right! At Barre Forte, though, that doesn’t matter. I can mimic what the instructor does right in front of me, and her instructions are easy to follow. It helps that their movements are usually small (a classic barre characteristic) and the music is awesome!
2. You have to be skinny and in shape.
Absolutely not! I am not skinny. In fact, I do run and weight train to stay fairly in shape, but I’m still overweight. However, I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed about my body type at Barre Forte.The barre workout can be modified as I need it to be and all of the instructors encourage me to challenge myself, rather than compete with the person next to or in front of me. Everyone, from a size 0 to a size 22, in shape or not, will shake and burn (sometimes involuntarily)!
3. You have to be flexible.
Flexibility may be helpful, but it is definitely not required. You will feel the burn and shake every single session regardless of your flexibility level. Modifications are frequently shown throughout the hour-long class. Stretching becomes a welcome relief after each target area regimen, which helps improve flexibility over time. Of course, I follow their recommendation of lot of hydration and stretching following every class, which helps keep my muscles in shape for the next round.
4. You need time and expensive clothes.
Ummm…yes and no. You only need an hour, BUT, I’m not drenched in sweat when I leave, so I can fit a few errands in after if needed! Also, Barre Forte offers Mini Barre childcare sessions too, so bring your kid! As for clothes, you should always look the part, right? Minus the expensive part. I typically wear leggings and a tank. These don’t have to be $100 items and there is a broad range of styles represented at Barre Forte—all very comfortable. The one thing you truly do need, though, is a pair of grippy socks! Trust me, they make the planks easier!
5. It’s not a workout.
This is the biggest “myth” that I debunked. Although barre is a low- impact workout, it is nonetheless very intense and challenging. Through the use of high repetitions and small movements, barre workouts engage your small, accessory muscles, in addition to your larger muscle groups. This low impact/high intensity combination is fabulous, because as I begin to age and knock on 40’s door, throwing kettle bells and battle ropes and jogging everyday is not as easy for me as it was a few years ago. Tucking and pulsing is every bit as challenging, yet more forgiving on my joints—AND I can do it every day! Barre is a workout that I am excited to say, will sculpt my body, build my core, while still being gentle on my body. It is even a workout I would encourage my mom to do, too!
This skeptic is totally hooked now and I attend every day, so meet you at the barre!