Take me to the barre…

Having trained as a dancer, I’ve always loved ballet! It’s an intrinsic part of my fitness programme (yes even now) and I can’t shout loud enough about it’s benefits (more on that later). So when Puma’s newest collection launched earlier this month, it’s safe to say I was just a little bit excited. If you’ve read one of my earlier posts, you’ll already  know that the Swan Pack Collection has been inspired by the phenomenal New York City Ballet, so if you picture tutus and trainers, combined with pink trimmed, feather-laden prints, mesh tops and hot pink crops, you won’t go far wrong.

To put the new collection through its paces, I ventured (with my favourite ladies from the #TeamFaster PUMA Squad) to Phiit London to take part in a barre inspired workout, with the lovely Louisa Drake. If you haven’t taken part in a barre class yet, then I can’t recommended them highly enough. These days, you can find them in most gyms, although it’s worth pointing out that the classes can carry a multitude of titles (barre core; barre-fit; ballet fit; ballaties…to name a few) but if you’re lucky enough to stumble across a good one, the premiss should be the same.

“Barre” classes generally combine strength training and cardio, so that you’re burning fat and building muscle at the same time. The “barre” technique focuses on strengthening the muscles, and as muscle tissue burns 15 times as many calories as fat, the stronger you get, the more calories you’ll burn. Which also means that you’ll be burning calories long after the class has ended (win/win).

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Our class at Phitt, started with a warm up, followed by a sequence of upper-body exercises, which included using free weights, a series of push ups, plank variations and moves that targeted the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles. Next, we alternated between the the ballet barre and mat focussing on core conditioning where we used our own body weight for resistance, focussing on the, legs, thighs and seat muscles (that’s your bum). My core (when I remembered) was engaged the entire class, not just during the targeted core exercises at the end. For the cool down, we were led through a series of stretches to increase our flexibility and allow our muscles to recover (and they definitely needed time to recover).

I think it’s fair to say with the major benefits of this style of workout including, improved posture, muscle definition, weightloss, increased flexibility and reduced stress, it’s definitely worth trying to fit a class like this in alongside you weight, resistance, cardio training. Of course there are lots of variations on the theme on offer, but if you’re in a class and it has a barre in it (not the kind that sells vodka shots) then you’re probably in the right place.

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