Barre3.

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Barre3 has come to Newtown! Today was opening day, and to celebrate and engage the community, they are offering free classes all week. You know I was all over that 😉 I had done a few sessions through a free online trial, and had liked them well enough, but ultimately yoga and running took precedence. I am not a huge fan of at-home workouts, either. I have the NYC Ballet DVDs, and pop them on every once in a while. I also do yoga at home every day, but that has more to do with spirituality than athletics. In general, I really prefer to trail run or workout in a studio, so I was excited to check out the Barre3 space and get going with my first class!

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As far as the space goes, the facilities are functional and inviting. There are two studios lined with mirrors and barres, and both can hold up to twenty-two people at a time. Our morning class was totally full, but it didn’t feel cramped or uncomfortable. The studio provides weights, balls, mats and towels free of charge, as well as lockers for personal items.

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It’s actually a really convenient system- any locker with a key in the lock is available. You lock your stuff up, and take the key with you into the studio. Then, when you’re finished, you leave the key back in the lock for the next person. Simple!

The real selling point here is the availability of childcare. For $5 a child, you can drop the wee wots off in the supervised play area while you’re in class- which is exactly what I did. It is fully stocked with all manner of toys and games, and Jack was running in to check it all out before the entrance door was even closed behind us. Once Carolyn realized that all the toys were there to be played with, she joined him. I filled out paperwork and signed new student forms with both hands free- what a blessing! The woman running the childcare facilities was lovely and reassuring. I walked into the studio without a second thought, and didn’t feel any worry for either of them until class let out.

When I picked the kids up, they told me that Carolyn had been fussing and crying a little, but they had rocked and bounced her and she had settled down right away. This is probably the most influential aspect in my attending classes here- I can go and get a workout in any time I want, without having to search around for a babysitter or drive 25 minutes to the YMCA. I wouldn’t say I’ll be there five days a week, but it’s a great option to have, and the kids will get used to it the more we go.

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So…how did I do?

Honestly, within the first ten minutes of class, I was questioning my sanity. Some of the poses and movements were incredibly challenging. Barre3 is a ballet-yoga-pilates hybrid, set to a beat (often current top radio hits), and designed as a 60-minute core workout using a ballet barre, weights, a ball, a mat, and tiny little movements in your muscles. It was intense, but I surprised myself. The workout left me shaking, but also feeling really good about my body and its abilities. My legs were burning the entire time, indicating that I was working my muscles and building strength.

The most difficult thing for me was actually the setup of the class- there is an instructor moving around the room demonstrating the poses and movements, but I felt like I was constantly craning my neck to try and find her when I wasn’t sure what we were doing. Also, she wears a headset and guides the class through the speakers. I totally understand the logic behind this, and I’m sure it’s common in classes like this, but I am so conditioned to the “yoga” approach- quiet, and very internally focused. I found the loud-ish music and the disembodied voice of the instructor disorienting, but I also recognize that most people find that approach energizing and motivating. It wasn’t something I could do regularly and enjoy, the same way I enjoy yoga, but then again yoga is deeply spiritual, whereas barre is pure athletics.

However…one of the most important lessons I’ve learned as a runner, aside from the necessity to properly stretch, is the benefit of strength training and core building exercises. Your legs can only take you so far, and after that you will rely on your core strength to push yourself to your limit (and beyond!). By itself, I probably wouldn’t be a regular at the barre, but I know that as a runner, I stand to benefit from it. I have four more free classes this week, and then I’ll be there once or twice a week. They do teacher training at this location, and trainee classes are free to the community. You can sign up online- I’ve been checking periodically, and registering as they come up 🙂

Of course, no grand opening would be complete without goodie bags for new members!

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Reusable tote with the Barre3 logo, water, a Kind bar, a bracelet, and a complementary class card to give to a friend! Any takers??

In all, I am so glad I went and checked it out, and I AM looking forward to my upcoming classes. All of this core work is going a long way to making me stronger and more focused, both in my running and my yoga practice. To anyone wondering if Barre is for them, I highly recommend you try it out- it’s a great way to work your body out and build core strength. If any of my friends are interested in going, don’t be shy, let me know and I’ll gladly join you!

And now, I’m going to lay down with my legs against the wall….

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