Last week I announced my 7 in Seven weight loss challenge where I work to lose my last 7 stubborn pounds over the course of a 7 week period. I'm in week 2 of the challenge, but wanted to give you a peak into what I've been up to thus far. Here are the workouts that I completed last week.
I'll be reviewing my experience with RacePace, Daily Burn, and community yoga events in future posts, but for now I want to give you a peak into what the The Bar Method is all about.
Photo by Joel Luks
I had one class at the The Bar Method a few years ago and never forgot the experience. I don't live nearby so I didn't purchase a membership, but I figured this challenge was the perfect excuse to commit to trying it out again. When I arrived to take my first class the instructor was very friendly, showed me around, and made me feel very welcome. I chatted with one of their regulars who gushed over how much she loved classes, and she also gave me insights on the class format. Once class started and we got through the warm up, it was time to head to the mirrors where we would do bar work for the majority of class. There were two instructors there, one that taught the class and one that took the class. The instructor that took the class made sure to stay close to me, grab props for me, and be sure that I felt supported. At every class that I attended I saw the same thing which just made me love the studio even more. Here's my breakdown of the studio based on the workout, amenities, cleanliness, and my overall experience.
The workout is why I absolutely adore this studio. I taught and practiced Pilates for years so I have a affinity for any exercise program that promotes control, precision movements, and form. So many fitness programs promote a hardcore and intense workout which is sexy, and thus why so many people sign up, but very few ever commit. For one, if a person doesn't have the flexibility, strength and stamina to execute the movement of one part of their body while stabilizing the rest of their body, then why would you add weight, ask them to move rapidly, and expect them to have quality movements? It takes a great amount of body awareness and mental focus to correctly identify and execute the right muscles to engage, with good form, and without holding your breath. The exercises are done with high reps, light weight or body weight, and pulses. Pulses are movements made with very limited range of motion, usually at the peak of muscular contraction ( the hard part) so that the muscle never fully relaxes.
The Bar Method promises results with its toning and controlled exercises that are taught in a specific order. Movements are organized in sections that alternate between the front and the back sides of the body, so that students can tone one side of their body while elongating the other side they just worked. The most aerobic exercises are placed in the second half of class when students are warmed up and are burning away body fat. Standard exercises are push ups, reverse push ups, water skis, and my arch enemy the pretzel. I'm pretty strong in my upper body but the thigh work gives me baby deer legs. My thighs tremble involuntarily, burn, and ache, but I can't argue with how much stronger I feel afterward.
I really appreciated all the verbal and hands on corrections that the instructors gave me. I was also impressed with how quickly they learned my name, and how they addressed everyone in class by name. Afterward my legs felt shaky and my whole body was exhausted, but about 15 min later I got a second wind and felt energized. After my first workout I was sore for about 3 days, but afterward I recovered much quicker at the second and third class.
One of the things that I look for at a fitness studio are accommodations for busy women that need to get in a workout and jet back to the office, or go home to take care of the kids or fur babies. Back in the day I use to pack my gym bag full of extra clothes and toiletries, but it never fails that I would forget something. At Bar Method they provide showers, comfortable changing rooms, and a bathroom fully stocked with hair ties, hair products, and tampons. You could easily bring a change of clothes, shower and go back out into the world fully refreshed.
For those of you that are more visual here is a breakdown of my overall experience at The Bar Method. I attended 3 classes, from two different instructors, and tried both the hour long and the express classes to get an accurate idea of what to expect at the studio.
Workout - The instructors are thorough and the workout is based on tiny movements with a big impact.
The Studio - The studio is clean, friendly, and well managed so you'll feel comfortable if you need to shower or freshness up after class.
Staff - Super friendly, very helpful, and they made me feel very comfortable being a newbie.
Cleanliness - The pads that we stand, sit, and lay on during class are clean and never have any funny B.O smells on them.
Accessibility- To schedule my first class I was able to call in to get registered, but you can also schedule online. There is a parking lot in front of the studio, and so far I've never had an issue with finding parking. There is a 12-hour cancellation policy should you not be able to make class which is more generous than a few 24-hour policies around town. Pricing is really the only deterent that I can see for some people.
( Based on avg. of 4 studios)
If budget isn't an issue for you then I say go for it, but if you have some hesitation I think that the new client special is worth giving a try, and then see if the studio is for you.
If you love yoga or Pilates then The Bar Method will be right up your alley. Their focus on form, control, and quality of movement are all components that you'll be able to appreciate if you like a more mind/body workout. If you are looking to tone and firm I would also highly suggest taking one of their classes. Regardless of your fitness level or even previous injuries or limitations, this is a safe opportunity to strengthen and lengthen your muscles, with about as much attention as you can expect without having a private session. The studio is clean, the equipment is well kept, the staff is friendly, and you'll definitely feel a difference afterward. The price tag is on the higher end, but you also get the quality experience that you pay for. Check out their website and class schedule here.
I've got plenty more to share with you next time, and other studio reviews are on the way. If you just can't wait that long, then see where I'll be working out next on my Instagram stories, and feel free to ask questions along the way. See you at the next workout.