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5 Tips to Help You Rock Your First Barre Class

Amy Sinclair is a full time yoga and barre instructor living in the Boston area.  She teaches a method of barre infused with yoga, to challenge the body and center the mind. If the thought of taking a barre class intimidates you, than you have come to the right place today! Amy is going to give you 5 tips to rock your first barre class.

Barre classes are gaining popularity, and for good reason! Barre classes are an effective, fun, safe, and unique way to exercise.  As with any new group fitness class you try, you might not know what to expect during your first class.  As a full time barre instructor teaching 15 classes a week, I’m here to give you some tips to get you ready for your first barre class.  I frequently have new people join my classes, and I love to help them navigate their way through their first class, so this is one of my favorite topics.  By following these 5 key principles, you will have a successful and enjoyable first experience, and you will be coming back for more of that addictive barre burn!

 

  1. Preparation

This one is obvious:  find out what you need for class, and come prepared.  Every studio is different; some require you to wear grippy socks (and might make you purchase $15 socks if you come without them!), while other places practice barefoot.  Some places supply the mats, while others ask you to bring your own.  Take a look on the website of the studio for this information, and if you don’t see it, send a quick email to the studio to find out.  As a general rule, and what I have seen, carpeted studios have you wear the grippy socks, and studios with hardwood or other types of flooring go barefoot. 

Arrive 10-15 minutes before class to get acquainted, check in, and sign any waivers at the studio.  You will definitely want to wear comfortable athletic clothes you can move in and aren’t tripping over (no expensive gear required), and bring a water bottle.

Prepare your body for class by eating 1-2 hours before class starts, and staying hydrated.

  1. Communication

Let the instructor know you are new, and ask them for help setting up.  Some places will lay out all the props you need, while others have you set up your own.  Generally you will need some hand weights, and possibly other fun things like balls, pilates rings, blankets, yoga blocks and straps, etc.   These may vary each class based on what the instructor has planned, so it’s good to ask what you will need!

Tell the instructor anything they will need to know about your body such as injuries, physical limitations, and pregnancy.  Some barre moves are contraindicative for pregnancy, ankle, knee, elbow, or lower back injuries.  There are plenty of ways to modify these exercises to work with your limitations and make them safe for you, but you need to communicate with the teacher to find out what those are. Do this before class starts, and the teacher will be able to have a conversation with you about different modifications.

  1. Awareness

      Barre classes are intense, so you will need to be physically present in your body and mind to make it through the class.  There are a couple easy ways to do this: pace yourself, focus on your breath, and listen for alignment cues.  No one gets all of this right on the first try, so be patient with yourself.  Pacing yourself will help you make it through difficult sets. Breathing deeply and consistently will help you stay connected to your body, and give your muscles the oxygen they need!  Listening to alignment and movement cues is super important in a barre class.  The alignment is crucial, and it is more important to get the form right then to complete all the reps. Sometimes the alignment cues are subtle, and it takes time to learn how to articulate your body in those ways, so again, be patient with yourself, and keep your ears and eyes open to receiving this new information.

  1. Interaction

After class, let the instructor know what you thought, what questions you had, and how it felt in your body.  I love barre so much and have a curious nature, so as a teacher, I want to hear how your first experience went.  If you had questions about why your thighs were shaking (because we worked them to the point of fatigue!) , or want to know if you got the form right, just take a moment to talk to the teacher after class.  Also, try bringing a friend to class because everything is more fun with a friend! You can discuss your experiences with each other, and maybe you can even grab a smoothie after class and make it a date!

  1. Have Fun!

Jerry of Ben & Jerry’s once said, “If it’s not fun, why do it?”  I agree completely.  Barre classes are tough, but they can definitely be fun if you keep an open mind, and have a light-hearted approach.  Being a beginner can be difficult, but embrace the learning curve, stay open and aware, and have fun with it.  Give yourself a couple classes before making a final judgement on barre.  Your first class may feel like a whirlwind, but sign up for a second or third class so you can give it another try now that you know what to expect.

Have you taken a barre class before? What are some tips you would give others? 

Stay in touch with Amy:

Instagram: @amysinclairyoga
girlfriends

4 Types of Friends Who Make Your World a Better Place

Last week was my birthday and thanks to all of my friends and their grand plans, I celebrated all week long! There was a little line dancing, concert adventure, celebration dinner times two and a cookie cake to top it all off. I enjoyed every minute of it and am so very thankful for the people in my life who made turning 31 a little less scary. That was my inspiration for today’s blog. I thought about all the people in my life and how each and every one of them plays a very different role.

It’s almost like a puzzle, I wouldn’t be complete if each of them wasn’t here. So today I’m giving tribute to girlfriends both near and far. I’m raising a nice chilled glass of sweet Moscato wine to the ones we could never live without:

She’s Rough Around the Edges: She doesn’t sugarcoat anything. If you don’t want to hear it, it doesn’t matter because she’s going to tell you anyway. She’s the friend who will keep you honest. She’ll keep you on the straight and narrow and when you veer off the path just a little bit, she’ll be right next to you to jerk the wheel back in the right direction. So don’t get angry when she doesn’t sympathize with you. Don’t get upset because she doesn’t feel sorry for you. Thank her for making you a stronger person. For showing you that excuses will get you nowhere and that a self proclaimed pity party can only last for so long before you need to put on your big girl panties, suck it up and get back out into the world.

She’s Always Your Last Call: She thinks of you all the time. She sends random messages to let you know that. You don’t talk every day, but in all those years she’s been your friend, she’s never let you down. She’s always been there when you need her. When you cry, she cries with you. When you are broken or hurting, she feels it too. When it’s 3am and you just need someone to talk to, she’ll be there. It doesn’t matter if she just fell asleep twenty minutes ago because her child finally did or she’s had a bad day of her own, if you need her, she’ll be there. Just like she’s always been because that is what she does. Even though physically she may not always be able to be there for you, she is the girl who walks with you, step by step, each and every day while you cross canyons and climb mountains. She is the friend who throws rocks at those who hurt (metaphorically speaking of course) and is ready to put up a fight against anyone who dares cross you. She is the one that will show you that real, true friendships do exist. That lifelong bonds can survive silence, distance and everything in between.

She Just Gets It: There was a time in her life when she was right where you are now. Whether going through  heartbreak, a life changing event or a midlife crisis, she understands you more than anyone else at the moment. She doesn’t judge you for the choices you make or the way you live your life. She lets you be free, run wild and even comes along for the ride. She knows exactly what you need to do in order to find yourself and accept your situation. She guides you slightly from time to time to make sure you don’t completely fall off the cliff, but for the most part, she lets you do your thing. She’s the only one you can talk to about how you feel and what you’re going through and although she knows you probably won’t take any of her advice, she gives it to you anyways. She’s the one you look to when you lose hope. She makes me you have faith in brighter days. Her strength, her loyalty and her companionship prove that good people do exist.

She’s Wgirlfriendsild and Reckless:  She takes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you to try things you’d never do on your own. Your feet are barely ever on the ground when you’re with her because she’s always moving so fast, but that’s okay. Sometimes you need a timeout in life and she’ll be the one to give it to you. After a rough day at work, a fight with your significant other or when the stress of everyday life becomes too much, she’ll help lift your spirits and break you out of that funk with an all night extravaganza that will help you leave all your worries behind and find your inner party girl you forgot even existed. You need her to remind you that life shouldn’t always be taken so seriously. That a little bit of fun never hurt anyone.