Meet you at the Barre

Like most little girls, when I was four or five my mom put me into tap, ballet, and jazz. I stuck with it for a few years before other social activities and sports (that didn’t require me to be as graceful) became more appealing. Little did I know I would end up back at the barre in my twenties!

When Barreworks Queen St opened back in 2012, my friend Erica, who had been a trained ballerina for years, convinced me to join her for a class. I remember being more excited for brunch following the class and doubting that it would even be much of a workout. I also wondered whether I could still get my toes into that perfect plié format.

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But of course, as all predictable stories go, it was ten times more of a workout than I thought it would be and I was a sweaty mess by the end of it.

Since then I’ve tried numerous barre-based classes across the city but the Queen and Yonge St Barreworks locations are my favourite. My go-to class? bAAAre, which is focused on all the important parts – arms, abs, and ass.

As someone with an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, it can be hard finding workout classes that meet my needs and are easy on my joints. The reason barre works is that it’s low-impact, the range of motion and weights can be adjusted, plus parts of the class, especially toning, are performed slowly, so that there’s no sudden stress to the joints. You also only need a barre, bands, a mat, and weighted balls – none of which require much grip.

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Now don’t let that description fool you into thinking that if you do high intensity workouts, this isn’t for you. The burn (soooo good) I felt 24 and 48 hours after was legit. But if you’re looking for a bit of variety they have other classes like ‘Mixed Level’ and ‘DripBarre’. Both have a cardio aspect, and involve a lot of jumping and fast-paced aerobics. I’ve tried each of them and unfortunately my joints couldn’t handle the pressure, but for those of you that are able-bodied, you’ll likely be just fine!

So if you’re looking to tone, sculpt, lengthen, and strengthen, give barre classes a try and let me know what you think! Tutus optional.

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