I’m no stranger to exercise – Barry kicks my butt at his Euston Bootcamp on a regular basis, and I frequently spin my socks off at Psycle – so as soon as I spotted the newly-opened barrecore studio near my office, I signed myself up. I’ve done ballet and barre inspired workouts in the past, at Richmond’s Barreworks, but barrecore is the one that everyone’s raving about at the mo (and the one that the Made in Chelsea girls are keen on).
Yes I took ballet classes up until the age of nine, and yes watching Swan Lake at the Royal Opera House earlier this year made my hairs stand on end, but nothing could have prepared me for this workout. I lost count of the number of times during the class where a memory from my university days in the Army Officer Training Corps popped into my mind, where a certain angry sergeant was barking “Pain is the weakness leaving your body!!” But don’t let that put you off!
I rushed into the studio a little late (oops, that’s the trouble with early early morning workouts!) and got straight down to it – you must wear only socks in the studio, and I’d warn you not to wear too many clothes as you will sweat…!
barrecore classes are a combination of fat-burning interval training and stretching, which blitzes the major muscles groups then stretches them out for relief. Regardless of your starting fitness level, each class promises to work muscle groups you didn’t even know existed (a total cliché but very true) and improve your posture, to effectively reshape the entire body – we’re talking firm, elongated muscles, proper alignment and a defined physique. The instructors also serve as the perfect thinspiration for this…
There are many different types of workout to choose from – have a look here. I attended an HIITcore workout, which incorporates a short burst of high intensity interval training to kick your fat loss into high gear, and has the added bonus of continuing to burn calories and boost the metabolism for the following 24 hours as your body recovers. Described on the website as “one of the most challenging classes”, I was really jumping in at the deep end!
Broken down into sets focusing on different parts of the body, the workout is made up of lots of short sets of small but very intense movements. Standing, lying or at the barre, using mats, resistance bands, rubber balls or your own body weight, we worked the entire body – with the most pain being felt in my legs and bum (unsurprising, considering I’d also attended a Barry’s Butt & Legs class the previous day…), and a definite rise in heart rate and sweat levels.
The class lasts an hour, and because of the constantly changing exercise sets, it keeps you focused and works you hard. Post-workout, unfortunately there are only 2 showers at the studio, which is far from ideal – I like my workouts to end with a luxurious changing room (something which both Barry’s and Psycle have nailed) – particularly important when the workouts are so expensive.
Price-wise, barrecore is toppy – an introductory class costs £20, and single classes after that are a whopping £28. There are various packages or a one-month unlimited intro offer that take the cost per class down, but it’s still going to be one very expensive hour of pain! A ballerina’s body was never going to come cheap, I guess.
I’m used to a certain level of stiffness the day after a workout, that can be alleviated with a bit of stretching and foam rolling, but I was far from prepared for the inability to walk just hours after my barrecore class. Getting up from my office chair was a struggle, and travel up and down the stairs was akin to a Mount Everest hike! If ever you needed proof that a workout had done its job, that was it.
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