Everything You Need to Know About Working Out at Home

Working out at home can feel impossible sometimes. Whether it’s school pick up, overdue deadlines or a million meetings on the calendar, getting a quality workout in like Physique 57 can be a challenge. Or perhaps you love our Interval Overload, barre-based workout and its incredible results, but you don’t leave near a Physique 57 studio. Whatever the reason, we’re bringing the barre to you with our Video On Demand series. Get our signature studio workout from home with over 80 videos and six different workout programs spanning 10, 15, 30, 45 and 57 minutes. Pick and choose from our top fitness instructors, target a specific part of your body and expand your Physique 57 repertoire without ever having to leave the house. But before you start pulsing and squeezing, you may be wondering just how on earth you can transform your living room into a space equipped to handle the Physique 57 realness. Read on as we break down how to get an awesome workout from the comfort of home.
Create Your “Barre Spot”: Most – but not all – Physique 57 videos incorporate the use of a “barre.” And, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a classic Physique 57 barre installed in your living room. But you’re in luck because just about anything can be a barre if it’s of significant weight and the right height to get into that flat back chair pose. One tip is to move a heavy chair and see if it can withstand your weight as you pull back on it. If not, consider adding some weight to its seat, like a stack of cookbooks, a cast iron pan or whatever you have laying around. If it still won’t work, move over to a couch. If all else fails, it might actually be time for that barre install, or opt for a video that doesn’t incorporate barre work, like our classic Mat 57 series or a more focused workout that targets the arms, abs and glutes.
Invest in Heavy (and Light) Weights: Whether you’re a Physique 57 beginner or total pro, utilizing weights increases the intensity of any workout. Fortunately, hand weights are relatively small and easy to store, so you can break them out during Signature’s opening arm exercises, or use them throughout Mat classes as well during as Barre-Meets-Mat. Some classes swap out heavy and light weights depending on the movement, so you may want to double down and have three pound and five-to-ten pound weights on-hand. The beautiful thing about Physique 57 is that 99% of the workout involves using your own body weight as resistance, however there’s always room for more weight, especially in those hard-to-reach triceps and biceps.
Keep Those Grippy Socks Handy: One of the benefits of doing a Physique 57 Video On Demand is that you can literally work out in your pajamas and no one will notice. But, in an effort to stay in poses longer and feel confident and sturdy in your footing, we advise that you continue to wear the same grippy socks you would normally utilize in the studio. Even if you’re on a hardwood floor or carpeting, the last thing you want to do is slip around while pulsing in the middle of your round back chair.
Find Your Ball: The Physique 57 ball is one of the most important accessories of any class, whether Signature, Mat 57 or shorter, more targeted body blasts. We use it throughout thigh work, in our glute sections as well as throughout various core series. Not only does it help transform your body but it transcends the average pose into something so much deeper. While you may not have one of our round balls at home, see what may work as a substitute. A softer soccer ball will work, or even a blow up beach ball. Worst comes to worst, try to squish up a throw pillow or blanket to add a bit of support during abs where the ball world normally be. And, as long as you can throw something between those thighs during waterski pose, you should be good to go. Your muscles won’t even know the difference.
 

Meditation Can Improve your Fitness Goals- Here’s How

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If you meditate on a regular basis, then you probably know how amazing it can feel. That sensation of deep centeredness combined with a quieter mind is pretty incredible, to say the least. And it’s no secret that meditation offers a slew of potential health benefits — such as lowered stress, depression, and anxiety levels. But did you know that meditation can also do a world of good for your workouts, and optimize your progress when it comes to?

Health Benefits Due To Meditation

When combined with a regular fitness routine, a meditation practice can set you up for greater success overall. By priming the body for better health — through lowered blood pressure, deeper sleep, and a strengthened immune system, meditation can help you level up your results like never before. Additionally, studies show that regular meditation yields cognitive benefits, such as greater mental clarity, that can help you commit to your goals and follow through long-term. Essentially, meditating on a regular basis can help you hone a laser-like ability to focus, making it easier to stick with it when your workouts get rough — and maintain that momentum over time. our absolute favorite meditation studio in NYC is MNDFL. Their beautiful studios are meant to feel like home and they feature expert meditation teachers from a variety of traditions, offering simple techniques in an accessible manner.

Studies Show…

According to a 2006 study from the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, meditation can actually restructure your brain in such a way that boosts the ability to process emotions and maintain concentration. Moreover, stress reduction can help a lot when it comes to keeping up with your fitness routine. The more stressed out you are, the more likely it is that you’ll ditch your workout plans and fall back various coping hacks — especially those that can undermine your workout goals, such as emotional eating combined with Netflix marathons.

Cognitive Mindfulness

Not only can a meditation practice boost your ability to relax and commit to your goals, By amping up your self awareness — on the emotional, mental, and physical levels — you’re primed for greater achievement when it comes to athletic performance. By honestly assessing your strengths and weaknesses, and bringing greater mental focus to your goal setting process, you’re more likely to stick to a program that will yield more transformative results.

Exercising Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals

Basically, meditation is like a workout for your mind. With time, repetition, and practice you get better at it. Additionally, meditation can help you refine your ability to visualize the results you want to achieve, while giving you the mental stamina you need to follow through. Powerful visualizations plus sustained, committed follow-through, can help you reach your goals like nothing else.

Last Thoughts…

If you’ve never tried a meditation practice before, start small. Even five minutes a day can make a big difference, and, as you’re ready to, you can add to your practice incrementally as you go. Just like working out, you might face some challenges with your practice in the beginning — the habit of simply sitting, breathing, and being, without judgment of your process, can take some time to master — so don’t stress it. You’re practice doesn’t have to be perfect, and neither do your workouts. But when you combine your meditation practice with a regular fitness routine, you’ve got a formula for success that’s hard to beat.

The Benefits of Plant-Based Eating

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Nutritional science is showing some really exciting ways that a plant-based diet can boost your health. Embracing a diet of plant-based foods has a slew of proven health benefits such as weight loss, glowing skin, increased immunity, and chronic disease prevention.

Additionally, when you combine a stellar nutritional plan with adequate support via coaching and community, your chances of long-term success increase even more.

It’s no secret that the mainstream U.S. diet is pretty problematic. Obesity, mood disorders, and many chronic health issues have all been linked to the standard American diet (SAD). Americans spend about 2.8 trillion dollars per year on chronic disease management, and up to two-thirds of those costs are related to unhealthy food choices.

Essentially, the Western pattern diet (WPD) is messed up — and it’s making many people sick.

Eating Well For Yourself

The thing is, most people have at least some notion of what eat means to eat well, but implementing change can be a really challenging process for a number of reasons.

What it comes down to is this: What you’re putting on your plate each day can either work for or against your most cherished health goals. That’s why we have partnered with Plantable to help educate our clients on how to incorporate more plant-based foods into their daily lives.

Your food choices can stem from a complex set of issues. Affordability, emotional eating, and lack of access to healthy foods can all show up as obstacles at times.

Knowing what’s best for you, combined with sound information and adequate support, can make all the difference when it comes to getting exceptional fitness results. And, simply put — your overall health suffers when you don’t eat well.

Your Food Coach Has Your Back

A coach can help guide you through the process of making major life changes. When you hit a wall or feel stuck, a coach can help you navigate the process.

In fact, a good coach knows that you’ll come up against some hurdles as you commit to eating healthier.

Tradition, family pressures, travel, and just … life will inevitably throw some curveballs your way as you grow. Consider it grist for the mill — a little resistance can make your commitment that much stronger in the long run. But sometimes, you might need someone to remind you of that when you really just want to ditch your plan and eat a bacon cheeseburger already.

A great coach can help you remember that, not only do you make a killer veggie burger, your *why* for making changes really matters. You want fantastic health and payoff for all your hard work in barre class.

Not ditching your commitment when you feel most tempted to can really make you stronger when it comes to achieving your goals. And, if you do let things slide sometimes, that’s OK too; your coach can help you get back up and stay on track long-term.

Food For Thought…

No matter where your starting point is — whether you’re a plant-based pro or a total newbie — making significant changes usually requires some support while you get the hang of things.

Once you’re firmly rooted in your new habits, the whole process gets so much easier. But for now, a skilled plant-based nutrition coach can make all the difference between lasting change, and falling back on old patterns that undermine your efforts.

The most important thing to remember is, you’ve got this. And a little support here and there can help keep you up when the going gets a little tougher.

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How To: Post-Workout Self-Care Routine

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Once your workout is done, you might be ready to dash out the studio door so you can hit the next item on your to-do list. But taking the time to prioritize post-workout self-care is key to optimal recovery — and recovery is integral to getting the killer results you want most.

Giving Your Body The Love It Needs

While it’s true that practicing self-care during and after your workouts can help boost the effects of exercise, self-care is also a powerful way to learn to treat yourself better overall — throughout various areas of your life.

When you approach your fitness plan from a place of self-compassion, you’re more likely to embrace the process with less perfectionism, and greater acceptance of yourself as you are now. Though it may seem counterintuitive, by pushing yourself less and caring for yourself more, you can actually get way more done. Burnout can be the cost of ignoring your need for self-care — and getting burned out can sabotage your fitness goals like nothing else.

Self-Care And Optimal Results

But what about when it comes to getting results, and why is self-care so important post-workout?

Essentially, getting amazing results from your barre classes, or any workout, is a two-part process — there’s showing up and challenging yourself in class, and then, there’s recovery.

Recovery is where the muscle-sculpting magic happens. Optimizing muscle recovery means that you get more definition and strength — and the most in terms of payoff for all your hard work in class.

The Inner Workings Appreciate Recovery

When you work out, tiny, microscopic tears in the muscle fibers happen as you challenge your body to master new moves or additional reps — and this is a good thing.

During recovery, the body repairs those muscle fibers, leaving them stronger, more sculpted, and better defined than they were before.

Basically, by resting and pampering yourself a bit post-workout, you boost the effects of your efforts in class. Rest means better results — which is a total win-win.

Treat Yourself – Don’t Cheat Yourself

So, what to do when you’re juggling how to prioritize your downtime?

Don’t overcomplicate the process, but do as much as you can. Detox salt baths like Pursoma, infrared saunas, and massage therapy can be amazing additions to your self-care routine.

But also, simple actions like starting a meditation practice, brewing some hot tea, soaking in a hot bath, taking naps whenever possible, and getting enough rest at night can form the foundation of your self-care practice — and help you feel better in myriad ways. It feels good to show yourself some love.

Additionally, it’s so important that you don’t skip taking the time to stretch your muscles, and warm up and cool down when you exercise. A simple stretching routine can make all the difference in your flexibility long-term, and also helps reduce the risk of injuries.

Winding Down…

Once you’ve hit your workout for the day, make sure to dedicate some time to relax — and don’t skip rest days.

Stretch those muscles out, grab a nutritious snack, hydrate, and then hydrate some more.

Also, don’t skimp on sleep — chronic sleep deprivation can undermine your training efforts by messing with your hormones. Some studies suggest that losing zzz’s can lead to increased stress hormone levels, and lowered human growth hormone — which is essential for muscle repair. And it’s no secret that feeling wiped out means you can’t bring your best game to barre class.

When you realize how essential self-care is post-workout for getting your best results ever, it’s so much easier to prioritize that time — so get to it.

Get Fit in Just 8 Sessions With This Innovative Workout

Looking to get fit? Do you ever feel like the treadmill’s just not cutting it? Or that after all of those spin classes, you end up with bulky thighs? Been there. That’s why Physique 57 is such a powerful workout. Not only is it totally safe and a blast to do, the Physique 57 method works every inch of your body – even muscles you didn’t realize you had – by blending cardio, strength training, stretching and recovery in an action-packed, constantly changing turbo-charged 57 minutes of movement.

Results aside, one of the best parts of Physique 57 is our Video On Demand series, where you can pulse, squeeze and get fit with your favorite instructors but entirely on your own terms. That’s right – in your home office, your bedroom, living room, across the world – all you need is a screen, good wifi, and some good old fashioned motivation. There’s no equipment required and you can literally workout to endless combinations of trainers, targeted areas and program varieties. Our Video On Demand series features over 80 videos and workout programs in combinations of 10, 15, 30, 45 and 57 minute programs that include everything from strength training, to cardio to restorative workouts.

If you’re not sure what Physique 57 is all about, here’s the breakdown. At Physique 57, you use your own bodyweight as resistance, so you can effectively target the muscles in your arms, thighs, glutes and abs. You work them to the point of total fatigue, then stretch them out for relief. We call this practice Interval Overload — it’s a proprietary technique, where just when you think you can’t go any further, you can and you do. You build strength by pushing yourself to the edge of your mental and physical determination, and by hovering on that edge, you experience real results in as little as eight classes.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s a rundown of some of our favorite On Demand workout programs, so the next time you’re longing for real results from the comfort of home (or hey, a tropical island), sign up for Physique 57 On Demand and get pulsing with us!

Beginner Online Workouts 

Whether you’re new to barre classes or practicing your skills, our beginner online workouts are ideally structured for your needs. Every barre session gets you closer to reaching your fitness goals, even if they’re beyond the barre. Want to get stronger at running or cycling? Physique 57 is the perfect counter workout to any training and in two short weeks, you’ll embrace a more powerful mind-body connection.

Your Best Body Ever:

This three month workout series kicks off with basic knowledge of the barre positions that help you attain a mind-body connection central to all barre workouts. As you expand your abilities and stick with the routines, you’ll notice a build-up of stamina and endurance it starts feeling easier than ever to get fit. By the end of the first month, you’ll see and feel a total difference. Many Physique 57 clients are amazed at how rapidly their online workouts change their bodies. For your second month, you’ll be accessing the basic movements you learned during the program’s first month, but by using those basic moves as jumping off points, you’ll start to push your body beyond your current limits. As you handle tougher workouts, you’ll begin to notice an improvement in your ability to recover. When you start month three, you’ll be completely engaged in your barre workouts. You can integrate challenging moves and you’ll start to target the toughest-to-reach parts of your body. You’ll also discover more advanced body positions, which enable you to continue building on what you learned.

Lose 10 in 10

Lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks. Seriously. This program is unlike anything you’ve tried before. It forces your muscles to and move in unique ways by increasing flexibility, stamina, posture and fat-burning. After taking each online exercise video, you’ll feel a difference in the way you move and feel. Yes, we promise that it truly takes only 10 weeks to get fit, trim, and toned.

Two Weeks To A Hard Core 

This program will not only cinch every inch of your core, but will also leave you feeling stronger, taller, and more confident. It’s like pilates but the Physique 57 version of pilates, which translates to fast paced, high intensity, core shredding sequences that will have you pulsing, tucking, and twisting your way to your best body yet. Get fit with us, from anywhere.

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Get an Intense Workout At Home With These Simple Steps

Looking for a great workout at home? Get excited because Physique 57 is bringing the barre to you with our Video On Demand series. Get our signature studio workout at home with over 80 videos and workout programs spanning 10, 15, 30, 45 and 57 minutes. Pick and choose from our top fitness instructors, target a specific part of your body and expand your Physique 57 repertoire without ever having to leave the house.

But before you start pulsing and squeezing, you may be wondering just how on earth you can transform your living room into a space equipped to handle the Physique 57 realness. Read on as we break down how to get an awesome workout from the comfort of home.

Create Your “Barre Spot” 

Many – but not all – Physique 57 videos incorporate the use of a “barre.” And, if you’re like most people, you probably don’t have a classic Physique 57 barre installed in your living room. But you’re in luck because just about anything can be a barre if it’s of significant weight and the right height. One tip is to use a heavy chair, sofa, or table and see if it can withstand your weight as you lean on it. Or opt for a video that doesn’t incorporate barre work, like our classic Mat 57 series or a more focused workout that targets the arms, abs or glutes.

Invest in Heavy (and Light) Weights

Whether you’re a Physique 57 beginner or total pro, utilizing weights increases the intensity of any exercise and helps protect us from disease, so your workout at home will be chock full of challenge. Fortunately, hand weights are relatively small and easy to store, so you can break them out during Signature’s opening arm exercises, or use them throughout Mat classes as well during as Barre-Meets-Mat. Some classes swap out heavy and light weights depending on the movement, so you may want to double down and have three pound and five-to-ten pound weights on-hand. The beautiful thing about Physique 57 is that 99% of the workout involves using your own body weight as resistance, however there’s always room for more weight, especially for those hard-to-reach triceps and biceps.

Keep Those Grippy Socks Handy 

One of the benefits of doing Physique 57 On Demand is that you can literally workout at home in your pajamas and no one will notice. But, in an effort to stay in poses longer and feel confident and sturdy in your footing, we advise that you continue to wear the same grippy socks you would normally utilize in the studio. Even if your workout at home is on a hardwood floor or carpeting, the last thing you want to do is slip around in the middle of a thigh set.

Find Your Ball

The Physique 57 ball is one of the most important accessories of any class, whether Signature, Mat 57 or shorter, more targeted body blasts. We use it throughout thigh work, in our glute sections as well as throughout various core series. Not only does it help transform your body, but it transcends the average pose into something much deeper. While you may not have one of our round balls for your workout at home, you probably have something that can work as a substitute. A softer soccer ball will work, or even a blow up beach ball. Worst comes to worst, try to squish up a throw pillow or blanket to add a bit of support during abs where the ball world normally be. As long as you can throw something between those thighs during standing V pose you should be good to go. Your muscles won’t even know the difference.

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15 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Barre Class (and how to fix them)

When it comes to great results, it’s all about technique. We tapped Physique 57 Co-Founder, Tanya Becker, for a rundown of the most common mistakes she sees clients making at the barre – and exactly how to fix them.

1. Using light weights.

Unless you’re working with an injury, go heavy. You’ll feel the burn and shed more calories. Eight-pound weights are my go-to. (Nervous about making the jump from five pounds to eight? Grab both and trade out the fives as needed!)

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2. Not committing to yourself.

It’s easy not to want to come back to a class that is incredibly hard and kicks your butt. As human beings, we are not wired for discomfort. However, our bodies change when we are challenged (which is why our Interval Overload technique is so very, very effective).

When you commit to coming three to four times per week, you will gain endurance and stamina, and your body will transform! Don’t quit before the change.

3. Taking on Challenges Too Soon or Adding in Options That Weren’t Given

Although it’s important to challenge your body, you should never feel like you need to take on more than you can handle. While your enthusiasm for the class is appreciated — and duly noted! — your health and safety come first.

When in doubt, listen to your teacher! Your instructors are there to guide you, and they design the entire class to give you a great workout while keeping you safe. Sometimes your body just needs a rest, and these simple workouts are often best because they allow you to use your muscles properly and avoid burnout.

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4. Not Using Grippy Socks or Workout Slippers

Our carpet is awesome because it provides a low-impact surface and is easier on your joints. However, without the right foot grip, you may (as in, definitely will) slide.

I personally love wearing Reebok slippers (we sell them in the studio!) – you can go deeper in our positions without losing form, and they look great.

5. Forgetting Your Socks Altogether

As noted, grippy socks are a barre class must-have — they keep your feet from slipping and provide higher resistance to increase your burn and make your class more effective. They’re also great for showing off your Physique 57 style!

If you forget your socks, no worries! We sell workout slippers in the studio and can find you the perfect pair before your next class.

6. Being self-conscious.

Group fitness classes can feel intimidating. Clients will say, “Don’t watch me, I’m not coordinated”, or, “I’m not good at this”, or “I’m not flexible enough.” We re-dub that self-talk track playing in our heads and replace it with what I call affirmative thinking.

Also, nobody’s watching you! Class is challenging and most people are focusing on themselves, their form, and making it through their thigh set.

7. Only taking one type of class.

We have so many great options, whether you want more cardio (check out S.B.T.- Sweat Burn Tone, Cardio Burn and Amped Up!) more abs (try Arms & Abs in 30 or Mat 57), or something at a different pace or incorporating different disciplines like Physique Yoga.

Change things up and tone body parts you didn’t know you had.

8. White-knuckling the barre.

Over-gripping makes you tense your shoulders and takes the work (and results) away from your postural muscles. While working, you want to keep your shoulders “melting” down your back, and your heart and chest “open” when doing exercises at the barre.

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9. Sitting at the Bottom of a Rep-Out

Thigh workouts are challenging, and the body always wants to find ways to make it easier. Clients will often go too low or come up too high when repping, but this takes you out of the burn and makes the work you’re doing less efficient.

Instead, take a break and jump back in with the proper form when you’re ready.

10. Holding your breath.

Most clients resort to shallow breathing the tougher it gets. Do the opposite: Breath deeper the more challenged you feel. (I do this outside in the real world, too and highly recommend it!)

11. Aligning Improperly

When focusing on your alignment in class, always think about stacking your spine. You may be tempted to arch your back, but arching causes a domino effect, which allows your ribs to open and can harm your lower back.

Instead, knit your ribs together like a belt is wrapped around them.

12. Not Using Your Abs

Toward the end of a class, your body will get tired and worn out. Typically, your abs are the first things to go — we all know that feeling! However, the use of your core is essential to proper alignment.

When doing Flat Back Abs, try to get your shoulders off the floor and curl off the ball enough, so it inflates fully at the top of your curl.

13. Pushing your abs out during core work.

When you contract a muscle, it’s natural for it to “pop out” a little. However, when it comes to doing our curl work you want to continue to check in to make sure your abdominal wall doesn’t overly protrude.

Imagine you have 30lb brick on your middle helping to press it “down” instead of out.

14. Leaving class before the stretches.

There’s a reason we do the stretches at the end of class. Your body has the right amount of warmth to allow the muscles to lengthen and increase suppleness, and reduces lactic acid…which cuts down on next-day soreness. It’s a great way to transition, recharge, and rejuvenate before heading back out into the world.
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15. Not Coming to Class

Perhaps the biggest barre class mistake you can make is not coming to class at all! You might be concerned about being judged by others, or maybe you’re worried you won’t be able to keep up. But we want you to know you don’t have to be a fitness guru to enjoy our classes. Our trained instructors welcome people of all experience levels, even those who are new to fitness altogether.

At Physique 57, we’re a community that empowers each other to succeed with instructors who inspire you to reach your goals — and we have a great time doing it! Experience for yourself the Physique 57 energy that will keep you coming back for more. Come at least four times a week, and you’ll see amazing results, fast!

Check out more tips for keeping top form (and maxing out your results) in class and away from the barre here. Have more words of wisdom to share? Post them in the comments below!

Working Out After An Injury

arm in brace

Coming back from an injury can feel like you’re starting from scratch. Your body is stiff from disuse, and you may feel like all your hard-earned, pre-injury fitness was for nothing. We love answering questions from our Physique 57 Facebook users, and recently, someone reached out with this comment — “I had foot surgery and have not exercised for almost two months. So, I would love advice and info on ‘starting from scratch!'”

If you’re recovering from an injury and want to get back into the swing of it, you are not alone. You may be raring to go, but the most important thing is to listen to your body. Pain is your body telling you that you’ve gone too far, and overdoing it could only aggravate your injury and lead to further damage.

No matter what kind of injury you’ve suffered, whether it’s surgery, a sprained ankle or a pulled muscle, here are some tips on getting back into your fitness routine:

1. Stretch in the Meantime

While you’re recovering from your injury, you may require complete immobilization. Unfortunately, this can lead to static muscles that become stiff. Rather than allowing your muscles to completely break down, ask your doctor about including some stretching exercises into your recovery process. Stretching will allow your injured muscles to remain fit and can even ease you into becoming active again once your recovery is complete.

2. Take It Easy

When you’re ready to get moving again, a good rule of thumb is to do 20 percent less than you feel like you’re able to do. If you’ve been out of commission for a long time, you may even want to do less than that. You need to face the facts that even if you could run five miles before the injury, your body is not where it used to be. You need to take your time and ease into it.

3. Don’t Do Nothing

Doing nothing isn’t a great idea, either. You need to find a happy medium — active recovery. A gentle walk is one of the best ways to get started and ease back into activity. Swimming is another great option because it offers buoyancy and takes a lot of pressure off injured tissue and sore muscles. You can even do some strength training with very light weights. Whatever you do, listen to your body and take lots of breaks. Pain means stop immediately. Over time, you’ll see growth and be able to do the activities you once loved.

4. Ice and Heat

Depending on what your doctor recommends, ice and heat will be your two best friends. Icing helps prevent muscle soreness after working out and can also reduce swelling and ease pain. Heat can be more beneficial for older injuries, depending on what they are. Just keep your doctor in the loop and ask their advice.

5. Talk to Your Trainer

Working with a trainer after an injury can be a great way to get back into the swing of things, but be honest about the extent of your injury. They will help you take your time and not overexert yourself. A trainer can also help you keep motivated as you slowly but surely work your way back to your previous level of activity.

Find out More About Physique 57

Once you’re ready to dive in fully, the expert instructors at Physique 57 offer classes that will both excite and push you. However, they understand the limits an injury can place on your body, so this instruction will be provided with your ultimate safety in mind. Plan a visit to one of our studios today.

The Best Thinking Happens at the Barre

There is a reason that the barre craze is still growing hotter. More and more women are learning just how effective repetitive movements can be in toning our physiques. But the benefits go far beyond our seats. Have you ever had a creative breakthrough during or immediately following a workout? There is scientific research that explains how barre classes create the perfect neurological cocktail for innovative thinking.

Habit Your Way

Master dancer and chorographer Twyla Tharp is a legendarily prolific artist, having choreographed over 160 works. Tharp attributes this success to her own morning ritual. She starts her days at 5:30 am with workout clothes and a cab to the gym where she completes a session of stretches and weight training.

In her book, The Creative Habit, Tharp explains that “A lot of habitually creative people have preparation rituals linked to the setting in which they choose to start their creative day.”

“It’s vital to establish some rituals—automatic but decisive patterns of behavior—at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, … Thinking of it as a ritual has a transforming effect on the activity.”

So as it turns out, your leggings, healthy breakfast and marches in place at Physique are all essential mindful habits. Simply placing yourself in a consistent environment is the best way to charge up both your body and mind for the entire day.

That’s Dope!

It’s proven that we get our best ideas when a large amount of dopamine is released in our brains. Dopamine release it triggered by activities like exercising and listening to music. Those Beyoncé songs are there for more than just getting you through your plank segments.

Can You Repeat That?

The steady, repetitive movements of barre classes actually trigger something called Default Mode Network (DMN). DMN is what happens when your brain goes into mental autopilot; this frees room for your subconscious to wander and creative thoughts to flourish.

“For me, inspiration is just one of the perks of Physique!” gushes Catherine Canino, the Creative Director and founder of Catherine Canino Jewelry. Canino has been a devoted Physiquer ever since the studio first opened its doors twelve years ago. “Often, when I’m in class and I get that endorphin rush going, I will work out a technical problem that I’d been struggling with earlier in the day,” she says. “Sometimes, I’ll even be so inspired that I will rush out of class to draw a design for an earring on one of the notepads at the front desk.”

How To Maximize Creativity

Be Present

Alicia Weihl, a dancer and choreographer who has been a Physique instructor for over ten years, challenges those in her class to focus. “Leave your to-do list at the door and restart your day. This might be the only hour you’ll give yourself all day. You will get the most of your hour both mentally and physically when you aren’t being pulled in different directions.”

Write It Down

Brilliance is fleeting. Studies show that writing our ideas down gives us a memory boost. So before catching up on the texts you missed during class, make sure to jot down your thoughts. The Notes App is your friend. Use it!

Circuit Braining

Change up your workout! Exploring different classes and trying new instructors is a great way to keep a daily habit feeling fresh. Stepping out of your comfort zone also helps to challenge your mind and body in new ways. We recommend our new Dance Cardio class. It’s the perfect way to learn some new moves while breaking a sweat.

Patience Is Key

Over-exertion can cause mental delay. So if you haven’t had any groundbreaking breakthroughs or you forgot your locker combination after an intense SBT, there’s no need to panic. The muse will follow!

Alicia is proud that her classes are consistently populated with creative types of all kinds. She’s not only referring to visual artists, writers and fashion designers but doctors, lawyers and business executives as well. “What’s awesome is such diverse backgrounds converging, uniting, focusing, and working hard in one space.”

Learning to maximize creativity is essential to everyone. Whether you are an artist, mother, student or entrepreneur, thinking outside of the box will help you be your very best. Isn’t that what drew us to the barre in the first place?  So next time you’re in a creative rut, step out of your own head and into the studio, the benefits are endless.

 

 

 

 

8 Reasons Why Barre Is the Perfect Cross-Training for Runners

woman running

barre as cross training for runners

Runners understand the urge to break free from the everyday grind and take off. During and after a good run, endorphins surge, mood improves and life is sunny. Runners not only experience a boost in happiness from running, but they also do their physical health and well-being a favor.

Although running has many great benefits — like torching calories and building self-esteem — it also has risks. Running is a high-impact activity which puts a lot of wear and tear on joints and muscles, increasing the chance of injury. For this reason, runners make a smart move when they incorporate cross-training into their routine.

Cross-training is when you train in more than one sport to improve performance in your main sport. If you love to run, it’s a great idea to include variety in your workouts so that you exercise parts of your body you normally don’t use. You’ll gain strength, improve endurance and run faster.

cross training

Although you may not want to devote time to anything other than running, trust us — it’s worth it. Once you see and feel the results, you’ll agree.

Why Choose Barre as Cross-Training With Running?

There are tons of ways to cross-train, so how do you know which to choose?

First, because running is high-impact, it’s best to complement running with a low-impact workout. It’s important not to overtrain or push yourself to the point of injury. Barre is a low-impact workout that is the perfect cross-training for runners because of this complementary isometric focus.

Isometric exercises focus on strengthening a specific muscle group while the rest of the body stays still. This puts a lot less stress on your joints while still strengthening important muscles. With isometric exercises, you immediately get the right muscles working without furthering pressuring your joints.

Barre, inspired by ballet and taking cues from pilates and yoga, combines strength-building exercises and stretching resulting in a lean physique, better posture, more flexibility and a stronger core.

A barre workout targets muscles that runners often neglect, like the ones close to your bones that support your body and help with stability. Barre involves smaller, specific muscle contractions for results you may not have thought possible. A barre workout is great for mental endurance too, as it builds a strong mind-body connection.

There are tons of reasons women and men love their barre workouts as an excellent cross-training option for runners. Still not convinced? Here are eight key reasons to head to a barre class and feel empowered with grace, like a ballerina warming up for the stage.

1. You’ll Get a Full-Body Workout

Whether you’re cross-training or looking for ways to complement your weight-loss plan, you can benefit from the full-body workout that barre provides. There’s no need to have experience, either. All fitness levels are welcome to improve their health, strength and physique through barre exercises.

Runners from all backgrounds might forget how important their other muscles are when they run. For example, runners use their arm muscles to dash past the finish line. A barre workout exercises all the muscles in your body, from head to toe.

During a barre workout, you’ll focus on exercising easy-to-forget small muscles as well as large muscle groups. Small muscles help protect your hips and knees from injury during or after a run, and should be considered in cross-training. With a barre workout, you’ll also strengthen your core muscles. A strong core is essential in helping you keep balance while running and powering your run.

Depending on the studio you go to, you may or may not incorporate free weights into the routine. Though barre is more about using your own body weight as resistance and building endurance through reps and is less about lifting heavy weights, it’s another way to max out a full-body impact. Combining barre and running means you can usually expedite weight loss.

2. It’s Low-Impact

As a runner, it’s important to give your joints a much-needed rest from time to time and focus on core-strengthening and muscle-toning with low-impact moves instead. Because barre focuses on small muscle movements while keeping the rest of the body still, it’s a nice change from pounding against the pavement. Plus, the more variety you incorporate into your workout routine, the better for your overall health.

Running is one of the most high-impact sports there is, which means it puts a lot of wear on your joints, such as your knee and hip joints. If you don’t give your body a rest, your chances of injury are much higher.

Barre helps you build strength, endurance and blast calories without the extra wear and tear. But don’t let the word “low” fool you! Just because barre is low-impact doesn’t mean it’s easy. You’ll still feel the burn, break a sweat and benefit greatly from the challenges of a barre workout.

3. You’ll Build Foot Strength

Runners often overlook the importance of strong feet. You might say that many of us take our feet for granted. However, a strong pair of feet is far more important for runners than they might realize because feet help keep you balanced, improve your stability and reduce your risk of injury.

Your feet and ankles get you where you’re going, and as such deserve love, care and attention. Weak feet and ankles will cause you to put stress on other areas of your body, which could lead to back pain and muscle tightness.

strengthen feet and ankles

A barre workout is perfect for runners because it exercises your feet and ankles. Other workouts may not pay much attention to this important part of the body. During a barre workout, you’ll need to maintain balance with different barre exercises and stretches. You’ll quickly find yourself using those often overlooked yet vitally important foot and ankle muscles.

4. A Barre Workout Loves Stretching

You’ll go through a lot of stretching in a barre class, which is imperative for flexibility. Runners need their hamstrings and hip joints to be rested after an intense run. Stretching improves flexibility, which in turn has a ton of benefits like:

  • Reduces stress in the muscles you use.
  • Helps release the tension you build during a workout.
  • Helps reduce the risk of injury because muscles will bend more easily.
  • Improves overall performance.

Muscles do not permanently strengthen or lengthen, so flexibility is something that requires maintenance. As a runner, it’s important to stretch and strengthen your running muscles like quadriceps and hamstrings on days you do not run. Stretching right before running could lead to an injury, especially if you didn’t warm up your muscles first. A barre workout on your off days is the perfect opportunity to improve your flexibility.

What’s more, stretching helps relieve tightness in muscles, which as a runner you likely know too well. When you run long distance, you build muscles, resulting in muscle tightness. Stretching exercises prepare you for your next run to help you feel great.

5. You’ll Improve Your Balance

Good balance is extremely important for runners. Runners may not think of it this way, but when you run you never have two feet on the ground at the same time. Balance and stability are what prevent you from falling every time your foot hits the pavement.

Stability refers to your muscles’ ability to keep you upright after your foot lands. Balance is your body’s ability to adjust and re-align to stay upright. Balance develops from the power to predict and react to obstacles. Without good balance, you waste more energy than you realize as your body prevents you from falling. That energy you waste could have been used to run longer and faster instead.

Barre workouts improve balance because you are required to hold different positions while working your muscles. For example, it takes focus and the ability to maintain balance across 20 leg-lift reps. Barre involves muscle-toning exercises and repetitions that require equilibrium and a degree of mental relaxation. As a result, you’ll notice improved balance while you run.

Also, a barre workout strengthens your core muscles which help your body stay aligned and maintain balance. You’ll be a far more efficient runner with a strong core, as you won’t have to put so much energy into staying upright. Your muscles will work more evenly too, keeping you running longer and feeling more energized.

6. You’ll do Plenty of Hip-Opening Exercises

Hips help us keep balance. If there is something wrong with your hips, you’ll need to put a lot more effort into standing up straight. As a runner, malfunctioning hips will slow you down and make you tired quicker. Plus, sore hips will cause you to put extra strain on other parts of your body.

Running makes hip flexor muscles tight. Hip flexor muscles are attached to the hip joint and are responsible for pulling knees up and down when you walk or run, moving the legs from side to side, keeping the pelvis stable and allowing you to bend at the waist. Tight hips make it harder to run and can lead to overuse-related injuries like knee pain or iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.

hip-opening exercises

Hip-opening exercises are a big part of a barre routine and will help loosen tight hip muscles, prevent injury and improve posture. Exercises like squats, lunges and stretches open the hips.

7. It’s Great for Injury Prevention

Barre workouts improve muscle strength, flexibility and balance which all greatly reduce injury risk. Runners are particularly at risk for injury because of the high-impact nature of their exercise routines. In fact, around 65 percent of all runners will be injured at ay time according to the University of South Florida. For every 100 hours of running, the average runner will suffer one injury.

Many running-related injuries are caused by improper training. Common injuries include:

  • Runner’s knee or anterior knee pain
  • IT band syndrome
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis

As a runner, you use the same joints and muscles repetitively. This can lead to tight muscles and muscle weakness, which might result in injury. A barre workout strengthens muscles all over the body so stress is more evenly distributed and well-worked muscles aren’t left to overcompensate for weaker ones. Also, inflexibility is a common cause of injury for runners. As we mentioned above, barre incorporates lots of stretching, which helps negate this.

It’s also a good idea to take a break from a high-impact sport like running to prevent injury. Barre helps your body recover while still providing the workout you need and crave.

8. You’ll Gain Mental Strength

Although barre is low-impact, it requires mental endurance, as during a barre class you’ll certainly feel your muscles burn. During a barre workout, you’ll learn to work through the discomfort, and you’ll be encouraged by your instructor and other class members to keep going. Barre trains you to be strong — just what you need to race past the finish line.

During a barre workout, you need to be fully present. It isn’t easy doing barre reps with a wandering mind. You’ll feel the sting of strength-building, and it will make you uncomfortable, but that’s how you know you’ll see the results you want. Barre exercises will empower you to overcome challenges as a runner and as a person. Ultimately, you’ll become more comfortable feeling uncomfortable because you’ll have developed a stronger mind-body connection and transcended the need for constant comfort.

How to Incorporate Barre Workouts Into Your Running Routine

A barre workout is mainly about toning your muscles and is a great complement to the high-impact cardio of running. You know what’s best for you, but to get real cross-training results started, try adding a barre class on your days off. For example, if you take three barre classes a week, try running one or two times a week on your days off from barre. It depends what works for you, but it’s always good to start out slow.

barre as a compliment to cardio

You might find that you prefer to fit your workouts in the same day, like running before or after barre class depending on how you feel or what your schedule allows. Running on days off from barre class might create the perfect balance, but if you decide to use a run as a warm-up for class, do so 20 to 30 minutes ahead of time, or give yourself a short break after barre before a run. Either way, make sure there’s plenty of time between exercises so you don’t overtrain.

Get Results at Physique 57

Barre is the perfect way to tone muscles for a lean physique and to complement your running routine. You’ll have better flexibility, more endurance and greater running performances as a result of barre classes. Plus, a barre workout relieves stress with low-impact reps that work. With barre, it does not take long to see the results you want, and it can easily fit into busy schedules and other workout routines.

Whether you’re a runner looking to cross-train and improve performance, or a beginner hoping to get toned and shed pounds, mixing barre class and running routines can bring you great results.

At Physique 57, we believe in the power of self-love and self-investment. You are worth the time and energy it takes to treat your body well, and every body has the potential to be strong, beautiful and extraordinary. Perfection is a myth — but treating yourself well isn’t. You’re worth the effort it takes to become your best.

Are you ready to build your best body ever? Visit a Physique 57 studio today or stream one of our on-demand workout videos you can do anytime, anywhere.

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why Biking Boosts Weight Loss

bicycle cornering

Luke S. Mitchell is an MS Undergraduate in Sports Journalism and manager of Exercise Bikes Expert. He is interested not only in the mind-body relationship and how motivation shapes our bodies but also in how we draw energy just from one simple yet powerful thought.

It’s no secret that most people first and foremost aspire to lose weight when it comes to mapping out fitness goals. Gyms offer many classes in this direction to suit people of all genders, ages, shapes, and sizes, and there are plenty of other exercises you can do on your own as well. But by far one of the most suitable options is cycling, both indoors and outdoors.

The Reasons

People have loved biking ever since the very first bicycle was invented in Germany in 1817. And a big reason for that has to do with the fact that it keeps you in shape. There are many reasons why cycling is one of the best exercises to promote weight loss and maintain it as well. Here are the five most important ones.

1. Biking Can Be Done Anywhere

Cycling is perhaps the most versatile physical activity there is, at least as far as location is concerned. First, you have urban riders which use their trusty two-wheelers in lieu of polluting cars. Choosing to travel to work or to the shops during the weekend in this way not only helps save the environment, but it can also keep you in shape.

Furthermore, you can also take your trusty bike out on the trails for an extra boost of exercise to help you shed off those pesky extra pounds once and for all. Depending on the terrain of the area, you can enjoy several degrees of difficulty, which means that you will exert various levels of perceived effort.

And when the weather goes bad or you just don’t feel like going outside, you have the option to perform an equally engaging spinning workout. You can do this by either joining a class at your local gym or simply going out and buying your very own stationary bike. You might lose fewer calories at first, but once you get into the right pace, you will be able to sustain your goals.

2. It’s an Easy Way to Pursue HIIT

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, basically consists of cardio sessions with bouts of hard work sprinkled throughout. If this sounds like exactly the sort of thing you can do while on a bicycle, that’s because it really is. Burpees aren’t the only exercise that can be done in order to employ HIIT.

Cycling on a bit of an incline is the best way to go about this. Start off at a moderate pace, then suddenly increase intensity, then slow down again. Repeat this for about eight times during a total time of ten minutes and allow your body some time to recover for five minutes afterward. Then get back on it and do another set.

HIIT not only stimulates metabolism and increases your physical fitness, but it also promotes the human growth hormone. The combination of all these factors ultimately leads to burning more fat as an outcome of your routine.

3. It Can Be a Rewarding Passion

People quit exercising for all kinds of reasons: going to the gym is too expensive, they don’t have enough time for it or they want to pursue different activities. But by far the most disheartening one is the lack of motivation. Even though many of us still plan to work out more frequently at the beginning of each new year, we seldom stick to these promises.

But why is that? The answer is simpler than you could ever imagine: because we haven’t found the best routine for us. Not liking what you do can turn the whole thing into a drag, which makes you less likely to want to pursue it long-term. But because biking can also be a passion or a hobby, not just a sport, you will be far more likely to keep at it.

4. It Can Be a Social Activity

Although going out on a remote trail by yourself can be truly cathartic sometimes, this activity is a truly social one at its core. Riders usually gather in groups and set out together towards similar goals. Not only is this a great opportunity for bonding over shared interests and making interesting conversation, but it’s also a good way to stay focused.

According to Dian Griesel, Ph.D., working out in a group promotes consistency, enhances duration and boosts motivation at the same time. This is why gym classes are usually a lot more successful in keeping people on track. And in the case of cycling, don’t forget that you can do it there as well. This sport gives you opportunities, you just need to know how to reap them.

5. It’s Good for Your Heart

It’s no secret that pedaling is great for cardio. This type of exercise accelerates your heart rate just enough so that you burn off calories faster while strengthening your blood-pumping muscle at the same time. But did you know that, for this very same reason, it can go as far as to lower the risk of heart disease?

Although the rates of illness among men have decreased tremendously over the course of the last decade, heart attacks are still the number one cause of death among American women. Statistics published in 2015 by the American Heart Association reveal that they affect 34% of the white population and as much as 50% of the African-American demographic.

It goes without saying that you need a healthy heart to be able to pursue weight loss. The stronger yours is, the better you will build endurance and be able to withstand even the highest intensity. And it all starts with cycling.

Conclusion

To conclude, cycling is a great activity that promotes and sustains more than weight loss. It also builds endurance, strengthens your heart and increases the quality of your social bonds. And to top it all off, it makes for an amazing and enthralling pastime that can easily turn into a full-blown passion if you give it the chance.

Guest Post: How to Combine Meditation with Workouts for Better Health

meditating woman in sun

Dwayne Austin is a multi-faceted author, blogger & fitness instructor from Indiana, US, and associate with Consumer Health Digest and Performance Insiders. He encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle. Connect with Dwayne via Facebook and Twitter.

Mens sana in corpore sano. The Latin phrase teaches us that healthy mind and healthy body go together hand in hand. In order to improve our health and make wiser lifestyle choices, many of us decide to exercise regularly, but it’s possible to gain even more benefits by combining physical activity with meditation. How do they work together? Scroll down to see why a combined approach of exercise and meditation is the best thing you can do for your overall health right now.

Meditation and Exercise

A combination of meditation and physical activity gives you the best of both worlds. Meditation is an ancient practice wherein an individual focuses his/her mind on a particular object, activity, or thought to reach a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Most people find it easier to focus on their breaths while meditating. Meditation balances your body’s needs and maximizes physical stamina to get as much as possible from your workouts.

Regular exercise is vital for good health and wellbeing. Our body has to move in order to stay healthy. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to obesity, joint pain, and many other health problems. Introducing more exercise into your life is a great way to improve your mood, boost confidence, get more energy, and protect your body from negative health outcomes.

As you can see, both meditation and exercise have a lot to offer; and combining them is a great way to get even more benefits.

More Stamina

When you start working out, you want to do as much as possible without getting tired too fast. The goal is to get  the most out of your workout, but to achieve it your stamina has to improve. Meditation is one of the best natural ways to increase stamina. Why? The ancient practice allows the mind to go deep into an altered state of consciousness to create a necessary environment for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.

Depression Relief

Millions of people in the US and worldwide suffer from depression indicated by a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, and other mental and physical symptoms. A combined approach of exercise and meditation can help you overcome depression, which is yet another reason to include both in your lifestyle.

Meditation promotes mindfulness and healthy lifestyle choices, and it’s useful to make it an inevitable part of your lifestyle. Remember, you don’t have to meditate for hours. For beginners, even 10 minutes of meditation is enough to relax their mind. As you’re getting used to the idea of meditation, you can try to do it for up to 30 minutes. It all comes down to your needs.

Prostate Health

As men age, they are more susceptible to prostate enlargement or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis or inflammation of the gland, and many other problems. Both exercise and meditation support prostate health, thus improving your quality of life.

Studies show that mindfulness alleviates stress and anxiety. This is important because stress negatively affects the prostate gland. For men who already have BPH, stress worsens symptoms such as painful urination, the urgency to urinate, the frequency of urination, and others. In men who don’t have BPH, stress can deplete levels of zinc and contribute to enlargement of the gland.

Furthermore, a growing body of evidence confirms that men who are physically active have a lower risk of developing BPH. A combination of mindfulness meditation and exercise can be a wonderful strategy to support prostate health and avoid problems that affect men as they age.

Muscle Building

Combining exercise and meditation can improve muscle building. Toned, perfectly defined, and bigger muscles are the goal most people want to achieve through workouts, but you’ve never thought adding meditation to the mix could be beneficial.

How does meditation help? Well, it lowers stress, improves stamina, and balances your hormones including GH (growth hormone) necessary for muscle building. In one study, men who meditated produced more growth hormone than their counterparts who practiced other relaxation techniques. Combine two approaches to define muscles faster than you thought.

Recovery

After every workout, regardless of its intensity, the body needs to recover. Meditation can help with that and, thereby, reduce the risk of injury. This ancient practice allows you to stay calm and improves the ability to ignore distractions while exhibiting positive effects on the nervous system. All these factors are important for recovery.

Meditation allows you to train your mind just like physical activity trains your body. It has a number of health benefits that improve your quality of life. Also, meditation helps you recover from injury by changing the perception of the circumstances of trauma or event and it allows the mind to deal with pain more effectively. It teaches you not to focus on pain and reduces its intensity. For every active individual, proper recovery is vital for better results.

Should I Meditate Before or After a Workout?

Combining meditation and exercise is easy; you can either meditate prior to or after your training. There is no “one size fits all” rule here, you can choose the approach that you find more convenient.

Meditating prior to workout allows you to relax and stretch your muscles. At the same time, you can improve focus and control that are much-needed when working out. On the other hand, meditating after a workout reduces cortisol levels which tend to elevate when you’re exercising. Also, post-workout meditation improves recovery and reduces pain.

A study whose findings were published in the Translational Psychiatry revealed that participants who meditated for 30 minutes and trained cardio for 30 minutes reported significantly less depressive symptoms and ruminative thoughts. Those who combined meditation and exercise twice a week for eight weeks experienced a 40% reduction in depressive symptoms, truly impressive.

Conclusion

A combined approach of meditation and exercise supports your health and maximizes results from daily workouts. Stress management, muscle building, better mood, prostate health are just some of many benefits you can expect when meditating prior to or after a workout.

Guest Post: 10 Benefits Cycling Can Offer Women

woman cycling road

Sophie Elise is a passionate cyclist, author and blogger. She is very passionate about writing on different types of women’s bikes, accessories, health, fitness and more and regularly writes on bestbikesforwomen.com

Being fit and maintaining an active lifestyle has been an important aspect of my life since childhood. Growing up, my passion was playing soccer. (It was at a time when the majority of girl’s teams would travel to compete against other teams because the sport’s popularity was still growing and girl’s teams were limited.)

Today, I work in a bicycle shop and, thusly, still in an environment that’s mostly dominated by men. As I work, I’m able to speak with other women about the benefits cycling can have on our health. As a female athlete and mechanic, here are my ten reasons why including cycling in your workout can be beneficial:

1 – Good For Your Heart

Riding a bike is an excellent way to strengthen your heart. The fact of the matter is that heart disease is the number one killer of women; In 2015, The American Heart Association concluded that “every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). More than one in three women is living with CVD, including nearly half of all African-American women and 34 percent of white women. Although heart disease death rates among men have declined steadily over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate.”  Structured cycling as part of a formal workout routine is known to guard against cardiovascular illness.

2 – Can Protect Against Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute reports that “many studies show that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women; in a 2013 meta-analysis of 31 prospective studies, the average breast cancer risk reduction associated with physical activity was 12%. Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women; however, the evidence for an association is stronger for postmenopausal breast cancer. Women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not.”

3 – Gives You Vitamin D

Okay so getting Vitamin D into your system is not a direct result of bike riding, but bike riding outside can be! To elaborate on this point, let’s talk about Vitamin D. Healthline.com says that “perhaps the most vital [functions of Vitamin D] are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.”

4 – Low Stress On Your Joints

Are you recovering from an injury? Are you timid about getting hurt in the first place? Trusted Natural Health reported that Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists says, “Whether you’re recovering from an injury, looking for a cross-training option or hoping to preserve your knees to run the New York Marathon when you are 85, cycling gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without pounding your joints.” In other words, bicycling offers the best of both worlds: you can exercise your body without, subsequently, punishing it.

5 – Cycling Builds Endurance

After traveling to work and back home on her bike for rehearsals and (later) performances of a three hour play in Central Park, Kevin Kline finally asked her why she was getting on a bike after such a long and exhausting day. Meryl Streep replied, “I have to build up my stamina.” Like most other exercises, bicycling has sport specific endurance requirements. The lovely part of this point is you gain endurance without needing to train like an Olympic athlete. Sometimes, moving the bike is enough for you to increase your lung power. Additionally, you can take this machine and be more deliberate in your workout (if a high level of endurance is what you seek); Selene Yeager of bicycling.com writes a great, intentional workout to use if you’re training to increase your endurance:
https://www.bicycling.com/training/the-fastest-way-to-build-cycling-endurance

6 – Strengthens Your Muscles

As you ride, you will be using nearly all the muscles in your body. The two most obvious muscles are your heart and your thighs. Other muscles include calves, core, shoulders, forearms, neck, and back (not to mention hamstrings).

7 – Can Help You Sleep Better

Keeping track of bills, giving your time and energy to your office and your personal life, fixing problems that arise in all of these areas is why there are so many avenues for women to find ways to give themselves a break. The staff at oopsmark.com reports that “Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found that cycling for 20-30 minutes daily helped people with sedentary insomnia fall asleep twice as fast, and increase their sleeping by nearly an hour”.

8 – Can Boost Self-Confidence

As children, my friends and I would ride our bicycles miles from home to the local drugstore where we would purchase travel board games and bubble gum. It was our accomplishment. Today, as you ride, you will encounter a few hazards: hills, potholes, pine straw, ice, debris, stray animals, and maybe stray children (I’m being facetious on this last point). But bike riding can be painful. When your thighs are feeling sore, you’ll feel comforted afterward knowing you’ve achieved something difficult.

9 – Great for Your Immunity

The physical benefits for women riding bikes are many. One of them is the increase in her body’s ability to stave off germs. Did you know that, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (the body’s immune system cells that fight disease)? Well, during and after exercise, there is a brief rise in body temperature, which may prevent bad bacteria from growing. Riding a bike and getting sweaty will help fight infection more effectively.

10 – Fun

Often, those who ride describe the sensation of riding to flying. Bike riding is not just a versatile exercise, it’s fun. Among us, some riders prefer the rugged terrain of mountains to newly paved roads and do so on some of the best women’s mountain bikes money can buy.  The Federal Highway Administration conducted a survey in 2009 which showed that women comprised of only 24% of bicycle trips taken in the U.S. that year. Meanwhile, in America, women are doing most of the shopping. Bicycle companies know this and want more women to shop in their stores. The availability of women’s bike products will increase and allow you to have an enjoyable time riding.

Barre vs Yoga vs Pilates: Which Is Right for You?

yoga mats

Congratulations on your decision to make yourself a priority and commit to a regular workout routine. The addition of physical fitness into your life requires hard work, but yields great rewards. Now, which method should you choose? With the vast choice of fitness workout options available today, it can be overwhelming to know which one is right for you.

Pilates vs. Yoga vs. Barre

Pilates, yoga and barre all provide an effective workout from which you will see positive physical results. All will help to sculpt and tone your muscles and improve your overall health. Maybe you want to increase your flexibility or cardiovascular endurance, or perhaps you want to tone your muscles without bulking up or you’re favoring a past or present injury. Maybe you want to improve your core strength and posture. An awareness of your present fitness levels and future goals can help you decide which workout method will benefit you the most.

exercise-time-benefits

All three workout methods provide physical and mental benefits. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reports that engaging in aerobic and/or muscle-strengthening activities 3 to 5 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes improves your physical health, mental health and mood. It serves to improve sleep, reduce stress and improve your overall sense of well-being. Exercising regularly can help you live a healthier, happier life.

All workout programs require a fair amount of commitment in order to achieve maximum results, so factors such as the duration, frequency, location and types of classes available may help you decide which one is a good fit for you. Your level of commitment to any fitness program hinges greatly upon your level of enjoyment with the exercise methods employed. Although any amount of physical activity is positive, the more you exercise the better the results you will see.

With today’s demanding lifestyles, many individuals find it difficult to stick with a regular exercise program. The most common barriers to regular physical activity include lack of time and motivation. Other reported challenges include fear of injury, feelings of self-consciousness or not being athletic enough, and memories of perceived failure with prior exercise programs. Fortunately, many fitness studios offer free trials, flexible class times and even downloadable or streamed classes, so it’s easier than ever to commit.

barriers-physical-activity

The fitness program you ultimately choose is a personal choice and depends upon many factors. Whether it’s yoga, Pilates or barre, knowing the basic methodology of each workout option along with benefits, similarities and differences can help you to decide which one is a good fit for you.

Yoga

Yoga, which when translated from Sanskrit means “to control” or “to unite,” is said to have originated in India thousands of years ago. While its origins are based upon religion, many yoga classes today focus more on the connection between mind, body and spirit and achieving a balance within the body. Yoga concentrates heavily on body awareness, breathing and stretching.

A typical yoga class involves different types of breathing and stretching exercises. You will need a yoga mat on which you will spend the majority of your workout. A series of warm up exercises involving breathing and stretching usually begins the class. From there, you will engage in a variety of yoga positions designed to stretch and work your muscles. This involves holding your body in challenging poses designed to work a variety of muscle groups at the same time. A cool-down period with breathing exercises will end your session.

typical-yoga-class

Most studios offer yoga mats for your use, but you should purchase a fitness mat if working out at home. You’ll also need comfortable clothing, as you will flex your body into a variety of positions. You will most likely be barefoot, so purchasing specific footwear is not usually necessary. Other items such as straps and balls can accompany yoga routines, but they may not be necessary right away or even at all. A water bottle and towel will help you to stay hydrated and comfortable during your class. You will be bending and stretching, so it’s best to avoid heavy meals a few hours before your class.

Flexibility is a factor in yoga, but it is not a necessary for beginner classes. Continued practice over time will increase your agility and flexibility. You can see positive results over time even if you only attend an hour a week, but attending classes around 2-3 times per week will help you experience the most benefits. Yoga classes usually last around an hour from warm-up to cool down.

Yoga Benefits

Yoga offers numerous benefits. Physical benefits include increased flexibility and muscle strength and tone. Regular yoga practice can decrease stiffness and joint pain and improve posture and coordination. It can also prevent you from suffering future muscle injuries. While not a high-impact method of working out, yoga is physically intense.

yoga-benefits

Yoga also offers many mental benefits, such as a reduction in stress level. Greater relaxation and reduced stress leads to a host of other positive body changes including an improvement in circulation, sleep and self-confidence. A positive mental outlook also helps to maintain a healthy immune system, which in turn can ward off other serious ailments such as high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke.

Who May Benefit Most From Yoga?

Yoga is appropriate for individuals of all ages and fitness levels. Those who are seeking a workout that increases their mind, body and spiritual awareness will find yoga to be a good fit for them. Those who wish to increase their fitness level at a slower pace may find that yoga is perfect for them, although the physical intensity is just as high as in many other exercise methods. Yoga exercises utilize a variety of muscle groups at the same time, so an entire body workout is often achieved during each class. Yoga is effective in toning muscles without creating a bulky look.

Pregnant women may find yoga to be a beneficial workout, but you should always consult your physician before engaging in any exercise program, especially during pregnancy. Individuals who want a more relaxing form of exercise while improving upon their current level of fitness will find yoga to be enjoyable. Many people benefit from the clear-headedness that comes with the deep breathing and mind-calming exercises that take place with yoga.

Pilates

Pilates is a fitness method that was developed by Joseph Pilates in Germany during World War I. Originally intended to help rehabilitate injured soldiers, Pilates broadened his method to help people of all walks of life, including police officers and dancers, to strengthen their bodies. His method stressed the use of the mind to control the muscles and was often used to help heal and build strength in individuals who were recovering from injuries.

A typical Pilates class usually lasts around 45 minutes to an hour. You need a fitness mat, water bottle and towel and comfortable clothing. Sometimes other gear such as balls, straps and Pilates-specific equipment is used. While available in most studios offering Pilates classes, these items may also be purchased if desired for home use. Like yoga, you will most likely be barefoot during workouts.

Pilates classes involve a series of positions and body movements, all with different names. Deep concentration is required to place your body into the various positions and hold it there. Modifications on these positions can be made to accommodate people of all abilities and fitness levels.

pilates

Pilates uses your body weight for resistance and focuses on working both small and large groups of muscles. Over time, core strength, flexibility and muscle tone will begin to increase. Maximum results are achieved by working out at least 3 days a week. Pilates is not an aerobic exercise method, so it’s best to combine it with a few days of cardiovascular exercise. Although the movements are small and slow, Pilates provides an intense full-body workout.

Pilates Benefits

The physical benefits of Pilates include an increase in muscle strength and tone without creating bulk. The increase in deep core muscle strength helps to make your abdominal muscles look tight and toned. It also improves your flexibility and posture, which can decrease your chances of injuring yourself. Pilates is also effective in easing chronic lower back pain and preventing future back pain and injuries.

The mental benefits of Pilates include an increase in the ability to focus. It takes a great deal of concentration to coordinate your breath and body position during workouts. In fact, Joseph Pilates often referred to his method as “the thinking man’s exercise” due to the improvement in memory and other cognitive functions that results from doing it. A clear mind also reduces stress levels, which translates to an improvement in your overall health.

Who May Benefit Most From Pilates?

Pilates is great for individuals of all fitness levels. People who are just beginning a fitness program will find it’s a great way to ease into more intense methods of exercise. It’s also beneficial for pregnant and postpartum women and people wishing to strengthen their muscles after an injury. A physician’s approval should be sought before beginning any exercise program.

who-should-do-pilates

People who enjoy yoga but may be looking for a more vigorous core workout can benefit from Pilates, as they both incorporate similar mind-clearing techniques. Pilates is great for people who desire a full-body workout during each class. Though an intense fitness method, Pilates provides an effective workout with minimal impact on the joints.

Barre

A popular workout program that is rapidly gaining recognition and followers is the barre method. This fitness program is essentially a mixture of ballet-inspired exercises, yoga and Pilates. Barre derives from the Lotte Berk Method founded in 1959 in London by its namesake, a German dancer looking to stay fit while nursing a back injury.

In the barre fitness method, a dancer’s bar and a mat are used. While an intense and effective workout method, no previous dance experience is required. The barre method is accepting of all fitness and ability levels.

barre-method

The barre method uses your own body weight for resistance and focuses on small, deliberate movements that focus on specific groups of muscles, specifically muscles that aren’t used in other workouts. Muscles are worked to the point of fatigue, and then stretched for relief. Proper form, body alignment and posture is stressed, which in turn leads to an overall strengthening of core muscles and the appearance of an aligned, lean body.

Aerobic exercise is also be used in this method, as the idea is to increase cardiovascular endurance while increasing the body’s metabolism to burn fat. It can be quite intense, with classes lasting on average 60 minutes. Increased stamina is achieved by allowing very little rest between activities so muscles stay engaged.

Barre workouts require minimal equipment. You’ll need a free-standing or wall mounted bar and a mat. Sometimes a soft exercise ball may be used during leg workouts. If you are taking classes in a studio, the required equipment will most likely be provided for you. If you are working out at home, bars can be purchased for home use. You may prefer to be barefoot or purchase socks with grips on the bottom. As with all other workouts, having a water bottle and towel nearby is helpful.

Barre Benefits

Perhaps one of the best benefits of barre is that it’s fun! It incorporates the use of upbeat music and engaging choreography. When working out is fun and enjoyable, your chances of staying with the program greatly increase. The barre method also offers quick results. Barre helps strengthen and tone your muscles without increasing bulk, and it improves your posture. It also increases cardiovascular endurance and metabolism, which helps to quickly burn calories.

barre-benefits

Regular barre workouts can increase your bone density, which can help prevent conditions like osteoporosis. They can also help you avoid injury. The small isometric muscle movements used during barre classes build muscle strength without putting a strain on ligaments and tendons like other fitness training methods can.

The mental benefits of barre are similar to yoga and Pilates, as it effectively increases mind-body awareness and mental clarity. Focus and concentration are required to perform the small precise movements utilized in barre. Allowing your mind to concentrate solely on your technique increases feelings of relaxation and decreases stress levels. Endorphins released during physical activity increase your general sense of well-being.

Who May Benefit Most From Barre?

Barre workouts are appropriate for individuals of all fitness levels. It is ideal for individuals who wish to improve their core strength and posture. Many of us often sit in a hunched position at a desk or in front of a computer for long periods, and it takes its toll over time. Barre is appropriate for individuals who are seeking an intense but low-impact workout that will offer quick results.

Barre is also best for people who wish to work out their whole body every time they work out. Barre’s focus on small, isolated groups of muscles means that you will most likely be sore after each workout. Both former dancers and also those with no prior dance experience will enjoy and benefit from the upbeat nature of barre workouts.

Barre vs. Yoga vs. Pilates

If you’re trying to decide which fitness method is best for you, or you think a mixture of all three would be ideal, consider the barre method. It incorporates its own positive techniques along with some from both yoga and Pilates.

Barre will help you build and strengthen your muscles, improve your core strength and posture and give your body a lean and toned look. Unlike yoga and Pilates, which can sometimes take weeks and even months to see visible results, barre participants start seeing results in as little as eight workouts.

barre vs yoga vs pilates

Another positive aspect of the barre method is the upbeat nature and feeling of community and camaraderie that is a natural result of the barre atmosphere. Unlike yoga and Pilates classes that often require quiet self-reflection, having fun is acceptable and encouraged in barre classes.

There’s plenty of opportunities for quiet concentration when you are focusing on the tiny muscle movements that are working your entire body from head to toe during every class. Your arms, abs, thighs and glutes will quickly reflect the results of your hard work.

Unlike yoga and Pilates, barre incorporates aerobics into each workout to strengthen your cardiovascular system and help you burn loads of calories. Barre’s ability to give you an intense cardio workout while remaining low-impact is another desirable benefit of the program.

Finding a Class That’s Right For You

Making the commitment to start an exercise program is an exciting first step in improving your life through increased physical and mental health. After all, what better investment can you make than in yourself? If you’ve struggled with not having enough time, money, energy or motivation to work out, push them aside and remember that you’re worth it. No excuses!

Before beginning any workout program, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician. Individuals with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions or those who don’t have an accurate knowledge of their current physical fitness level should always begin cautiously. It’s also extremely important to perform all workouts, no matter what fitness method you’re doing, under the supervision of a certified instructor. Their guidance and knowledge of proper form and technique will help you to achieve maximum results while avoiding injuries. They can also help you to safely modify workout activities to match your current fitness levels and goals. Whether you attend classes in a studio or at home through DVDs or streamed videos, the presence of a trained instructor is imperative.

PHYSIQUE57 is a motivating and inspiring provider of non-impact, ballet-barre classes. In addition to studio locations around the world, PHYSIQUE57 offers fun and effective online classes that can be streamed on-demand in the comfort of your own home and at the time that works best for you.

Our expert instructors will ensure that you are safely pushing yourself to your limits while having a great time doing it. Our PHYSIQUE57 community is here to support you along every step of your fitness journey and to help you to reach your fitness goals.

Yes, you’ll work hard, probably harder than you ever have before, but the results and feeling of empowerment you will gain are well worth the effort. Remember, you can start seeing visible results in as little as eight workouts! Visit our website today to stream your free trial class today. See how 57 minutes a day can change your life.

How Many Calories Do I Burn During Barre Class?

smart watch

How many calories do I burn during barre class? That’s a question we hear a lot. We all know calorie-burning is integral to staying fit, and our classes certainly pack a punch in that department. The long and short of it:  there’s not just one component that determines how many calories you burn, and besides, that’s not the most important factor.

First, we tasked both a regular Physique 57 client and instructor with tracking their calorie output during Signature and S.B.T. (Sweat Burn Tone) classes. In Signature, the client burned about 350. During S.B.T. (our go-go-go class with more cardio), the client burned almost 500 calories.

For more insight, we called up Dr. Sari Eitches, an internist at the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica. (A former yoga and spin instructor, she’s especially adept at addressing fitness concerns.) She name-checks a mix of variables we can and can’t control—a cocktail of things like genetics, weight, diet, body composition, sleep, stress and even what you ate for breakfast—as impacting our caloric expenditure. So what workouts are best for revving up your caloric expenditure?

How Many Calories Does Barre Burn?

“A resistance workout (such as free weights or a barre class) may burn only 300 calories in the hour, but it can also cause a spike in a person’s metabolic rate for the rest of the day,” she says. “You will continue to burn more calories even as you rest and recover; that’s part of the shaky muscle feeling that comes after a resistance workout,” she adds. (We know that feeling well.)

The type of workout and duration certainly affect the amount of calories burned, but that’s beside the point. “The quality of food and the quality of exercise are more important than the number of calories,” Dr. Eitches says. To maximize your 57 minutes, we recommend staying true to the correct forms and take the challenges! Push yourself; that’s where you see (and feel) the physical and mental pay-off. That’s more important than any number.

And we have to agree with Dr. Eitches’s final words of wisdom: “Every workout is a success, but especially if it is enjoyable, because that will help ensure it becomes a habit. The health benefits of exercise are most pronounced when working out is a part of one’s daily routine.”

Looking to make Physique 57 a habit? Find an on-demand class—do it wherever, whenever here – and tuck, curl, and stretch in the comfort of your own home.

Barre 101: 5 Things to Know Before Your First Barre Class

Barre class is a rigorous workout that blends elements from different exercise styles including ballet, pilates, and yoga. Combining so many different challenging workouts can seem intimidating. How will you know what to do with your body? What are the different pieces of equipment? Take a deep breath. Most barre classes welcome first-timers, and your instructor will use hands-on guidance to help you get used to moving your body in new ways.

Barre class is named for the primary piece of equipment: the bar. If you’ve ever been in a ballet studio, this piece of equipment will be familiar. You’ll also use other equipment, like a mat — which you’re familiar with if you’ve ever tried yoga — or free weights, exercise bands and exercise balls. You can pick how heavy you want your weights to be, and your instructor will walk you through the proper use of each piece of equipment. They’ll explain how you can integrate the equipment into the class to get the best workout possible.

Getting the best workout possible means you’re going to be working a lot of different muscle groups. You can expect barre class to address multiple areas of your body, including your:

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Core
  • Glutes

The exercises are set at a slow pace that aims to build strength and flexibility — you won’t have to worry about high impact moves, like jumping.

better posture from barre workouts

First Barre Class: What to Expect

Barre class might push you to your limits, but you can expect to gain a lot from dedicating yourself to the class. When you regularly challenge your body in barre class, you’ll notice benefits like improved muscle definition, greater flexibility and better posture. Like other types of regular exercise, barre can also help you manage and reduce your stress levels.First Barre Class

Now that you know the basics how of a barre class works here are five things to know before you dive in and take your first barre class:

1. What to Wear to Barre Class

What to wear to barre class depends a lot on your personal taste. It’s important to be comfortable during an exercise, so you shouldn’t feel the need to impress anyone with your barre outfit. Choose clothes that will allow you to focus on the exercise. Here are our suggestions for what to wear to your first barre class, in addition to what to bring along:

  • Grippy Socks: Our studios are carpeted. If you try to take a barre class barefoot, you might find yourself slipping and sliding. Instead of worrying about taking a tumble, invest in a pair of grippy socks. These socks will help keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. You might also notice they boost your overall stability and balance during the workout.
  • Snug Clothing: You don’t have to wear skintight clothing to a barre class, but an outfit with a snugger fit is a smart choice. Looser clothing can restrict your movement and make it harder for your instructor to see your form to give suggestions on how to adjust your body for each exercise. Grab your favorite pair of yoga pants or capris — leave the shorts at home for this one. You can pair your comfy bottoms with a tank top or a fitted t-shirt.

clothing for barre workouts

  • Sports Bra (Optional): Some women feel more comfortable during a workout in a sports bra, but we leave this up to you. Barre class isn’t too high impact, like running, but it does require you to move around a lot. Feel free to wear a sports bra with moderate support, or skip wearing one altogether. Remember, exercise clothes are about your comfort.
  • Pulled-Back Hair: Barre class isn’t extremely fast-paced, but you do have to move your body in a lot of unusual ways. If you have longer hair, bring a headband or a hair tie to keep your hair out of your face.
  • A Water Bottle: Just because barre class isn’t high-impact doesn’t mean you won’t work up a sweat. An important part of any workout is staying hydrated. Allow yourself a water break whenever you need one during class.

Don’t worry about bringing any equipment with you. Everything you need to participate in the class, including yoga mats, will be waiting for you in the studio. Come ready to work hard!

2. Stay Mentally Engaged

Physical exercise is good for your body and your mind, according to these statistics:

  • After exercising, 53 percent of people report feeling good about themselves.
  • A total of 35 percent of people say they are in a good mood after exercising.
  • Thirty percent of people say they are less stressed after exercising.

feel good after exercising

Exercise can be challenging, but staying engaged is the best way to get the benefits from that challenge. Try to keep your mind focused on what your body is doing. If you let your mind wander during barre class, you might miss out on some of the benefits.

Barre class is inspired by ballet, but you don’t need to be a dancer to come to class. While you can learn how to do each exercise in barre class, you might not be familiar with the terms your instructor uses. Be sure to stay tuned in to everything the class leader says so you don’t miss the names of the exercises and the accompanying instructions. If you stay mentally engaged, you’ll learn what “relevé” — standing on your toes — and “tuck” — tilting your pelvis — means in no time.

If at first you feel confused and out of step with the rest of the class, don’t get discouraged. Any new form of exercise has a learning curve. Keep an open mind and focus on what your instructor is saying.

Going through the movements in barre class isn’t enough. Barre class focuses on working specific groups of muscles you probably don’t use on a regular basis. This means you need to position your body in a specific way and move it in a precise way. You might think you’re moving just like everyone else in the class, but if you aren’t listening closely to your instructor’s cues, you could be cheating yourself out of the full intensity of the exercise. Making even small adjustments to your form can make a big difference.

Another key part of mental engagement is being attuned to the way your body feels and pushing yourself to embrace the challenge. Barre class helps you improve your strength, flexibility and balance while working your core and giving you a cardio workout. That’s a lot going on with your body at once — and you’re going to feel it.

Don’t be scared to push your muscles to the point of burning, but listen to your body. If you need a brief break during your first class — or any subsequent classes — that’s perfectly fine. Grab a sip of water and prepare your mind and body to jump back in.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Shake

Barre class is designed to work muscles more than we normally do. You’re going to be using your arms, legs, glutes and core throughout the class. As the class goes on, you might notice your arms or legs starting to shake. Your first reaction might be embarrassment. Are you that out of shape? Why is this happening?

Forget about being embarrassed. Any barre instructor will tell you shaking is a great sign. This means you’re following their guidance, working the right groups of muscles and reaching the right level of intensity. Muscles we don’t use all time aren’t used to this type of focused, intense exercise. If you’re doing barre class right, the muscles are going to work to the point that they start to burn and shake.

Barre class has a slower pace, which focuses on holding positions for longer periods of time. Don’t let the slower pace trick you — your muscles are still being challenged. While workouts at a faster pace sometimes give your muscles a break between movements, this isn’t the case with barre. You’re giving your muscles some serious endurance training.

If you get to the point that you feel the shake is uncontrollable, take a moment and stop. Grab a sip of water and stretch out the muscles in question. Even people who are barre class regulars deal with shaking. The more regularly you attend class, the less intense it will become.

If your legs don’t shake, but your instructor tells you your form is great, don’t worry. Everyone’s body is different. Focus on yours and how it reacts to the exercises.

4. Realize You’re Working New Muscles

You’ve probably heard people love barre class because it helps you achieve a lean dancer’s physique. Everyone’s body type is different, but you hear this because the movements in barre class help you achieve strong, lean muscles.

When you watch someone else go through the various poses in barre class, it will probably look like they are not doing a whole lot of moving — that’s because barre class relies on isometric movement. During an isometric exercise, you use your muscles to hold a single position without moving. It might sound easy, but it actually challenges your muscles. Holding them in one position for an extended period of time can lead to that shaking many people experience in barre class.

Holding a plank is a great example of an isometric exercise. You work your arms, legs and your core, but your body is completely still.

A dancer’s physique radiates strength, and one of the most obvious benefits of barre class is improved strength. The exercises focus on muscles that often get ignored during other workouts. Expect to feel the burn in places like your glutes and hamstrings. Exercises that incorporate weights are also great strength building tools.

When we imagine someone with a lean and lithe dancer’s body, we often think about how flexible that person is. Barre class is a great way to improve your flexibility. The exercises in barre class involve a good amount of stretching that will help you gain a greater range of motion over time. Greater flexibility helps relieve muscle tension and improve your overall balance and coordination.

back pain

Dancers are noted for their excellent posture. About 50 percent of working-age people experience back pain at some point each year, and 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. One of the leading causes of back pain is poor posture, and barre class has many exercises that will help improve your posture. Most poses require you properly align your spine and shoulders, and then you have to hold that position.

Barre class is going to work muscles you hardly ever think about. Prepare to feel tired and sore from head to toe. Remember that is a good sign!

5. Head Back to Barre Class Within 48 Hours

You might want to give those sore muscles a break after your first class, but it’s important to get back to barre within two days. You’re probably going to have a lot of lactic acid, which is causing those sore muscles. If you commit to a regular exercise routine instead of working out occasionally, you’ll notice that sore feeling less and less. Push yourself to return and build a healthy exercise schedule.

It can be easy to talk ourselves out of exercising. Maybe we tell ourselves the work day was too long and stressful, or that we’d rather sleep in than get up for an early-morning barre class. To avoid falling into that trap, sign up for your second barre class ahead of time. You’ve set aside the time and paid for the class. It is going to be a lot harder to talk yourself out of going after that.

Once you’re onto your second class, you can feel a little more relaxed. You know what to expect. The names of the exercises, what the equipment looks like and what’s expected of you aren’t completely new anymore. You’ll still have plenty to learn, but you have a great starting point.

For your second barre session, you can take the same class or try something new. Play around with the available classes and the different instructors to find the right fit for you. Once you’ve found your ideal class and instructor, you can create a schedule and stick to it. Eventually, your instructor will become familiar with you and push you to challenge yourself even more. You’ll start to feel the benefits of barre class in no time!

Barre Before and After

Become the star of your own barre workout before and after photos and schedule a class with PHYSIQUE57 online. We have studios in Bangkok, Beverly Hills, Dubai, the Hamptons and New York City. If you don’t live near a studio, you’re welcome to work out with us virtually. Sign up for a free trial of our online classes.

 

5 Tips for Bringing your Bump to the Barre — Barre Workouts During Pregnancy

pregnant woman

barre during pregnancy

Looking for a way to keep your body strong and fit as your bump grows? Barre is the perfect fit. Because it’s low-impact, controlled and focused, Physique 57 is perfectly suited to pregnancy. It’s easily adaptable to work with your growing bump. Our program is safe and effective, and it prepares you both mentally and physically for labor and delivery.

Follow our bump-friendly tips for barre workouts during pregnancy so that you can get the most out of your classes. You’ll gain an extra boost of strength and confidence to carry you through your pregnancy.

Listen to Your Body

You know your body better than anyone, but when you’re pregnant, what feels normal can change — even from one day to the next. That’s why it’s so important to listen to the signs your body gives you, whether you’re at barre class or going about your normal daily routine.

In barre class, you want to be careful not to overdo anything. Physique 57 classes are non-competitive, so you don’t have to worry about keeping up with anyone else. We encourage you to do what feels good for your body on any given day. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you’re pregnant. If you were already taking barre classes before your pregnancy, it’s still a good idea to touch base with your doctor to check for any restrictions.

hydration during barre workout

While exercising, always move with control and care to keep your body safe. Focus on your breathing to help you stay on track and get plenty of oxygen into your body. Hydration is also important.

  • Pacing is an important part of listening to your body. Some days, you may feel like you can push yourself as you did in your pre-bump days. On those days, let yourself go, and enjoy the surge of strength and power. Other times, you may feel like everything you do takes more energy.
  • Give yourself permission to slow down, make more modifications and do what’s right for your body. Even if you don’t finish every set or do a certain version of a move, you’re still showing up and working to make your baby bump — and the rest of your body — strong and fit.
  • Focus on your pacing one day at a time. Don’t worry about what you did yesterday or last week. Your energy level will likely change throughout your pregnancy. Many expectant moms feel extreme exhaustion during the first trimester due to the hormonal changes going on in their bodies.
  • As you near the second trimester, you might feel your energy coming back. Your bump isn’t huge yet, so you can still move around easily. The closer you get to your due date, the more you might notice yourself slowing down again. Your growing bump might require you to make modifications or slow your pace.
  • Keeping your heart rate at a reasonable level is crucial. If you exercised before your pregnancy and don’t have any complications associated with your pregnancy, you shouldn’t need to limit your heart rate to a certain number of beats per minute. Check your pacing by trying to carry on a conversation. If you can have a conversation with someone, your pace is fine. If you’re pushing yourself so hard that you can’t speak, it’s probably time to slow it down a little.

Another aspect of listening to your body is knowing when something doesn’t feel right. You know the normal burn you feel from a good barre workout. That’s different than a twinge or even a more intense pain that tells you something’s not right. If you notice any unusual symptoms or pains, don’t ignore them. You might need to slow down your pace or end your workout early. Always talk to your doctor if you experience anything unusual or concerning.

Target the Right Muscle Groups

It’s always a good idea to work out your entire body, but pregnancy puts more emphasis on certain muscle groups. Specifically, you want to target your glutes, inner thighs, hamstrings, abdominals, pelvic floor and upper and lower back. Why? Focusing on those areas helps you lengthen and strengthen the muscles that best help you accommodate your growing bump — you’re making room for your growing baby. It can also help you feel stronger in your ever-changing body.

Certain muscles play a specific role in the process as well. Glutes support your hips and help protect your lower back. Weak glutes can cause other muscles to compensate, which can lead to lower back pain. Strong abs support your growing belly and help you push more effectively when you’re in labor. Back muscles are critical to support your growing tummy and the shifting center of gravity. When you keep your back muscles strong, you can stand up straight and tall instead of slumping as your bump grows.

Do the Right Kind of Ab Work and Keep Up With Your Kegels

Core strength is so important during your pregnancy. It helps your body adapt to the constant postural changes during pregnancy, so it’s important to continue your ab work. It’s all about finding the right balance. You want a flexible belly that grows with your baby, but it also needs to be strong enough to support that growth. The good news? Your abdominals get a workout through most of your Physique 57 workout, from deep abdominal stabilization to focused exercises.

barre kegel exercises

Kegels are a must to develop the deep core strength necessary for labor and delivery, so be sure to include them both in and out of class. Kegel exercises focus on the muscles that support your bladder, bowels and uterus. Those muscles come in handy during labor and delivery. Kegels also help speed up your recovery after delivery, including increasing your urinary control.

Not sure how to do Kegels? Pretend like you want to stop the flow of urine. Squeeze those same muscles, and you’re doing Kegels. If you do them correctly, no one will know you’re doing them because your legs, abs and glutes shouldn’t move.

Learn Barre Modifications for Pregnancy

In the early stages of your pregnancy, you probably won’t need any modifications. You may need to slow down a bit because of the exhaustion, but your body will likely still do all the things it normally does. By around 20 weeks, you’ll probably need to start modifying. That’s when changes to your body can begin affecting exercise.

Your uterus becomes larger and heavier, which can put more strain on other parts of your body. Standing without moving for long periods or lying on your back for longer than a few minutes can be dangerous. They can slow down the return of blood to your heart, which can cause a temporary decrease in blood pressure.

Supporting your back or working in a more upright position can relieve that pressure and let you exercise safely. Lying on your stomach is another position that isn’t recommended for pregnancy. It puts too much pressure on your uterus, and it becomes quite difficult as your belly grows. Working on all fours for exercises that normally take place while lying on your stomach is an alternative.

Some other physical changes that can push you toward making modifications include:

  • Stretching and relaxation of the ligaments that support your joints, which can increase the risk of injury with high-impact or jerky movements
  • Increased need for oxygen and energy, which can make you short of breath faster
  • Pressure on your diaphragm from your growing uterus, which can make you short of breath
  • Changing center of gravity that changes your balance and decreases your stability

Keeping those factors in mind in barre class can help you self-monitor your intensity and make small adjustments. You should also be aware of specific modifications based on physical changes. Your barre instructor can give you personalized instruction on how to modify different moves to ensure you and your baby stay safe and healthy.

The following modifications for barre classes while pregnant give you an idea of what to expect.

1. Stretches

The relaxing ligaments in your joints may make stretching feel a little easier. It can make you seem a little more flexible than normal. Just be careful not to push your stretching too far — you don’t want to hurt yourself by stretching beyond a safe and normal range of motion.

Certain types of stretches are also best left for your pre-bump and early pregnancy days. Once you reach 20 weeks, it’s best to avoid any stretches that have you twist from the waist. If you make twisting moves, make them small rather than deep twists.

2. Seat Exercises

Your growing uterus becomes heavier and puts more weight on your body over time. That change can mean more strain on your back that causes discomfort. When working on your glutes, it’s a good idea to modify to make sure your back stays upright or on a diagonal to ease any strain and discomfort on the back. It can also make your glute workout more effective while keeping your back safe.

barre glute exercises

Notice how your back feels as you do your seat work. If you feel too much strain on your lower back, keep your chest up. You can stand at the bar while doing this, keeping with the same choreography, just with your chest up.

Using a smaller range of motion may also be necessary during seat work. Doing so helps you avoid injury with your looser joints. You can also widen your knees as your bump grows to make room for it during different seat work exercises.

3. Risers for Back Support

Risers positioned under your regular mat during round back and abdominal work provide support for your back. They also help tilt your pelvis forward to maintain good blood flow. If you don’t use the risers, your uterus can press down on your vena cava and slow your blood flow significantly. You may also notice cramping in your uterus and calves without the proper support from risers.

4. Abdominal Exercises

It may seem like you should avoid working your abs during pregnancy, but it’s actually more important than ever to strengthen those muscles. Strong abdominal muscles support your growing uterus and help you during childbirth and recovery. Pay special attention to your positioning, keeping your feet down and ensuring your pelvis stays tilted properly. Like with any other move, it’s important to listen to your body to make sure you don’t overdo your ab workout.

You might find that instead of moving, you need to simply hold the position. Don’t worry so much about choreography for your legs. Your obliques should go in and down while your lower abs go up and in. This movement helps strengthen the muscles in the way you’ll use them for labor. You’re still strengthening your abs and working on your breathing, so you’re getting the workout you need on your terms. Holding on behind your legs when working on your abs can also help.

In round back, you may need to adjust your height to get an ideal position, depending on where your baby is within your abdomen. A little adjustment can improve how well you can squeeze and feel your abs during this exercise. You may also want to keep a foot planted during this exercise, with your hand lightly gripping the leg that’s working. Lowering your leg a little bit helps accommodate your growing tummy.

5. Keep Your Head Above Your Heart

A good rule of thumb throughout pregnancy, not just in barre class, is to keep your head above your heart. Your blood volume increases by up to 50 percent during pregnancy. That extra blood means your heart has to work harder to keep it pumping.

blood volume during pregnancy

Keeping your head above your heart improves circulation and makes less work for your heart, so it beats at a reasonable rate. You can enjoy your workout without making your heart beat faster than is necessary or safe. Prenatal wedges for all back and side-lying exercises help you keep this ideal pregnancy position. The wedges give you support and make you more comfortable as you do each move.

Have Fun and Reap the Benefits

Your growing bump comes with a growing list of things to worry about and plan. Barre class is your chance to disconnect and do something for yourself. It’s just a small part of your day when you can focus on yourself, but the rewards you reap are plentiful — mentally, physically and emotionally. Take this time to focus on your breath and prepare mentally for the changes coming into your life.

Pregnant women often hear what they shouldn’t do. Well-meaning people tell you to take it easy, stop working out and focus only on the baby. You rarely hear what you should do. Barre class is your chance to silence the “shouldn’t do’s” in favor of more positive sentiments. It’s refreshing to focus on the positive and know that it’s okay and important to enjoy yourself while doing it. After all, pregnancy can be an extremely busy time, so dedicating even an hour to your health, fitness and well-being is already something to celebrate.

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

Our expectant clients experience a variety of benefits from our classes, including improved posture, decreased lower back pain, increased pelvic stability and even better sleep. Not to mention that sexy, sculpted muscles are the perfect accessory to go along with radiantly glowing skin, luxurious hair and that baby bump you’re rocking. It turns out, exercise offers many benefits for pregnant women. As long as you get your doctor’s approval, exercise is something you definitely want to incorporate into your daily routine.

The benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

  • Smaller weight gain to help you stay within the healthy recommended range
  • As much as a 27 percent decrease in risk for gestational diabetes
  • Decreased back pain
  • Increased stamina and strength for labor and delivery
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improvement in your mood
  • Better posture
  • Improved sleep
  • Lower risk of constipation, which is common due to increased progesterone levels and your growing uterus
  • Enhanced view of your pregnant body and increased confidence
  • Greater relaxation and lower stress levels
  • Decreased leg swelling
  • Faster recovery after delivery
  • Continued exercise routine instead of falling out of the habit of being active

When you come to barre class to reap those benefits, you get the bonus of having a built-in community where you’re truly part of something special. You may even meet other expectant moms in barre class, so you can share your experiences and build a friendship that lasts even after you give birth.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you bring your bump to the barre. Join one of our studio classes that offer modifications for our prenatal clients at our New York City and Los Angeles locations. If you’re not in the area, don’t worry — try our online workouts!