Better Together! How Working Out with Friends Boosts Your Results

Happy National Best Friends Day! Hug your friends extra tight today — or catch up over FaceTime — and tell them how much they mean to you!

In honor of Best Friends Day, we also want to recognize the benefits of working out with friends by your side. Your girlfriends can also be your accountability partners and cheerleaders as you go after your fitness goals. 

We’re sharing 6 science-backed ways that exercising with a fitness community can boost your motivation and enhance your performance. 

Remember, we are all friends here at Physique 57! Every time you take a workout class — whether in the studio or On Demand — you’re surrounded by a supportive family who always has your back. Get ready to rock your workouts…with a little help from your friends!

How Working Out With Friends Boosts Your Fitness Results

Motivates you to work out longer

Research by the Society of Behavioral Medicine found that when people worked out with a partner or in a team format, they doubled their workout time compared to those who exercised alone ¹. We’re always motivated to push through our 57-minute workouts when we’re surrounded by friendly faces!

Makes you challenge yourself

A positive form of peer pressure! Seeing others perform well actually pushes you to work harder. In a study, people who did a plank with a more capable partner by their side increased their plank time by 24 percent ². When you see a friend or someone in class crushing a move, let that inspire you and give you something to work toward. 

Helps you stay consistent

As you know, consistency is essential to getting the best results. Research found that when people started a weight loss program with friends, 95 percent of them completed the program, compared to 76 percent completion rate for those who did the program solo ³. This works for exercise programs and challenges too! 

Releases more endorphins

We know that exercise activates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that naturally boost mood, relieve stress, and ease pain ⁴. (Learn more about how barre boosts your mood.) But did you know you release even more endorphins when you do your sweat sesh with a group? One reason is that working out with friends or feeling the energy of an amazing group class makes you smile — and research shows that smiling actually boosts endorphins ⁵. 

Soothes stress

People who cycled for 30 minutes with a friend reported feeling calmer than those who biked alone, according to a study ⁶. It’s that feeling of balance and peace you get when you leave a great group class!

And most importantly, it’s FUN!

This one sounds so simple, but having fun is key to motivating yourself and staying consistent in your workout routine. When you leave a fitness class with a huge smile on your face, you’ll be ready to come back for more! Science backs this up: A study from the University of Southern California found that when people worked out with friends, they said they enjoyed the exercise more ⁷. 

Try These Simple Ways To Lean On Your Friends 

Schedule a workout date

Book a workout date with a friend to take a class in the studio or do the same On Demand routine. Put this in your calendar and treat it like any other commitment with a friend — you wouldn’t cancel dinner or happy hour plans at the last minute, would you? A workout date is just as important or more! 

Invite your girls to do the Invigorate Program with you 

The only way to make this program even better is to do it with a friend by your side! In this 21-day summer challenge, we’ll have brand new workouts, exclusive live events, weekly prizing, and vacay vibes! The challenge kicked off yesterday, but it’s not too late to join and invite a friend. Join us here

Connect on social 

Make sure you’re following us on Instagram @Physique57 and request to join the Physique 57 Community Facebook group. Use these platforms to connect with new friends in the fitness community. Comment on posts, tag us in your sweaty selfies, and DM other people in the Physique 57 fam to find accountability partners. 

Check in with each other 

Start group texts or DMs with your exercise accountability partners. Let each other know when you rocked a workout or reached a goal. You can also lean on each other for extra motivation and support when you need a pick-me-up. 

Remember, we’re always here to cheer you on!

Sources:

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs12160-012-9367-4
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51539278_Buddy_Up_The_Kohler_Effect_Applied_to_Health_Games
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10028217/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile
  6. https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/34033/exercise-another.pdf
  7. https://www.livescience.com/40977-exercise-enjoyment-friends.html

How Practicing Gratitude Makes You Happier and Healthier

We know you’re rocking your workouts and focusing on clean eating — we also want to make sure you’re fueling and nourishing your spirit! There is one simple practice we love that brings more joy, calm, and balance into your day. The best part: You can practice it anytime, anywhere in just a few minutes and it’s absolutely free. 

We’re talking about gratitude, the act of being thankful and expressing appreciation for the gifts you have in your life. This may sound like something that happens naturally, but it is actually a practice. Studies show that people can (and should!) consciously and deliberately cultivate gratitude ¹. It’s a muscle you can learn to strengthen and flex — just like in your workouts! 

Why practice gratitude? 

There are so many amazing physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to cultivating gratitude. Here are just a few of the incredible things gratitude can do for you: 

Brings on positivity 

Multiple studies show that fostering gratitude helps you feel happier, more hopeful, and more satisfied with your life. This also extends to how you treat others — people who practice gratitude are more likely to be empathetic, forgiving, helpful, and supportive than those who are less grateful ². 

Gratitude also helps curb the comparison game that is so common these days. When you’re grateful for what you do have in the present moment, you’re not thinking about the things you don’t have yet or comparing yourself to friends, coworkers, or people on social media. The focus is on counting your own blessings rather than keeping a tally of others. 

Reduces stress and depression 

People who kept a gratitude journal for two weeks reduced their perceived stress levels by 28 percent. Gratitude actually impacts your hormones — it has been linked to lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol by up to 23 percent. 

Gratitude also helps prevent and ease depression. In one study, two simple activities — counting blessings and gratitude letter writing — reduced the risk of depression by 41 percent over a six-month period ³. 

Boosts workout motivation 

In a study, people who practiced gratitude spent 1 ½ hours a week more exercising than those who didn’t ⁴. That’s an extra Physique 57 workout class plus some! 

Gratitude has even more perks for your physical health too — it is linked with lower blood pressure, stronger heart health, and less chronic pain and inflammation ⁵. 

Improves sleep

Grateful people actually have the best rest! Research shows that gratitude is associated with getting more hours of sleep and better sleep quality ⁶. 

Ups energy levels

In multiple studies, people who practiced gratitude reported feeling more energetic and invigorated throughout their day. 

Enhances confidence

Gratitude also helps you feel even more empowered at the barre. A study in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increases athletes’ self-esteem ⁷. Radiating confidence will help you perform your best and crush your workouts! 

How to practice gratitude 

There is no “right” way to practice gratitude — it’s an individual and personal ritual. Here are a few practices you can try. See what feels most natural for you! 

Keep a gratitude journal 

Start a journal dedicated specially to gratitude. Every morning when you first wake up or at night before you go to bed, write down three things you are grateful for that day. We encourage you to make your gratitudes specific — they can be something as simple as your morning matcha, your comfy sheets, or that you got 8 hours of sleep the night before. They can also be things you observed in nature or with your loved ones and community. For example, hearing your child’s laugh or sharing a smile with a stranger. Being specific will help you notice and appreciate the little moments of your day that bring you joy. 

Write thank you letters

Take some time to write a handwritten thank you note to someone you love or admire. Tell them exactly why you’re grateful for them and how they’ve made a positive impact on your life. This will bring them so much happiness and it will help you cultivate gratitude for others. 

Express thanks out loud

A simple “thank you” goes a long way! So often we say “thanks” out of habit or obligation. Instead, try to slow down and put intention and heart behind your “thank yous” — whether you are thanking your partner or your barista! 

Be present in your surroundings

Take a few moments to pause, look around, and soak in all the beauty around you — the feeling of the sun or wind on your face, the sound of birds or other people’s laughter, the smells in your kitchen as you’re cooking. There’s so much to be thankful for when you look for it!

Thank your body 

When you finish a workout, put your hands on your heart and thank your beautiful, strong body for everything it does for you. 

Always include your why

Whenever you are expressing gratitude — in a journal, to yourself, or to others — make sure you include WHY you are grateful for it. This makes your gratitude even more intentional and powerful.

Sources:

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude
  2. https://positivepsychology.com/gratitude-research/#:~:text=The%20study%20showed%20that%20grateful,be%20more%20pro%2Dsocially%20oriented
  3. https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html
  4. http://local.psy.miami.edu/faculty/mmccullough/gratitude/Emmons_McCullough_2003_JPSP.pdf
  5. https://health.ucdavis.edu/medicalcenter/features/2015-2016/11/20151125_gratitude.html
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19073292/
  7. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/271567980_Gratitude_Enhances_Change_in_Athletes’_Self-Esteem_The_Moderating_Role_of_Trust_in_Coach

How Barre Workouts Boost Your Mood & Bust Stress

Close your eyes right now and imagine that feeling after you rock your Physique 57 workout — joyful, confident, empowered, accomplished, centered, and ready to take on the rest of your day. That’s the power of barre! As we continue to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re breaking down exactly how and why barre workouts boost your mood and help you feel calmer and happier. 

Releases feel-good chemicals

Exercise activates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that naturally improve mood, relieve stress, and ease pain ¹. Endorphins deliver that “runner’s high” that comes with any type of challenging workout. With short bursts of intense activity, Physique 57 gives you a more effective form of endorphin-boosting cardio — without being tough on your joints like running. 

Exercise also increases levels of serotonin (aka the “happy chemical”), a neurotransmitter that can help brighten your mood and ease symptoms of depression ² ³. 

Relieves stress and anxiety 

Aerobic exercise — like the cardio-based movements in a Physique 57 workout class — reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline ⁴. 

Exercise also helps relieve anxiety by conditioning the central nervous system. When we’re afraid or stressed, our central nervous system jumps into “fight or flight” mode, which leads to physical symptoms like sweating and increased heart rate. Workouts mimic these physical responses in a healthy way, so our bodies become accustomed to them and we’re less likely to feel anxious in stressful situations. In a study in the journal Depression and Anxiety, people who exercised regularly for just 2 weeks showed significant improvements in anxiety sensitivity ⁵. 

Brings your focus to the present

In addition to challenging your muscles, barre is also a mental challenge. Each small, repetitive movement requires your brain to remain intensely focused on your mind/muscle connection. Think about how you lock in mentally with each lift and pulse! This is a mindfulness practice and a form of moving meditation. You’re focused on the present moment, so your mind is much less likely to wander to your to-do list or other stressors. 

You can enhance this effect even more by practicing gratitude during your workouts. With each small movement, focus on sending love to that muscle and silently thank it for everything it does for you. Your strong legs carry you through your day; your arms are there for you to hug your loved ones. Think about that as you pulse, lift, and curl your way through barre class!

Helps you stand tall & confident

A 2020 study found that women who regularly did ballet barre exercises for 50 minutes twice per week had significantly improved head, shoulder, and pelvic posture ⁶. And having good posture actually impacts your mood and how you feel about yourself. Research shows that people with proud posture were more confident in their own thoughts and saw more positive attributes in themselves ⁷. Just one more reason to stand tall!

Improves mental clarity

Time at the barre also boosts your brain power. The endorphins released during exercise help keep your mind sharp. Research shows that the combination of Pilates and yoga specifically — similar to barre — may improve mental clarity and cognitive function and keep you thinking positively ⁸. 

Connects you to community 

Whether you’re doing your workouts On Demand, in the studio, or outdoors, you can feel the energy of your supportive and motivating Physique 57 trainers and community. Being in community is so important for your mental health — it will help you feel connected and uplifted in everything you do!

And most importantly…it’s fun! 

Our innovative choreography is designed to be fun and feminine — without any of the moves you dread in other workouts. With new sequences in every barre class, you’ll never get bored, and you’ll always be challenged. Best of all, you’ll leave class with a big smile on your beautiful face! 

Join us at the barre in our NYC studio or from anywhere On Demand for these amazing mood-boosting benefits!

Sources:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
  2. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27353308/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
  5. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  6. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO202018436566306.page
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005111627.htm
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732550/

5 Tiny Form Tweaks That Will Raise The Barre On Your Results

Whether you’re rocking your workouts at home On Demand, in the studio, or outdoors, nailing proper form is KEY to getting the best results. When your form is on point, you will strengthen your balance, protect your body from injury, and fire up every muscle group for a deeper burn. This will make every exercise you do more efficient and effective! 

Physique 57 Senior Trainer Morgan Bontz shares 5 simple yet powerful workout form tips that will raise the barre on your results! 

Think of every exercise as ab work

Sculpting your core isn’t just for the ab section of class. As you perform every move, consciously pull your belly button in toward your back and think of closing your rib cage. Keeping your core engaged during your entire workout will not only work deeper into your abdominals but also strengthen your posture and balance and protect your back. This applies to any part of your workout — glutes, thighs, arms, cardio —  not just the ab section!

Nose over thumbs in your plank pose

A proper plank pose is one of the most effective moves for a strong core! Here’s the trick: In your forearm plank, shift your weight slightly forward so your nose is right over your thumbs. Remember to keep your abs pulled up and your hips level with your head and heels. The natural tendency in a plank is to hang back, but once you get your hips in line and bring your weight forward, you’ll feel the extra fire in your core immediately!

Curl from the belly button up

When it comes to crunch time, this small shift will make the move much more efficient. On your back, let your head fall heavy into your hands and think of curling as one whole piece from the belly button up, letting your abs initiate the lift. This way you’re able to maintain more length in the front of your neck, get a much deeper burn in your abs, and keep the work focused in your core instead of in your neck and shoulders. 

Lengthen out before up

In extended positions such as hairpin, think of lengthening your leg longer — all the way past your toes — before lifting or pulsing up. The dynamic opposition will help you balance, and that’s the key to building long, lean muscle. Major bonus: your leg will actually feel lighter while you lift!

Engage your muscle and your mind

Focusing on your mind/body connection is a game changer — it will take your results to a whole new level! While working your target muscle, visualize the contraction of the muscle in your mind’s eye. This will help you move with more mindfulness and intention, keep your form in check, and achieve a much more intense and concentrated burn.


Try out these tips for yourself in your next workout class On Demand or in the studio!

Mental Health Awareness Month: 7 Ways To Care For Your Mind & Spirit

mental health meditation

Our mission at Physique 57 is to not only sculpt and strengthen your beautiful body, but also to nurture your incredible mind and spirit! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we’re sharing 7 simple steps you can take every day to care for yourself from the inside out. 

Move your body

A Physique 57 sweat sesh not only tones your body — it also fuels and nourishes your mind. You’ll finish your workout feeling less stressed and more energized, confident, and empowered! Years of research has proven the mental health perks of exercise. A study from Harvard University showed that exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 26% ¹. Another study found that people who exercised regularly reported a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who didn’t work out ². 

Exercise helps the brain build new neural pathways that bring on feelings of calm and happiness. It also releases endorphins, powerful brain chemicals that give you a boost of bliss ³. You know when you leave class feeling so accomplished and on top of the world? That’s what we’re talking about!

Join us for a workout On Demand or in the studio!

Deepen (or start) your meditation practice 

A regular meditation practice quiets the mind, brings your attention to the present moment, and gives you a deep sense of centeredness, balance, and peace. Multiple studies have shown that mindfulness relieves stress ⁴ ⁵. Meditation helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while releasing mood-boosting hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin ⁶. 

If you’re new to meditation, ease into it. Start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way up to longer. You can do guided meditations or simply listen to soothing music and focus on your breathing. If your mind starts to race or thoughts come up, don’t judge yourself — this happens to everyone and you’re not doing it “wrong.” Simply take notice of the thoughts and feelings that come up for you without judgement and gently release them in your mind. Your meditation practice will start to feel more natural as you, well, practice it! 

Nourish yourself 

You’ll feel happier and more energized when you nourish your body with healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Certain foods have also been shown to have mood-boosting benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts are linked to lower levels of depression ⁷. Foods high in vitamin B6 (think: bananas, salmon, and sweet potatoes) help synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin ⁸. And dark chocolate releases several mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and N-acylethanolamine ⁹ — just in case you needed another reason to eat chocolate!

Have your moment in the sun

Soak in the sunshine! Research shows that sunlight can boost serotonin production, which brightens your mood ¹⁰. Plus, the sun synthesizes vitamin D (aka the “sunshine vitamin”), and vitamin D has been linked to lower levels of depression ¹¹. 

Take a break from your workday to get outside and stroll around your neighborhood. Remember to wear SPF to protect your beautiful skin! Also, watch out for artificial blue light from computer and phone screens, which can increase cortisol levels and zap your energy. There are lots of options for cute and affordable blue light blocking glasses. 

See how  Physique 57 trainer, Christine Mirzayan, makes mental health part of her morning routine.

Grab your journal 

Journaling is a powerful outlet to express your emotions, reflect on your experiences, practice positive self-talk, and release thoughts or feelings that aren’t serving you. Research consistently shows that journaling has a positive impact on mental health ¹². 

You can journal in whatever way feels healing to you — there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Some practices we love: 

  • Free writing: Write whatever comes to mind without editing or judging your thoughts. You can also free draw if that feels more intuitive for you. 
  • Gratitude journaling: Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day and why you’re grateful for them.

Disconnect to connect 

So many of us are on our phones and computers all day long. Give yourself permission to disconnect from your devices in order to reconnect with yourself. Unplugging from technology helps you be more mindful in the present moment, deepen your connection with those around you, and become more in tune with your own feelings and instincts. 

Take a digital detox day or weekend where you turn your phone off and enjoy other activities you love — go on a hike or long walk, be present in nature, read, take a bubble bath, and spend time with loved ones with no distractions. You’ll feel so refreshed after!

Dance it out

Whether it’s pulsing in a Physique workout class or having a dance party in your living room, dancing is amazing for your mind and soul! Research shows that dance can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and keep your mind sharp ¹³. 

Come join us for a fun, empowering, and mood-boosting dance cardio class On Demand!

Sources

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2720689
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222161848.htm
  3. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24395196/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159112004758
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769029/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27472373/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16763894/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
  12. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1745691617707315
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197455613001676

Up Your Athleisure With This Discount Code

Anyone else seriously up their athleisure game this past year? bc SAME! We’ve been living in the cute new ZISE Collection by BLOCH  activewear. 😍 BLOCH has been designing clothes for dancers for more than 90 years, so they understand how our bodies move as we’re pulsing & sculpting at the barre. Plus, activewear that is fun and functional is our DREAM!

You are going to feel so empowered the moment you put on this new high-performance athleisure line! The premium, luxe fabrics are super soft, and the pieces are just as comfy for lounging too ~ major win! 🤗

We’re so excited because the BLOCH team is sharing special savings for the Physique 57 workout community! 🎉 use code: PHYSIQUE57 for 20% savings at Physique57.com/BLOCH  💗 We know you’re going to love this activewear collection as much as we do! Snap a pic and tag @physique57 in your new barre outfit! 

Busy Mama Workout Tips

In honor of Mother’s Day, we are celebrating all the beautiful, powerful, & strong mamas of the Physique 57 community. We see you & we honor you…today & every day!

Each motherhood journey is unique & special in its strength. One thing that is true for all is that time is limited. Finding time to work out may not happen every day, and that’s ok.

If you’ve ever wondered how a fit-pro mama gets her workout in, check out this video and see how Physique 57 Trainer Courtney Tilford Uyar makes the most of every minute with her little guy, Cooper.

What does it mean to be as Strong as a Mother? We asked our fierce Physique 57 #mama trainers to share what it means to them.

Remember to join us for your Strong as a Mother Fitness On Demand program ~ 10 days of energizing & empowering workouts all led by Physique 57 mamas! These super effective & efficient routines are designed to sculpt your total body quickly & fit into your busy schedule. You give so much strength, energy, & love to your family ~ this program is all about you. Join us.


Wherever you are in your motherhood journey ~ and we know every journey is different ~ we are thinking of you and sending all our love.

5 Tips to Make Your Home Workout Space More Beautiful & Inspiring

As you’re rocking your On Demand workouts at home, we want to make sure you feel extra supported, inspired, and empowered. Your workout space plays an important role in your motivation. That’s why our Physique 57 studios are designed to be beautiful, calming, and welcoming — your home workout space should feel the same way! 

Your fitness space is your personal oasis where you go to connect with yourself and care for your body and mind. It doesn’t need to be a big space or a fancy home gym — it can be the corner of your living room or bedroom — but it should feel motivating and special. 

We’re sharing five simple ways to upgrade your home workout space to make it even more beautiful and inspiring. 

Organize your workout gear

The beautiful thing about Physique 57 is that most of our workouts involve using only your own bodyweight as resistance, so you don’t need a lot of equipment. 

You can take your workouts to the next level by adding weights, especially to target upper body muscles like biceps and triceps. We suggest investing in a lighter and heavier set of weights (3 pounds and 5 to 10 pounds). 

Another important accessory: The Physique 57 Ball, which we incorporate into thigh, glute, and core work. A dodge ball or blow-up beach ball will work too. 

Of course, you don’t want your workout equipment cluttering up your space. We love investing in cute wire or wicker bins to organize your gear. Places like Homegoods, The Container Store, and Target have great options! You can also opt for a storage ottoman or bench that matches your decor. 

Raise the barre 

No barre at home? No problem! You can use a railing, couch, or heavy chair instead. If you’re ready to invest in an at-home barre, we recommend this portable option or this custom wall-mounted barre. Both are streamlined, unobtrusive, and will elevate your home workout experience. 

Be the picture of health 

Nothing is more motivating than looking at your loved ones! Create a beautiful picture wall in your fitness space — experiment with different sized frames, patterns, colors, and textures, and you can even get creative with how you place the frames on the wall. Fill your frames with pictures of your family and friends that inspire you and make you smile. These will remind you WHY you are taking care of yourself — so you can show up as the best version of you for others too. 

You can also display your favorite inspirational quotes and mantras around the space. We have, “Classy and a bit bad assy” on our selfie mirror wall in the studio 😉 

Get on the scent 

Setting up your home workout space isn’t just about how it looks — it’s also about how it smells! Research shows that scent affects mood, motivation, and focus ¹. A recent study even shows that it can impact workout performance ².

Create a mood in your workout room with candles, diffusers, and essential oils. For more cardio-based, power sculpt, and HIIT classes, try energizing scents like peppermint and sweet orange oils. Studies found that they both help enhance athletic performance ³ ⁴.  Pair recovery and stretching routines with a relaxing scent like lavender. It helps soothe the central nervous system ⁵. 

Bring nature to you 

Being surrounded by nature during a workout helps improve your mood, motivation, and self-esteem ⁶. (Check out more science-backed benefits of being in nature in this post.) If you’re exercising inside, bring the outdoors to you! Fill your space with plants, flowers, or succulents to brighten the room and give you an extra boost!

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198031/
  2. https://neurosciencenews.com/olfaction-exercise-motivation-17324/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23517650/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27688737/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3710158/

How Interval Overload Training Forms Long, Lean, Sculpted Muscles

We have heard from tens of thousands of women that their bodies and lives have completely transformed through Physique 57 workouts — they feel strong, lean, fit, powerful, and more confident than ever! We’ve also heard from so many of you in our community that after years of trying different workouts and not seeing results, this was the method that finally worked.

So what is the “secret sauce” behind Physique 57 that makes it so effective? 

We created a one-of-a-kind training method that’s designed for maximum results, efficiency, and fun. Our workout fuses cardio, strength training, and dance — and this combination is where the magic happens! 

Tanya Becker, co-founder and creator of the Physique 57 Method, developed a technique to lengthen and sculpt muscles like a dancer, while also building lean body mass and getting a cardio workout in. 

“I was a dancer and choreographer most of my career and then I started teaching barre,” Tanya says. “Barre classes were traditionally about holding poses in one place, but the choreographer in me craved more movement so I started adding in a cardio element.” 

The result: Physique 57’s innovative Interval Overload Method. THIS is the secret to lean, long, sculpted muscles! 

We’re sharing the science behind our unique workout technique and why it works. 

Here’s the gist: 

It is a combination of high intensity interval training and muscle overload. With our interval training sets, your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief. 

Let’s break it down…

What is interval training? 

Interval training alternates between short bursts of high-intensity work and periods of lower-intensity activity or rest. By taking these recovery periods, your body can work much more efficiently during the high-intensity intervals. 

Numerous studies have shown that interval training is incredibly effective at increasing the body’s aerobic activity, cardiovascular health, and stamina. 

One workout study found that just two weeks of high-intensity interval training improves aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training like steady running, jogging, or biking ¹. 

Research has also shown that consistent interval training is effective at increasing lean body mass ², which helps boost your metabolism. 

How we do it: 

Physique 57 takes interval training to the next level! Between high-intensity sets, we stretch to lengthen the muscles and allow them to recharge so you can start your next series even stronger. 

During recovery periods, we also shift the focus and work a different set of muscles. For example, we’ll do 30 seconds of Triceps Dips between our first and second ab series, which gives your core a chance to recover while simultaneously sculpting the arms.

This way, you’ll get the benefits of interval training while continuing to work different muscles during your recovery so you can make the most of every minute!

What is overload? 

You know that feeling when your muscles are burning, shaking, and feel like they’re on fire?! 🔥 We know you do!That is known as Momentary Muscular Fatigue (aka overload) — when you’ve activated your muscles as much as you possibly can, and you’ve reached the peak of intensity. 

When this happens, you can actually change your muscle fibers to get that long, lean, defined look. We’re about to get real science-y here. 

Each muscle fiber contains water, protein, fat, and multiple strands of actin and myosin, two protein filaments that are responsible for actually moving your muscles. When you bring a muscle to the point of Momentary Muscular Fatigue, it has to adapt to the stress. It does this by growing new strands of actin and myosin. These important proteins increase your strength, power, and give you definition. 

Another benefit of overload: it activates neural pathways between your brain and your muscles. These pathways are how your brain tells your muscles to contract. By activating these pathways again and again, your muscle fibers will remain partially activated all the time. The more this happens, the firmer and more toned your muscles will be!

How we do it: 

We ALWAYS take you to the point of overload. With each workout, we constantly change up the pace, moves, and angles to make sure you feel challenged, and you reach that sweet spot of intensity where your muscle fibers are transformed. 

The perks of this powerful combo: 

You’ll build lean body mass 

A study done by the Department of Exercise Physiology at Adelphi University showed that Physique 57 produced greater changes in lean body mass over a four-week period than aerobics, Pilates, yoga, and running. This is key because increasing lean body mass can help permanently boost your metabolism.

It’s incredibly efficient 

We know your time is precious, so we don’t waste a single minute of your workout! In just 57 minutes (or less for some of our On Demand workout routines), our strategic sequences work every muscle group in the body to overload and even target different fibers within the same muscle. 

It’s easy on your joints 

Other workout modalities like running, plyometrics, and heavy weightlifting put a lot of pressure on the joints and ligaments and can lead to injuries over time. All of our movements, while incredibly challenging and effective, are healthy for your bones and joints. 

It uses your body weight 

While you use the barre as your partner, most movements in our method use only body weight as resistance to challenge your muscles. Your own body is a very effective tool to build long, lean muscles. Plus, this makes it easier to get your sweat sesh in anytime, anywhere!

You won’t plateau 

People often reach fitness plateaus because their bodies get used to certain movement patterns and adapt. With the Interval Overload Method, your body is constantly challenged in new ways. 

Our workouts move quickly, are full of variety, and are constantly evolving, so you’ll never get bored, and you’ll always be excited to be back at the barre!

You can try our Interval Overload Method and experience the amazing results for yourself in our studio workout classes and On Demand!

Sources: 

  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30622842/

6 Science-Backed Benefits of Taking Your Workout Outdoors

We love working out with you in the studio, at home On Demand, and really everywhere you are. Taking your workout outside is also an amazing way to switch up your regular routine and get extra perks. 

In honor of Earth Day, we want to celebrate the incredible science-backed benefits of nature for your body, mind, and spirit! Research shows that spending at least 2 hours a week in nature, whether in regular doses or one long stretch at a time, is associated with enhanced physical and mental health ¹. 

Whether you’re taking a Physique 57 Outdoor workout class, streaming an On Demand workout from a park or your backyard, going for a hike, or simply taking a walk with your morning coffee, get outside today! Soak up the sun, feel the ground beneath your feet, listen to the sounds of nature, and breathe in all the beauty around you — you deserve it!

Read on as we break down the benefits of getting out in nature for your mood, energy, immunity, and more. 

Soothes stress & boost mood 

Take in fresh air…release stress, anxiety, and overwhelm! Spending just 20 minutes a day outside in nature can significantly lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology ². Lowering your cortisol levels will help you bring on calm, balance, and peace.

Another study found that people who did a nature walk had lower activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region that is associated with nagging thoughts and negative emotions ³. Simply seeing trees, hearing the sound of birds, and looking at the sky can take the brain away from these negative thought patterns and shift your focus toward positivity and gratitude.

Increases energy levels

Try swapping that next cup of coffee for just a few minutes in the sunshine — it’s a natural pick-me-up! Time in nature helps ward off feelings of exhaustion and sluggishness. Research shows that 90 percent of study participants reported increased energy levels when outdoors ⁴. 

Strengthens immunity 

Being in nature affects our central nervous system, giving our bodies the signal that it’s time to kick back and take it easy. The serenity of nature switches our nervous system from “fight or flight” mode to “rest and digest” mode. When our bodies are relaxed, we know it’s safe to invest resources toward our immune system. 

Taking walks outside can also lower levels of cytokines, inflammatory peptides in the immune system that have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and depression ⁵. The lower these levels are, the healthier you’ll be!

Protects heart health 

Spending time outside in green spaces is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure ⁶. 

Here’s a super simple practice you can try: Kick off your shoes and feel the ground beneath your feet and the grass between your toes. This ritual, called earthing, might seem a little out there, but it’s an amazing way to ground your mind and protect your heart. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that earthing can reduce blood viscosity, making it one of the simplest and most profound ways to enhance your heart health ⁷. 

Supports post-workout recovery

We know your muscles are feeling lean, strong, sculpted — and probably a little sore — from rocking your Physique 57 workouts! Taking it outdoors can actually help soothe post-workout soreness and speed up your recovery process. 

People who spent time in nature had less post-workout inflammation and therefore experienced less delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and recovered faster between workouts ⁸. So you can get back to the barre doing what you love!

Boosts brain power 

Starting to feel drained or lose focus in the middle of your workday? A walk or mid-day outdoor workout class may be the refresh your mind is craving! In a recent study, people who spent time walking in nature improved by almost 20 percent in memory, attention, and cognition tests ⁹. So getting out in nature really is a smart strategy! 😉 

Take it outside with us! Check out our outdoor class schedule HERE!

With Physique 57 outdoor workout classes, you can soak up all the benefits of being nature. Plus, it’s so fun and empowering to work out in community as a team! 

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Classes are 45 minutes
  • No props needed
  • Bring your own mat, towel, and water
  • Masks required — you may lower during class
  • Social distanced spacing

We’ll see you outside!

Sources

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3?utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=commission_junction&utm_campaign=3_nsn6445_deeplink_PID100109089&utm_content=deeplink

How To Get Back Into Your Workout Routine

girl holding dumbells

We know your wellness and workout routines have probably looked a lot different over the past year during the pandemic. We have all adjusted and pivoted together, and we’re so proud of how you persevered and rocked your fitness goals from home!

We are beyond excited to start opening up our studios again — feeling your energy in our NYC Spring Street fitness studio brings the biggest smiles to our faces (behind our masks of course!) 😍

As fitness studios and other parts of our lives begin to re-open, it may feel overwhelming to readjust and get back into the swing of things. 

Here are our best tips for restoring and refreshing your workout routine so you can come back feeling stronger than ever!

Book your workouts in advance

If you’re planning to come back to the barre studio, remember that class sizes are smaller (30% capacity) so make sure to book your classes in advance here. This will ensure you get a spot and also help you plan your week and hold yourself accountable. 

We suggest setting aside time on Sundays to set an intention for the week. For optimal results (mind and body) aim for 3-4 endorphin sessions a week online or in-person.

Then, book all your workouts at once for the week ahead. You’ll feel so accomplished before the week even starts! 

Block out your calendar 

Once you book your workout classes, block out this time on your calendar, phone, and planner. Put it on your work and family calendars too, so everyone knows it’s your time. Schedule your workouts like you would a work meeting or an appointment for your kids. You would never miss that, and your health is just as important. 

Treat your wellness and self-care as a priority — because it is! 

Lay out your workout clothes

When you work out at home, it’s easier to throw something on at the last minute. Now, remember you need to factor in time to commute so every minute counts!

You can shave a few minutes off your morning by laying out your workout clothes the night before. Put your favorite workout leggings, tank, and sports bra somewhere front and center in your closet so you can’t miss them. 

Don’t forget your socks and mask of course — they are both required for class. Also lay out other workout essentials like a reusable water bottle so you can grab and go on your way out the door. 

Connect with yourself before your technology

This is always a non-negotiable, but it’s even more essential as you get back into a new routine! First thing in the morning when you wake up, before you look at your phone, check your email, or scroll Instagram, take time to connect with yourself. 

This could be doing a guided meditation, journaling five things you are grateful for, listening to soothing music, reading an inspiring book, or simply placing your hands over your heart and breathing deeply. 

This doesn’t have to take long — you only need 5 minutes — but it will allow you to feel grounded and balanced before you let in other distractions. 

That positive and calm energy will radiate out into everything you do for the rest of your day, including your workouts!

Ease back into it 

Remember that this past year has been challenging and looked different for everyone. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re finding it tough to get back into your usual workout routine. 

Have grace and patience with yourself. You’re doing amazing!

We can’t wait to see you back in the studio! We are open for classes Monday – Sunday at our Spring Street location. You can book class here


And you can always take barre and fitness classes On Demand anytime, anywhere, or at our Virtual Studio if you’re craving real-time connection from home.

Everything You Need to Know About Working Out at Home

Woman leaning on chair while doing at-home barre exercise.

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 300 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 Exercise Goals- Here’s How

Woman meditating in field with crossed legs and prayer hands.

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.

These Are The Best Ab Toning Exercises For Women

Woman doing ab exercises while balancing on exercise ball.

I’ve been on a mission ever since having twins and a c-section to find alternatives to ab exercises that don’t involve neck or lower back discomfort. Due to my pregnancy, I lost a lot of muscle strength and tone in my abdomen and found that many traditional ab exercises can be uncomfortable and ineffective. Yes, we need to work muscles to the point of fatigue to transform them, but the no-pain-no-gain approach was definitely not the path I chose to take. I wanted real results, fast — but without the potential lower back and neck strain.

It turns out there are so many effective ways to strengthen your abdominal wall and core muscles without pain. In fact, even the U.S. Army is phasing out sit-ups from the Army Physical Fitness Test.

My search for the best ab exercises began by looking at Physique 57 movements that engaged my core, but didn’t involve flexion in a way that compromised areas that were already weak. I realized that many of our glute, thigh, and arm moves are not only highly effective for the primary, targeted muscle groups, but they also help strengthen and stabilize the core muscles. I ended up losing 70 pounds, and more importantly, gained my total body strength back in less than a year. The best news? Effectively strengthening your core doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or time consuming. Here are five easy ab exercises you can do anytime, anywhere.

Get Strong, Lean, & Stable With Planks

The humble plank is a total bodyweight exercise, and is one of the simplest yet most effective moves you can do for building major core strength. Properly executed, planks not only help sculpt an amazing mid-section, they also work your entire body and boost your cardio capacity.

How to:

Your basic plank position (which stems from yoga) is simple, but good form is key to getting the best result.

  • Come into a modified push-up with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and both forearms placed firmly on the floor.
  • Make sure your elbows line up directly under your shoulders, keep your abdominal and lower back muscles engaged, and look straight down at the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • Keep your feet together with only the toes touching the floor. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds.

Strengthen Your Core With The Folded L

Standing glute exercises are a powerful way to not only lift and tone your seat, but they also rely on core engagement for proper alignment and execution. As such, you get a lot of payback for your efforts with these moves. Our method is known for our powerhouse glute exercises! This is really a do-anywhere move. Got ten minutes at your desk during lunch? There’s no better time to pulse and squeeze.

Woman leaning on a railing outside doing a Folded L exercise move, right leg planted on ground with left heel flexed towards sky.

How to:

  • Face your chair or sturdy piece of furniture and place one forearm over the other. Lean forward and let your head rest on top.
  • Walk your feet back so that they’re right underneath your hips. You should look like a capital letter L.
  • Soften both knees and then draw the right heel up towards your right glute and press your belly button in towards your spine. This is your starting point.
  • Press your leg up and down a few inches for 60 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

There are many variations to the standing glutes exercise — any Physique 57 workout you choose will feature highly effective versions of this move.

If you want to try this weight-bearing exercise at home (or wherever), not only will you strengthen your core, you’ll also increase bone density and boost your metabolism as you increase muscle tone.

Boost Your Core Power With The Curtsy

The curtsy lunge is a great lower body exercise that strengthens and stabilizes your glutes, hips, inner thighs, and core muscle groups. There’s really nothing better than a curtsy-lunge for  strong, sculpted glutes, legs, and core.

Woman in yellow workout clothes holding a curtsy lunge exercise position next to a river and city skyline.

How to:

  • Step your feet into a small V position, big toes 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • Incline your chest forward at a 45-degree angle.
  • Bend your knees and cross your right foot behind your left shoulder, placing the ball of your foot on the floor. Think of this as a turned-out lunge.
  • Now bend both knees deeply. Your right knee should hover a few inches off the floor. Your feet and knees should be slightly turned out. This is your starting position.
  • Bend your knees a few inches up and down for 1-2 minutes and repeat on the other leg.

Discover The Benefits Of The Quadruped

The quadruped, also called Bird Dog position in yoga, is amazing for stabilizing your core muscle groups and spine. While proper form is always important, this deep ab workout is simple to execute.

Woman holding a quadruped (Bird Dog) exercise pose, kneeling on all fours with right arm and left leg extended.

How to:

  • First, kneel on the floor as though you are about to start a crawl. Your knees should be placed firmly under your hips with your hands under your shoulders.
  • Engage your abs and pull your navel in towards your spine while you lift your opposite arm and leg up simultaneously. Keep the line of your body straight and elongated.
  • Make sure to avoid rotating your legs in your hip sockets. Repeat on the other side and increase your reps as you gain strength. Work to do alternating reps for 60 seconds.

Work & Tone Your Waist With The Pretzel

The pretzel is a classic barre move that sculpts the glutes like nobody’s business. This is a fantastic exercise for chiseling your waist and boosting your glutes. Small, isometric moves deliver awesome results when practiced regularly.

Woman holding a pretzel barre pose, sitting on black exercise mat with right leg bent in front and left leg bent behind her.

How to:

  • Sitting on the floor, bring your left leg in front of you with the left knee bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Bring the right leg behind you, and bend that knee at a 90-degree angle as well Turning your chest slightly left, lean forward and place one hand on each side of your left knee.
  • Draw your navel in towards your spine and lift your right leg off the floor. Point the toes of your right foot and keep them higher than your knee. This is your starting position.
  • Lift and lower your right leg a couple of inches off the floor while maintaining the position of your upper body. Aim for 30-60 reps and the repeat on the other leg.

I always encourage my students to “strive but don’t suffer.” I know that amazing transformation is possible without unnecessary pain and strain. You deserve a challenging workout that pushes your limits, but honors where you are right now. So, try a few new moves, keep up with your workout consistently, and you’ll see incredible results in no time.

My Morning Routine For Success: A CEO and Mom’s 5-Step Plan for a Purposeful Day

Steaming hot coffee being poured into a white coffee cup sitting on a tray.

Before I started Physique 57, I didn’t give much thought to creating a morning routine for success. My days on Wall Street started something like this: wake up, press the snooze button, roll out of bed, and then spend way too much time primping and preening. Finally, I’d go about the morning prioritizing whatever I deemed easiest to do. I’d ease into the day.

Looking back, I can’t believe how little effort I gave to self-care before I ran off to give the universe my very best. Once I launched Physique 57, I needed to develop into a fitness industry leader, sharpen my mind, kick productivity into high gear, and return home with full-blown energy to shower my three children with motherly love. Needless to say, I had to rethink my time allocation. I quickly realized that the solitude and quick pace of my mornings were the most critical part of the day for me to master. Now I cherish every minute of my morning routine.

By morning routine, I mean how I program the hours between 6 am and 10 am. When I follow this schedule, I can guarantee a day filled with high performance, motivation, accomplishments, meaning, and calm. Here are my current morning self-care tips for optimizing success:

Wake Up At The Same Time Every Weekday

Commit to a set waking time, no matter what. I’ve studied morning routines for years. Articles from the medical community and successful executives give the same advice: wake up at the same time every day. So, I keep the weekday alarm set to 6:00 am. And forget the snooze button. Research shows that hitting the snooze button will leave you feeling drowsy for the rest of the day.

Enjoy Some Quiet Time & Create A Plan

Before the children bring beautiful chaos to my morning, I sit at my kitchen counter and review the following plan for the day.

  1. Establish three goals, which I schedule in my Outlook calendar.
  2. Choose one precious gift in my life that I’m grateful for (also in my Outlook calendar).
  3. Review my schedule and get psyched for what’s to come.

I study all of my upcoming meetings and calls to determine my desired outcomes — intellectual, mental, and emotional. I know that I’m more likely to accomplish a goal when I have a game plan.

Learn Something New Every Day

I find that learning something new from a motivational speaker or podcast gets my brain in rapid motion before I even walk out the door. While I get myself ready in the morning, I listen to about 15 minutes of podcasts that range from funny, educational, or inspirational. A mix of the NYT Daily, Problem Solvers, Conan O’Brien, and Tony Robbins gets me jazzed for the day. I continue to listen while commuting to our headquarters if technology permits.

Make Sure To Eat A Healthy Breakfast

Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight breakfast, the most important meal of the day. Each morning I have two protein-packed hard boiled eggs, fruit, and green tea. I usually prepare my meals the night before since I don’t have much time to pick up food after school drop-offs or during the day. Also, note: research says that, after you wake up, it’s best to wait an hour before drinking caffeine. This gives your hormones a chance to balance before the caffeine hits your bloodstream.

Do The Hardest, Most Important Stuff First

Once at the office, the morning is the best time to bang out my important tasks, even the most difficult to tackle. Years ago I read that Mark Twain famously said to ‘eat a frog’ in the morning, meaning that once the frog eating is behind you, the rest of the day is remarkably easier. Daniel Pink expresses a similar sentiment in his bestselling book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

I’ve been following this morning routine for success for years and it never fails me. You may be surprised that I didn’t include exercise, especially since I own and operate a fitness business! Rather than do a pre-work workout, I take a Physique 57 class midday or in the early evening in order to clear my mind and get a jolt of energy. If you love your morning workout, just fit that into the steps outlined above.

Give these tips a try and let me know if you see a shift in your productivity and mindset. I may have a different routine years from now, but for now, this morning routine for boosting success has me raring to go, day in and day out.

The Health Benefits of Eating a Plant Based Diet

Plant based diet featuring a purple bell pepper, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and green bell pepper.

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 it 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.

How To: Post-Workout Self-Care Routine

Woman doing self-care routine of sitting in a bathtub with a glass of wine while looking out windows.

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 Barre Workout Routine

Tablet and phone screen showing video thumbnail of a woman doing a barre 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 300 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.

Button that says "Discover Physique 57 On Demand. Learn More."

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

Woman in blue workout clothes posing at a ballet barre with right hand raised and left foot kicked back and pointed.

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!)

Three women in barre workout class doing plie squats and holding pairs of dumbbells.

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.

Close-up of a person's feet standing on their tiptoes wearing black Reebok grippy workout slippers.

4. Not Using Grippy Socks or Workout Slippers

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.

Women at a barre class gripping the barre while holding a twisted legs eagle pose.

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.
Woman in a barre studio doing a seated forward bend stretch with her hands around her ankles.

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!

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 women’s health blogs. 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 exercise bands 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.

Physique 57 is a motivating and inspiring provider of non-impact, ballet-barre classes. In addition to studio locations around the world, Physique 57 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 Physique 57 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 workout class today. See how 57 minutes a day can change your life.

Barre Basics

morgan and taylor at the barre

Looking for a great barre that has everything on tap and can serve you your best body yet?

Get ready for a full-body workout that will sculpt, tone, and make you stronger than ever. What makes Physique 57 different than other barre classes? Our technique covers all the bases by combining cardio, strength training, and stretching, designed to maximize your results in less time. By using weights, your own body weight as resistance and the ballet barre, you’ll improve your core, flexibility, strength, posture, and bone density. Plus, low-impact reps go easy on your joints and bones so you can focus on getting results as safely and comfortably as possible. All this in just 57 minutes.

How does that sound?

Great! Let’s go. Here are some tips to get the most out of your Physique 57 experience.

We recommend starting with a beginner-level sculpt class, even if you’re a total pro at other workouts, barre or otherwise.

Here you’ll get familiar with all the positions, techniques, movements and form specific to Physique 57 while pulsing and sculpting to a killer soundtrack of heart-pumping tunes. Even though it’s an introduction, you’ll definitely be challenged—and it’s fun. Once you’ve got our lingo and moves down we encourage you to check out all of our other one-of-a-kind formats designed to mix up your workouts and keep you from plateauing. You’ll never get bored. And have no fear if Beginner does not work with your schedule – you can start with our Signature class. Just let the instructor know it’s your first class so you get extra-special attention.

You don’t have to have any ballet or dance experience to enjoy the benefits of Physique 57.

While you’ll spend a lot of class at the ballet barre for support and balance, you won’t be doing any pirouettes. All we ask is that you come ready to have a good time and challenge yourself.

It’s all about the core.

There’s a lot of talk out there about your core.  But, what does that even mean? Your core isn’t just your abs and it’s not just about having a six-pack (although the majority of our exercises will slim down and define your mid-line). The core is 360° of muscle that corsets your mid-section and is responsible for providing support for your spine and making you feel strong and confident in all your daily activities. Our method is unique in that we give TLC to all angles of your core throughout the entire class leaving you feeling balanced and aligned to stand tall throughout the rest of your day.

Grab your grippy socks.

Grippy socks (socks with a lightly padded bottom) or slippers complement your workout by, well, gripping onto the floor and stabilizing you as you transition between moves at the barre and moves on the floor. Full-coverage footwear, required for all Physique 57 classes, keeps you comfortable and our studios clean. Don’t worry if you don’t own any grippy socks, we have lots of fun options to choose from in our boutiques.

Free weights are your friends.

We often hear concerns from new clients that strength training will bulk them up. Great news: It’s not true! Barre classes will instead tone, giving you a longer, leaner appearance, and rev up your metabolism. When it comes to choosing weights appropriate for you, no worries, you can just ask one of our instructors, they will be happy to assist you!

Want to get started? Check out or new client offers in NYC .

 Don’t live near a studio? Try our online workouts for free. 

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 location. If you’re not in the area, don’t worry — try our online workouts especially our pre/postnatal workout collection!