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!

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.

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.

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!

Working Out After An Injury

A close-up of a doctor in a white coat putting a brace on a patient's wrist.

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

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

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

1. Stretch in the Meantime

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

2. Take It Easy

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

3. Don’t Do Nothing

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

4. Ice and Heat

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

5. Talk to Your Trainer

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

Find out More About Physique 57

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

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

woman running

barre as cross training for runners

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

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

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

cross training

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

Why Choose Barre as Cross-Training With Running?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. You’ll Get a Full-Body Workout

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

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

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

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

2. It’s Low-Impact

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

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

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

3. You’ll Build Foot Strength

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

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

strengthen feet and ankles

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

4. A Barre Workout Loves Stretching

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

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

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

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

5. You’ll Improve Your Balance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hip-opening exercises

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

7. It’s Great for Injury Prevention

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

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

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

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

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

8. You’ll Gain Mental Strength

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

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

How to Incorporate Barre Workouts Into Your Running Routine

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

barre as a compliment to cardio

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

Get Results at Physique 57

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

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

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

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

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why Biking Boosts Weight Loss

bicycle cornering

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

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

The Reasons

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

1. Biking Can Be Done Anywhere

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

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

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

2. It’s an Easy Way to Pursue HIIT

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

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

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

3. It Can Be a Rewarding Passion

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

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

4. It Can Be a Social Activity

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

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

5. It’s Good for Your Heart

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

meditating woman in sun

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

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

Meditation and Exercise

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

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

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

More Stamina

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

Depression Relief

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

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

Prostate Health

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

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

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

Muscle Building

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

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

Recovery

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

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

Should I Meditate Before or After a Workout?

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Guest Post: 10 Benefits Cycling Can Offer Women

woman cycling road

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

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

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

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

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

  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Core
  • Glutes

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

better posture from barre workouts

First Barre Class: What to Expect

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

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

1. What to Wear to Barre Class

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

  • Grippy Socks: Our studios have specialized athletic flooring. We require full-coverage socks or slippers for hygiene-sake. To keep your feet firmly planted on the floor and boost your overall stability and balance during the workout, invest in a pair of grippy socks.
  • Snug Clothing: You don’t have to wear skintight clothing to a barre class, but an outfit with a snugger fit is a smart choice. Looser clothing can restrict your movement and make it harder for your instructor to see your form to give suggestions on how to adjust your body for each exercise. Grab your favorite pair of yoga pants or capris — leave the shorts at home for this one. You can pair your comfy bottoms with a tank top or a fitted t-shirt.

clothing for barre workouts

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

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

2. Stay Mentally Engaged

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

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

feel good after exercising

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Shake

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

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

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

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

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

4. Realize You’re Working New Muscles

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

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

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

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

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

back pain

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

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

5. Head Back to Barre Class Within 48 Hours

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

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

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

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

Barre Before and After

Become the star of your own barre workout before and after photos and schedule a class with Physique 57 online. We have studios in Bangkok, Dubai, Mumbai, Westport CT, Indianapolis IN, and New York City. If you don’t live near a studio, you’re welcome to work out with us virtually. Sign up for a free trial of our online barre classes.

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

pregnant woman

barre during pregnancy

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

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

Listen to Your Body

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

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

hydration during barre workout

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

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

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

Target the Right Muscle Groups

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

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

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

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

barre kegel exercises

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

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

Learn Barre Modifications for Pregnancy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Stretches

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

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

2. Seat Exercises

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

barre glute exercises

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

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

3. Risers for Back Support

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

4. Abdominal Exercises

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

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

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

5. Keep Your Head Above Your Heart

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

blood volume during pregnancy

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

Have Fun and Reap the Benefits

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

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

Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

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

The benefits of exercising during pregnancy include:

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

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

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