How Barre Workouts Boost Your Mood & Bust Stress

Silhouette of a person jumping in front of a sunset and mountains.

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. 

1. Exercise 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. 

2. Exercise 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. 

3. Brings your focus to the Barre 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!

4. Barre 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!

5. Exercise 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. 

6. Connects you to a workout 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!

7. And most importantly…Physique 57 is 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

Woman does a barre workout on all fours with one leg bent and pointed towards the ceiling, in front of a yellow backdrop

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

A woman kneeling on her living room floor while punching the air during an at home workout

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

A woman sitting on the floor in workout clothes while smiling at the camera

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

A group of people doing an outdoor workout on yoga mats while facing the NYC skyline

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. 

1. Being outside 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.

2. Time in nature 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. 

3. The outdoors strengthen our 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!

4. 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. 

5. 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!

6. Being in nature 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

Closeup of a person doing a workout routine with their arms outretched while holding pink dumbbells.

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. In fact, home workouts can be almost just as effective as regular workouts when done properly.

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, working out with 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 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 recovery is key to optimal progress as recovery is integral to getting the killer results you want most.

1. 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, proper post-workout recovery 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. After all, consistency is key.

2. Self-Care And Optimal Results

But what about when it comes to getting results, and why is post-workout recovery so important after a training session?

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 when 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 barre 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 barre 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 barre 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 workout class 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, visit us in the barre studio, or work out with us on demand. Try our program 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—with our Barre 101 series. Have more words of wisdom to share? Post them in the comments below!

How to Work 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 workout 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 barre studios today or work out On Demand with us.