How To Set Wellness Goals For Success — And Achieve Them!

woman with triumphant fist in air

So often in the fitness and wellness world, we hear about going after your goals, but we don’t often talk about how to set them. The way you go about setting your goals makes a major impact in how likely you are to achieve them.

When you create a goal — whether it’s to get stronger, feel more confident, be more consistent in your workouts, nourish yourself with healthy foods, or whatever it may be — you’re making a promise to yourself. That commitment is incredibly powerful! 

We’re sharing our best tangible and science-backed tips on how to set yourself up for success with your fitness and wellness goals. 

Start small & specific 

It may be tempting to set a goal like, “I want to work out more” or “I want to get leaner.” While we usually encourage you to think big, in this case, we want you to start small. Research shows that when your goals are specific, tailored, and set in shorter time periods, you are more likely to achieve them ¹. 

For example, start with a goal like: “I will do two Physique 57 classes this week.” When you rock two classes consistently, you can increase your goal to three and then four classes per week. Also, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals at once. Start with 1 to 3 challenging yet attainable weekly goals. As you achieve these goals, you will build confidence and be even more motivated to keep up your momentum!

Put pen to paper

Thinking about your wellness and fitness goals is just step one. Your next step is writing them down, and this one is so powerful! When you put your intentions down on paper, you are making a commitment to yourself. Writing them out will help you get clear on exactly what you want to accomplish, and you’ll be able to visualize yourself achieving it. 

Research shows that people were 42 percent more likely to accomplish their goals when they wrote them down ². So grab your journal and get writing! We suggest having a special journal dedicated to your wellness journey. Set aside time on the weekends to write out your weekly intentions. 

Use positive language 

When you jot down your wellness goals, instead of writing, “I want to meal prep every Sunday,” instead write, “I WILL meal prep every Sunday.” It’s a small shift, but makes a big difference in your mindset. If you believe it and put it out there, it WILL happen!

Get clear on your why 

Even more important than what your goal is is WHY you want to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to work out consistently every day, reflect on why this is important in your life. Does working out give you more energy to tackle your day? Does it give you more confidence and self-love? Does it keep you healthy to care for your family? Does it support your mental health? Journal on the why behind your goal, and don’t be afraid to dig deep here. 

At times when you feel discouraged or you may not feel like sticking it out, you can always come back to your why for motivation. 

Make a plan 

Now that you feel clear and confident on the what and why of your wellness goals, it’s time to think about how you’re going to make them happen. Look at your 1 to 3 weekly goals and make a specific action plan for how they will fit into your schedule. 

For example, if your goal is to prep healthy meals in advance, block out time in your calendar to grocery shop and meal prep. Think ahead about how you can make this simpler and more fun — can you order groceries in advance? Can you invite a friend over to meal prep with you? If your goal is to take a certain number of Physique 57 classes per week, book your classes in advance, put them in your calendar, and even lay out your workout clothes. The more you plan ahead, the more likely you’ll be to follow through!

Find someone to hold you accountable 

Accountability partners are everything! Share your goals with a friend, family member, or someone in the Physique 57 community, and ask them to gently hold you accountable. You can start a group text chain with your accountability buddies to check in on each other. Remember, the Physique 57 family is filled with supportive and loving friends who are here to cheer you on! Join us in the studio or On Demand to work out with us!

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/well/move/exercise-goals.html
  2. https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1265&context=news-releases

Summer Parties on The Calendar? Here’s How to Stick To Clean Eating

watermelon

Our calendars are starting to fill up again with summer parties, barbecues, picnics, weddings, and outdoor celebrations. But how do you stick to your clean eating habits when you’re surrounded by processed foods, fried dishes, chips, desserts, and lots of wine?

You CAN enjoy yourself and keep it clean at the same time. Here are 6 simple tips to stick to a healthy diet and feel your best at summer soirees.

Sculpt, pulse, and then party

Squeeze in a Physique 57 On Demand workout the morning of your event. Research shows that when you exercise in the morning, it will help curb cravings later in the day. Exercise reduces levels of the hormone ghrelin (aka the hunger hormone) and increases hormones such as peptide YY and peptide-1 that make you feel more satisfied ¹.

A morning sweat session can also help regulate blood sugar levels ², which prevents spikes and crashes that lead you to reach for sugary foods. Plus, you’ll be in a healthier mindset going into the party!

Start your day with a healthy meal

Before the party, have a nutrient-packed breakfast or lunch with a balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy greens. This will make you feel energized, satisfied, and regulate your blood sugar levels so you’re not starving going into the celebration. We suggest having a protein smoothie, overnight oats, or a big salad topped with protein before you head to the event.

Bring your own dish to share

If you’re going to a barbecue or party that you know will be filled with unhealthy options, make it a bring your own situation! Whip up your favorite healthy side dish, salad, or treat to share with the group. Your hosts will appreciate you bringing something — and you don’t even have to tell the rest of the guests that it’s healthy!

Dip into the healthy stuff

Chips and dip are a fixture at summer parties. The great news: many dips are already smart, clean choices. Guacamole is packed with healthy fats, fiber, potassium, and B vitamins from the avocado. Fresh salsa is light and can be a great source of vitamin C. Just do your best to steer clear of heavy and dairy-filled dips.

It also matters what you dip! Swap chips for sliced veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, and mini carrots. You’ll get extra vitamins from the veggies and feel more satisfied thanks to their fiber. Plus, the dip is the best part anyway!

Cheers to staying hydrated

If you’re going to enjoy a cocktail or wine (and really, wine not?!), make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of H20 before the event and have 1 – 2 glasses of water between each drink. This will help prevent a hangover and keep you feeling energized throughout the party.

If you’re skipping alcohol altogether, you can bring seltzer for some bubbles or bring a pitcher of water with muddled berries and mint for a refreshing sip.

Be easy on yourself & enjoy!

Parties are meant to be fun so please don’t be hard on yourself about what you eat or drink. Do your best to stick to your healthy eating habits, but also remember to relax and be present with your friends and family.

Have fun!

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22617393/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604526/

5 Healthy Travel Tips For Your Summer Getaways

roadtrip

Summer is in full swing and travel is picking back up, so we’re dreaming of fun and relaxing getaways! Anyone else? 

Whether you’re planning a tropical vacay, road trip, city sightseeing, or a long weekend of R&R, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. 

When you’re in a new place and out of your routine, it can be tempting to skip workouts or get off track with your clean eating. But “out of office” mode doesn’t have to mean out of wellness mode! When you’re on vacation, you want to feel your absolute best. Your fitness and self-care practices will help you feel energized, confident, and radiant as you kick back and enjoy yourself!

Check out our 5 best tips for taking your healthy habits on the road (or on the fly!). 

Work out anytime, anywhere 

The amazing thing about Physique 57 On Demand is that you can do your workouts from anywhere in the world! Crush your sweat sessions from your hotel room, Airbnb, or even take your workout outside so you can soak in the scenery. 

You can find workouts from 5 minutes up to 57 minutes, so no matter how much time you have, we’ve got you covered! Even on your busiest travel days, you can squeeze in a 15-minute sculpt session. 

A workout will help energize you, relieve stress, and boost your mood, so you’ll be ready for whatever is on your travel itinerary! Plus, research shows that exercise can cause changes to your internal body clock, which helps counter the effects of jet lag ¹. 

BYO barre…and more gear

We don’t actually mean bring a barre, of course, but you can easily use a chair or another surface in your hotel room as a DIY barre. 

You can also pack small workout gear like resistance bands and grippy socks in your suitcase. Even easier: Physique On Demand has an entire selection of bodyweight only workout routines that are effective, efficient, and extra convenient for travel. 

Explore your destination 

There’s so much to explore in a new place, whether it’s city streets, parks, mountains, or trails. Go for long walks to take in the sights or rent bikes to tour the area. That way, you can get your steps in, get your heartrate up, and see more of the neighborhood. Walking also increases blood flow to your muscles and can help alleviate soreness ², so it will feel amazing after a long flight. 

Ask for recommendations from locals or you can look up hiking spots on a website like AllTrails

Stock up on healthy snacks

Airport and rest stop food is often highly processed, fried, or full of artificial sugars. Get prepped by packing your snacks in advance. Some of our favorite travel snacks: unsalted nuts, homemade trail mix, dried fruit, and kale chips. 

Hydrated, hydrate, and hydrate some more

Hydration is always key for your health, but especially when you’re traveling. Ever wonder why you’re so thirsty and your skin is dry when you’re flying? In an airplane, the filtration system makes humidity drop drastically (to 10 – 20 percent). Low humidity causes moisture to evaporate from your body quickly, which will dehydrate you faster ³. Changes in climate and altitude at your destination can also lead to dehydration, which makes jet lag symptoms worse ⁴.

Make sure you’re traveling with a reusable water bottle and fill it up often! In general, experts recommend drinking at least 12 cups of water per day for women ⁵. And when you’re flying, aim for about 8 oz of water for every hour you’re in the air ⁶. Drink up!

Sources:

  1. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP276943
  2. https://www.wellandgood.com/is-walking-good-for-sore-legs/
  3. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/why-do-i-get-so-dehydrated-when-i-fly
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/travel-tips-ways-to-minimize-jet-lag
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women
  6. https://www.asma.org/asma/media/asma/Travel-Publications/HEALTH-TIPS-FOR-AIRLINE-TRAVEL-Trifold-2013.pdf

The Best Foods To Gain Long, Lean Muscle

With every Physique 57 sweat session, you’re forming long, lean, gorgeous muscles. And after you’ve crushed your barre workout at home or in the studio you can enhance your gains in the kitchen! Refueling with whole, unprocessed, and nutrient-packed foods is key for muscle growth and recovery. The combination of your workouts and proper nutrition is where you’ll see the most benefits! 

We’re sharing 6 of the best foods to pair with your workouts to build muscle and feel lean, healthy, and energized.

Salmon 

Salmon delivers a double dose of muscle-building perks — it’s high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. First, let’s talk protein. Each 3 oz. serving of salmon contains about 17 g of protein, and protein is a powerhouse when it comes to gaining lean muscle. Research shows that protein helps build muscle strength and lean body mass ¹ ². It also helps repair and replenish your muscles after a tough workout, so you can recover faster and get back after it at the barre ³. Here’s how it works: When you’re rocking a workout, your muscle fibers break down. Protein’s amino acids allow your body to synthesize new cells, which repair the damaged fibers and help build new muscle ⁴. 

Salmon is also an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to protecting your heart health, omega-3s have been shown to maintain bone health and increase muscle gains ⁵. 

Eggs

Eggs also pack a lot of high-quality protein — about 6 g per egg. They are particularly high in the amino acid leucine, which has been linked to building muscle and enhancing post-workout recovery. Leucine is essential for regulating muscle protein synthesis, and it may be the key amino acid for optimizing muscle mass ⁶. 

According to research, you may get the most benefits from whole eggs. A study showed that people who consumed whole eggs had more muscle gains than those who opted for egg whites ⁷. This may be thanks to the cholesterol in yolks — a study shows that cholesterol can contribute to muscle building by enhancing your body’s inflammatory response ⁸. If you’re worried about cholesterol for heart health, it’s important to know that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to raise LDL cholesterol (aka the “bad” kind) the way other foods like trans and saturated fats do ⁹. Still, if you do have heart disease or diabetes, it’s smart to watch your overall intake. 

Quinoa 

While protein-rich foods are important for muscle gains, getting plenty of complex carbs is also essential. Carbs get a bad rap, but if you choose the right kind, they are a major way to feel energized and gain lean muscle. Slow-digesting complex carbs provide the energy your body needs to fuel your workouts and recover ¹⁰. Cooked quinoa, which is actually a seed and not a grain, delivers about 40 g carbs per cup. 

Plus, quinoa is an amazing plant protein for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking to lead a more plant-based lifestyle. Another perk: Quinoa is high in magnesium, which plays an important role in the function of your muscles and nerves and helps protect your bones ¹¹. 

Spinach 

Popeye was on to something! Spinach is a great source of glutamine, an amino acid that is important for muscle growth ¹². Research also shows that glutamine can help your muscles recover faster and soothe soreness post-workout ¹³.

Beets 

This root veggie contains a molecule that enhances muscle power. In a study, people who drank beet juice pre-workout saw an approximately 13% increase in muscle power. The perk comes from the nitrate, an ion found in beets and leafy greens like spinach. When you take in nitrate, it is converted to nitrite and then becomes nitric oxide, a molecule that boosts muscles and may enhance blood circulation ¹⁴. 

Almonds 

In addition to their high magnesium and protein content (16 g per serving), almonds also deliver phosphorus, a mineral that helps the body make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells. Phosphorus also helps your body make a molecule called ATP, which leads you to use carbs and fat for energy during exercise ¹⁵. 

Eat up and enjoy! We’ll see you at the barre!

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25169440/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22958314/
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/112/2/303/5828186
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381813/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25285409/
  6. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2009&issue=01000&article=00013&type=abstract
  7. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/106/6/1401/4823156
  8. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109173717.htm#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20those%20with%20higher,in%20the%20participants%2C%20Riechman%20said
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468
  10. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
  11. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC426340/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25811544/
  14. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/14/448314966/why-you-might-want-to-be-drinking-beet-juice-at-the-gym
  15. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002424.htm

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/

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

mental health meditation

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

Move your body

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

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

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

Deepen (or start) your meditation practice 

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

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

Nourish yourself 

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

Have your moment in the sun

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

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

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

Grab your journal 

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

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

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

Disconnect to connect 

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

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

Dance it out

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

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

Sources

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

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/

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.

Meditation Can Improve your Exercise Goals- Here’s How

Woman meditating in field with crossed legs and prayer hands.

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

Health Benefits Due To Meditation

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

Studies Show…

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

Cognitive Mindfulness

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

Exercising Your Mind To Achieve Your Goals

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

Last Thoughts…

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

The Health Benefits of Eating a Plant Based Diet

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

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

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

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

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

Eating Well For Yourself

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

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

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

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

Your Food Coach Has Your Back

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

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

Tradition, family pressures, travel, and just … life will inevitably throw some curveballs your way as you grow. Consider it grist for the mill — a little resistance can make your commitment that much stronger in the long run. But sometimes, you might need someone to remind you of that when you really just want to ditch your plan and eat a bacon cheeseburger already. After all, a healthy diet is all about what you can commit to without torturing yourself as well.

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

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

Food For Thought…

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

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

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

Guest Post: 5 Reasons Why Biking Boosts Weight Loss

Man in all black biking along the side of a road along a curve.

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.

Why is Biking Good For Weight Loss?

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 regularly 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.

Interested in learning more? Click to read more benefits of cycling.

Guest Post: 10 Benefits Cycling Can Offer Women

Woman wearing white bike shorts and a pink and blue jersey cycling on a red bike along the side of a 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.” Whether you choose to do a Physique 57 workout or go for a bike ride, increasing your physical activity will positively benefit your health!

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.

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.

Interested in learning more about biking? Click to read 5 Reasons Why Biking Boosts Weight Loss.

9 Ways to Be Your Healthiest, Happiest Self by Physique 57 Recipe Creator, Healthy with Nedi

Two women facing a body of water with their arms happily outstretched.

Food and fitness are crucial tools in becoming healthy and happy, but they are not the only activities that matter for overall wellness. Your thoughts and how you interact with others are also super-important in the journey towards the BEST.YOU.EVER

Below, I’ve listed the top nine activities and commitments that keep me happy — don’t worry, they still include delicious food and lots of Physique 57 workouts. Try incorporating these simple practices into your life, and you’ll be surprised by how much happier you feel!

Start Each Day With a Grateful Heart

When you’re always chasing that next big goal, it can be easy to forget all the great people and things you have in your life. Stop for a moment each day to count your blessings.

Woman facing the camera holding a weight next to text saying "Stop for a moment each day to count your blessings."

It’s a simple thing to do, but being consciously grateful can have a tremendous effect on your mental health. Science has shown taking time to reflect upon things you are grateful for can improve many aspects of your life, including:

  • Physical health — Making a conscious effort to be grateful can help boost your immune system, improve your heart health and lower your blood pressure.
  • Mental health — Stress can a take a serious toll on your mental health. Actively feeling gratitude can help ease the symptoms of depression and improve your levels of happiness.
  • Your relationships — Gratitude helps us take stock of the relationships that really matter in our lives. If you act on your gratitude, you are showing the people you care about just how much they mean. Your relationships are more likely to flourish when you maintain them. Gratitude can even help you change your daily attitude and form new relationships.
  • Sleep — Sleep is a huge factor in health and happiness. If you aren’t getting enough sleep or quality sleep, you are going to struggle throughout your waking hours. Gratitude helps get a deeper, more restful sleep. Sleep also helps you be more receptive to positivity. A study of sleep-deprived college students found the subjects remembered 81 percent of negative words, but just 31 percent of positive words.
  • Self-esteem — If you are grateful for what you have, you can eliminate a lot of time spent comparing yourself to others. When you are satisfied with your own life, you tend to have healthier levels of self-esteem.

Consume Foods and Drinks That Nourish the Body and Soul

When you are wondering how to be the healthiest person you can be, what you eat is a great place to start. It’s really important to nourish your body from the inside out. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to be happy. Eating healthy is one of the key components to a healthy lifestyle, which translates into more energy and a lower risk of health problems like obesity or heart disease. A recent study even found adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can even make you happier.

A bunch of carrots laying on a picnic table next to text saying "It's really important to nourish your body from the inside out."

Committing to a healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to take the joy out of eating. Keep in mind a few tips for eating healthy without sacrificing everything you love about food and drink.

  • Manage your portions.
  • Eat a wide range of different food types.
  • Always remember to eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit your intake of trans fats and added sugar.
  • Enjoy indulgences like sweets and alcohol in moderation.
  • Drink lots of water!

Once you start focusing on healthy eating and drinking, you will be surprised how much room you have to experiment and find dishes you love. Some of my favorite recipes are sweet potato and white bean soup, zoodles with lentil Bolognese, warming apple cider and my special super immune-boosting soup.

Learn to Love Your Skin

Your skin deserves some daily care and pampering. First things first, always remember to protect your skin from the sun. Wear hats, and always use sunscreen. Too much sun can damage and prematurely age your skin, and put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Healthy lifestyle choices like sticking to a healthy diet, not smoking and managing your stress levels are also great ways to help keep your skin looking great.

Text: "Eating healthy, not smoking, and managing your stress helps keep your skin looking great."

While you can make those healthy choices every day, you can show your skin a little extra love. Try a refreshing face mask. Pick out an indulgent body lotion. Choose a product — one without harsh chemicals or abrasive materials — that will help you feel more beautiful in your own luminous skin.

I swear by a special skin routine, and I’m going to let you in on my secret. Every morning before I get in the shower, I dry-brush my skin, starting on my hands and feet and brushing toward my heart. Dry-brushing has been practiced by ancient civilizations all over the world and benefits your lymphatic system, increases blood flow and makes your skin look beautiful by exfoliating and reducing cellulite. Remember to use a soft-bristle brush, so you don’t irritate your skin.

Think Positive Thoughts

It turns out the eternal optimist has a lot of advantages in life. Positive thinking helps you take on life’s challenges with a smile on your face, and it can help you stay healthier in the long run. One study found optimistic women have a significantly lower risk for several different leading causes of death, such as:

  • Infection — 52 percent lower risk
  • Stroke — 39 percent lower risk
  • Heart disease — 38 percent lower risk
  • Respiratory disease — 38 percent lower risk
  • Cancer — 16 percent lower risk

Positive thoughts may or may not come naturally to you, but they can be a learned habit. Start each day with one positive thought. Each time you feel a wave of negative thoughts crowd in, stop. Take a moment to think of one positive thought to counterbalance those. The more you work on positivity, the more it becomes a part of the fabric of your everyday life and outlook.

The mind is a very powerful tool. Create positive visions for your life, partner and work. Then, watch your dreams be drawn to you.

Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Higher

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said you are a collection of your five closest friends, and I believe it! A strong circle of friends who bring out the best in you is crucial to being the best you and loving yourself for it.

Friendships can be hard to maintain when you are a busy adult, but that doesn’t mean those relationships become any less important. Friends are the people who laugh with you and help pick you up when you are down. You might see some friends multiple times a week, or you might have to rely on long-distance video chats. You could even invite your friends to work out with you! If you want that person in your life, you can always find the time to maintain the relationship.

Do not be afraid to make new friends. Talk to your coworkers. Start a hobby that exposes you to new people. When you find people who fit into your social life and help lift you higher, you will wonder why you were ever afraid to go out and find that kind of friendship.

Let Go of All Toxic Relationships

Up to 89 percent of people have some kind of toxic relationship in their lives. That figure may seem shockingly high, but remember, a toxic relationship does not have to be a romantic one. The toxic relationship in your life can be with a friend, a coworker or even a family member.

First, take a step back and try to identify any toxic relationships in your life. Some of the key signs of this kind of unhealthy connection include:

  • Discomfort or fear — Do you find yourself worrying about the next time you will see someone? Do you feel like you have to be careful not to upset this person? If you feel like someone in your life has controlling or upsetting behavior that constantly puts you on edge, your relationship with this person is likely toxic.
  • Constant arguments — Disagreements in any relationship — romantic or otherwise — are inevitable, but arguing should never be the primary interaction with someone you consider an important part of your life. If you are constantly fighting with someone, consider if there is a way to change the relationship, or simply tell yourself it is alright to let this person go.
  • Lack of communication — Do you feel like you can’t talk to someone in your life? Communication is a core part of any relationship. When you can’t share your thoughts with someone, or they refuse to share with you, the relationship is going to struggle.
  • Resentment — Resentment is a powerful emotion that can sour any relationship. If you feel that emotion building up and directed at someone in particular, consider changing that relationship or letting it go entirely. Likewise, if someone constantly resents you, consider moving on from that relationship.

Negativity will only weigh you down. Once you let go of the toxicity in your life, you will notice how much better you will start to feel. Remember, you deserve the best.

Text: "Once you let go of the toxicity in your life, you'll notice how much better you'll begin to feel."

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Social media can be so much fun, but it can also be a trap for comparing yourself to others. Everyone is posting pictures of their latest vacation, their perfect significant other and wild nights out with their friends. Remind yourself those pictures never tell the whole story. People might have had to work long hours for months to go on that vacation. No one has a perfect significant other. That night out with friends might be the first one someone has had in months.

Whether you find yourself making comparisons to the people you see on social media or people you regularly see in person, stop. Making those comparisons is unproductive and can be downright unhealthy. No two people are alike. When you compare yourself to someone else, the playing field is extremely uneven. The two of you are living in different circumstances with different strengths and weaknesses.

Instead of measuring your success against someone else’s, set personal goals and work to achieve them. When we stop comparing ourselves to others, we are more open to being grateful for what we have and proud of what we have achieved.

We are our own harshest critic, but you have the power to do something about that. Focus on your strengths and embrace your imperfections. There is no one else on this planet exactly like you — you are one of a kind!

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Your comfort zone is the place you feel the safest and the most at ease, but it’s also a place where you can get stuck. If you never step outside that zone, you shut yourself away from new experiences and challenges. When you push yourself to try something new, you can surprise yourself with just how capable you are.

Four people squating at the barre with text saying "Try something new & surprise yourself with how capable you are."

Start small. Try a new type of food. Push yourself to try a new type of exercise. As you regularly work small steps outside of your comfort zone, you can build toward something bigger. Maybe you can take that solo trip you have always dreamed about, but were too afraid to take. Maybe you will run a marathon. The more you try, the more you find you can do.

Of course, pushing yourself too hard can be a bad thing. Find the right balance that helps expose you to new things in a way that builds your confidence and expands the boundaries of your comfort zone. When you accomplish something you never thought you could do, it gives you more confidence in all areas of your life. Try doing four days in a row of Physique 57 workouts. Notice how it makes you feel like you can take on the world.

Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness is easier said than done, especially when it comes to ourselves. We make mistakes and spend countless hours berating ourselves for them. This habit does little to help us become happy, but it is a hard one to break. Here are few ways you can try to make forgiving yourself a little easier.

  • Leave the past in the past — Regrets are a part of life, but it dwelling on what has happened in the past does not help us in the present. Acknowledge that you made a mistake, and then start looking forward instead of backward.
  • Realize mistakes are inevitable — When we make mistakes, we replay everything leading up to it over and over in our heads. How could we have avoided that error? We probably have a lot of different answers to that question, but the real answer? Not all mistakes can be avoided. No matter how careful we are, we will slip up. Know mistakes happen, acknowledge them and move on with your life.
  • Learn from your mistakes — Instead of obsessing about a mistake, treat it as a learning experience. Even though you made a mistake, you learned something from it. You know how to avoid that same mistake in the future. When you learn something, a mistake is worth making.

It’s important not to be too hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s OK. Just make sure to learn from your missteps and apply the lessons later on.

Healthy life choices and happiness go hand in hand. Try out these tips to see what works for you. Remember, you are responsible for your own happiness!

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, 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!