The best place to start is at the beginning, which is why this month we’re focusing on our Beginner level class for our featured Format of the Month! Our Beginner level class is perfect for clients of all levels, whether you’re brand new to the method or want to get back to basics and perfect your form. Our Executive Director of Global Talent and Training, Alicia Weihl, breaks down this format and tells us why it’s such an important part of your Physique 57 routine!
How would you describe our Beginner level class to someone who has never taken Physique 57 before?
In Beginner classes we focus on breaking down the positions and technique, explaining not only the hows but also the whys. But not to worry- it’s not bookish or boring. We keep things light with great tunes pumping, fun energetic movements, and by delivering a workout that allows for our clients to walk out feeling as though they have accomplished something amazing for their bodies, minds, and overall well-being.
It’s recommended that new clients take a Beginner level class as their first class. However, we often times see clients who have taken other barre classes don’t like to start with this class as they don’t consider themselves a “Beginner,” and are so surprised at how challenging it is! Why do we recommend Beginner as someone’s first class?
I had the very same response when taking my Physique 57 class over 8 years ago! As a professional dancer who at that time was dancing 8-10 hours per day on pointe, I thought that I would breeze through my first class. I could not have been more mistaken, and truly, I don’t believe that any other exercise regime can set you up for your first Physique 57 class. While we may have similar roots as other barre workouts, at Physique 57 we want to be your one stop shop, where you can come in for a 57-minute class and get all of the cardio, strength training, and stretching that you need for a healthy, balanced body. To that end, our classes incorporate larger, more dynamic full-body exercises. We keep moving from the first minute through the final stretches to give our clients the most efficient and effective workout possible.
What can clients expect when taking a Beginner level class?
1. You will get a full body workout. We start with a dynamic warm up with heavy weights that targets the upper body, back, and core muscles. We then head to the barre for thigh and seat exercises, work through several ab sets, and finish off with a cool down and extended stretch. The pacing is slower than our other class offerings, and we stay in the positions longer so that you can really find your form.
2. Our instructors are there to provide personalized attention. We learn your names, provide guidance to reach your goals, offer hands on feedback to both correct and to challenge, and will cheer you on through the intensity.
3. Beginner does not imply easy. Our method is based on what we call “interval overload.” You will push yourself physically through challenging strength and cardio sprints with the reassurance that a complementary stretch will follow. This combination of strength and stretch is such a healthy way to increase your fitness level and stamina, but do be warned that you will get uncomfortable and may very likely experience your muscles shaking. You can definitely feel it working, so while it might be intense in the moment, the burn is brief but the results last.
What does this class offer results-wise that makes it an essential part of a weekly class regime?
It’s an important class for clients of all backgrounds and experience levels to incorporate into their routine, throughout their journey. Just like dancers start their day with a technique class every morning to provide a foundation upon which to build and do incredible physical feats, focusing on form and proper alignment will ensure best results. The better you understand the technique, the deeper you can get in your positions, and the more effective it will be.
How often do you advise clients to take this specific class; when they are a new client and when they have been coming frequently?
In a perfect world, all clients would start out by taking at least 10 Beginner level classes. We understand that this is not always possible due to schedule restraints and is why we offer options to tailor Signature level classes to clients of all experience levels. For clients who attend classes frequently over months or even years, I recommend taking a Beginner class every week or two to slow things down and connect to the movements and positions on a deeper level.
We see clients that have been coming to Physique 57 for years still incorporating Beginner level into their weekly routines. Why do you think even our most experienced clients keep returning to this format?
Physique 57 is unique in that it grows with you over time- truly mastering the technique is unattainable because the possibilities are endless. This is the best part, though, as there are always movement nuances and positioning tweaks that can be explored day after day, year after year, to ensure that the results keep coming.
One thing very important to mention though, is that clients should not get stuck in Beginner level. When encouraging clients to take higher level classes and build upon their experience, they often reply that Beginner level is still challenging. This is true, but we have such a vast array of program offerings just waiting to be explored. Mat 57, which focuses more on your core, and F.I.T. (Focused Interval Training) are also formats that are great for newer clients to add into their routine and get up to the 3-4 classes weekly that will ensure optimal results.
Name 3 favorite moves that someone can expect in Beginner level. Why do you love them?
Push-ups at the barre: Push-ups are one of the most effective but also most challenging full body exercises in terms of alignment. So often in group fitness classes, clients are encouraged to dive in and time is never taken to break things down. We always do a set of push-ups at the barre in Beginner classes so that you can take what you learn down to the ground.
Upright thigh work with the ball: I love teaching this in Beginner classes as we can turn profile and clients can really see what’s happening. The ball is a great tool to ensure proper alignment in the legs while giving the inner thighs extra TLC. And there are tons of lively hip and arm movements that can really boost the cardio component and allow clients to jam it out.
Hairpin: We always do half of the seat work at the barre and half on the carpet in Beginner classes. This allows clients to build stamina in their standing leg but then when we come down they can completely focus on the working leg. Hairpin is a personal favorite as it really strengthens and tones the outer hip and thigh.
Do you have any tips for clients new to the Physique 57 method?
I always say that “Rome was not built in a day!” The first five classes can seem overwhelming and intimidating as you get to know our lingo and start to understand our method. Commit to those first five, and I can promise from personal experience, that the burn, results, endorphin rush, and empowering factor become addictive.
Don’t live near a studio? Check out our Beginner Barre online workout.