Today, we are jumping back into discussion on my fitness journey with Part II. If you missed part I, you can feel free to check it out HERE. This blog post discusses some of the back story as to why I had to adjust my fitness routine and how I ended up at barre in the first place. Today, I want to talk about how barre has impacted me even further than I could imagine and all of the amazing benefits it has brought me.
Part I of this blog post ended with me talking about how I ended up at barre as a result of low back pain and needed to continue strengthening my deep core muscles. While this is why I originally sought out barre, I never would have realized all of the other added benefits it would also bring me and how it would change my body so much, which is what I wanted to discuss today.
To start, Bar Method is one of the only pilates type classes I have taken that actually takes time throughout class to focus just on breathing and firing up your deep core muscles. What I didn’t realize prior to my pregnancy was how pivotal these muscles are in essentially ALL workouts you could possibly do. On top of that, I only thought pregnancy could affect these muscles, but even if you haven’t had a baby, you could have weakened core muscles, which is why it is so important to focus on them and strengthen them. If you think about it, your core is what stabilizes your entire body, so if you’re active and aren’t giving it the proper attention it needs, you could be doing a major disservice to your body. For my low back pain, keeping these muscles strong was the most important thing, so through this workout I have decreased my back pain significantly. An added benefit of working on those deep core muscles? Six pack abs haha.
The next major benefit I have noticed from barre, is an increase in flexibility. Just this weekend I was taking class and a girl commented on my flexibility. After class we got to talking, and I told her I attributed it all to taking barre! When I started barre I could barely touch my toes, now I am working on my split stretch. I still have a ways to go with my flexibility, but I never would have thought I would be even close to something like that. Flexibility is pivotal as you age. It can help with general aches and pains, it can help maintain stability, and it will prevent injuries as you continue to stay active throughout your life. Flexibility is especially important for those of us that sit through most if the day to help stretch out muscles that get contracted and shortened from sitting in a chair all day.
Another major benefit of barre that I feel is extremely important for women with stressful lives, is that it is low impact, which means that it works to calm your nervous system instead of triggering it. This is especially important if you have a stressful job, home life may be imbalanced, or you have a lot of stress in your life in general. High impact workouts like Hiit, running, cycling, etc can actually raise your cortisol which can be good if you are needing some adrenaline boost, but too much cortisol (or stress hormone) can actually cause women, especially, to GAIN weight. Another major benefit of low impact workouts is it being low impact on your joints. Long term many forms of exercise can wear and tear on your joints causing pain and inflammation. Low impact workouts help to improve joint movement, range of motion, and flexibility making them better on your body long term.
For me personally, prior to getting pregnant I was doing a TON of HIIT style workouts. I would burn over 600 calories, but my weight would stay exactly the same. Looking back, I realized I was just building muscles on top of the fat which I attribute to my own personal cortisol. We live stressful lives and as women, I think it is pivotal to look back at your workout and ask yourself, “Did that workout wipe we out or did that workout give me energy and motivation?” If you are feeling wiped out, you may benefit from incorporating more low impact workouts into your life. For Bar Method specifically, in addition to being low impact, their workouts are catered to specifically firing up certain muscles groups that help to rev up your metabolism and keep it fired up all day, which means that not only do I walk away feeling energized and rejuvenated, but I also know that I will be burning fat all day after taking a barre class. This was pivotal for me to lose the last 5 lbs of my baby weight.
I would say the last major change I noticed from barre, was the change in my actual physique. All of these benefits I have talked about above have helped to mold my body into a totally different shape, making my body more longer and leaner than it has ever been before. This is because, in addition to focusing on flexibility, Bar Method also focuses on posture and lengthening of the muscles through their exercises. When you lengthen and strengthen at the exact same time, your muscles become longer and leaner versus short and bulky. This essentially helps to create that beautiful dancers’ body so many of us crave. While I’ve always been tall, I never really felt like I had a dancer’s body. After doing barre for about a year now, I feel like I have slowly changed my body to more of a dancer’s because of the lengthening work Bar Method incorporates.
Truthfully, I could keep going on all of the amazing benefits I have noticed from Bar Method. There are so so many and I truly couldn’t feel luckier to have found such an amazing workout and community within it all. There are so many other wonderful benefits I could deep dive on, but these are definitely some of the biggest ones.
I encourage you to definitely try a barre workout if you haven’t and see what you think. It can take minute to get some of the exercises down and to begin focusing on your core while doing the moves at the same time, but I think if you try it you will see why I love it so much.
Happy Tuesday babes!