Lezbehonest....sweating your tush off for an hour (AKA an eternity) on the elliptical is so yesterday.
Though I don't talk much about fitness on this space, that doesn't mean I'm not an active little chickpea behind the scenes! We all know that exercise is critical not only for optimizing physical and mental health, but also for greatly reducing the risk of numerous chronic diseases, from cancer and diabetes to osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Working out is SO much more doable when it's enjoyable, right? Right.
That's why I love Barre3.
What Is Barre3?
Soooo what is this lovely ballet business all about? Barre3 evolves the dancer's workout by combining "the grace of the ballet barre with the wisdom of yoga and the strength of Pilates." The workouts are always unique, focusing on transforming the body to one of equal strength, balance and flexibility. Each sixty minute class features functional movements that target the entire body, including leg work, seat work, combo work (arms and lower body), core work and stretching. Did I mention the fabulous music? I couldn't do all those leg lifts without it! There are moments in Barre where I feel completely relaxed and there are moments where my legs are on fire and my butt feels like it might fall off. It totally pushes you to your limit.
That's why I love Barre3.
Did you know Barre3 has studios all over the world?! If you don't have a studio near you or can't afford it, you can subscribe to their online workouts for $15 per month. I'm fortunate enough to have a studio within ten minutes of my apartment, AND my amazing roommate Ally is an instructor! I really do look so forward to these classes. It has become part of my routine, and I feel noticeably better mentally and physically because of it.
The best part about Barre is how individualized it is. The instructors are all beyond friendly, and they always stress the importance of making each class "your workout" and finding "your edge." The lovely ladies at Barre push me to sink one inch deeper than I ever though my body was capable of. Barre is ALL about the inch. Lower an inch, lift an inch. That tiny inch, that controlled movement is what sculpts and shapes the body. It may not sound tough to stand in a sumo squat with a ball between your legs going up an inch and down an inch for a minute, but believe me, it ain't easy!
Group fitness is an amazing way to challenge yourself. I always reflect on how much harder I work when I'm in a room full of strong people doing the same movements I am instead of me doing them on my own. Maybe it's the competition. Maybe it's knowing that if the rest of these people can bust out ten more reps, so can I! Maybe it's the motivation stemming from surrounding yourself with hard-working, determined, active women. Can you go a little deeper? Can you firm in your core just a bit more? Hellz yes I can!
It is Barre that has helped me find my edge.
The Spring Challenge
Barre was kind enough to gift me the thirty-day Spring Challenge package, which involves committing to four studio classes and two 10-minute online workouts per week along with following the whole foods nutrition plan. (I must add that I'm obsessed with the water bottle.)
Barre's nutrition philosophy is quite similar to my own--eat whole, unprocessed foods in appropriate quantities. While Barre isn't plant-based, they do have loads of vegan options. The nutrition plan for the Challenge isn't super difficult or specific; it's basically just trying a couple new recipes each week in addition to eliminating gluten, dairy (except full fat yogurt), alcohol, coffee and refined sugar (maple syrup is fine). You can find Barre recipes online or on the Barre3 app. I just bought it, and I personally love it because I can find the recipes more quickly than searching online. The app also provides daily wellness tips, workouts, class scheduling, and grocery lists.
My experience thus far with eliminating gluten hasn't been hard, but it hasn't been super easy either. As a disclaimer, I am not at all against gluten and have no plans to hop on the gluten-free bandwagon. However, I thought that eliminating it for a month would help me better relate to the struggles of patients who suffer from celiac disease, and it has definitely given me a new appreciation for the difficulties involved. The only gluten I really eat is in whole-wheat crackers and Ezekiel bread (unless I'm eating out). Since I don't want to buy gluten-free bread, I basically just haven't been eating bread. That said, I go through a loaf of Ezekiel in like a few months, so I don't even eat that much in the first place. I do love a piece of toast with my eggs, though!
You all know that I don't eat much dairy, either. I drink almond milk and I eat Greek yogurt and cheese occasionally (mostly only when I'm out to dinner). So eliminating dairy has been easy. Coffee, on the other hand, has been tough. I probably drink a cup maybe every other day, but I definitely like the caffeine pick-me-up here and there. Coffee makes my stomach hurt and makes me have to run to the bathroom a million times, so being "forced" to abstain from coffee has kind of been a blessing. I probably shouldn't ever drink coffee. My body doesn't like it, but my taste buds do. I'm definitely going to drink cappuccinos galore in Europe, but I may give coffee up entirely after that and just stick to tea.
I've cheated. A lot. When I went home last weekend, my friend's mom made homemade mac and cheese. Then my friends all wanted to get Jeni's. I made my mom little quiches with mozzarella cheese. I ate cookies with sugar. Not eating certain things can be really hard to handle in social situations. Since it was my birthday, I let it go and ate what I wanted last weekend. But now that I'm back in Columbus, I'm trying to stick to the plan. Really, I'm just trying to eat fewer "treats." I'm still drinking alcohol when I go out on the weekends, and there's cane sugar in the dark chocolate I eat. I'm not perfect by any means. It's all good.
So far I've made the dark chocolate donut holes (which are incredible), easy red bean and quinoa chili and the Barre3 bars. Everything has been totally delicious and easy to prepare. It's always nice to have recipes at your fingertips to scroll through without having to peruse through a bajillion blogs. You can also subscribe to the Barre3 recipe index for $10 per month.
Meet Me at Barre3!
You haven't even heard the best part yet! I'll be partnering with Barre3 next week and offering up some tasty samples in the Upper Arlington studio! Next Tuesday, May 20th, I'll be doing a recipe tasting and meet-and-greet night at the studio from 5:15pm to 7pm. On Friday, May 23rd, I'll be doing a tasting again bright and early from 6:50am to 11am.
I would LOVE to meet you all and share some goodies! If you'd like to attend the meet-and-greet but aren't ready to sign up for a package, you could sign up for an individual class for $20. As a new client, you can also sign up for three classes for $45.
See you at the barre!
Barre3 gifted me the Spring Challenge package. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.