Stuck. That’s probably how I’d describe my fitness regime since the summer.
Spin, swim, spin, spin, run. Probably skip that run and go for a spin instead. This isn’t a knock about spin class (because it’s my absolute favourite class to do ever) but…I’m definitely in an exercise rut. Plateau-ing my PT chum happily tells me. In her words: “You won’t make any more progress unless you mix it up”.
Easier said than done when your fave class is a) enjoyable and b) a great cardio workout…and you are a creature of habit. I love exercise, but I need it to be fun to keep me interested and for it not to feel like a chore. Makes that treadmill run pretty far down my list of exercise choices.
So, on her advice, I went on the hunt for a Spin-beating workout.
I’ve recently started working in Shoreditch again, and was told the incredible Ethos studio in Spitalfields Market could be the answer. It’s great; beautiful space, towel service, cowshed products galore, with a great range of interesting classes. Wahey! They’ve developed a schedule of classes that brings together ‘yoga, fitness and science’ – think hot rooms, pumping tunes, and HIIT, strength and flexibility training, all in a spa-like setting. Nice. My approach to my health is to find a balance of healthy body/healthy head/healthy heart; I want to work out through the week, but I want to have fun while I’m doing it. So I was into Ethos.
I signed up and had a look at what was on offer, and was excited to see that Barre was on the class list. I’d never tried it before but had heard a lot about how it’s amazing for toning, so I thought “let’s do this”. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what to expect.
Barre is a ballet inspired workout (I’m pretty slow to this party). The class at Ethos, which lasts 40 minutes, is held in a perma-warm room, to raise your body temperature, encourage detox, and help the body’s natural flexibility.
It was hard.
It was also so much fun.
Squats, jumps, lunges, plies, points. First position, second position, point and flex. JUMP!
It was a fast paced circuit of core workouts that are a sort of hybrid of ballet and pilates, in part using a BARRE to do the ballet exercises. For the little girl inside me who was told she wasn’t ballet material, I am sold hook line and sinker. I’m also acutely aware of how much I slouch.
I won’t be slouching for much longer if I keep this up – the class is a mix of isometric strength training, repeating the same static movement to focus on a set of muscles, all high energy – if you’re not squeezing something at any given moment, you’re probably doing it wrong. After the class I was dripping in sweat, my quads, calves and glutes were screaming, and I had clocked up 350 burned calories. It’s amazing to feel yourself working muscles that don’t usually get a workout, and to try something new to make working out fun. And it really was fun.
I’ve now been for two classes, and I’m convinced it’s a new favourite for me. It’s easy to see why Barre is touted as a toning masterclass, and I can’t wait to start seeing change in my legs and arms.
Till that happens though, I’m enjoying pretending to be a little prima ballerina in the name of health.