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Social distancing has us skipping the fitness studio—but that doesn’t mean skipping your next workout. If you used to live for your membership but now find yourself working out from your living room, or you just need something besides WFH to focus on, it’s about time you try barre.
Barre is straight-up one of the best low-impact, full-body workouts you can do for yourself—wherever you are. No dance experience required. From strengthening your core, to elongating those leg lifts, to tapping into your triceps, barre tones different muscle groups through isolated movements. Barre is gentle on the joints but tough enough to tighten. The best part about barre? It can be modified to fit any at-home environment (yeah, we're looking at all the busy moms working out bedside).
So, why should you try barre right now? Because barre during quarantine might just be your best introduction to this all-level workout.
Not sure what you need for barre class, social distancing style? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Barre instructors know you don’t have a ballet barre just bolted into the wall of your at-home office, so they have modified classes to be conducive to equipment we actually have. Your “barre” can be everything from a highchair to the edge of your couch. The main thing you need? A yoga mat to support your core, back, and booty. Some virtual classes might also use light hand weights. If you don’t have weights, you can get creative (try using a book, bag of flour, wine bottle—just don't drop it!) or opt out of using extra gear. You’re guaranteed to get a great workout without extra weight in hand. You can choose from hundreds of virtual classes.
Since being quarantined is the new norm, thousands of barre studios around the world are hosting virtual classes on Mindbody. Who said you couldn’t travel during social distancing? There’s no shortage of studios going online to get you off the couch. You can try classes from Sydney to San Antonio, London to LA. You’ll rack up those air miles without ever leaving the living room. Feeling a little overwhelmed on where to begin your barre journey?
A few of our favorite studios offering virtual barre classes include:
Roll out your mat, grab some grip socks if you want, and get ready to check out some of the best instructors in the barre biz.
Flex, fold, extend, pelvic floor—this body-toning workout has its own language. Not well-versed in barre? You’ve got nothing to fear. From plies and point to “up an inch, down an inch,” instructors will help to correct and educate you as you flow from floor to core, especially over virtual classes. If you aren’t sure what an instructor means when he or she says “tuck,” just watch and learn. Making sure you understand the actual movement is more important than remembering the word. You’ll get the barre lingo down in no time at all.
Barre is made up of ballet-inspired classes that incorporate elements of Pilates, dance, yoga, and functional training, and it has *tons* of benefits. Barre workouts include isometric strength training combined with high reps of small movements (think pulsing and lengthening). It’s a total body burn, sometimes in just 30 minutes! When you work a muscle group to fatigue in barre, it tends to tremble. That feel-good shake is where “the good stuff” (AKA the magic) happens. Where you push yourself mentally and physically to go the extra inch—or to finish out those final ten seconds. Barre instructors everywhere love when your muscles are shaking and trust us, you will, too.
If you live in a two-story walkup, the last thing you want to do is be jumping up-and-down as your neighbor's downstairs are on day 17 of self-isolation. Or as your S/O is on a conference call in the room next to you. Barre lets you break a sweat without making a ton of noise (unless you’re turning up the tunes to get through your final 60-second plank). In barre, you’ll experience the isometric strength training and small movements we mentioned earlier. Knee lifts paired with a glute press is a common combo, along with a variety of core exercises (burn out those lower/upper/middle/left/right abs, baby!), ballet squats, planks, and pulsing—a lot of pulsing. But like we said, that’s where the magic happens and where your muscles (and your mind) fight to finish that last 5, now 4, 3, last 2, and 1.
Whether you’re booking your first (virtual) barre class or taking your fourth one this week, we love to see how you stay active from the comfort of your home! Share to your Instagram stories and tag @mindbody, so we can share what working out looks like for you during social distancing. Here’s to sweating it out in our makeshift gyms and keeping safe, one day at a time.
If you’re a commitment-phobe like me, you probably understand the stress of searching for the perfect gym or studio membership. When offices were open and I commuted to and from work, I especially struggled. Do I find a studio near work or home? If it’s near my office, I can go after work, but what about weekends? I don’t want to do that commute when I don’t have to!
Then, add on the fitness type decision and try not to let your head explode. What if I get bored of cycling and want to try something else? What if I get super sore after HIIT and need a yoga class? Do I need to become a member at multiple locations?
Maybe this is just a me problem... but I don’t think it is. I mean, that’s why the Mindbody app exists in the first place—so you can try out different classes and studios, commitment-free. Although it’d be nice if one membership could cover multiple fitness types, at some point, picking your favorite and committing just makes sense.
So, how do you choose the perfect gym membership for you?
What are you looking for in a gym, studio, or health club? What do you care most about? Is it a smaller, intimate workout setting with instructors who know you by name? A larger studio with tons of fitness classes throughout the day, so you can always find one to fit your schedule? What about the staff? Are there certain qualities you’re looking for in your instructors? Do you prefer soft encouragement while you exercise, or instructors who aren’t afraid to push you harder during training? Think about your routine. Do you prefer morning classes or evening? Are you looking for 30-minute, high-intensity classes you can squeeze in on your lunch break? Or longer, slower-paced classes to wind down after work? There are so many different factors that can affect your choice in studio, and with so many options, you can get pretty specific.
What do you want from a studio that you just aren’t quite satisfied with at home? Think about your fitness goals. Maybe you get your cardio in the form of running outside, and you need some help with strength training. Maybe you invested in a fully decked out weight room in your garage when COVID-19 hit, but now you’re looking for a yoga studio to help with recovery.
With all those options out there, it can be hard to even know where to start. So, asking yourself questions like these is a good first step.
When it comes to picking a monthly membership, of course, budget is important. Sit down with your spreadsheet, or app, or whatever the hell you use to budget your monthly spending and see what you can afford to shuffle around. Wellness is an investment, not just a one-time purchase, and weaving it into your monthly budget will help you prioritize it.
Once you’ve determined how much you’re willing to spend per month, decide if you want any of that to be left over for the occasional drop-in class. You may want to spend most of it on a membership but keep a little extra for those days you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a new workout. Or maybe you’re a creature of habit, and you’re fine with just sticking to your favorite. That’s fine too! Just be sure to make those decisions early and factor them in while budgeting.
Lots of studios on Mindbody provide Intro Offers, or special deals for new clients only that allow you to try out some classes at a lower rate. For example, some studios (like VibeFlow yoga in San Diego) offer your first class free, and others give discounted rates for your first 2 weeks or a month. When I was looking for a yoga studio to join, I tried just about every Intro Offer in my area. It’s a great way to save money and try out local studios before committing. Plus, it got me out of my comfort zone! I got to try so many different types of yoga before deciding which I liked best. Every instructor, studio, and class is so unique and different—it’s fun to get a feel for all the different mini fitness communities within your own larger one.
For those that don’t have any new client deals, you can check to see if they have Last-Minute Offers. These are drop-in deals for one-time classes, that fluctuate in price depending on timing, number of spots left, etc. So basically, if there’s a class in your area that starts in an hour and still has several spots left, odds are, you’ll be able to join that class for a lower drop-in rate!
And if you’re not quite ready to head back into the studio—or if those in your area have not yet reopened—another great way to try before you buy is virtual classes. Many studios offer live stream and on demand workout classes on Mindbody, so you can get a feel for the classes and instructors from the comfort (and safety) of your home.
I know I told you to identify your needs in step one. Find out exactly what you’re looking for a studio to provide. But, when it comes to picking a membership, it’s important to be flexible (and I’m not just talking about your yoga class). While identifying your needs is a great first step to narrowing down your options, you may find that while trying out different studios, those needs totally change.
In my case, I thought I really wanted a membership to a hot yoga studio, but when I branched out and tried one that didn’t offer heated classes, I found a different kind of yoga environment I really enjoyed (and, of course, this made it really difficult to choose). On top of that, I was new to yoga and a little nervous about how I looked in class. I wanted a larger studio where I could hang in the back and try not to be noticed. But then, during my second or third week of class using an Intro Offer at a smaller studio, the man at the front desk greeted me by name, and my perspective totally changed. I went into class and laid out my mat in the front row, ready for the instructor to give me tips for improvement—and I’m better for it.
All of this to say, you never know what you’re going to find when it comes to trying new things. Have your list of wants and priorities, but don’t be afraid to tear it up and start over—and enjoy learning about yourself along the way.
So, if you’re ready to face your fear of commitment and settle down with your soulmate studio, now you have somewhere to start. Whether you’re trying to be more cost-effective, craving a community, or just need a good old-fashioned routine your life, a membership is a great way to consistently prioritize your wellness. Not only that, but you get the awesome benefit of joining a fitness community where you’ll see faces you recognize, meet some workout buddies, and be encouraged by instructors to keep improving in your practice. So where do I sign up?
Book classes on Mindbody to get started.