That Time I Barre’d Instead of Bar’ing

So I survived 60 minutes of muscle-quivering, sweat-dripping-on-the-mat, no-really-I-might-puke barre class last night.

I still maintain my best ballerina work is done via tutu’ing the bar, but I have to say this barre business might be a close second…




I met Brianna at Xtend Barre in Mission Viejo and admitted to be a little nervous.  I don’t “do” things I’m not good at.  I hate failing and looking dumb.

So obviously the thought of a brand new exercise, in a brand new studio, around brand new people gave me the heebies.






Bri showed me around (mat, ball, band, weights, barre, etc) and introduced me to Courtney, our instructor and co-founder of Xtend.  She was way friendly and cute, in a way I couldn’t even be annoyed with.

I hate people like that, for the record, but they make TERRIFIC fitness instructors.


Before I knew it a remixed Top40 playlist started and we jumped into an arm-pulsing, shoulder-burning, oh-god-why-are-1lb-weights-so-HEAVY workout.

Courtney : ‘Alright, great warm up!  Now let’s get to it.’

Pardon what?

We moved in and out of different exercises so quickly that it was impossible to get bored, not to mention I was constantly analyzing what we were supposed to be doing and trying to fix what my janky body was ACTUALLY doing.  Big perk of trying new workouts – your body can’t just go into autopilot.  I had to focus on ‘butt down’, ‘shoulders back’, and ‘abs in’ I ALMOST didn’t realize how violently my body was shaking.

(Bri’s got a great post of a lot of the common barre moves here and breakdown of a standard class here, if you’re interested)

There were four other girls of varying levels of experience in class, and honestly I never felt like the awkward new kid. Much like I learned with yoga, people are there to workout and worry about themselves, not how silly you look trying to releve your passé or if your legs are shaking so badly in plié that your knees are clanking together.

(they were. multiple times.)

Like other exercise classes – barre is totally what you make of it.  It can be as challenging as you want, and you really don’t need any coordination or grace to get through it and get a kick ass workout in.  The moves are pilates-based with some basic ballet moves (think plié, first position, etc) that the instructors walks you through, so ANYONE can do it.

I did.  Obviously that means anyone can. 

Really.  Anyone.





It really was a great workout.  I felt like I had a book of matches lit inside all of my muscles, was dripping sweat, and before I knew it, it was over.

One thing I especially loved is that it’s not a muscle-tearing strength workout (the exercises lengthen and fatigue the muscles, rather than tearing them) so I was hardly sore today.  Well, not your typical weight lifting sore, at least.  So you get long, lean muscles, and can still get your run in the next day.  Win!

If you’re interested at all in barre – find a studio and ask for a trial class.  I think you’ll dig it.

And if you’re in OC, Bri collected a bunch of really awesome local deals on all sorts of classes, including barre and yoga.  Somebody come play with me.  I’m asking Santa that my stocking be stuffed with all of them.

Sarah OUaL


18 thoughts on “That Time I Barre’d Instead of Bar’ing

  1. Sounds fun. My sister-in-law owns a super-awesome dance studio (so the opposite of any “dance moms” type of place) and does Ballet Fit classes that incorporates floor barre stuff like this.


  2. i’m glad you liked it!

    i went to meraki barre in costa mesa, which i loved but then my favorite instructor left. i’m at cardio barre right now in costa mesa (on 17th) and i like it okay, but i’m not a big fan of mixing the cardio with the barre–i prefer the muscle workout. Up next, I’m trying out pure barre on 17th.

    i absolutely love the workouts! Too bad I don’t live near Mission Viejo–I am way too lazy to drive all the way down there.


  3. I tried one of these classes and I didn’t think it was much of a workout. It took a couple of sessions to get the technique down. I didn’t want to buy into Barre workouts. Then I met one of the instructros who was a 3:10 Marathoner. She was built like a greyhound but, it must be from the barre workouts.


  4. There’s a barre studio 2 blocks from my apartment and I’ve always wanted to go! I bought a groupon for classes there, but as with all other things groupon and me, I forgot about it and it expired. Boo, now I’m kicking myself for not doing it! Great to hear you liked it!


  5. Wow, this looks really cool. I was walking after work the other day and I saw a barre studio–I had never heard about this workout before! Thanks for sharing your review–I really want to try now.


  6. Great post Sarah! Thanks again for coming with me and trying something new. You definitely have a ballet talent hiden inside, you did so good! Even better than some regular attenders! Yes, it’s definitely a challenging class and you would think the classes would get easier over tme but there’s always another level to go to.

    Barre classes have transformed my body over the past 3 months and I feel amazing after the workouts. Running was giving me knee & hip pain but after strengthening the surrounding muscles in barre classes, I feel even better while running. It’s an excellent cross-training workout for runners.

    Next, we’ll go to Pure Barre, Booty Barre, & Piloxing. . . . .so many awesome new classes!



  7. I was just reading about Pure Barre earlier today – it sounds like a great workout, if a little scary. I’m glad you tried something new! I’m horrible about talking myself out of trying new classes since I don’t to be the dorky/uncoordinated new kid.


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