I wrote this post over a year ago, in 2018, but I never published it because I thought that maybe it was too negative. But this was my experience in a barre class and if you’ve had an experience like this one, you’re not alone:
“The classes blend cardio, strength training, flexibility, balance and core conditioning in a total body workout that targets the hips, glutes, abs, and arms.”
-Jodi Helmer WebMD
A big part of my New Year’s Resolutions was to focus on finding a workout routine that I genuinely enjoy doing. I like workouts that make me sore the next day. I enjoy tough workouts where I have to struggle a bit.
Just a little background into my history before I jump into the barre class experience. When I was twelve my mom signed me up for a cross country running club. That was horrible. Whatever, I got too old for the club and was both relieved and upset I couldn’t continue it. The next year I was in high school and we didn’t even have to run the mile.
My mom was obsessed with the YMCA and one particular yoga instructor. Marjorie ran a ‘fitness yoga’ class on Mondays and a regular yoga class on Sundays. I remember my mom asking Marjorie, “What’s the difference between this class and that class?” And Marjorie had no idea they had different titles and laughed while she answered, “My mood!” We took yoga with Marjorie and pilates with Connie two or three times a week at the Y down the street.
Now, yoga with Marjorie is a unique experience and she ruined me for any other yoga class. She was tyrant in the best way. Have you ever had a yoga instructor come over to you while you think you’re nailing a pose, grab your hips, twist you to the correct pose, and adjust your stance? I hadn’t before her. She constantly had her hands on us, correcting our posture until we were doing everything right. One class there was a pregnant woman and she stood next to that woman the entire time showing her how to do the poses with the least amount of strain, while still yelling at the rest of us, “Keep the girls off the floor!”
After four or so years doing yoga with Marjorie, I was old enough to go to the machines (elliptical, treadmills, stationary machines) by myself! I quit yoga, upgraded to Zumba, and started doing hour long elliptical workouts. Since then we don’t go to the Y anymore, I go to Planet Fitness and do at home workouts.
Alright, back to the barre class. Maybe it was the instructor, maybe it was the location, maybe it was the class, there are so many factors to an in-person class but my experience was… well, I’m never going to take a barre class again.
I thought that a barre class would be more focused on, ya know, the barre. But we only used the ballet barre for the last fifteen or so minutes of the hour long class. And that would be fine if I anticipated a hybrid yogalates class.
Also, when you take a yoga class the instructor usually makes sure that you know how to do the motion and demonstrates in front of everyone. The instructor for this class would describe the movement and not in regular terms. She wouldn’t say, “Alright, now raise your hips into a bridge.” She would say, “We go from here to our shoulders and push your hips up and move your hands down.” And I’d be like… do what…? And I would look at Sara, who’s also like, do what? And then I would look the other way the woman next to me is awkwardly trying to do a bridge but you can’t tell from looking at her. So I would sit up to see what the instructor is doing and she’s just sitting on her mat watching us.
The third or fourth time I sat up to see what she was doing I got really angry. Don’t just sit there and watch us struggle, either demonstrate the motion or come help us.
It’s important to note that this was a beginner barre class, I didn’t show up to some advanced class expecting the instructor to slow down or help new people.
By the time we got to the barre the instructor was obviously aggravated with me because she would describe a motion… Again, not in regular terms, it wasn’t, “We’ll be doing squats in relevé.” Or even, “And we’ll be doing turned-out pliés in relevé.” It was, “Hold the bar and in a sweeping motion bring your hand down to the floor, you don’t have to hold the bar, drive the balls of your feet into the floor, keep your knees light!” Again, I’m like… do what? And Sara’s like… Uhh… And the woman next to me is kind of doing squats… So I would stop, and turn around, and she would AGAIN just be standing there watching us.
Aside from all of this, the boards of the floor at this facility were lifting so it kept pinching my toes. The barre was not properly secured to the wall so it wiggled any time someone grabbed it.
Okay, I feel better now that I’ve gotten all this off my chest. I have no intention of taking another barre class at this facility and probably never taking another barre class again…
Wow! I completely forgot about this barre class. It’s April of 2019 now and no, I never went back to take another barre class. And I have not sought out any other barre classes. I still just like going to the gym, or playing catch at the park, or taking the dogs for a walk.
Until Next Time – Xx