Life after the marathon has been great. I took most of the entire first week off of any exercise at all, outside of nightly walks with Mike and the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge. This week I switched it up completely and have started doing the P90X strength training workouts with Mike (Chest and Back Monday, Shoulders and Arms Thursday and we plan to do Legs and Back Sunday). I also joined the Movin Shoes group run on Monday for three super slow but fun miles with my friend Vicky and Asia.
But my favorite things this week have been trying out completely new workouts! First, I took advantage of a local studio’s first 6 classes free and took my first hot yoga class last night (more on that later). Then, this morning I tried a really fun new workout called Xtend Barre with my good friend Allison. I knew it was a barre class so I figured it was similar to Dailey Method, which I was doing regularly last late summer/early fall. However, it was much different and I actually really loved it!
The class is very dance and cardio oriented but it is constantly challenging your muscles. It’s a great mix of both cardio and strength training and it so fast moving that you don’t have a second to think about anything other than the moves and the class literally flies by. According to the website, it is a blend of pilates and ballet. The creator and owner is a professional dancer as well as a pilates instructor. From the website:
In an effort to provide cross training and seek better results for her clients, she began to incorporate dance elements and music into her Pilates sessions in order to offer challenges in coordination, rhythm, and cardiovascular fitness. By raising her Pilates clients to a vertical position, and diversifying their range of motion, Andrea found greater results by offering Xtend Barre than by maintaining a routine of Pilates alone. Most importantly, her clients were gaining energy, enjoying elements of dance, and having fun!
First let me clarify that I’m not a good dancer. As a child I loved to dance and took tap and jazz classes, but I was never the one to get a solo, if you know what I mean. I am not very coordinated, but I do know how to follow instructors and I feel like I am a good student. I don’t have great rhythm (I distinctly remember in 9th grade when it clicked that you are supposed to move with the beat of the music – from 6th-8th grades I just kind of moved around aimlessly, not following any sort of beat or rhythm), so honestly the hardest part for me was the warm-up which included some more “dancy” moves. The rest of the class definitely required some sort of rhythm and coordination, but it wasn’t too demanding. I didn’t feel like a complete dope in class even though it was my first time (such as I felt the first time I did Turbo Kick Boxing – I learned to absolutely love that class but it was pretty embarrassing at first). At the same time, I also didn’t feel like I mastered the class, which is exactly how you want to feel the first time you try something.
By the end of class I was dripping sweat and I felt like I got a great strength training workout. The class has portions dedicated to each muscle group, from upper body at the beginning (with super light weights – 1 lbs!), to legs and tush in the middle and end, and wraps up with core work. However, it really feels like a full body workout the entire time. We used stretch bans for portions of the class and those were particularly useful in creating serious burn to my butt! There isn’t nearly as much stretching as Dailey Method and there isn’t as much holding and tucking. I think that taking both Dailey Method and Xtend Barre would actually be a great compliment since you could get the stretching and serious core work at TDM and the cardio and extra resistance training at Xtend- it’s too bad they don’t have a dual pass!
For now I plan to join Mike in wrapping up his final 5 weeks of P90X but I would definitely consider buying a monthly pass to Xtend Barre. I really liked it and I think I could see some great results if I attended classed 3-4 times a week. The instructor assured me that all classes are different which I liked – I love showing up to class not know what I’m in for! I need to figure out how that would fit into my schedule before I purchase though.
Have you ever tried a barre class? Or Xtend Barre? Do you like to show up at random classes and try new workouts like me!?
Over the years I’ve done some barre workouts at home with videos (lotte berk, the bar method, etc) and once I did an actual barre class. I find barre workouts a bit boring when I do them in a home setting and in general I prefere regular weight work. However two lower body injuries has kept from going heavy in the gym lately and I have revisited the barre and Pilates videos. I find some moves similar to what a PT would reccomend for injury rehab, which has made me more motivated. So I think barre with its focus on core, glutes and hips could be a good prehab routine for runners.