I’m a loyal consumer. When I find something I like, I’ll revisit it for months, even years (I’ve turned many a Mexican foodie onto Poquito Mas… where I once went on a burrito binge that lasted 7 days, back in 2005! To this day I have not yet had a better wet burrito).
But back to the point: any good fitness enthusiast knows that the key to staying fit is C-H-A-N-G-E! And when change is just a 10-minute bike ride away from your home, as is The Bar Method’s Marina Del Rey Studio from mine, it’s got to happen. Any work out that’s within walking, biking, jogging, and/or roller blading distance gets extra points because if you’ve got desk job/commute booty like I do, the extra cardio is welcome (gotta burn off the burrito somehow, right?)!
Now before I lament the wonders of my first Bar Method class, I must first tell you about Pure Barre. I work in the valley and was easily convinced to break up the long, often depressing, drive home to join my girlfriends at Pure Barre in Brentwood. Pure Barre (PB) Brentwood’s location is PERFECT, just a quick 5 minutes west off the 405, and with a 5:15 session I could make it right after work.
My first PB class was life changing challenging. This ballet/pilates inspired work out used light weights in the warm up, introduced push ups (of all kinds) to my spaghetti arms, and had my thigh and butt muscles shaking, twitching, and burning like nothing before them. I was awe-inspired by PB’s svelte dancer looking teachers and my first, the beautiful and hip Wendy (who is now opening her own Pure Barre study in Culver City btw) had a soothing voice that made me WANT to push through the pain. I was hooked. I signed up for their introductory package that day, but could hardly walk the next. This PB was HARD, but I felt sexier and stronger after just one class.
The months to follow had me attending at least two classes per week. I began to master the tuck, a curling under of the seat beneath the spine to engage the abdomen and protect the lower back. I developed girl crushes on favorite teachers (Heather is gorgeous) and found myself counting with the instructor, pushing my heals higher, and singing along to the playlists. Each week the choreography changed, so basically I’ve spent the last 6 months sore.
While falling in love with PB Brentwood, I did a little research about the other ballet bar based exercises out there. I discovered The Bar Method , started by Burr Leonard, a disciple of the famous Lotte Berk. It appears that this bar regime, established in 2000, has been around longer than PB. To my delight there was a studio right up the street from my house! I was so obsessed with PB that I’d trek up to Brentwood from Marina on the weekends – but maybe I wouldn’t have too. With a Bar Method studio around the corner, I could take my booty to the bar without having to battle weekend beach traffic.
Yet, I wasn’t quite ready. As mentioned, I am a creature of habit and it often takes a little extra mental energy to break familiar routines. Afterall, I’d have to be up to meeting new instructors, and acquainting my self with the Bar Method’s completely different choreography. Sounds easy right? Well just like most modern women, my day to day life consists of a gazillion carefully balanced responsibilities. While I dream of having time to try out the unlimited options available to us fitness aficianados here in Los Angeles, it’s not always possible with a crazy schedule.
Well there’s nothing like a sunny weekend day in greater Los Angeles to warm in one the desire to try new things! It was a beautiful Sunday, that I decided to break free from my comfort zone (or should I say bar?) and attend my first Bar Method class in Marina Del Rey.
Because I’d been attending PB for months, I expected the Bar Method’s studio to be the same. I was pleasantly surprised. Like PB, The Bar Method MDR is housed in a strip mall. Unlike PB Brentwood, however, The Bar Method’s studio is beautiful! Each client gets her own locker AND there’s a spacious changing room wherein to slip on your socks. I had assumed correctly that like PB, I’d benefit from the grippy socks to help keep balance when at the bar. In addition to the awesome acoutrements of the Bar Method’s pristinely kept studio, the interior exercise space had a padded floor, tons of room, and ballet bars of different heights! Wow! A blessing for tall girls like me. Oh and did I mention that The Bar Method is a few dollars cheaper per class than is PB?!
As for the work out, it seemed harder than PB overall. However, whether that’s because I’ve grown used to the routine of PB or because Bar Method is more challenging I’m not quite sure; but time will tell. Bar Method called for longer rep sets and had me do so many push up variations that I was still feeling it almost 3 days later (modifications were encouraged for those not able to hang). Bar Method’s abs section was also more difficult and the lovely teacher gave individualized instruction throughout the entire class. PB’s instructors don’t give individual instruction after the first half of class unless you’re really struggling.
While Bar Method’s repetoire seemed more challenging overall, PB wins on the thigh and seat portions. It seems that PB is more booty and thigh focused, which is EXACTLY where I need the most work. However, the Bar Method’s teacher did assure me that classes of varying levels are available in case I wanted to kick it up a notch.
While I’ll always love my PB (the first tuck is the deepest, haha), I’m excited to take advantage of The Bar Method’s Marina Del Rey Studio ‘s introductory offer of unlimited classes for $100 and will likely have more to report in the next 30 days! Here’s to getting the ballet dancer’s body of my dreams!