I realize now that it has been almost 6 years since the last time I took an organized fitness class. And lots of poutine lunches, 2 babies removed, and 6 years of wear-and-tear later - well, let's just say that I'm not quite working with the same machinery.
After a few inspiring epsisodes of So You Think You Can Dance, I decided that it was time to get my jiggly bits off the couch and into some sort of fitness routine. I had heard of barre fitness, and was intrigued by the idea of combining ballet barre moves with modern-day pilates fitness exercises. I signed myself up, took a deep breath, and went along for the ride.
Here are 10 things that I've learned from my very first barre class, that I thought I would pass on to aspiring newbies like myself:
1) Do NOT, for the LOVE, wear light grey tight ankle stretch pants to a class where you will be surrounded by mirrors. My butt looked like someone had packed so much popcorn into a garbage bag, that it had stretched, changing its colour from a deep black to a light grey. Not pretty. If you thought horizontal stripes were unflattering, try light grey spandex wrapped around your trouble spots.
2) When meeting your new instructor, don't start the conversation with, "well I was a ballet dancer for 14 years so I think I've got this." It's great that you've danced, but if it was 16 years ago, it doesn't count, and won't help your cause.
3) Initiate conversation with the other classmates. I didn't utter a word to anyone, feeling shy and insecure as the only newbie in the room. But as we were leaving, and I received a warm smile, I realized that maybe the other ladies were feeling a little shy and insecure too. If we're going to fight in the trenches with each other for an entire hour, I don't see anything wrong with a little bonding.
4) If it's your first class, and your first time taking an exercise class in as long as it had been for me, you will, at some point in the class, shake like you've been given 2 doses of epidural (and for those of you who haven't had one - that means a whole lotta shakin' goin' on).
5) It's not all plies and ronde-de-jambes my friends. My husband rolled his eyes and wished me well in my "stretch class" as I rushed out the door. Little did we both know, there were planks, pushups, crunches, and lunges tucked between those ballet stretches.
6) Use the mirrors to your advantage. Instead of twisting your face while studying all of your flaws, use the mirrors to copy the instructor and the experts in the class.
7) Don't wear a baggy t-shirt. You will sweat, and as much as the idea of a tight tank top paired with those aforementioned stretch pants sounds a bit too close to a unitard, it's completely necessary, and everyone else will be doing it too.
8) Don't cheat yourself. At first it was easy for me to lower my leg and lean into a stretch in the middle of an exercise, but what good does that do when I've paid to feel the burn?
9) Be confident. Everyone has been the newbie in the room who doesn't know what they're doing. No one was BORN a barre star. It takes practice.
10) It's torturous and relaxing, draining and invigorating, humbling and inspiring, and you'll leave wanting more.
I don't plan on today's class being my last. I've taken a swig of the Kool-Aid, and I want more. I'll be back, but perhaps next time, I'll be suited up in a different outfit.
|Just say NO to the light grey popcorn poppers|