The Bar Method: Small Moves for Big Changes

October 10, 2009

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During senior year of college, my roommate and I started going to Dailey Method classes in Piedmont as a way to shape up before spring break. We averaged 3 classes a week for a month and I was amazed at the difference it made! Our laziness and lack of funds overcame our ability to continue past the new student introductory month, but I have continued to boast of the results I got from the few classes we were able to squeeze in. Approximately 10 lbs lighter and more toned than I’ve ever really been, it was the best workout I’ve ever tried.

barmethodposeNow that I’ve relocated to LA, the Westside and South Bay are actually quite littered with a few Bar Method studios–all inconveniently too far from me to attend regularly. After putting off making the trek for a year now, a Pasadena studio finally opened up this summer, offering the perfect stop for post-work days! I’ve been going for 2 weeks now and it’s been such a great way to end the day after sitting in front of a computer all day. The Pasadena studio is gorgeous and large enough for classes of 20 to comfortably fit. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Old Town Pasadena where you can park in the public parking lot on Delacey Avenue for free, grab lunch or dinner, or even do some shopping after class. I love that they stock their bathroom with Aveda products (including eye make up remover!) for the convenience of stopping by before work if I ever get up early enough for 6AM classes. What I’ve really loved most about it so far are the instructors–all sweet, helpful, and energetic girls! One of the girls is even a Cal alum! I’ve yet to take any classes with co-owners Kate and Liz, but am looking forward to soon.

barmethodSo what exactly is the Bar Method and why does it work? Each 1 hour class consists of interval stretching, toning, and strengthening exercises and poses. The instructors throw in use of free weights, resistance belts, exercise balls, and foam pads for some moves as well. The focus of the bar method is to both burn fat and elongate muscles–a perfect combo for looking leaner. I’ve heard that it’s supposed to help sculpt a dancer’s body and the use of the ballet barre for stretching and back exercises offers a fun twist to other types of workouts I’ve tried. Who wouldn’t want to look as lean and graceful as a ballerina? With a regime of controlled, repetitive sets, it’s amazing how sore each class has left me because I somehow manage to work every muscle group while I’m there. What’s great is that there are many suggested variations to making each set more difficult depending on how much you want to challenge yourself. According to Burr Leonard, Bar Method founder, this is an “exercise that holds a long term fascination.”

Each studio offers a $100 new student introductory package, which includes unlimited visits for the first month! If you’re interested in trying out one class, there is also the option of paying $10 for the first class and upgrading to the $100 package later. With a schedule as busy as mine, I’m glad that there are later evening classes that I can catch on my way home and multiple weekend classes to start my Saturday and Sunday mornings off with.

Am looking forward to keeping this up and seeing some more changes! For now, it’s so rewarding to know I can barely walk up the stairs in my house after only an hour of getting my butt kicked in class. This is a pricier alternative to a gym membership, but for someone who needs motivation to stay in shape, I couldn’t have found anything better.

If the Shoe Fits

July 15, 2009

Have you ever heard of the phrase “to wear many hats”? It means to play different roles and to assume a new set of rules/functions based on that identity.  The analogy is true for me and shoes (I don’t wear hats because my hair is already flat and I don’t need any more help in that department, no thank you!)

Lately I’ve been on a shoe buying binge, and have justified each purchase by telling myself that each has a separate purpose – one is fancy going out, one is summer casual, and another is sporty practical (do you appreciate all my double adjectives? It’s like I’m giving them a proper name. That or I’m further convincing myself of all their different utilities, ha!)

First, I recently moved into a new apartment and one of the best features is the top floor gym! Seriously, it has been a year since I’ve regularly worked out, and even longer when I last bought a new pair of running shoes.  I’m a little embarassed to admit that my current pair are K-Swisses that I got my freshman year of college (um, definitely thinking about deleting this last line), so with all these incentives, I decided it was high time to get a new pair. I knew I either wanted a pair of Nike Shox or Asics; the former because I like the look and cushion from the Shox, and the latter because I’ve heard great things about the comfort of the Asics running shoe. Well the cuteness of this pair won me over:


Nike Shox Turbo Mesh Si (what a mouthful). The Nike website showcases the shoes better...

Looove the color combo. Ladyfootlocker and all those similar companies were having sales on the exact style I was looking at, buuut they did not have the black/white/pink! Had to get this pair, but the baby blue pair would’ve been a second choice. There’s a guy version of this shoe also, and I’m digging the black/white/yellow.

A note: when I ordered, the sales rep said Nike’s tend to run small, so I got my normal size (6.5) + a half size up (7) just to see. After putting on socks and lacing them up, there’s a bit of toe room in the 7’s.  Not a lot, but I’m thinking that my feet will swell up and won’t want to be restricted by a tight toebox when I’m working out. (You can tell I havn’t actually worn my shoes yet, just admired its pretty color combo in its box.) I believe the rule of thumb is to order half size or full size up, depending on the company’s usual sizing standards, and Nike is one to size down. If you get a pair that’s tight, you end up with painful toenails, blisters, and decreased incentive to run. The key is to get a snug pair so that your feet don’t move around too much, but not tight that it suffocates them.  The 7’s give me about a half inch of room in front, which are good.

The second pair of shoes came after I realized I can’t walk around all summer in NYC with just flip flops. I’ve always thought the gladiator trend was cute, but wanted to find ones that wasn’t too out there. These fit the bill:


Seychelles Get Outta Town sandals

I’ve had a pair of Seychelles before, and the padded soles are the best part, super comfy! I’ll be able to walk around all of Union Square, up to Central Park, and down to Midtown with these. I got the dark brown for practical reasons, but I love love the yellow! They’re so cheerful and brighten any summer outfit. When I put these on, the side strap make my feet look slightly wide but they are cute nonetheless.

The last pair was purchased on a whimsy, after a random trip to J.Crew’s final sale. Additional 20% on top of already lowered prices, making the decision to buy these babies easier. I was doing okay in the fancy heels department, let’s face it, they all get dirty and stepped on at clubs anyway, and was only allowing myself to get a black strappy pair. Sadly, these are neither black nor strappy but they are beautiful!


J.Crew Greer pleated sandals in Golden Cypress

The pleats and satin material sold me. I really wanted to get the natural/shell color but satin + light color in a shoe just clashes with my sense of responsibility about shoes. They would be dirty and messed up in no time. This richer color will be great for fall, and the heel height is perfect for more conservative outings, like brunch with parents, or a wedding.