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.