Challenge THREE – All Hail the Barre Queens!

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to write and I realize that I have tons of work to do to accomplish my goal of completing 50 health challenges by my 51st  birthday.

February is the toughest month of the year for me and it’s a time where I need to be quiet.

My mother died four years ago on Feb. 28 and the year leading up to her death was long and the month of February was hard. Seattle weather  in February  – dark, rain, cold, sleet and some snow – makes it tough to be outdoors as well. So let’s just say each year my goal is to make it through February.

March 1 is a big mental shift for me knowing that I have passed another anniversary of my mother’s death and we are moving closer toward more daylight. Bring it on!

In between hunkering down and trying to keep warm I have maintained some semblance of an exercise routine.

My one challenge I completed this month (I realize…I have a long way to go!!!)  was attending a Barre class. Let’s just say I was humbled.

I know you think I must live in the dark ages to have never participated in a Barre class. When I have free time I generally run and I am drawn to activities that are known for intensity, such as Crossfit or marathoning.

Little did I know that Barre would bring me down! The tiny muscle movements and the numerous planks and the focus on the glutes…ouch! I could barely walk for three days after the class.

I always associated Barre with ballerinas and as an athlete never really considered it an option worthy of my time. I am here to report that Barre will kick your ass. Literally.

Barre is perfect for anyone looking to build strength and tone muscles. You may not burn as many calories as a spin class (my heart rate never increased all that much…). But I know if I did it consistently I would feel toned all over! It’s a great cross-training type of exercise – one to fit in during the week to mix up a running routine, for example.

Assessment for Mid-Lifers (1-10, with 10 being best)


Fun Meter – 7. Ok, Barre lovers – please don’t get mad at me for this. Perhaps if I was more familiar with the moves I would enjoy Barre more. I felt clumsy and frustrated at times that I could not hold the poses properly. I had frequent visits from the instructor, pointing out what I was doing wrong. No one wants to be the focus of the class! 🙂

Physical Impact – 8. Barre is great for mid-lifers. Anyone can join a Barre class – just be careful to go easy the first few classes and understand that there is a learning curve. It takes time to hold the poses properly and understand the routine. It’s not intense cardio, but it most certainly can be an intense strength training experience.

Pros – You definitely feel like you get a workout at Barre. Your muscles will talk to you for days afterward, especially in the beginning when you are just getting started. Do not let the muscle soreness deter you. Keep going back and the more you do it, the less sore you will be.

Cons – If you have never done Barre some of the moves will feel like a foreign language. When there are die-hard Barre fans surrounding you this can feel humbling. But this can also be helpful – watch the Barre veterans to better understand the moves.



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