My philosophies toward exercise have ebbed and flowed over the years, but one thing has remained the same: if I’m going to workout, I prefer to be tricked into feeling like I’m not. The element of fun is what keeps me engaged and makes me forget about the difficulty I’m putting my body and lungs through.
I’ve had my eye on The Barre Code for some time and finally decided to drop into a class. For first-timers, TBC offers three free introductory classes. (Yeah, three!) They have several different class styles to choose from, so I opted for a noon-time Barre, a Sunday morning Bootcamp, and a bright-and-early Brawl.
Here’s how it went.
For those who don’t know, Barre workouts are meant to echo the portion of ballet classes that are spent at the wooden barre attached to the wall, working the lower half of the body. Swap out pointe shoes for sticky socks and add in some fun music, weights, and a high-energy instructor on a headset and you’ve got a Barre class at TBC.
Back in the day, I was a serious ballet dancer. (Fun fact: before I chose to dive more fully into team sports, I considered a future in the performance arts.) However, last week at Barre class, I realized how much has changed.
As much as my mind remembers the countless hours spent in first, second, and fifth position, my body is a little slower to snap back into those moments.
So yeah, in short, I was humbled. And sore.
But, I realized pretty quickly that it was worth it. Barre was fun! It wasn’t a full-on trickery of exercise (it was plainly obvious that this was an hour of work), but between the music and Jamie (owner/instructor)’s energy, I powered through it with an almost-smile on my face.
I loved the space, the clear direction, and moves that you know you can improve upon with just simple repetition. If I show up again, I know I’ll be a little bit stronger next time. Nothing seems impossible or out of reach; all of the moves are intuitive and allow for growth and progress.
It was a little difficult for me, but I felt that dance spark emerge—the one that’s been dormant for years, but tugs at my heart whenever music plays and mirrors hang from floor to ceiling. I’ll be back to this class!
Signing up for a 9 a.m. fitness class on a Sunday morning is pretty much as out of character as it gets for me. But alas, that’s how I decided to try out my second class at TBC, with a difficult and sweat-breaking Bootcamp.
My head still hasn’t wrapped around exactly all that we did (but again, not a morning person, lol), but it was a lot. An hour’s worth of circuits burned at least 500 calories, according to my Apple Watch.
This class was also taught by Jamie, and it involved new props: a 12-lb bar and an 8-lb medicine ball. And of course, those sticky socks and a killer playlist. The format involved batches of three moves paired together, mixing weights and at least one cardio element. We’d repeat the moves according to both time and repetitions.
There were moves that worked the upper body, lower body, and abs, including the likes of various types of squats, lunges, burpees, jumps, presses, Russian twists, and more.
It was HARD. I lowkey loved it, but I realized immediately how much room I’d have to grow and build. Afterwards, I felt empowered, awake, and strong (though the soreness would follow). I will definitely be doing that one again.
Wow. Talk about a killer workout! Okay, if the first two classes didn’t hook me on TBC, Brawl definitely left me wanting more.
First of all, I set myself for a little bit of difficulty, since I opted for an 8 a.m. Saturday class (WHO am I???). Beyond my grumpy alarm snoozing, the class itself was hard. I was sweating profusely. But for the first time in a long time, I forgot anything other than the tasks at hand: variations of stepping and kicking and punching.
Brawl is a kickboxing style class, with high energy music and choreography that keeps you on your toes. If I’m being honest, I was a little lost in the sauce and was too far / too focused on my own movement to watch the instructor…which is where it was handy to pick out a clear expert right in front of me to mimic her killer moves (thank god, lol).
Thankfully, my dance training kicked in and I was able to mostly follow along with the choreography (with a few missed steps along the way) and when I got the hang of it, I loved the feeling. The good news: for this class, the moves don’t change. The order might, but the choreography stays the same. HALLELUJAH. To me, that means plenty of time to get adjusted and feel confident in every movement.
You know it, I know it: I’ll be back. This one was the clear favorite.
The Barre Code surpassed my expectations. I’ve been to workout classes in the past, but these have something special sprinkled in beyond the classic movements that lead to a well-earned sweat session.
Maybe it’s the instructor headsets that make me feel like I’ve been transported into a Brittney Spears music video set, maybe it’s the anticipation of “what prop will we use today,” or maybe it’s even the proximity to the Milwaukee Public Market, where I know I’ll be heading after class for an On The Bus smoothie bowl.
Maybe (probably) though, it’s the vibe. Everyone is encouraged to show up as they are, and they do. And most importantly, for me, is that I can rely on TBC for an environment fun enough that I forget I’m exercising at all.