Barre classes. Heard of them? I have a complicated relationship with this fitness method that’s grown exponentially in popularity after ‘Black Swan’ came out last year.
I credit these classes with giving me my love of exercise and I am forever grateful for this. But can barre classes really give women the “dancer’s body” that many well-known studios claim? Brynn Jinnett, founder of Refine Method in New York City, doesn’t believe they can.
In the New York Post Page Six Magazine article Barre Buster (in which I am quoted), Jinnett explains why devotees of these classes might not see the results they crave. Her argument is that many external factors decide who gets a dancer’s body — namely genetics and years of rigorous training and strict diet — and finds it misleading to tell women they can achieve the same look from fitness classes.
I actually took barre classes for ten months, and my body improved dramatically — but I also did not have weight to lose, which is important to note as these classes generally don’t cause high calorie burn. For someone like me, the classes were effective at toning and strengthening my muscles, but it came at a cost. I sustained an overuse injury in my hip from the repetitive movements in each class.
Jinnett (who taught at two of the most well-known barre studios) spent two years researching with fitness experts and exercise scientists, where she learned why metabolic resistance training is so effective — and it is this principle that is the heart of her studio. As the Post article explains, metabolic resistance training “uses weights and large, real-world movements like pushing, pulling, squatting and lunging.”
I’ve actually been taking Refine Method classes for over a year. At first, I was worried that I wouldn’t get the same results that I saw from barre classes because the exercises at Refine — while difficult — don’t cause my muscles to burn and shake. While pushing through pain is not the most pleasant sensation, like many women I believed I needed to feel that burn to achieve results. I was wrong. I improved the state of my injury, got even stronger than I was before and burn many more calories per session with the intense-but-short cardio bursts. A friend of mine who didn’t see the weight-loss results she wanted at barre classes also made the switch to Refine, and she looks so incredible I couldn’t believe it when I saw her a few months later.
Do I think barre classes are bad? Nope. Any workout regimen you will stick to is good.
Do I think you will achieve a dancer’s body? Unfortunately, no, I don’t.
If you love barre workouts or want to try them, that is wonderful! But if you aren’t seeing the results you want, it might be worth it to look into other types of fitness.
Do you think it is possible to get a dancer’s body from barre fitness classes?