My First Night at the Barre

During the winter, I often go into hibernation. I don’t work out as much, when I do I want it to be hot, and I decrease my workout intensity. I decided to not do Crossfit for a couple months out of convenience. There is a pilates studio right by me, and figured why not? I’m always up for new things. I have all kinds of classes to choose from including barre, yoga and pilates. The first class I showed up for was a barre class. My preconceived notion of how it was going to work was:
We will stand at the ballerina bar and do poses.
That wasn’t exactly what happened. I happened to start at the end of a plank challenge for the ladies and they all gave me a smirk when the instructor announced it was my first day. We would be doing a 2 min. 45 sec plank. It’s not my first rodeo, so I was up for it. I made it the entire plank duration, and to be honest, everything I hate about planks was rampant in barre class. It’s lot of small movements without rests that make your muscles sort of quiver and your brain starts playing games with you. I’ve always been one for powerful bursts of speed or strength, the occasional bit of body weight endurance, and full of competition.
Competition is not a word at barre class. It’s you against your own brain here, ladies. No one else cares what you are doing and you certainly won’t be keeping score.
Despite some of the work being fatiguing to muscle groups, I did not come close to sweating during class. The instructor pointed out the section that counts for cardio, but I’m not sure I would consider it cardio compared to other types of exercise.
I will say that despite having prior strength on my side, my shoulder muscles were sore for 3 days after! So, just because it’s lower intensity, doesn’t mean you won’t feel the burn (for possibly days after!)
I am not the most coordinated person when it comes to classes, and I had no trouble following along. That was a positive. You do follow along, but it wasn’t anything overly complicated where you wish you were in the back of the room hiding from everyone because you are messing everything up.
All the women were very welcoming and my guess is that they are regulars every week at that time. ;) That’s part of what I love about Crossfit, so I’m sure they feel the same about their gym family.
Would I do it again? Sure. Did I love it as my main source of exercise? Not so much. I think it’s something that can be a great addition to Crossfit, if you are someone who loves crossfit like myself. It would help with core stability, mental toughness, and the isometric stabilization of the body.
Bottom line: I’ll do it again, but I probably won’t keep it as my main source of movement for longer than a couple months.

Orange Theory: The Pros and the Cons

I make it no secret that I love working out at Crossfit, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate and like other workouts, too.  I never recommend anything to anyone without having some personal experience myself.  So, I took the opportunity to go to a free Orange Theory class and let you guys know how it went!
Let’s start with the fact that right now, you can try a class for FREE!  There’s no excuse not to take advantage of that if it’s something you may want to do.
I am looking for a few things from my workout:
1. Sweat- I like to sweat.
2. Programming- I don’t like to wander into a gym and decide what to do on my own.  I’m too lazy.
3. Range of motion- I think full range of motion in movements is important if there is no reason to shorten them.
4. Fun- There’s nothing better than movement being FUN!  When you’re having fun, you always want to come back, it never feels like work, and it soon becomes a healthy habit.
5. Intensity- I like yoga sometimes, but I really like expending energy to make me feel good after a workout.
I went to the Orange Theory in Granger, and the staff was really welcoming, the facility was clean, and the trainer was energetic.  All good to start.  Since I was new, the trainer brought me into the room before everyone else to show me how things work and get me acquainted. Everyone else filed in and our heart rates were all up on a large monitor in the room.  We did a warm up, then a partner workout for rowing distance.  The workout was:
Partner 1: row while
Partner 2: runs .15miles and cycles through stations of lateral step overs, push ups, mountain climbers, squat jumps, ring rows, sit ups….
This back and forth went on for about 45 minutes until the class ended and we did a quick 5 minutes stretch post-workout.
How did the workout stack up:
1. I was SO SWEATY.  It was mostly cardio in an indoor room with lots of people, so that makes sense.
2. The workout changes everyday and they tell you what to do, so I liked that.
3. The movements are not full range of motion.  I’m used to a “chest to the deck” push up, hip crease below parallel squat, etc in Crossfit.  I noticed the majority of people were not doing a full range of motion on anything and I was actually stopped in the middle of my pushups and told not to go all the way down.  No worries.  Instead of doing push ups in sets, a shortened range of motion allowed me to do 20 without stopping every round.  They also have modifications for anyone who needs them, so injuries should not be an option.
4. I had fun!  I noticed lots of people came with friends, so I’m sure it was even more fun for them!  Usually the workouts are not partner workouts, but I love partner workouts.  So, that was right up my alley.
5. The workout is as intense as you make it.  Since you are wearing a heart rate monitor, you can constantly see where you are in terms of work.  I stayed in the orange zone the entire time and never reached the red zone, but the red zone is something the trainers keep an eye on to tell you to back down if you stay there too long.  There is also a green zone that tells everyone (including the trainer) that you are not working that hard and you need to pick up the pace!  I thought this part was interesting because I am not one to push my limits in a workout because I just don’t like to feel like death.  However, when I would hit a moment of “man this is kinda hard,” I could look up and see where I was on the monitor.  It kept me accountable in the sense that if I wanted rest but wasn’t even close to the red zone, I knew I could probably keep pushing and be just fine!
Overall, I had a good experience at Orange Theory and I think it would an ideal workout scenario for those the need trainer motivation, want mostly cardio,and like a group class.  You do have to buy a heart rate monitor which runs 45-90 dollars depending on which one you buy.  The monthly membership fee is also more than a regular gym, so cost comes into play, as well.  Since they are trainer-led classes, you have to call and schedule to be put into a class, which means classes fill up, too.  I wasn’t able to get into a class until 7pm because the other ones were full. No reason not to try it when they are letting you do that for free!!!