Sports have always been a big part of my life. Throughout my childhood years and all the way up through high school and college, most of my free time was either spent on a football field, track, or ice rink.
I never thought of dance as being a particularly strenuous activity. Most of my experience with it though was that awkward rocking back and forth that you do with a date at homecoming. But then, I heard one day that NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann studied dance, more specifically ballet, throughout his entire career. That made me think, “Why?” Then, almost instantly, I heard about the ever-increasing popularity of a studio called Cardio Barre.
I realized that Cardio Barre was quickly becoming one of the most popular workouts, not just in Hollywood, but across the country. I found out that this ballet-based group workout class was redefining the fitness industry. But I still had a lot of questions about it. “What is it exactly?” “Isn’t ballet just for girls?” “Why are all these professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities raving about it?” “Why is it such a good workout?”
So, I decided to get some answers and my first thought was to go right to the source: the Cardio Barre instructors.
You would think that these women would be too busy to talk to a curious guy who had never walked into a Cardio Barre studio before. That wasn’t the case at all! In fact, three of them sat and talked with me for a while. I learned something invaluable from these women. They aren’t stereotypical fitness instructors.
Not only are these women extremely passionate about what they do, they are professionals. They are educated, motivating, and have a way of instilling confidence and motivation just through words. I thought to myself, “If these women can make me feel this motivated just by talking with me, imagine what taking one of their classes would be like!?”
It’s impossible to put what they told me into my own words, so I won’t even try. Instead of trying to summarize what they said about the phenomenon of Cardio Barre, I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Allison Steward – Cardio Barre Memphis and Germantown
Allison is an instructor and co-owner of two Cardio Barre studios in Memphis and Germantown, Tennessee. When she took her first Cardio Barre class in Los Angeles two and a half years ago, she instantly decided that she wanted to make Cardio Barre her life. Allison danced competitively for 14 years, both as an amature and professional, and has made numerous appearances in music videos and VMA performances.
As a former professional dancer, what was it like taking your first Cardio Barre class?
I literally thought “this is the best thing I have ever done,” and left my first class thinking “I can do anything in this world.”
Something that really spoke to me about Cardio Barre was the motivational piece of the workout. That was key for me. I mean you go in there to better your body, but you’re also bettering your mind. I think that’s really rare with a franchise.
What was it like to teach your first class as an instructor?
The moment that mic turns on and the music starts, you just feel like you’re on stage. It’s interesting because I’ve been teaching for a little over 2 years now, and every time it feels like a performance. You’re truly affecting people’s lives. The positive feedback that we get after a class really drives me to make the next class even better.
In your observance as an instructor, as you’ve seen new people join a class, what’s it like for the first time they do Cardio Barre?
In our studio, I’ve made a very conscious effort to make it a very happy place. When I opened my first studio, I felt like there were too many other studios out there where people were worried about who’s wearing the latest designer athletic gear or who’s stick thin. I wanted my studio to be a place where if you’re struggling with anorexia or obesity that there’s no intimidation factor. Our Cardio Barre family is so amazing. Our veteran clients are really good about going up and making sure new clients have examples to watch or to talk with them and see how their experience was.
It’s a fast-paced class so it can be hard to keep up sometimes, but everyone is so encouraging to continue. I’ve typically seen that by the fifth or sixth class, people get it and usually have the rhythm of the class down pretty well. With anything that you start new, it can be intimidating. But with the culture that we’ve built at Cardio Barre, it doesn’t really feel intimidating because everyone wants you to succeed.
How can one of your classes help, not just the physical, but the mental health of your class members?
I’m constantly searching for new and inspiring ways to boost the morale of my classes.
I really, really try to mirror Richard [Giorla] in that. Motivating others is the most important part of being an instructor at Cardio Barre to me. I just want everyone to know that even the littlest effort is something. I want them to not give up. They can achieve what they want to achieve if they just stick with it.
I always quote Audrey Hepburn in my class when she says, “The word ‘impossible’ says I’m possible.” We don’t get enough motivations in life I don’t think. So I really want our hour together to be something where people can walk out of my class and feel like a better human being.
Jennifer Miles – Cardio Barre Simi Valley
Jennifer has danced since she was nine years old and it has filled every day of her life since then. She is originally from Orange County, California, and has been with Cardio Barre for a little over nine years. Three of which have been as an instructor trainer. If there is anyone out there who knows what it takes to be a Cardio Barre instructor, it’s Jennifer.
How did you first learn about Cardio Barre?
My daughter was about a year old at the time and I felt like I was sort of losing myself as a person. I was kind of starting to try and get my life back a little bit and I was trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do. I knew that I couldn’t go audition because I realized that I just couldn’t keep up with the younger girls anymore dance wise. So I wanted to start using what I know and what I learned and see where it could take me.
Then a very dear friend of mine who is a choreographer sent me an email and said, “Listen, Cardio Barre is starting to franchise out and they’re looking for instructors, would you be interested?”, and I thought, “Are you kidding me? Dance has always been my passion. I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle. I think I could really do this!”
So I reached out to Cardio Barre Simi Valley owner Melissa Collins and we set up an audition with Richard, which was basically just me taking a class from him. From that day on after that class, I was in and they offered me to come and be a part of the instructor training process.
The instructor training process is pretty intense.
During that instructor training process, what is the overall goal that you want your instructors to achieve?
From the moment the music starts, we begin our class and we never stop. It’s like choreography. As an instructor, you are instructing them on technique, counting, queuing, motivating, and inspiring. So you’re doing quite a few things at one time. Really the overall point of the class is to create a beautiful, amazing experience that is unforgettable.
Many people may hesitate to try Cardio Barre because the feel like they don’t know enough. As a Cardio Barre instructor, how do you personally reassure those people?
I love when I get a first-timer that knows nothing about dance or knows nothing about ballet, because I love to educate. I love to hold their hand and walk them through it. I try to explain to them that I want them to have an open mind. I don’t want them to try and get everything perfect. I want them to understand that they’re getting ready to learn. So if they feel frustrated or confused, I try to get them to let that go and just allow themselves to learn. I try to make them feel safe. I explain to them that all I want them to do is have fun and that my objective here is to make you feel beautiful, strong, and to leave feeling like they can do better.
What is your favorite physical part of a Cardio Barre workout?
Cardio Barre is a full body workout that has zero impact. It’s such an intense workout, and what’s great is you don’t feel beat up after it’s over. For me, having a dance background, I love the ballet section of our class. It can be so intense, yet so emotional because it allows you to feel like you’re on top of the world. You get yourself on a euphoric high because you have pushed yourself physically and mentally. The ballet section is the most physical and most beautiful part of the workout in my opinion.
Laura Perry – Cardio Barre Studio City & Eagle Rock
Laura is a career ballerina. She started performing ballet at age 6 and has remained passionate about it ever since. She has been with Cardio Barre practically from the beginning, moving from class member, to instructor, to instructor trainer. Laura is a truly wonderful example of the transformative power that Cardio Barre can have on an individual’s life.
You have a wonderful story that I think can inspire others to regain their self-confidence. How has Cardio Barre helped transform your life?
It was 13 years ago and I was 9 months postpartum with my second kid. One day I just drove by the Cardio Barre studio in Los Angeles, saw the sign and thought, “Wow I think I really need to try this!”
I hadn’t done any real intense exercise besides hiking, walking, or maybe a little yoga, so I took the class and I immediately fell in love with it because it was ballet based! Ballet was such a huge part of my life growing up, so it really hit a nerve with me.
After that first class, I was really sore. I could barely walk for like two days. After I did the class though I thought “This workout is so intense and it goes by so fast!” I went home and I told my husband that if I can stick with this, I’ll be in the best shape of my life. This is the greatest workout I’ve ever done. I was truly blown away because I didn’t think you could have the ballet movements and exercises combined with cardio. I mean, yeah, I could go back and take a ballet class, but I wouldn’t be burning the calories that I need to burn. To me, the combination of those two things is the best part of Cardio Barre.
I do all kinds of other workouts to. Like I do a lot of cross training. But I will say that when it really comes down to it, there is nothing like Cardio Barre. Its an incredible workout. After having two kids, Cardio Barre really did get me into the best shape of my life.
At what point did you make the decision to go from student to instructor?
I had never taught a class before. It’s funny because there was a part of me that was nervous to try it because I thought if Cardio Barre Eagle Rock became my work would I not get as much out of it? So I struggled with that for a little bit before deciding to do it because it was my “me time.” But eventually I decided that it was more fear than anything else that was stopping me from taking that leap. Once I did, I realized that I was now getting the best of both worlds. That was 8 years ago. I didn’t think that I could love teaching more than I liked being a student, but honestly that’s the reality.
If you could describe how Cardio Barre has helped uplift your life in one standout way, what would it be?
I would say, and this is often what I see from clients as well, if there’s one word that comes to mind on what Cardio Barre has given me above everything else, it would be confidence. Of all of the things that Cardio Barre gives you, like a stronger body and a sense of accomplishment from learning new things, it helps you be more confident.
I’ve done other types of traditional workouts where the only thing they can give you is a way to be able to do more crunches. But in here, you’re tackling exercises that you never thought you could do. You’re always doing things that you think you could never do. I think that element makes it more than just a fitness class.
Being able to talk to these women just for the few minutes that I did was enough to convince me that Cardio Barre isn’t just another group fitness class that you see advertisements for all over the place. Cardio Barre is more than just about getting back into physical shape.
It’s about getting your mind and soul back into shape.
One of the biggest advantages of a barre workout is that you can continue to see results without learning entirely different moves. The way Cardio Barre is designed, you can continue to grow stronger and slimmer by making simple tweaks to your technique.
If you feel yourself plateauing, crave a challenge, or want even more dramatic results, you can use these barre tricks for upping the ante on your daily workout. Some of them will help you in the studio and some should be practiced outside to get the most out of your Cardio Barre class, but all are essential for maximizing your workout.
Ready, set, go!
1. Focus on Body Alignment
Alignment is actually a very strong principle in classical ballet technique. This practice, which encourages dancers to keep their bodies centered as they train and perform, is equally essential in the studio.
The simple advice is to keep your head, shoulders, and hips vertically aligned. When you’re in the middle of a difficult workout, take a second to check in with your body and do your best to re-align your head, shoulders, and hips if they’ve fallen off center.
The more technical advice directs dancers to keep a tight stomach, straighten their back, relax shoulders, tuck in their bottom, elongate the neck, and have soft hands.
Run through this physical checklist in between sets to make sure you start each segment perfectly aligned.
2. Sustain Soft Hands
Having soft, relaxed hands applies to more than “port de bras” or “carriage of the arms.” It is important to keep your hands soft when out to the side or overhead, but also while your hand is on the barre.
It’s easy to start to use the barre as a crutch during a difficult workout, especially when you’re asked to put most of your weight on one leg, but you diminish your overall workout when you have a death grip on the barre.
The barre is there as gentle support, but not your lifeline. When you are in the leg segment of your class, really focus on how you hold the barre. Keep your touch light and soft, even during difficult moves, to train yourself to balance better, and increase the workout your calves, thighs, and behind are actually getting.
3. Warm Up Before Working Out
Warmups are essential for every athlete to avoid injury and get the most out of their training, and the same applies to you and your workout.
Cardio Barre is designed to incorporate a great warmup into every class, but if you find yourself getting extremely sore after a workout, you should begin warming up earlier before class and stretch extra afterwards. Warm up by getting your heart rate up and muscles moving. Don’t stretch too soon or you could injure yourself.
Your warm up should also include eating and hydrating before a workout. If you don’t give your body some fuel before a class, you’ll be running on fumes at the end and won’t get as much as you could out of your workout. And hydrating before and after can help you get through class without stopping and help relieve some of that soreness the next day.
4. Hold Your Tummy, Not Breath
This is another technique you can borrow from professional ballet dancers. It’s a difficult technique to learn, even for professionals, but it can do wonders for your posture, endurance, and reduce risk of injury.
How often do you hold your breath when the instructor says, “Tighten your core?” It’s hard to divorce the two, but holding your breath isn’t what you should do. Instead, you need to learn how to breathe through the rib cage while your abdominals are tight.
This will take some practice, so take time outside the studio (while at work or watching TV, for example) to work on tightening your abdominals and keeping them tight while breathing through your rib cage. Below your rib cage (your tummy) should stay tight, while your chest and the sides of your rib cage expand with air.
This helps to control posture and tighten back muscles, so you can better transition between exercises that don’t engage the back to ones that do. Without this technique, you have more risk of injuring your back. Those exercising with lower back issues especially need to master this technique.
BONUS: Breathing through the rib cage can also help slow your breathing and heart rate after an intense sequence. Professional dancers use this technique to calm their nerves and slow their heart rate after performing on stage.
5. Forgive and Forget
During a particularly difficult set, it’s easy to miss a step, struggle to catch up, and bail on the whole sequence. As you look around at the rest of the room, you might talk down to yourself for messing up and not being able to get it right.
“I suck at this. It’s too hard for me. I’m worthless. I’ll never learn and I’ll never get in shape. Everyone is so much better than me.”
Have you said these things to yourself before?
Everyone struggles with these negative comments, but the Cardio Barre studio is a great place to practice breaking this bad habit. When you miss a step or struggle with a set, don’t talk down to yourself. In fact, practice giving yourself a compliment, and then forgetting about the whole thing.
Say, “I’ll get it right this time. I’m doing so well this class. I know I can do this set, even though it’s difficult.” Then, move on. Forget the mistake happened and focus on the next step.
Dancers have to do this all the time when they perform. They don’t have time to stress out about a missed step on stage. Get in the habit of imagining your workouts as performances. If a set doesn’t go perfectly, rally and move on.
Not only will you feel better after your workout, you’ll also end up doing a lot more actual exercise during the class, bringing on those wonderful results even faster.
Professional ballerinas will spend years perfecting a single move. Although you don’t have to hold yourself to the standards of classical ballet, you should strive to improve your technique and your attitude with each class.
You should never feel bored or underworked in a Cardio Barre class. Just as there is always somewhere in life you can improve, there is always a tweak you can make to your Cardio Barre routine to get bigger and better results even faster.
Improving in the studio should never solely be on your shoulders. If you’re unsure how to step up your Cardio Barre game, talk to your instructor. They will have a lot of fabulous feedback about how to continue growing and getting the most out of every single class.
When it comes to exercise, it’s easy to come up with a million reasons to put it off. While some reasons are easier to overcome, such as being shy in the gym or not having enough time, others are more difficult, like an injury or chronic condition that keep you from moving.
For many of these adversities, however, a low-impact workout could be the answer. “Low impact” is defined by keeping one foot on the ground as you exercise, and a “no-impact” workout is defined by using a support, like water or a machine, to perform exercise.
Cardio Barre is a low- to no-impact workout. There are no jumps, skips, or leaps that force you to take both feet off the ground at once, and the sturdy barre is always present to help support you.
If you are wondering whether a low-impact workout is right for you, then see if you fit any of these categories. It might be time for you to try a new workout technique.
Weight can easily sneak up on us. Whether your family has heaviness in their genes, you have a condition that keeps weight on, or you’ve just let the weight get the best of you, there is a way you can exercise without over-exerting yourself.
The small, repetitious movements in Cardio Barre make it easy to do, regardless of your weight and physical ability. And the low-impact workout is designed to get your heart rate going, so you get a good dose of fat-burning cardio with every workout.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a lot of reasons to exercise while pregnant. Exercise can ease back pain, boost your mood, help you sleep, prevent excess weight gain, and increase muscle strength.
A low-impact workout is perfect for expectant mothers. Because there is no jumping, it’s gentle on your over-bared joints and won’t jiggle the baby. Cardio Barre keeps your heart healthy with mild cardio and your mind healthy with an uplifting cool down after each workout.
If you suffer from an injury that causes you pain or a bone, joint, or connective tissue injury, low-impact workouts can get you off the couch and exercising without causing you more pain.
Injuries are often what spark downward spirals for healthy individuals or athletes who find they can no longer work out like they used to. Instead of giving up, try a new kind of workout that will keep you in shape while you heal.
4. Chronic Conditions
Arthritis and osteoporosis don’t have to hold you back anymore. A low-impact workout is the best way to exercise with these and other chronic conditions.
Cardio Barre uses an extended warm-up that readies your bones and muscles for the workout and the barre makes the workout “no-impact” for those who need some extra support while exercising.
There are many justifications for not exercising as you enter old age, but none of them are valid with a low-impact workout.
The exercise is easy on aging bones, contains cardio to keep your heart healthy, and tones instead of bulks so you look just as good as you feel after each workout.
Whether you’re starting to work out for the first time or are getting back in the game after a long hiatus, a low-impact workout is the best way to begin.
Because it doesn’t involve any jumping or heavy weights, barre fitness classes are familiar and easy to follow along with. And since the workout uses repetition instead of heavy lifting, you have time to understand the movements before going on to the next section.
7. Tone, Don’t Bulk
Even if you don’t suffer from a condition or necessarily need a low-impact workout, this type of exercise can still help you reach your fitness goals.
Cardio Barre is perfect for those who want a toned, dancer body. The workout is designed to elongate the figure and tighten muscle groups without bulking them up. And it offers a full-body workout each time so one muscle group doesn’t become disproportionate to the others.
There shouldn’t be any excuse for you to forgo exercise. A low-impact workout can get results for almost anyone, whether the goal is just to get healthy or finally have that perfect dancer’s frame.
Even if there isn’t a Cardio Barre near you, low-impact workouts such as walking, swimming, and spinning are great for your mind and body.
What keeps you from making it to the gym? What health conditions have made it difficult for you to exercise regularly?
For a long time, dance and motherhood were mutually exclusive. It was only a few decades ago that dancers were granted the career flexibility to dance and raise a child; and the science that keeps new mothers healthy while training is just beginning to come out.
Regardless of the challenges, women have made a commitment to uphold their two loves—dancing and motherhood—with strength and grace. And you can too!
The journey back to dancing isn’t easy postpartum. Your body has changed, your schedule is crazy, you’re exhausted all the time. But many dancing mothers have found ways to turn those ostensible negatives into positives that allow them to dance and parent better than they ever thought possible.
Whether you are trying to get back into your professional dance career, or just want a little more jaunt in your step, follow these tips developed by women who have found the perfect marriage between dance and motherhood.
1. Don’t Stop Dancing
The first step to getting dance back in your life is to just do it! That doesn’t mean you should jump into classes or get on stage before you’re ready, but you can get dance in your life in even the smallest ways.
Try dancing with the broom when you clean the kitchen, dance with your baby in your arms, dance walking from room to room. Start Tuesday night dance parties when you blast the radio and dance with your hubby for a few good songs.
Any way you can get dance in your life, even if it isn’t the big stage and bright lights you’re used to, will help you reconnect with your body and movement. You’ll be addicted again before you know it!
2. Strengthen Your Core
Your body changes a lot during pregnancy. Your pelvis shifts back, your back becomes strained, you lose strength in your core. It will take some time to realign your body again.
Make sure you consult your doctor before attempting stretches and exercise, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body goes back to normal. It has an incredible memory.
To help you get back to your pre-pregnancy self, work on strengthening your core. A good, strong core will help your body return to proper pelvic alignment and give you the power you need to dance even better than you did before pregnancy.
3. Make Time
Motherhood is hectic! Your days quickly become a blur of meeting everyone else’s needs and you feel exhausted all the time. But it’s essential that you take time for yourself.
Pencil dance into your daily schedule. Julie Macklowe, founder of the cosmetics company Vbeauté, said this about getting in shape after having a baby.
“It’s all about schedule and discipline. Kids have to be scheduled, so your life as a mom has to be better planned. Before kids, I had a laissez-faire approach to exercise. Now I have to commit.”
Your life has changed as a mother in so many good ways. Although you might have to regimen dance better, it’s a change worth embracing.
4. Stay Inspired
When you have so many things on your mind as a parent, it’s easy to forget your passion for dance. Even if you can’t fit dance into your schedule right away, it’s important to stay inspired by dance to retain your passion.
Watch your favorite dance companies online, indulge in a night out to your local dance theater, and keep inspiring dance tracks on your iPod. Do whatever you have to to keep dance prevalent in your life.
If that fire in you stays stoked, it’ll be easy for you to get moving again.
5. Be Patient
Getting your dancer body back is going to take time. It’s important to train safely so that you avoid injury.
During the first four to six weeks after giving birth, your uterus will return to its normal tone and shape, but overexertion during this time puts you at greater risk for injury. The hormones released during pregnancy also loosen your joints and ligaments, which makes it easy to overstretch at first.
Take it slowly and work with your physician to dance safely. Your body’s health should be your top priority, not mimicking your abilities before pregnancy.
6. Come to Cardio Barre!
Signing up for a dance class can help you achieve almost all these tips, and Cardio Barre is the best class to choose. Its ballet-inspired design helps you feel graceful and beautiful while also strengthening your core, centering your posture, and stretching your muscles.
The inspiring cool-down will help boost your mood so you’ll be more ready and able to tackle daily challenges. And some Cardio Barre studios offer free daycare during your class, so there are no more excuses for not fitting dance into your schedule.
Being a mother is a wonderful thing, but don’t let it come at the expense of your identity as a dancer.
Get some groove back into your life and watch as your two passions converge in more amazing ways than you thought possible.
There’s nothing new about being told that fitness should be an important part of life.
In fact, if that’s news to you, it’s quite possible that you’ve been living under a rock for the past 50 years. But what people tend to focus more on are just the physical benefits of fitness and they forget that regular physical exercise has the ability to empower all areas of your life.
Physical fitness is about more than just getting the body you’ve always wanted. What we’re talking about is using physical fitness and regular exercise as tools to improve the overall quality of your whole life. Here’s how your mind, body, and spirit can be empowered through physical fitness.
1. Prevent Memory Loss and Mental Decline
Regular physical exercise gets your heart pumping, and when your heart starts pumping, blood flow starts increasing throughout the whole body, including your brain. Increased blood flow to the brain has been linked to increased neurological activity in the anterior cingulate and hippocampus, the areas of the brain linked with cognition and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ever wonder how a ballet dancer can remember all the intricate choreography of a performance that seems so physically exhausting? Or why a quarterback in the blink of an eye can read a defense while running and throwing to a moving target all at once?
The reason is clear. Regular physical exercise helps your brain perform to its best potential.
2. Endorphin Power
Speaking of boosting brain performance, physical fitness doesn’t just help your mental cognition, it helps you mentally feel good! Think of endorphins as your body’s built-in reward system. Endorphins are responsible for blocking the transmission of pain signals and also create a euphoric-type feeling.
Exercise helps to boost the production of endorphins because of the increased blood flow to the brain. So if you are regularly exercising, your endorphin count is higher, meaning that whenever you experience something pleasurable, the feeling is magnified. Worth it much? We think so.
3. Kick Depression Out
Since your endorphin count is consistently higher because of your physical fitness and you’ve got those good feelings flowing, depression-type feelings occur less frequently. Regular physical exercise shovels out the bad brain chemicals to make room for the good ones.
In addition to more positive brain chemistry, physical fitness also gives you a sense of self-control in your life. The empowerment that comes from disciplining yourself with regular exercise is something that can never be taken for granted. When you are taking control of your life, there is no more room for depression.
4. Increase Relaxation
Exercise is all about body control. When you participate in regular exercise you learn to master the muscles in your body. So, since you have become the master of control over your body, whenever you have tense muscles, you begin to instinctively learn how to relax them.
As you learn to control the muscles in your body, your sleep patterns will improve over time. Many people don’t even realize that when they go to sleep at night, they are naturally tightening some muscles as a result of the regular activities of the day. An increased level of physical exercise will help you control those muscles, making restful sleep more frequent.
5. Energy Boosting
Have you ever been sitting at your desk at work and had a hard time keeping your eyes open, then when you get up to go to the bathroom, you all of the sudden are more awake? That’s because physical exertion can increase your energy levels.
When you are physically active, your body’s normal functions, like blood flow and lung function, start to click on all cylinders. When your body starts to function at a higher level, it naturally needs more energy to help fuel the increased activity. As a result, your body metabolizes the needed additional energy, making you more alert and awake.
Taking control of your life by establishing a regular routine of physical fitness can greatly boost your self-confidence. Even if you don’t get the “ideal” body that you’ve been dreaming about, you can be more confident in yourself because you are establishing a new, more healthy lifestyle for yourself.
Discipline, mental alertness, better relaxation, increased happy feelings, can you think of a better formula for a more confident you? We don’t think so.
Starting an exercise routine can be discouraging at times, especially if you are new to exercise in general.
That’s why a group class, like the classes at Cardio Barre, are perfect for beginners. All our instructors have a goal of fostering a supportive and encouraging atmosphere for participants at all levels. As a result of the atmosphere we create, participants gain strength from one another as they continue their journey towards self empowerment together.
Barre workouts are the best!
Abs. Obliques. Arms, glutes and quads. This graphic shows all a ballet-inspired barre workout can do for you!
It’s hard to get motivated to exercise. Health and fitness are important, but so are the million other things you need to get done each day.
But fitness is important for more than just physicality, it can greatly influence other aspects of your life and make you a happier, more engaged person outside of the studio.
If you need a little inspiration to get to a fitness class, check out these fitness experts who have let wellness influence their lives in more ways than one. Their inspiring stories and efforts to make the world a better place are sure to get you motivated to make fitness a priority in your life.
Keep in mind, these inspiring experts are listed in no particular order.
Natalie Uhling – Talk about overachiever. Uhling became a kickboxing instructor at 16, started designing her own fashion line in college, worked under Nicole Miller and Ralph Lauren, and then created her own innovative fitness program NUFit. At only 31, she runs her company, and is the face of Under Armour Women.
Misty Copeland – This ballet babe became the first black woman to be promoted to principal dancer in American Ballet Theater’s 75-year history, even though she didn’t start dancing until age 13. She has spoken out for diversity in ballet, and was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people.
Rachel Brathen – Swedish native, Brathen left her self-destructive identity behind when she left Stockholm for Costa Rica. There, she fell in love with yoga and was able to find peace in the jungles of Costa Rica and on the utopian beaches of the Caribbean. Her story will make you want to pick up your life and travel to a far away place.
Mary Helen Bowers – Bowers was invited to join the New York City Ballet at age 16. She danced with the ballet for 10 years, and finished a degree from Columbia University during that time. After her career with the NYCB ended, she created a popular ballet-centric workout and trained actress Natalie Portman for her Oscar-winning performance in the 2010 film, “Black Swan.”
Lindsey Vonn – Skier Vonn’s resume is long with awards, some of them being four World Cup championships (one of only two women in the world to have done that) and a gold medal from the 2010 Winter Olympics. She is the most successful American ski racer in history. Oh, and did we mention she’s only 31? Vonn doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Jeff Halevy – Halevy had a lot to overcome. From a tumor that nearly killed him at age 14 to depression and drug abuse, Halevy knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom. That’s why this health and fitness authority has dedicated his life to helping others find their own inner strength and use that to seize opportunity and transform their lives, just as he did.
John Romaniello – Creator of Roman, an intense fitness program, Romaniello does a lot more than help people attain their fitness goals. This active trainer is also a fitness adviser for Livestrong.com, the head of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fitness advisory board, personal trainer to many tech start-up geniuses, and a columnist for various online publications. And we thought we were busy!
Ashley Borden – Borden has been a popular name in fitness for years, having made a long and fruitful career as a celebrity trainer and witty fitness teacher. But when Borden isn’t writing, training, or filming, she’s volunteering with the physical rehabilitation of breast cancer survivors or working with at-risk youth through the Chaka Khan Foundation.
Bob Harper – You may know him as Trainer Bob from reality show “The Biggest Loser,” but Harper is more than a TV star. His inspirational talks and advice have helped thousands of people around the world find the strength to get fit. And when he’s not saving people’s lives, he’s saving animals, having worked with the Animal Advocates Alliance and Farm Sanctuary.
Michelle Obama – She has been an avid health and fitness advocate since moving into the White House. Besides leading by example, Obama started Let’s Move, a program designed to help fight childhood obesity. Over the last few years, she has helped move issues of obesity in the United States to center stage.
Mark Bittman – As the lead food columnist for The New York Times, Bittman talks about more than trendy diets and sensational recipes. This nutrition writer is also avidly involved in food politics and sustainable agriculture, actively writing about policy, agriculture, health, and the environment for his large, hungry audience.
Tim Ferriss – Ferriss has authored several best-selling self-help books. These books have made him “this generation’s self help guru,” as described by The New Yorker magazine, but he is also an angel investor who has helped bring tech monoliths like StumbleUpon, Evernote, and DailyBurn to fruition.
Tony Robbins – Robbins needs no introduction. He’s spent the last three decades advising the world’s greatest leaders, coaching individuals to reach their potential, and leading numerous humanitarian endeavors. His nonprofit, the Anthony Robbins Foundation, aids inner-city youth, senior citizens, and the homeless, as well as feeds more than three million people in 56 countries every year.
Gabrielle Bernstein – Bernstein started a successful public relations firm at 21, but left when she realized something was missing in her life. She went on to launch a movement of motivation and empowerment for young urban women. With a focus on deep introspection, Bernstein writes about everything from overeating to FOMO (fear of missing out) and inspires young women everywhere.
Tara Stiles – Stiles is the founder of Strala, a yoga program that makes health and fitness front and center. Besides being a go-to instructor for celebs and author of multiple best-selling books, Stiles works to bring fitness to children as a supporter of The Alliance for a Healthier Generation. She works to bring over 20,000 Strala classes to participating schools each year.
Kris Carr – Carr isn’t a cancer survivor, she’s a thriver! After being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (on Valentine’s Day of all days), she vowed to change her life for the better. Now Carr focuses her energy on her plant-focused diet plan and living life to the fullest each day, both of which she discusses in her best-selling book “Crazy Sexy Cancer.”
Leo Babauta – Zen master Babauta left his hectic, workaholic lifestyle for that of a healthy, goal-oriented minimalist. His transformation is inspiring on its own, but his teachings on zen habits really drive the point home. Be warned, only visit his blog if you’re really ready to change your life.
Deepak Chopra – Expert on all things meditation, Chopra has made his name synonymous with the practice. He has published several books and created a meditation app, but he also uses mindfulness to promote wellness through the Chopra Foundation, which aims to help at-risk children, low-income women and teenagers, and prisoners find peace through practice.
Kathryn Budig – This yogi is an all-around inspiration. She works to empower her students with her message, “aim true,” which aligns with Budig’s efforts to combat body shaming and body image issues. She also regularly blogs about cooking eco-friendly meals and is the co-founder of Poses for Paws, an organization that raises money for animal shelters through yoga.
Nia Shanks – Shanks was tired of hearing that women couldn’t develop strong bodies in a healthy way. That’s when she started Lift Like a Girl to help coach and educate women about healthy ways to become stronger and more confident in their own skin.
It’s easy to say “can’t,” but when you say “can,” you open your world up to infinite possibilities. Working out and eating healthily aren’t just about looking your best (although that’s definitely a bonus), it’s about feeling strong, confident, and centered.
These experts were able to find the best version of themselves through fitness, will you do the same?
Gentlemen, this one’s for you. Yes, these ballet factoids will surprise you.
There’s a stigma surrounding ballet and ballet workouts that states that they are only for girls. Any male ballet dancer has had to deal with their masculinity being attacked from more ignorant segments of the population.
Nevermind the fact that ballet dancers have the most amazing cores out there. Nevermind the fact that male ballet dancers, because of the lifts they perform, have amazingly defined lean upper-body muscle mass. Here’s exactly why you shouldn’t feel insecure about doing a ballet workout.
It’s more common among football players than you realize
Did you know the Dallas Cowboys have installed ballet barres at their training facility? Let’s just put this out there right away: football players, perhaps the most masculine and tough looking athletes on the planet, are discovering that ballet is benefiting them on the football field in ways they never thought possible.
It all started with Steelers hall of fame wide receiver Lynn Swann. The four-time Super Bowl champion and all-time Steeler leading receiver was famous for performing acrobatic catches while being double and sometimes triple teamed.
Swann revealed that the secret training routine that allowed him to pull off those catches was ballet. In regards to ballet training, Swann said:
“People don’t understand the physicality of dance. Rhythm, timing, body control, coordination. The finish of one move is also the preparation for the next move. I started developing an ability to feel very comfortable in the air. Some of the catches I made that you see in the highlights, I’m up in the air catching a pass. Body control comes into play, the dance ability comes into play. and boom, it’s all there.
Heisman Trophy winner, football legend, and former MMA fighter Herschel Walker was also a ballet student. He had this to say:
“I started ballet in my early 20s. I studied for about 10 years. Ballet is probably one of the hardest things I’ve done, almost like MMA. People don’t give it a lot of credit and think it’s easy but it’s very difficult. For an athlete, you use muscles you really don’t use and ballet is something I really respect.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Yeah but those guys are receivers and running backs. You won’t see the big guys going out and doing ballet training.” Not so fast!
Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon is 6’4”, 320 pounds, and has been taking ballet classes since he was a senior in college. “It’s harder than anything else I do,” McLendon said.
Bodybuilders use it to perfect posing
Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t always a movie star. In fact, Schwarzenegger first gained fame as a 7-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilding champion. If you know anything about bodybuilding, you’ll know that the title of Mr. Olympia is bodybuilding’s most prestigious title. Winning it means that Schwarzenegger wasn’t just the most muscular, it means that he was the most muscularly proportionate and graceful poser in all of bodybuilding for nearly a decade!
How did Arnold Schwarzenegger become perhaps the greatest bodybuilder of all time? One of the contributing factors was his study of ballet. Ballet is all about grace and confidence, body posture, and creating visual symmetry with the body. These principles are what let Schwarzenegger become such a good poser. Without good posing, no bodybuilder can be successful.
Schwarzenegger started a tradition of using ballet for posing that has been copied by thousands of bodybuilders after him. In fact, ballet training is now considered essential for bodybuilding training. If it’s good enough for Arnold Schwarzenegger, it should be good enough for you.
Boxers gain an edge with it
Many people don’t know that Evander Holyfield is the only 4-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Even fewer people don’t realize that Holyfield was a world champion in two different weight classes. Opponents of Evander Holyfield knew better than to try and stand toe to toe with him because his boxing technique was impeccable.
Evander Holyfield is perhaps the most athletic heavyweight champion to ever step into the ring. Part of the reason why he was such a good athlete is because he employed a full-time ballet instructor as part of his training routine.
Ballet helps strengthen the ankles and calves like no other form of exercise can. The two things that boxers need in order to have good footwork are strong ankles and calves. Holyfield credited ballet as the reason why he had great footwork. He also used ballet to increase his flexibility in the ring. During many of his fights, Holyfield was able to use his flexibility to dodge punches, which is one of the reasons why he was never knocked out during his professional career.
More Celebrities do it than you think
All of us are familiar with the Jordan logo. You know, the silhouette of Michael Jordan jumping through the air with a basketball about to dunk. Did you know though, that in order to capture that image, Jordan performed a ballet move?
“I just stood on the floor, jumped up and spread my legs and they took the picture. I wasn’t even running. Everyone thought I did that by running and taking off. Actually, it was a ballet move where I jumped up and spread my legs. And I was holding the ball in my left hand” Jordan stated.
Did you know that movie superstar and female heartthrob Ryan Gosling has been practicing ballet for most of his life? So did Patrick Swayze, James Dean, and numerous other icons of masculinity.
Jean Claude Van Damme…need we say more?
Jean Claude Van Damme, before he was an action movie star, was a world class kickboxing and karate expert. His exploits in both those sports garnered the attention of movie producers and Van Damme soon found himself as one of the hottest names in Hollywood.
A few of his trademark moves included performing the splits and high spin kicks. How was he able to perform these moves that made him a world famous action star? It’s because, ever since he was 16 years old, Van Damme studied ballet. He described his respect for ballet when he said “Ballet is an art, but it’s also one of the most difficult sports. If you can survive a ballet workout, you can survive a workout in any other sport”.
The point of all this is to show you that you don’t lose your masculinity by doing ballet. So, the next time someone criticizes you for having a desire to take a ballet or barre class, just take out your phone, pull up this blog post, and start reading aloud. I guarantee you’ll have your friends wanting to take a class with you.
When you watch a ballet performance, the last thing that probably comes to your mind is “Wow, she must have killer abs!” You’re probably admiring the graceful adagios across the stage, the speed and balance of synchronized pirouettes, or the power and length of a grande jeté.
Each performer seems to make each movement look seamless and easy, and that’s the point. How can a ballerina perform these complex, intricate movements with such ease and grace that it looks like they are putting hardly any effort into it? The answer is because ballet dancers have unbelievably strong core muscles!
So what is it about these dancers? Do they know the best core strength exercises, but have kept them hidden for centuries? Not at all.
The secret behind a ballet dancer’s almost perfect core is simple. It’s ballet itself.
1. They warm up and stay warm constantly
If you ever get the chance to sneak a behind-the-scenes look at the backstage of a ballet performance, you’ll probably witness performers doing crunches, planks, or full sit-ups just before the curtain goes up. Why? Core muscles are used in just about every aspect of ballet and just like any other muscle group, they require a good warmup before performances.
Hockey goalies stretch their legs thoroughly before games. Quarterbacks throw passes on the sidelines both before and during games to keep their arms loose. Pitchers do the same thing before and between innings in baseball. Ballet dancers are constantly keeping their ab muscles warm by working out before, in between, and during performances.
2. They’ve perfected the art of balance in every possible way
Most personal trainers will tell you that if there’s only one exercise that you have time for during a workout at the gym, it should be planks. Planks have the unique ability to demand exertion from almost every muscle group in your body simultaneously. Most of all, planks are the ultimate ab and oblique sculpting tool, and ballet dancers perform more variations of planks than perhaps any other athlete.
More traditional planks are performed either on the elbows or hands in a push-up position. But, ballet dancers have taken planking to a whole new level. They perform every kind of vertical and horizontal plank you could imagine. They may look like they’re just normal stretches or poses, but don’t be fooled. Each one requires a tremendous amount of core strength to pull off:
3. They perform power movements seamlessly
In case you haven’t noticed, ballet dancers do a serious amount of jumping! Each one of those jumps requires an amazing amount of stability and power originating in the core. Any jump that requires you to start from a position of absolute balance, leap, and do a leg lift at the same time requires core strength that’s out of this world.
Without a powerful core, ballet dancers wouldn’t be able to reach full extensions on a full ballonné. It’s impossible to perform a smooth pas de chat without strong obliques that can bring your legs up quickly when transitioning from jump to jump. If you don’t have strong lower abs and obliques, you can forget about pulling off a pas de ciseaux. Your feet would never be able to move fast enough to land properly.
4. Their fast movements require core strength
Picture this. You’re performing a bench press, a basic weightlifting exercise that everyone is familiar with. You lay down on the bench and hold the weighted bar at the halfway point between your chest and a full extension. Hold the bar there for 10 seconds, then explode out to a full extension as fast as you can, then immediately perform another full repetition. Now, repeat that process 30 times. Can you imagine how bad your chest would hurt!?
This is roughly what a ballet dancer’s core muscles go through every time they perform a full series of renverse jumps. Renverse jumps are usually performed at fast tempos and if the dancer doesn’t have a strong foundational core, they won’t be able to maintain the speed, or get the height that those jumps require.
5. Their slow movements require core strength
Let’s go back to our bench press example. Imagine, in the same workout, performing another 30 full repetitions, this time without stopping in the middle to hold the bar at the halfway point. Perform these additional 30 repetitions slowly, making sure you take at least 10 seconds to perform a single rep. Sound painful enough? Again, it’s nothing new to a ballet dancer’s core muscles.
Deliberately slow movements can sometimes work a muscle group more than fast movements can. When it comes to their ab muscles, this is something that ballet dancers know all too well. Many a ballet dancer will tell you that one of the hardest things to perfect is a fluid and graceful developpe. That’s because, while the legs are being extended and retracted, the ab muscles remain constantly flexed so that balance and posture can be maintained.
The point of all of this is to illustrate that, even though ballet dancers make their movements look simple and easy, the reason for that is because they have amazingly conditioned cores. The movements they perform on a daily basis do more to strengthen the abs and obliques than perhaps any other type of workout you could think of.
Ballet and barre workouts may be the best kept secret of the fitness industry.
So, how can you get the core tone and strength of a ballet performer? By doing the same things they do.
The instructors at Cardio Barre have taken the same principles found in ballet and applied them to a supportive and motivating class atmosphere, all of which designed to get you started on the path to becoming a better you.
If it’s a stronger core that you’re looking for, look no further than the graceful yet powerful movements of ballet to get if for you.
Life is hectic!
Your children, your career, auditions… sometimes it feels like it never stops! And the last thing you have time for is to get to a fitness class, right?
Though there are people who seem to have it all figured out, most of them probably even struggle to keep up with the rat race at times.
For this beautiful graphic, we tapped a who’s who list of dancers, artists and motivational experts, for their top secrets for staying fit.
And we think you’ll love the results!
Whether you’re struggling to exercise or eat right, these tips are sure to help you get your butt to a fitness class.
Check out these gems before you skip to the graphic (and make sure to tell us who we forgot in the comments section below):
When I do indulge, I exercise a bit harder the next day. My workout motto is really simple: No pain, no cake!
You’ll be much less likely to hit the drive-thru or order take-out when you know how easy it will be to throw together a slimming meal at home.
Well, I’m in my mid-forties now so I do a series of floor barre and pilates mostly… Not a whole lot of gym work, because for me, if I do too much gym work then I get too bulky.
Celebrity Motivation Tips to Help Get Your Butt to a Fitness Class
Celebrities are known for their out-of-this-world looks, and it’s easy to think that the average Joe could never reach their physical status. But celeb fitness secrets aren’t as secret as you may think.
Tons of Hollywood’s hottest stars turn to Cardio Barre to fulfill their fitness needs, and this wellness program can help you too!
Whether your aim is weight loss, exercising after an injury, or building and toning your muscles, Cardio Barre can help you reach your goals. Check out how these celebrities have used Cardio Barre to do just that!
Marissa Jaret Winokur
“Having fun is the ONLY way to lose weight and for me that was Cardio Barre. It helped me lose over 50 pounds.”
It may seem like a no-brainer, but the best exercise for weight loss is one you’ll actually do. You have to enjoy and commit to a workout for it to help you reach any of your goals. Winokur found her passion in Cardio Barre, where is yours?
“[With Cardio Barre I have] been able to keep it up with a heart-monitor during pregnancy!”
For women who have a low-risk pregnancy with no contraindications, such as high blood pressure, science has shown that exercise is good and encourages a healthy pregnancy. Aiming for a target heart rate can help expecting women work out at an appropriate level.
Cardio Barre is a comprehensive, no-impact workout, so it’s easy for pregnant women to participate and stay healthy and active during pregnancy.
“I found that I had hit a plateau and my body needed that extra few inches of added toning and lengthening. Yoga and pilates didn’t have enough cardio for me and pure cardio classes were not helping me achieve the muscle definition look that I wanted.”
Getting a full-body workout on a consistent basis is tough. A lot of people hit the gym with leg days, core days, and cardio days. But it’s easy to gravitate toward your favorite exercises and end up with an uneven workout, or plateau because your body isn’t getting challenged with new positions.
To truly meet your fitness goals, you need a good mix of cardio, strength building, and stretching. You’ll also need to make sure you mix up your workout regularly to keep your body on its toes and continually changing.
“[At Cardio Barre] I continue to be challenged and inspired by the tough exercises and incredible staff.”
Hilty has pinpointed a very important part of working out. Certified strength and conditioning specialist Mike Donavanik explains: “Sometimes it’s daunting to take that next step and move up to that next level, but your body will continually see gains if you promise to continually push it. Worst-case scenario, if you can’t handle a progression, you scale back. But you’ll never know if you’ve met your limit unless you try to push your boundaries.”
It can be hard to push yourself in new directions, but having a strong support group around you when you exercise makes the task a bit easier. Your workout advocates can include your instructor, classmates, and friends, but they should always be encouraging you to push yourself and reach your goals.
“I started doing Cardio Barre after my spinal surgery. I hoped to strengthen my spine and try to prevent any further problems. I got so much more! I am stronger, leaner and more flexible than I have been in decades.”
It can feel impossible to get to the gym when you’re injured. Whether healing after surgery or recovering from an athletic injury, getting back on the saddle is difficult and needs to be done with caution.
Choose a no-impact workout like Cardio Barre to help you get started if it’s been awhile since you’ve stepped foot in a gym. Listen to your body and understand your limits, always remember to warm up before and cool down after a workout, and consult a physician as you go along.
Although working out after a setback will be challenging, you’ll feel unstoppable after completing an exercise you never thought you’d do again, and seeing the physical results will give you that extra boost of confidence.
“Anyone who’s looking for a whole body workout, core strengthening, increased flexibility and longer, stronger muscles will find it all at Cardio Barre.”
Flexibility is an often forgotten aspect of fitness, however, it’s a key element to not only your health, but your overall wellness.
Flexibility is lost as we age, and it if isn’t actively retained, it can lead to reduced mobility of joints and compromised body positions, which hamper independence as we grow older. Flexibility can also improve your performance in other exercises, decrease risk of injury, and help individuals become more intune with their body, making it essential to any exercise program.
Human Kinetics sums it up by explaining that flexibility “is a form of active relaxation that can improve both mental and physical recovery.”
Lesley Ann Warren
“The joy of seeing very young people all the way through to people in their seventies is a great gift for all of us [at each Cardio Barre class].”
Exercise is important at every age. Finding one’s passion for physical fitness is essential to living a long, healthy life. Everyone enjoys a different type of exercise, but finding something you love and can share with others turns exercise from a chore into a hobby.
Cardio Barre is a great workout for people at any age, which makes it easy to share with friends and family. Try bringing your college-age daughter or your retired mom to a class and have fun getting fit together.
As you can see, celebrities run into the same problems with their physical fitness as we all do. The difference is that they have the motivation to overcome their workout challenges and strive to find a fitness program that works. For many of them, that program is Cardio Barre.
Get that dancer body that everyone is working for with Cardio Barre and overcome your challenges, inside and outside the studio.
Cardio Barre franchisees are some of the happiest people you’ll meet, and that isn’t by accident. This community of business owners have not only found a way to make a living and be their own boss, they get to actively participate in their passion every day.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. All around the country, Cardio Barre franchisees are full of inspiring stories for why this wellness program has a special place in their heart. We talked to a couple owners to get their take on the influence Cardio Barre has had in their life, and why you should consider franchising with Cardio Barre.
The important take away message here is that Cardio Barre is more than a gym trying to get your credit card information or a personal trainer trying to raise their bottom line. It’s full of passionate individuals who have a vested interest in being a part of a community, improving their physical fitness, and also growing themselves mentally and emotionally.
They’ve managed to find all those benefits in one place, and you can too. The franchisees you’re about to meet have taken pains to make sure their studios are more than gyms, but places where they can foster all the physical and emotional benefits of the Cardio Barre program.
Why go the extra mile? Let’s find out.
“I Like to Be My Own Boss”
This is one of the first reasons Shantel Reitz lists for opening two Cardio Barre locations. However, when you learn more about her story, it’s clear that her reasons extend well beyond independence.
Reitz has been a business owner before, running a small interior design company in Salt Lake City, Utah. As the market began to plummet, she traded out her business slacks for bibs and diapers and stayed home to raise her three children. But after a few years, it was time for Reitz to get her hands dirty again.
“I just really enjoy building things, building companies, even small things, from the ground up,” Reitz says.
Reitz and her sister were on the prowl for something they could build, but weren’t finding any luck in Salt Lake City. A friend in Pasadena called and said she found something new that they had to try and the sisters flew to California for a Cardio Barre class.
“Our friend said we had to try it so we flew out to California and tried it and then I couldn’t live without it, so we had to bring one here.”
In fact, the sisters brought two, opening locations in Sandy and South Jordan, Utah.
In California, Lisa Jabboury had been running her location in Woodland Hills for a few years by the time Reitz and her sister discovered Cardio Barre.
Unlike Reitz, Jabboury didn’t have a lot of experience running her own business. A dancer and actor in California, Jabboury found Cardio Barre looking for a unique workout that would keep her motivated to stay fit.
She instantly fell in love with the Cardio Barre program, so once they offered franchising, she signed right up!
“I decided this was the right fit for me and my future,” says Jabboury. “I was a professional dancer and actor and this transition was perfect. I could stay creative and be my own boss. I also had a passion for this workout and saw my body get better as I got older! Franchising helped lay out a business plan since this was my first real business venture, so there were guidelines and it was established.”
“It Is a Gift to Open Every day”
This is Jabboury’s response to being asked about her favorite thing about the Cardio Barre workout.
“There is no way to master the class. It always is a challenge. It makes us be the best we can be on any given day. It is a gift to open every day. A journey uncovering your strength, determination, and perseverance.”
Reitz agrees, and she finds that the journey clients go on often reaches deeper than fitness alone.
“Everyone has their own story and sometimes you don’t know what someone is dealing with,” says Reitz. “But it’s really great to see them come in here and, no matter what their problem is, work through it or find a resolution within themselves.”
This makes the cool down at the end of each class resonate especially strong with Reitz.
“It’s always my favorite to glance around during cool down because that’s when you see the emotion really come, and people can really get in touch with what they’re going through and you can read the emotion on everyone’s faces. It’s great.”
On the other hand, Jabboury gets amped up at the beginning of class, when the music is blasting and the energy in the room is palpable.
“My favorite part of the class is after the warm up, where the energy increases and you begin to work with the enthusiasm in the room, which helps carry you through until the end.”
“Stick it Out”
Although many people are like Reitz and fall in love with the class instantly, others take a while to find their groove.
Reitz tells a story of a client who took her first class and hated it, but vowed to stick around for the 10-class series. “Around class six or seven, she fell in love with it,” Reitz says.
While a lot of clients stick around for the physical benefits that never plateau because the class is always shocking your muscles, others, like Jabboury, find that fitness is only one reason to make a life-long commitment to Cardio Barre.
“You are in a better mood and all stress leaves your body,” Jabboury says when describing her feeling after each class. “It’s like you just made more room in your mind to focus on your present day and appreciate what’s to come, rather than worry. You become more open and aware to opportunities and ways to stay positive because you already conquered something.”
Close your eyes and think of the last time you felt like you conquered something. How long ago was it? A week ago? A month? Can you even remember?
What if you could feel that empowered every day? With Cardio Barre, that possibility is in your grasp. You just need to take the first step and make it happen.
We want to help you get started. Find a Cardio Barre location near you here and use this coupon to get your first class free. Give it a try and see if you can feel the same passion that inspired Reitz and Jabboury to turn Cardio Barre from their hobby into their lifestyle.
Let me guess, you’ve heard about low-impact workouts in the past, but aren’t quite sure if they are right for you.
We write a lot about exercise on the Cardio Barre blog. Many of you are deciding whether to join a studio like Cardio Barre, or a more traditional gym.
We hope articles on our blog show you why low-impact workouts are probably your best choice. This post might not be as long as some of the others, however, the beautiful image displays four key reasons why we love low-impact workouts at Cardio Barre.
- Better Cardiovascular Circulation
- Group Motivation
- Rapid Weight Loss
- Easy on the Joints
Now take a closer look at why our customers keep coming back for more!
4 Graphic Reasons You Should Try Low-Impact Workouts Today!
The ballet dancer body is one to be envied. That explains why celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel, Amanda Bynes and Ashlee Simpson have turned to the barre to keep their bodies in shape.
Instead of sitting there green with envy, you can follow these simple ballet-inspired moves from experienced ballet dancers and fitness instructors.
Their elegant moves can help to whittle your middle and maintain a tight waistline, even after all those holiday desserts!
Mary Helen Bowers
Mary Helen Bowers didn’t quit dancing after she left the New York City Ballet. Instead, she turned her dancing into an enterprise and became one of the best known names in fitness, changing lives with her ballet-inspired workouts. Here are some of Bowers’ favorite tummy tightening exercises.
- Alternating Leg Lifts
Lying face up on a mat, raise your legs up, bending your knees at a 90-degree angle so your shins are parallel with the ground. Pull your lower stomach in tight.
Extend both legs until your knees are bent at a 45-degree angle and then lower one leg down until your foot is hovering just above the ground while keeping your other leg up and bent at 45-degrees.
With pointed toes, hold your leg just above the ground for a moment and then lift it back up, meeting the other leg at a 45-degree angle. Repeat with the other leg.
When you’re just getting started, do four reps with each leg. Work your way up to eight reps as you become more advanced.
Source Yahoo Health
- Standing Side Crunch
Stand tall with your feet together. Then, stretch one leg out to the side and pull your stomach in tight. Bring your arms out to the side and gracefully bring one hand down toward the toes of the extended leg while keeping your other arm above your head.
Hold that position as you pull from the waist. Repeat on one side for three reps and then switch sides.
If you want to make this exercise more challenging, you can add a leg lift. When you come back to the center, bend your knees slightly and when you extend your leg out, lift it slightly off the ground for an added crunch to your obliques.
Source Yahoo Health
Like Bowers, Piskin came from the New York City Ballet and quickly found her passion for ballet-inspired fitness after her career at the ballet ended. She left the ballet stressed and unhealthy and found her way back by practicing what she knows. Now she teaches her program to others eager to get their own health in check.
- Standing Attitude
For this exercise, you’ll need a resistance band. Tie the ends of the band together and place it around your calves, just below your knees. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips.
Bending your knees slightly, raise one leg in front of you about a foot off the floor, with toes turned out. You should feel some tension in the band.
Pulse your leg up and down a few inches for 20 reps, then slowly swing your leg behind you. Point your toes and make sure your leg is about a foot off the ground, then pulse your leg up and down for 20 more reps.
Switch legs and repeat these steps. Do two sets on each side.
Source Fitness Magazine
- Side Leg Lift and Reach
Lie on the floor on one side. Lift up on your elbow, place the resistance band around your shins, and then lift your other arm above your head.
Raise your top leg up, pulling the resistance band tight, and keep it there. Then pull the elbow of your outstretched arm down toward your right hip, doing a small side crunch. Do 20 crunches in this position and then switch sides. Repeat two sets.
Source Fitness Magazine
Gulan is a former soloist with The Virginia Ballet Company and has made several fitness videos designed to help women develop that slim, toned dancer body. Here is one of her favorite ballet-inspired belly busters.
- Side Plank Leg Lifts
On your mat, get on all fours. Raise one hand over your head while keeping the other firmly planted on the ground. Then, raise your leg on the same side as your raised hand back behind you, keep your knee on the ground at a right angle.
Pull your abs in tight and move your extended leg in front of you, so that it is now perpendicular to your planted knee. Keep your foot parallel to the floor and lower your leg to the floor, then raise it to just above your hip. Repeat 10 times, and then repeat with the other side.
Source: Woman’s Day
Repeat these ballet-inspired moves three times a week and pair them with a healthy diet to get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions. Watch as your tummy tightens after the first month of diligent practice.