Fitness Rx / January 2004

Fitness Rx – Get a Dancer’s Body with No-Impact

Get a Dancer’s Body with No-Impact “CARDIO BARRE®

by Carol Ann Weber

Almost every woman across America had the fantasy to be a dancer or ballerina,” says Richard Giorla, creator of a revolutionary no-impact workout called “CARDIO BARRE®” that’s taking Hollywood by storm. But what’s really cool about this fat-burning, butt-tightening, thigh-slimming, posture-straightening, figure-sculpting routine is that you don’t need any dance experience or talent to get the full benefits. All you need is a willingness to sweat, a kitchen counter or the back of a chair or couch (he also offers a portable barre that can be used at home or the office), and the ability to follow the video/DVD.

What makes CARDIO BARRE® so unique is that Giorla takes the structure and discipline of ballet and combines it with a high-intensity, high-repetition cardio workout that offers head-to-toe conditioning; you’re stretching, lengthening, strengthening, toning and burning up to 500-600 calories in an hour. You’re maximizing your results in the shortest amount of time. And there’s no jumping, kicking or stepping.

A person of any age and fitness level can do this without injury,” says Giorla. “And the time flies by because you’re having so much fun.

Born in Philadelphia, Richard started his career as a gymnast, was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Pennsylvania Ballet Company and then moved to New York City to further expand his technique.

Inspired by the energy and “non-traditional” dancing in the hit film “Flashdance,” he hit the streets of Manhattan, pop-locking and break dancing with a group of young dancers who shared their moves in exchange for Giorla’s tutoring.

Richard furthered his training in some of New York’s finest schools, soon becoming the dance captain for Chippendales. He was the featured dancer for MTV’s 10th Anniversary with Michael Jackson and co-starred in the movie “Lambada,” as well as making other numerous film and television appearances.

But soon after the call of Hollywood drew him to Los Angeles, he suffered an injury that virtually ended his career. With no income and nowhere else to go, Richard developed an exercise program with which his students began to see results in less than a month. Soon, his Studio City classes were packed with celebs like former “Beverly Hills, 90210” stars Jennie Garth and Tiffani Thiessen, singer Carnie Wilson and actors Mariel Hemingway, Priscilla Barnes, Amanda Pace, Kelly Parker from “ER”, and Cerina Vincent (former FitnessRx cover girl). He’s got an infomercial and book coming out, and new studios have already opened in Santa Monica, San Francisco, Boston and Manhattan.

The workout video/DVD, which comes in beginner (40 minutes), intermediate and advanced versions (50 minutes), takes you through a warm-up and stretch, high-repetition barre work, resistance training with light weights, ab work both at the barre and on the floor, more barre work and a cool-down at the end. Of course, if you’re in the Hollywood area, you can take the one-hour class from the master himself.

According to Richard, “Women can take an hour of this. Most men can’t last that long.

In the works is his next video/DVD, “Cardio Kitchen,” a half-hour workout done in the kitchen while you’re cooking. How cool is that? Here are some of the CARDIO BARRE® exercises you can do at you kitchen counter at home:

What it tones: your abs. How to do it: Stand facing the counter and rest your right hand on it. Bend your left arm and raise your fist above eye level. Tighten your abs and lift your left knee as you lower your left elbow slightly (keep back straight); lower leg. Do 50 times. Switch sides and repeat.

What it tones: your thighs and butt. How to do it: Stand with your feet several feet from the counter. Lean forward, placing crossed arms on the counter, elbows flat to stabilize your balance. Balance your weight on one leg, keeping it straight, and lift the other leg, keeping it straight, a few feet off the floor; lower. Do 25 times. Now lift your leg as high as you can 25 times. Repeat with the other leg.

What it tones: your chest, arms, shoulders and upper back. How to do it: Place your hands on the counter more than shoulder-width apart, walk your feet out three or four feet and lift onto your toes. Bend your elbows and lower chest toward the counter; press up. Do 25 times. Now place hands shoulder-width apart and do another 25 push-ups.

What it tones: your calves, thighs and butt. How to do it: Stand with the counter to your right, your feet more than shoulder-width apart and turned out. Place your right hand on the counter, slowly bend your knees and squat; rise up. Do 25 times. Now squat, hold and lift onto toes 25 times.

CARDIO BARRE® is located at 12530 Riverside Drive in Studio City, Calif. Visit for additional information and other locations.