Words: Melanie Dimmitt
Listen up, lads. Barre isn’t just for women – and it offers many benefits you won’t get in other classes. So before you brush it off as too ballet-y, too easy or a guy-free zone, we’d suggest you give it a go and get in on the leg-shaking, butt-lifting action. For those in need of convincing, we asked Barre Body instructor Kat Lee (who’s lured many a bloke to the barre) to bust the most common misconceptions men might have. Ready, mister?
- IT’S NOT A BALLET CLASS
If the idea of doing a barre class rouses images of Billy Elliot, stop right there. “Maybe dance is not your forte, but no experience is necessary to do any of our Barre Body classes,” promises Kat. They are ballet inspired, she emphasises (so think less ‘plié’ and more seriously thigh-burning squat). “Once you learn the basics you’ll quickly learn it’s not all about ballet dancing.” Not that straight ballet should be sniffed at, we should add. Many a professional athlete incorporates it into their training.
- THERE ARE PERKS YOU WON’T FIND AT THE GYM
“A room full of gorgeous women… and men,” laughs Kat, explaining that unlike your standard gym sesh, Barre Body classes deliver a balanced, full-body workout. “Yes, this includes cardio and an elevated heart rate. You may even leave with a tighter, toned tush!” Gym-goers don’t tend to train their legs (we’ve all seen those top-heavy types) but at the barre, every day is a leg, arm, butt and core day. “You’re guaranteed to break a sweat and feel the burn in places you didn’t even know you had!”
- IT’S (HEAPS) HARDER THAN YOU THINK
They may not look like much, but little movements go a long way at the barre. “Barre Body classes pinpoint all the smaller, less used muscles in the body, so don’t be surprised by the micro movements,” says Kat. “You may not be lifting mass amounts over your head but the smallest bend, stretch, lift and lower will definitely deliver a serious burn!” And just wait and see how pleasantly sore (and significantly less clumsy) you’ll be after only a handful of classes.
- LIGHTER WEIGHTS AREN’T FOR LIGHTWEIGHTS
“Don’t be fooled by these pretty little 1kg and 2kg weights,” Kat warns. “Controlled, repetitive, isometric movements will get those muscles firing in no time. Our classes focus on creating and releasing resistance to allow the muscles to fire and fatigue quicker.” It’s not about how strong you are (or think you are) before trying barre, she says, but rather the consistency and repetition of movement. “Now, let’s try that 95 more times.”
- STRETCHING IS TOTALLY WORTH IT
“The benefits of stretching are endless!” After all, as Kat explains, the more you train and work your body, the more stretching it requires to function optimally (and injury free). “Barre Body classes can compliment any workout regime and be an excellent supplement to keeping you more mobile.” Even in your day-to-day doings you’ll notice the difference regular stretching makes, especially if you work hunched over a computer. “Brownie points for being able to apply your own sunscreen!”
- IT’S NOT A WOMEN-ONLY SPACE, YOU KNOW
Yes, the majority of Barre Body clients are women but, as Kat points out, “We do have quite a few lucky men who enjoy all the benefits barre has to offer. You will be more concerned about all the shaking, sweating and burning you’ll be experiencing rather than the lovely lady next to you. Give it a try, you might just leave a little more humbled and happy that you did.”