Now that the holidays have passed and all the cheese, wine and peppermint bark have been consumed, it’s time to get in shape. We’re not talking about losing weight (although that might be a side effect), but getting healthy and strong. Yep, it’s time to commit to a workout program.
Because it’s a new year, consider trying a new kind of exercise: the Bar Method, Pilates Plus or the Booty Barre (yes, unfortunately, that is its actual name). None of these are for the faint of heart—or body—but they’re rewarding and sometimes even fun. Here’s where to find quality new-decade workouts.
The Bar Method Pasadena
32 Mills Place, Old Pasadena, 626.844.7888, barmethod.com/pasadena
The Bar Method has a ballet influence, since it uses the barre for much of the class. An outgrowth of the Lotte Berk Method—which has been around since 1959—The Bar Method combines the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training in one powerful exercise program. It is intense in a unique way because of the isometric holds. But it moves quickly, so just when you think you can’t hold a position for another second, you are—blessedly—on to the next. It doesn’t seem particularly aerobic, because you don’t usually huff and puff, but it is, because it challenges the body’s endurance. For people familiar with exercise classes, some of the stretches, squats and other moves will be familiar, but you’ll find plenty of surprises, too.
The Booty Barre
ATP Physical Specific Training
1942-44 Huntington Dr., South Pasadena, 626.403.6545, thebootybarre.com/classes/atp-specific-training
This class, developed and often taught by international fitness celebrity Tracey Mallet, is high energy and fun. Also dance inspired, the Booty Barre—which Mallet is licensing around the country—blends techniques from Pilates, dance, cardio-sculpting and yoga. The most aerobic in this selection of workouts, with about half of the hour-long class devoted to cardio, it is probably also the most intense. Isometric moves are combined with the fluidity of dance moves, using the barre, weights, mats and resistance bands. Mallet likes to change it up often, so workouts are always slightly different. For now, there are only a few classes a week; check the website for more offerings soon.
Pilates Plus is a great workout no matter what shape you are in. Think leg toning lunges and squats, lots of weight resistance, and a good dose of balance and concentration. The instructors are skilled at helping beginners work at a manageable pace and more advanced students get a heavier-duty workout. While some of us Pilates purists (I have been practicing it for more than 13 years) may balk at the trendy-sounding name of this workout, it isn’t really Pilates. The classes are strenuous, and in just 40 minutes, I get as good a workout as I do in longer Pilates classes. The proformer, based on the Pilates reformer, is the piece of equipment used, and it has lots of extras that a reformer doesn’t have, including bungee cords, leg weights and extra resistance straps. The classes, which move quickly because of the high energy and loud music (sometimes a little too loud), offer a fusion of cardio and strength-training moves that really get to the core muscles, as well as the legs and arms.