After having my workout schedule seriously thrown off by work travel, the holidays and moving, I’m back at it thanks to ClassPass. While I’m getting my sweat on I wanted to give you the scoop on some of the new workouts I’m trying and would love to hear about your favorites as well. Expect the full rundown on my latest sweat-fests, with info on what to expect, what to wear and what you might feel like afterward.
// All photos via Avant-Barre
The Workout: “Signature Class” at Avant-Barre in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood ($24/class)
Avant-Barre keeps it simple with only one type of class that’s suitable for all levels (arrive 15 minutes early if you’re a newcomer – my instructor, Tiffany, spent time with me pre-class so we could chat a bit and talk through any injuries or limitations for customized instruction during our workout). They keep class sizes small to provide one on one, hands on instruction to ensure proper form and mix up traditional barre moves with cardio bursts and stretching so you’re burning calories, strengthening and increasing flexibility all at the same time.
What To Expect: A full body, ballet-based workout that uses small movements and your own body weight to tone and help you achieve that ballerina long and lean look. This was my very first barre class and my mentality very quickly went from “pssh, this is easy!” to “oh my god I cannot do any more reps of this and my legs are violently shaking”. Avant-Barre’s classes are circuit training style, so you focus solely on one area of your body, work that area really hard and then mix things up and move on.
What To Wear: Leggings or cropped tights, a low-impact sports bra and a fitted tank top that won’t move around while you’re moving through exercises. Socks are optional and I found it easier without them. The studio provides mats (and sanitizes them after every class) and towels, but bring a water bottle with you to fill up before class.
Final Verdict: Let’s be real here, I am no ballerina. I never took ballet growing up and I was definitely not a barre natural by any means. With that being said, my instructor, Tiffany was a rockstar and made gentle corrections to my form to ensure I was doing each move correctly, but never made me feel like a silly beginner. I loved how the class was broken up into circuits and set to music – it made the hour fly by and the exercises pushed you riiiiight to your limit, then rewarded you with stretching and working a different part of your body. The small class sizes are a huge advantage at Avant-Barre; there were about 6 of us in my class which was enough so I didn’t feel totally alone but it allowed each person to have the attention of our instructor.
My muscles were immediately tired afterward (I had shaky legs the whole walk home!) and I definitely felt the workout in my abs, triceps and butt the next day. I’d definitely recommend Avant-Barre, and barre classes in general, for anyone looking for a full body workout that’s low impact, yet super effective.
And in case you haven’t tried ClassPass yet, it’s amazing. For $99 a month you’re able to take unlimited fitness classes at a huge variety of studios across the country (they’ve been expanding like crazy so if ClassPass isn’t in your city yet, hang tight!), the only big catch is that you can’t visit the same studio more than 3x in one month. It’s a really cost effective way to add variety to your fitness routine without paying the $25 per class you’d spend if you were to do drop in classes. PLUS they just launched a pretty rad iPhone app so you’re able to sign up for classes and view your schedule anywhere, anytime. Sign up and give it a go!