No, Barre Classes Won’t Give You a Dancer’s Body

Barre is a fun, challenging, joint-friendly way to get a workout. But don’t buy into the hype; barre classes can’t make you look like a dancer.

If CrossFit was the workout of 2014, then surely 2015 is the season of “barre,” a workout women everywhere are flocking to. In Boston alone, you can take a barre class from PureBarre, FlyBarre, The Bar Method, and Exhale Core Fusion Barre. Not a member? Barre classes have been added to the schedules of yoga and dance studios all over the city.

The pricey classes draw ladies in by promising to “tone” problem areas and help participants develop a dancer’s lean physique—claims that have caused controversy. Having taken (and enjoyed!) a number of barre classes myself, I wanted to understand the science behind the advertisements.

Source: A Look Behind the Bar: Can Barre Classes “Sculpt” Your Body?

The only change will be the loss of body fat, so you’ll get to see your actual body structure.  Even in modeling there’s different aspects – a fitness model is not a runway model, etc.  Keep in mind to have some self-compassion if you find out you’re not the body type you wanted to be.

How I Went From Weight Lifting to Bodyweight Exercises and Still Gained Strength

At first, I was skeptical about making progress. I used to believe that bodyweight workouts were wussy—that the only way to build the strong body I wanted was to lift weights in the gym. Still, I forged forward. For science (and my own convenience).

Source: How I Went From Weight Lifting to Bodyweight Exercises and Still Gained Strength

Many promote bodyweight exercises as a safer alternative, but it’s easy to mess your elbow/shoulder/knee doing bodyweight work. Form is still essential!

Fitness Isn’t Just for the Wealthy: How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Personal trainers, fresh vegetables, and gym memberships all cost money. Not everyone can afford such luxuries. It’s one reason why being poor is too expensive—a crappy diet and sedentary lifestyle costs more down the line. Don’t worry: While fitness comes at a price, it’s not one you have to pay out of your wallet.

Source: Fitness Isn’t Just for the Wealthy: How to Stay Healthy on a Budget

Couple of points:

  • The article mentions bodyweight exercises, but stops short of saying yoga or pilates?
  • Cooking for yourself will take time, but it’s worth it for health/nutrition by minimizing how much packaged food you consume.  Just be sure to wash the fruit & veg, eh? 😉
  • While you’re likely to pay more for better food, lowering body weight means portion control.  You’ll eat less, which will cost less.

Are Bodyweight Exercises (Yoga/Pilates) Effective?

While the process of building muscle at a cellular level is complicated to say the least, at the practical level, it’s quite simple.

…Building muscle can be simplified into one simple concept: increase the weight, repetitions (also known as “reps”), or volume that you can do in a given exercise. This concept is known as ” progressive overload.” The result is an increase in muscle size—a process known as muscular hypertrophy.

…What about heavier folks who are worried that they can’t perform bodyweight exercises? That can be solved by finding versions of exercises that you can do, such as kneeling push-ups or wall push-ups instead of regular push-ups. Don’t beat yourself up if you use an easier version of an exercise. What truly matters is improvements week over week.

Source: Are Bodyweight Exercises Effective?

What the article doesn’t discuss is oversight – having an instructor of some fashion monitoring, giving you feedback, and correcting where necessary.  This is why though you can practice yoga on your own, I don’t recommend it.  I’ve seen too many cases of chest facing forwards, but the hips are at 45 degrees.  Or in foot position in warrior postures…  It also takes a lot of self discipline to practice on your own – making time and thinking up lesson plans.

There is no best program, diet, or exercise. When it comes to fitness and health, everything is contextual and depends on the individual. Done correctly, bodyweight training will build muscle, but definitely consider your time, budget, and goals when selecting the program that’s right for you.