We are a family. I’ve got all my sisters with me!

by Laura Wood

’ve found it: euphoria, empowerment, mental clarity, and a sense of being part of a community. Where did this amazing transformation occur? At my barre class, where everyone knows your name. When telling friends and family about it, I always have to preface it with “my exercise class called Barre,” otherwise they start laughing if I just say how much fun I’ve been having at the “bar.”

Izabela Amos, L. Wood, and Alison Broderick

To explain to those that have never heard of a barre class, think ballet meets boot camp. According to Alison Broderick, my fav of all instructors, “Barre 3 combines elements of yoga, Pilates, and ballet barre with a signature approach that delivers a deep muscle burn and an endorphin high. Suitable for all fitness levels [really?], the workout empowers individuals [yes] to modify postures that adapt to their body. Clients leave feeling stronger, more energized, with mental clarity [I remembered where I parked my car] and a greater sense of community.” Group hug, class warriors?

The studio looks like a ballet studio with shiny wooden floors, a mirrored wall, a ballet bar, and extra weights, balls, bands, and mats. The classes are small and the instructors are the most beautiful young women, both outside and in. They greet everyone and check on you during class (to see if you are close to passing out). So far, I’ve not seen many men, but it was a special treat to work out next to the owner’s husband, who had some of the most beautiful calves I’ve ever seen. I repeatedly tried to get Jerry to go with me at first, but he wouldn’t budge. Honestly, I wanted to show him up doing a side plank, but I guess he was afraid we’d wear pink tutus and pirouette in single file down the middle of the studio. Now I would really love to see that. Think big, burly man in a leotard.

I signed up for the unlimited package, not that I would be able to physically go to a class every day. This is a serious workout with a crazy amount of reps. Isabela Amos, the owner of Barre 3 in East Cobb, told me that we do an average of 300 squats per class. What!?! Kathy Patrick, a regular contributor for NW Georgia Living and a work out enthusiast, told me that after going to six classes, her jeans fit better. For me, my jeans seem a little snug. It’s the price you’ve got to pay for buns of steel and those extra calories from indulgences you feel entitled as your reward for going to class.

Alison sent me a funny post: My relationship with my Barre instructor is complicated. Me, before class: “Hi! How are you?” During class: “I think she’s trying to kill me.” After class: “Thank you. You’re the best!”

Terms you will hear in class: carousel, warrior pose, horse stance, sumo, downward dog, and child’s pose (everyone’s favorite pose since we want to curl up in the fetal position near the end of class). At the end of class, we stand tall, raising our arms up and swooping them down, while taking deep breaths. Our last one always ends with the instructor telling us to reach our arms high, kiss our palms together, and bring them down center to our heart. They say encouraging words like, “Take a moment of mindfulness and gratitude. Be thankful for something you have accomplished today.” That’s the best part. My best happy hour is at Barre.

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