When Barrecore asked me if I'd like to come to one of their studios and try a class, I felt instant fear. I imagined rows of trim women in leotards performing perfect plies whilst I struggle to keep balance and not fall on my arse. It doesn't put me at ease knowing that the stunningly gorgeous Victoria of In The Frow is a studio regular, and I imagined everyone there looking like her. This train of thought could be because the workout is rooted in ballet, the dance of choice for those with grace and perfect core strength, but was also a lot to do with my fear of looking like a dunce in any given workout class. Luckily Barrecore is also available online, so I accepted the chance to try a workout I am super excited by, without inflicting my shockingly bad fitness levels on anyone else. Before I got the chance to try Barecore, I went on this one-week luxury boot camp, and now my attitude to tackling new workouts is much improved and one of "let's do this!" However, as I hit play on the laptop whilst standing in my lounge with bed-hair and my deeply unfashionable workout clothes on, I'm glad I opted for the online class.
Barrecore is a series of effective and safe workouts to tone all muscle groups and give you a lean, strong look. Combining stretches with interval training, the benefits include long, elongated muscles, reduced body fat, sculpted upper arms and upper legs, a lifted butt and flat stomach, plus tonnes more energy and improved posture and strength. The classes range in levels of intensity and have names like BarreCardio, BarreBands and BarreAsana. Mixing moves from yoga, aerobics and dance, it's not as ballet-centric as you might expect. Though of course the actual barre work comes in to play for some ballet-style leg lifts, giving great lower body and balance workouts.
I wanted to try a full sixty minute class, but went for an express thirty minute one, just because it said no equipment needed. Five minutes in and I was starting to think this was a mistake; we got right into doing some planks and when the instructor said there would be a rest between each high intensity burst in the interval training section - leaning back on my arms to do a pulsing reverse plank was not my idea of a rest. Intense as it was, the session flew by, and we'd done such a variety of exercises that there wasn't time to even think about it being tough. I particularly liked the squats with our feet planted in ballet-style positions (top picture), and some leg lifts called 'awkward aeroplanes' that I'd never heard of before that involved being on all fours, lifting an opposing arm and leg and moving them round in a semi-circle to line up with one another horizontally.
I would have found this hard to do in a studio class, especially as there probably wouldn't be any 'easy options' being demonstrated as there are in the online videos (see above, the girl on the left gets to just touch the floor with her fingertips instead of the palm of her hand, and that's more my level.... although my fingertips are more mid-shin than floor). At the end of the workout the instructor tells us we've made so many wonderful efforts to make deep changes to our bodies, and I felt incredibly invigorated and ready to face the day - I think an online thirty minute Barrecore class is perfect for doing before work.
The next day boy did I feel it in my glutes, thighs and abs. They weren't lying when they said express workouts would be felt! The push-ups and planks and general arm-waving (sorry, probably had a more technical term) also did wonders for my shoulders and upper arms. I'd really like to get some equipment now and try a full length class, because I'm guessing they will be less intensive than the express class, but there'll be more repetition possibly. Maybe I'll review a longer class for you... maybe I'll work up the nerve to get into their studio.... The more you do something, the better you get at it, and it pays to do something today (even an express something) that your future self will thank you for.
Barrecore classes and personal training are available at five studios in London, and one near Manchester. See branches for timetables and prices. Online classes are available to hire individually for £4, or you can purchase an unlimited class pass for £25 a month. Barrecore also offers nutrition advice and subscription healthy snack boxes. My class was free in return for this review.