A new fitness studio called Barreworks has opened today in downtown Toronto. As the name suggests, the studio’s classes are centered on using a ballet barre as the basis for its fusion-style workouts. Earlier this week, Melissa Greer and I were invited to a preview class to get the scoop. Described on our invitation as a blend of dance conditioning, fitness training, Pilates, and yoga, Melissa and I eagerly signed up for the signature Barreworks Mixed Level class. As a former ballet dancer (okay, fine’from ages 5-8) and synchronized swimmer throughout my teens, I was exicted to try a workout that would let me re-live that those dance-style movements my body had been missing.
On first impression upon arriving at the Queen St West studio, I was stunned by the beautiful space’hardwood floors; soothing shades of cream and moss green paint on the walls; big, bright windows; and floor-to-ceiling mirrors’everything about it feels airy and relaxing. We changed into our workout gear, and entered the classroom to line up along the mirrored wall (outfitted with a ballet barre), each picking up a mat, a resistance band, and a pair of weighted toning balls on the way in. So far, so good. That’s when our instructor, Paulina, switched on the upbeat, adrenaline-pumping music, giving me my first clue that this wasn’t going to be a leisurely ballet class after all.
Ten minutes later, my heart rate was pumping, I was sweating, and my already-sore leg muscles were wishing I hadn’t taken them for my first-ever run two nights before. The hour-long class combined cardio, core-conditioning, and strength-training using the equipment provided as well as lots of "pilés" (their code word for squats, apparently), and traditional fitness moves like lunges, push ups, mountain climbers, ab crunches, planks, and burpees, all tied together with fast-paced choreography. Paulina’s energy and encouragement (and inspiringly toned calves) kept me going through to the end, when out muscles were rewarded with some deep stretching on the mat and against the barre. Even though there were moments were I felt I was struggling to keep up, once it was all over my body felt strong, tall, and energized’ and after I’d caught my breath, I realized how much fun I’d had!
In addition to the class we took, the studio also offers a hatha/vinyasa inspired YogaBarre class that focuses on using the barre for alignment and balance, and a SpinBarre class that begins with a spin workout and concludes with stretching a core work on the barre.
Live nearby and curious to try out a class? In celebration of their opening, Barreworks is offering an introductory special: New attendees can try their first class for only $10. Check out the class schedule and register here.