If you live within an hour of a major city, or Southern California…chances are that you have heard of Barre studios popping up like crazy. If the word Barre is foreign to you, let me give you the readers digest version: Barre workouts are a combination of ballet, pilates, and strength training techniques that are designed to tone lean muscle. They incorporate ballet bars, light weights, and sometimes exercise balls and yoga straps (depending on the discipline). Its great… All of them, but there are so many types its hard to know which one to try. I thought I’d post some info on the local places that I’ve gone to, 4 studios so far. All of them were found because I purchased a Groupon of Living Social deal. I wouldn’t be able to afford going to the studios long term and getting the unlimited plans that some of the studios offer, I doubt most people would be able to.

The Bar Method (Newport Beach): The studio location is actually South of Corona Del Mar, a hike from the Newport Beach downtown area that we think of. Trust me on this one though, it’s worth the drive! This discipline is held at a great pace. They incorporated light weights and exercise balls with the ballet barre. I saw great results from the 10 classes I went to. All of the classes focus on isometric movements and the instructors at this studio will make you shake like no ones business! I loved the girls at this studio. They have a great attitude and have no problem correcting students and getting them to push harder then they would on their own. I also like the fact that they switch the routines often! You feel like you are getting a new workout every time and I really appreciated that as a trainer.

Pure Barre (Costa Mesa): This studio was a closer drive for me and I love the area that the studio is in. 17th Street has tons of great shops and restaurants to visit before or after class. I liked the fact that they had many class times throughout the day, but this was actually my least favorite of the disciplines that I have tried. The class pace moves just a bit faster then The bar Method which is fine for anyone, but they incorporate too many different exercise and the transitions aren’t smooth in between. Most of the classes I attended focused more on the lower body then anything else. If you are a new comer with little experience, you will find yourself feeling like you are playing catch up the entire class. Once you get the form on one move, they’re on to the next. This studio is also very crowded and lacks the personal interaction I experienced from all the other studios. You have to call ahead and reserve your class with most of the studios, but I often found the classes that I wanted to go to were full and my schedule doesn’t allow for me to book a class a week in advance.

Cardio Barre (Costa Mesa): Located just down the street from Pure Barre, this studio just opened this year, and I actually stumbled upon it one morning when I was shopping after a Pure Barre Class. The couple that open this studio is great! They do a really great job of making everyone feel welcomed and comfortable. Where the other studios seem more of a “muscular/strength training” class, Cardio Barre is heavily aerobic and incorporates more ballet then anything else. I appreciated the fact that they also offer different levels depending on your experience and even have intro classes where you can learn form and technique. They do not use exercise balls or yoga straps like the other studios, and they lightest weights of the other studios. I didn’t think I could get a but kicking from a couple of 1 lb weights but man was I wrong! Since opening they have expanded their class times. If they can just get a 12pm advanced class, they’ll have it all:) I still go here when I can and when here 2-3 days a week in the last 2 months leading up to my wedding. I was able to get a 10 class package here so I didn’t have to worry about using them all up at once which works for me.

Pop Physique (Costa Mesa): Another new studio that just opened up at The Camp a few months ago. The location may seem awkward as it is in a loft of a clothing store, but they did a great job with the studio rooms so they feel light and give you a great view. I just wish the class rooms were warmer. They keep fans going and although you stay cool, I like getting a sweat from my workouts. It makes me feel like I am really doing something. The classes incorporate all of the tools (exercise balls, yoga straps etc.). I like the small class sizes here and still have a couple of sessions left, but you definitely have to incorporate outside cardio with these classes to get the calorie burn most of us are looking for. I haven’t gotten the soreness I got from when I did Bar Method, but feel like they focus more time on each body group before transitioning then the other studios. This is probably because the class is done at at slower pace. This would be great for people who like the one on one experience that you can get from a trainer. They give physical and verbal corrections which is great for people who aren’t able to correct automatically with verbal ques. The staff is very friendly and the receptionist even jots down the students first names and gives it to the instructor at the beginning of class. I thought that was a great idea and adds to that “one on one” feeling of personal training in a group class.

So there you have it. All studios have the same fundamentals but all have their differences as well. It really comes down to what type of workout works for you. Faster, slower, more strength vs. more cardio… The idea behind the techniques are really bringing femininity back into workouts and giving women the ability to feel like a dancer even if they’ve never done it before. I used to wish I had been put in dance and ballet classes when I was younger… Now I can put myself in a class!

What about you? Whats your favorite studio? Have you tried any???

Hope you found this helpful, please leave info on any other places you may know of that others may like. Know of a studio not listed? where is it? I’ ding to try some new spots and snag some more new member rates:)

Mrs. B