How was your weekend? I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda sorta getting excited for the fall! Ha…it’s still approximately 4 months away in Texas, but I’m ready nonetheless. I was driving past the lake yesterday, and I realized it’s been months since I’ve been running on the hike and bike trail. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the cool months, but in the summer please GIVE ME ALL THE A.C. Come November, I’ll be frequenting the running trails in Austin.
Since I haven’t been doing cardio outside this summer, I’ve been trying to get it elsewhere. I’ve been doing a ton of barre classes at The Barre Code lately, which leads me to the question…
Can barre really improve my cardio?
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: well, it depends.
A typical “barre” workout is something that involves strength training, but not so much cardio. The classes use both full-range and small, isometric movements that make your muscles burn and shake. At The Barre Code, this is called their “Barre Code” class (which, you know, really does make lot of sense…). This is the class I took the most when I was first starting to take barre classes. You’ll move, you’ll shake and you’re certainly doing good things for your heart, but it’s not marketed as a cardio workout. When I take these classes consistently, I notice visible changes in my muscle mass in as short as a few weeks. My arms are more toned, my booty is more “lifted,” and my abs start to kiiiinda show through, despite all this Austin food I keep eating…
But if your barre studio offers cardio-specific workouts, your heart can get a mega workout!
So, the long answer to that cardio question? Most barre classes are not about cardio. You’ll probably be giving your muscles a great workout, but you won’t be getting your heart rate sky-high. However, one of the things I adore about The Barre Code (haha…are you sick of hearing me gush about them yet? SORRY NOT DONE. I’M STILL OBSESSED WITH THEM.) is their cardio classes. They get my heart pumping way harder than if I’m going to go out and do a run by myself. Not every barre studio in the country includes cardio workouts, but The Barre Code highlights them every single day. (Ha, so I really have no excuses to not go to them, my friends….)
I don’t know about you, but I have so much trouble pushing myself to do a HIIT workout by myself on a run. But if I’m with a leader, and a group of people working together, and we’re all giving it our best for just 30 more seconds, I find that I’m able to dig deeper and get my heart rate much higher.
Right now I’m doing barre 4-5 times a week, and I try to make 1-2 of those a cardio class. These are the cardio classes I love:
- The TBC (Total Body Conditioning) class is one of the hardest things I do for myself each week. It’s only 50 minutes long, but I leave it sweaty and spent! I did one of these classes on Saturday morning, and now it’s Monday and I’m still sore, haha! It’s a combination of full-range strength training (not as many small movements as a typical barre class) and interspersed HIIT exercises. It’s a boot camp! This one is my favorite, because it really the ultimate combination of cardio and strength.
- BRAWL is the newest barre code class, and it’s mega fun. It’s a kickboxing workout that’s fast-paced, empowering, and high energy. I hardly notice my racing heart rate because I’m just having a party! Oh, and fun fact: this one was recognized by SELF magazine as one of the country’s best workouts. Way to go, Barre Code. 🙂
- HIIT is a challenge. It’s four rounds of cardio intervals interspersed with active strength recovery. You know what? I’m gonna rephrase that. The strength “recovery” feels nothing like a recovery, because my muscles are screaming at me and my heart has been pounding! But it’s all worth it because I always leave the studio feeling strong and proud of my work.
A few months ago, I shared my 6 week journey with The Barre Code. I was mostly sticking to the Barre Code workouts, which are 50 minutes of strength training, using both full-range and small movements that make your muscles burn and shake. Your muscles are literally working against themselves, so you can feel an intense workout without using any props (although props are often used in class.) I get a little sweaty during class, but my heart rate is never sky-high. Ooh, but my muscles will burn afterward!
But now I’ve been trying to include more cardio in the mix. These classes make me sweat, burn calories, and (most importantly), they make my heart stronger. Gotta live a long healthy life, because I still have lots of restaurants I need to try!
Are you following me on pinterest? I’ve been a pinning queen lately, haha! Every time I pin an outfit to my barre inspiration board, I have to keep myself from going out shopping to buy more barre clothes!
Let’s do this thing, Monday.