Adventures in Cross-training: Metrobarre

Signing up for Groupon and LivingSocial was probably one of the best things to happen to my cross-training fitness for dance.  Especially after last year's injuries, I was looking for different and exciting ways to get back into dancing shape.  The gym and I are friends from long ago, but I was looking for more. (Read: I'm bored of my gym routine and didn't have the desire to workout on my own.)

Right smack in the middle of the time that I was asking myself what to do, I received an email from LivingSocial advertising "10 barre fitness classes."  I for one love ballet, and know the benefits of barre work, so I was intrigued and signed up for a class called MetroBarre.

What is MetroBarre?
MetroBarre is a fusion workout of ballet and Pilates inspired movements with elements of yoga and sports conditioning/physical therapy exercises.  It's low in impact, but high in intensity (meaning higher repetitions of exercises).  This is not a particularly new fitness regime: injured ballet dancers all over the country have been using some form of this class to get back into dancing shape.

What are classes like?
A typical class starts with a standing center floor series containing a light (low-impact) cardio warm up, light stretches, and some work with light hand weights (no more than four pounds).  The middle section of class moves over to the ballet barres to work on intense plies (sometimes with a fitball between knees), tendus, degages, and the occasional grande battements.  The class wraps up with seated center core work, often times using the fitball again, and a final relaxation (shavasana/corpse pose) to absorb the benefits of the hour-long workout.

How will my body benefit?
Because of the repetitive movements, this class will probably not do much to improve overall fitness, but it does strengthen and condition muscles.  Sculpting and toning: yes.  Weight loss: no.

Where can I sign up?
My classes are at the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center in Northern Virginia.  Across the country, there are many different names for this particular fitness class ranging from BarreConcept to just Barre Ballet.  Check out your local dance/fitness/yoga centers to see if they offer something similar.

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Goals: Begin to practice all the way through reel/hornpipe
Days till NANs: 157

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