In New York’s SoHo lies a yogi’s paradise. My bestie put me on to YogaWorks, which offers a free week pass and a perky Yoga advisor for newbies. I gave BarWorks a go, a class described as a cross between ballet and Pilates with the use of props. After trying four Krav Maga fitness classes and getting accustomed to HIIT-style workouts (high intensity interval training), I was skeptical about a ballet-inspired class but within the first 10 minutes, I was already drenched in my own sweat.
Loose-flowing tanks and skin-tight Lululemons filled the humid studio to stretch and pulse and reach! for the barre, in a series of exercises targeting different muscle groups. While no dance background is necessary, having focus like Misty Copeland will help power you through. For 60 minutes, your body is moving in tempo to the music (#moreonthislater) as you use various accessories, like stretch bands, a squishy medicine ball and wrist weights.
Small, tight moves are the key to success here. As you lengthen your body and keep your core engaged throughout different segments, you feel your muscles putting in overtime. Planking is still brutal, no matter your fitness level, but raising your feet on the barre will leave you feeling like you can bust down doors. For those thirsting for a J.Lo-sized booty, there are an abundance of moves targeting the tush. Don’t get comfortable on the mat, though. Leg lifts, torso twists and ab work continuously keep your blood pumping. The dim lighting and absence of a mirror also make the session less intimidating, even in a room full of baddies. Bonus: No creeper repellent needed as there may be one token male in attendance (besides the instructor).
The benefits of BarWorks lie in upping your flexibility, stretching your bod in different ways and challenging your mental limits. This class definitely had my fat crying in a way that didn’t leave me chugging down 32 ounces of water midway through and asking for a stretcher. The musical selection was also welcome. With a mix of pop my mom would love (Eurthymic “Sweet Dreams“) and Top 40 R&B (my jams, Rihanna’s “Hard” and Janet Jackson’s “If” got me hype!), the vibes were on point. Only downside: the classes are offered on a membership basis (drop-ins work, too). For someone as budget conscious as yours truly, paying the $135 a month (plus $25 activation) for regional access to all New York Studios sounds like a gym membership (I have commitment issues) but that could be a pro, given the unlimited amount of classes you can take. Still, the free week pass is a steal and great motivation to get those gains.
Find out where you can get your stretch on with YogaWorks here.