Is it a Ballet Class? No, Barre fitness classes are simply ballet-inspired, incorporating a ballet barre, a chair or in the case of “LeBarre” a Lebert Equalizer and maybe some plies an occasional battement or Rond de Bras” here and there into the workout. Essentially, barre classes mix elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training, and the moves are choreographed to motivating music. In each energizing and targeted workout, you’ll use the barre and exercise equipment such as mini-balls and small hand weights to sculpt, slim and stretch your entire body.
Why Should You Do Barre Workouts?
No experience required. The classes offer modifications for all fitness levels. You don’t need to know the first thing about ballet, or even ever taken an exercise class before. All of the exercises are relatively simple with no complex choreography.
Gentle on muscles, kind on joints. Small, super-controlled movements reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine. At first you may think, “This is way too easy”. But by doing barre regularly, you’ll also notice a remarkable improvement in your core strength and posture along with noticeable improvement to muscle tone.
You work muscless to failure without lifting heavy weights. Barre’s tiny motions, many reps, intentional squeezes and pulses are designed to fatigue muscles to failure. Embrace the shaking as it’s totally natural for your muscles to quiver uncontrollably – it means you are exhausting that muscle and forcing it to tone.
It’s Fun! Ever hear the saying “Time flies quickly when you are having fun”? Barre classes are fun. It’s never the same class twice!
Benefits of Barre. If you’re sitting slumped in your chair reading this, then you may want to think again. According to Lincoln, the major benefits of barre are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility and reduced stress.
Rapid results. Yes, you will be sore after the first few classes, but you’ll also see some major results in little time – so stick with it! If you perform a barre workout 2-4 times weekly, you will typically notice changes in as little as one month. Changes may include an improved posture, thinner thighs, chiseled arms, a sculpted back, flat abs and a lifted seat. Barre classes are incredibly effective at transforming so-called ‘problem’ areas, especially for women.
What to Expect from a Barre Class
The typical class will take you through a dynamic and invigorating workout. You’ll start with a warm up and sequence of upper-body exercises, which include free weights, push-ups, planks and other moves to target the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles. Next, you’ll use the ballet barre and your own body weight for resistance to focus on the thigh and seat muscles. Your core will be engaged the entire class and then targeted at the end. For the cool down, you’ll go through a series of stretches to increase flexibility and allow your muscles to recover. Most classes are 45- 60 minutes.
What to Wear to Barre
Barre is a barefoot class. If you are not comfortable working out barefooted, you might want to invest in a pair of yoga socks. The Firm Cardio Studio sells these socks in the ProShop, so don’t worry if you can’t find any. Clothing should be comfortable and allow you to move without binding. Traditional yoga wear works well for this.
Will I burn a ton of calories?
Don’t expect to see a double digit calorie burn for this class, while the format does include some cardio, the focus here is on building muscle. The more muscle we have the higher our metabolism is. So while the numbers don’t show up on the leader board, you will begin to see the weight disappearing as everything you do burns more calories than it did before.
Barre is becoming one of the fastest growing exercises formats out there, and it is not all because of hype. Once you experience a class or two, you will understand why this format continues to grow in popularity.
Spring is upon us and that means we will be seeing a lot more rainy days. With the rain, you may experience certain mood changes. How many like the idea of “sleeping in” when waking up to the sounds of rain drops on the roof? Do you seem a little sad or depressed sans sunny days? The Carpenters sang a song about it… “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But can rain really ruin your mood?
There are a number of studies done on how weather affects your mood. Some agree and some disagree. Bottom line: if you are one of those people that find yourself a little less chipper in rainy weather, you are not alone.
If you feel down during a downpour, it’s not your imagination: several studies agree that bad weather can indeed have a negative effect on your emotions. According to one study, nearly 9 percent of people fall into the “rain haters” category. This group feels angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation. Another study found that rain even increased the number of negative posts published on Facebook.
Tecsia Evans, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco (where it rains 67 days a year, on average), says, “When it gets dark and dreary out, some people definitely have more susceptibility to feeling lonely or down. It’s pretty common to see a change in mood — such as feeling sadness or lower self-esteem — when it’s rainy outside.”
Many people are so affected by the weather that it is classified as a disorder. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.
Rain makes everything more difficult and though it can’t directly affect your hormones or energy (unless you are standing in the rain in which case you will further tax your energy as your body tries to heat and dry you up), it can affect your lifestyle in ways that are not conducive to a good mood. For instance the rain is likely to mean that you stay in more and socialize less. Thus if you are staying in you can often start to feel tired and low in terms of your mood, and furthermore the lack of stimulation can arouse feelings of ‘cabin fever’ and frustration.
Meanwhile rain means that you get wet when you walk to your car or to the train station which is frustrating in itself and again likely to cause illnesses. On top of that though it means that more people drive meaning that you will start the day again feeling angry and frustrated.
There are countless different ways in which the weather can affect mood then and this includes direct effects on mood and hormones, as well as more subtle second order impacts. Make sure that you stay warm and dry and that you make up for lower energy in your diet.
If you find yourself a little down when it rains, and maybe even tempted to shut off the lights and crawl into bed during a rainstorm, make the choice to turn on the lights instead. “There has been research that light can boost serotonin, which elevates the mood,” one researcher says.
Julia Samton, MD, a psychiatrist at NYC’s Manhattan Neuropsychiatric who offers light therapy in her practice, takes that advice a step further. “I encourage people to really try to make sure they walk outside, even when it’s cold and rainy,” she says. “Even though it might not seem that light out, you’ll still get some exposure to UV rays, which can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and boost your mood.”
“I encourage people to exercise… that’s a big one,” says another researcher. “It gives people vitality, and can contribute to self-esteem, and increases endorphins that have a positive effect on the mood.” Speaking of endorphins…try working up a sweat. This releases endorphins and as Elle Woods says…”people who exercise don’t kill their husbands..They just don’t”.
Bottom line…if you feel blue because of the rain or dreary skies, your not alone, but don’t let it overcome you. Get up and get moving. Better yet, hit the gym. There you not only exercise and release endorphins to brighten you mood, you also engage in social activities which also plays a big part in mood elevation.
Christodoulou, C.; Douzenis, A.; Papadopoulos, F. C.; Papadopoulou, A.; Bouras, G.; Gournellis, R.; Lykouras, L. (2012). Suicide and seasonality. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 125, 127-146.
Connolly, M. (2013). Some like it mild and not too wet: The influence of weather on subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 457-473.
Connolly, M. (2008). Here comes the rain again: Weather and the intertemporal substitution of leisure. Journal of Labor Economics, 26, 73-100.
Denissen, J.J.A.; Butalid, Ligaya; Penke, Lars; van Aken, Marcel A. G. (2008). The effects of weather on daily mood: A multilevel approach. Emotion, 8, 662-667.
Hsiang, SM, et al., (2013). Quantifying the influence of climate on human conflict. Science.
Klimstra, Theo A.; Frijns, Tom; Keijsers, Loes; Denissen, Jaap J. A.; Raaijmakers, Quinten A. W.; van Aken, Marcel A. G.; Koot, Hans M.; van Lier, Pol A. C.; Meeus, Wim H. J.; (2011). Come rain or come shine: Individual differences in how weather affects mood. Emotion, 11, 1495-1.
Koskinen O1, Pukkila K, Hakko H, Tiihonen J, Väisänen E, Särkioja T, Räsänen P. (2002). Is occupation relevant in suicide? J Affect Disord. 2002 Jul;70(2):197-203.
Makris, G. D.; Reutfors, J.; Ösby, U.; Isacsson, G.; Frangakis, C.; Ekbom, A.; Papadopoulos, F. C. (2013). Suicide seasonality and antidepressants: A register‐based study in Sweden. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 127, 117-125.
Most everyone has experienced it. Your day is going perfectly fine and then it hits you…
A wave of fatigue engulfs your body. All too often when the tiredness over takes you, you’re not in a position to take a power nap. Your only option is to soldier on. Which could result in you making errors and mistakes, a decrease in your motivation and an overall lack of productivity.
This leaves you open to potentially serious repercussions depending upon the tasks you have on
your to-do list that day. Now while there are many potential causes of fatigue during the day (lack of sleep, lack of physical
exercise, too much alcohol to name a few) today I’m going to look at how unhealthy eating habits
might be contributing to you being tired during the day. First I’ll identify you the three categories of food you should especially avoid. Then you’ll discover four foods that are known to cause drowsiness.
The three categories of food you should avoid are…
Bananas – Bananas are high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that aids with sleep. Dawn Napoli, R.D. who works for Orlando Health, says that “High-magnesium foods like banana, pumpkin seeds, and halibut can make you tired. This mineral is actually a muscle relaxant, so it’s great before bed but could affect your energy during the day.” So the good news is if you do have trouble sleeping, a banana before bed could help you get to sleep quicker.
Cherries – Cherries contain melatonin which is a hormone known to improve the quality of one’s sleep, which means you might want to save them as a snack near bedtime. “Cherries will actually help regulate sleep, so it’s great as an aid but may be poor as a midday snack,” says Napoli.
Salmon (and Halibut) – These fish are a source of the vitamin B6. B6 is what the body uses to make melatonin which makes sleep more inviting. Pamela Peeke, M.D., an internationally renowned expert and speaker in women’s health, fitness and nutrition, says, “If someone is naturally low energy and wants to maintain peak energy and attention,
have salmon at night when its sedative effects can be used effectively. The same goes for halibut.”
Oatmeal – Oatmeal, of course, is a breakfast favorite for many people. But if you feel tired later on, it could be the culprit. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC says, “Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.” It’s not a coincidence that the three categories above (refined carbohydrates, highly-processed foods, fatty foods) consist of foods you’ll want to limit eating as part of a healthy diet. That said, if you sometimes feel tired during the day, it could have something to do with what you’re eating. Cut down on the above and focus more on whole foods and you can’t help but have more energy throughout your day.
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering from snacking and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings.
The average Thanksgiving dinner can carry a load of 3,000 calories. (Remember that 3,500 calories = 1 lb. of fat). Snacking and drinking throughout the day can add an additional 1,500 calories. Combined, that’s the equivalent of more than 2 -1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 -1/2 times the fat — 45 percent of calories coming from fat. The average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.
Here’s the breakdown:
Many of us think that the holiday season is for over indulging and celebrating and that they will hit the gym in January and get back in shape.
But as those of us that have struggled to lose those last few pounds can tell you, that is easier said than done. It is not necessary to place a moratorium on holiday festivities in order to stave off the additional pounds. Good planning and healthy eating habits when not indulging in the festivities will keep you ahead of the game.
Try these “Low-Fat Holiday” tips from the American Heart Association:
Thirdly, exercise regularly during the holidays. Make it part of your routine to hit the gym, go for a walk or simply park at the back of the parking lot at the mall instead of closest to the door.
Here are some activities and their corresponding calorie expenditure in 1 hour. The lower number is for 130 lb. person, the larger number for 205 lb. person.
For additional activities click here.
The fourth thing you can do is to perform a vigorous exercise post feast. Take advantage of the “afterburn” effect. Many studies have concluded that High intensity interval training has been shown to elicit an even greater post-workout burn, as has resistance training performed at quick paces and/or high intensity. HIIT and Tabata timing based exercises elicit an “afterburn effect” — which is more officially known as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC. The idea being that short burst of “maximum” effort exercise performed for a period of 30 minutes or more will offer a metabolic change where the body will use consumed carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores as opposed to being stored as fat.
In plain English – High intensity exercises classes such as Instanity, LeBoot, LeHIIT and Interval based indoor cycle classes can actually help you burn off those excess calories quicker.
The Firm Cardio Studio is offering two Indoor Cycle Classes Thursday Morning — One at 7:00 a.m. and one at 8:00 a.m. Both classes are FREE, so bring a friend!
In the article “Workout nutrition Explained”, Brian St.Pierre explains the evidence on workout nutrition and provides you practical recommendations for what to eat before, during, and after exercise.
By eating a healthy, well-considered meal 1-2 hours before exercise, and another healthy, well-considered meal within 1-2 hours after exercise, most people can meet their workout nutrition needs without anything else.
In other words:
If you’re a healthy person who exercises regularly, you probably don’t need special workout nutrition strategies.
by Crissy Weddle
High Intensity Interval Training recruits type 1 and 2 muscle fibers, which builds better muscle – muscle that burns more calories 24/7. The intervals ensure that you never get too good at an exercise. For example, if all you do is run at a 10 minute mile pace, your body quickly becomes efficient, so instead of 100 calories a miles, you might burn only 85, according to physiologist.
lf you have seen, attempted, or even successfully completed the infamous Insanity program from home video, you must try this group x format. Insanity is HIIT training.
As a certified instructor for the Insanity format, I can show you how to modify each movement to fit your fitness level. So if you are a beginner or a pro athlete, you will achieve amazing results implementing Insanity in your fitness routine.
The 50 minute format includes warmup, 4 blocks, and cooldown. Each movement is 30 seconds, each block has 4 movements that we repeat 3 times, and at the end of each block there is a 1 minute power movement. Block 1: Speed and Plyometric movement (exploding jumps such as burpees). In this block, I can remove all jumps for clients that are beginning their workout routine. This block is the high intensity portion that we achieve max heart rate. Block 2 – Strength: This block we slow down the movements and focus on using our own body weight to build the long lean muscles we desire. Still burning calories, this block is lower intensity and we bring our heart rate down to 80%. Block 3: Coordination – I think this block is the funnest and most challenging. It brings our heart rate back to the max heart rate, and it trains our brain and brings muscle balance to our bodies. These moves use our upper and lower body in coordination and will definitely train your brain and torch calories! Block 4: Abs – As simple as it states, it’s time to strengthen our entire core. Going back to lower intensity, these challenging, slow and controlled exercises sculpt your waistline, and also improve our lower back strength. And finally; our sweet reward, a gentle cooldown for safe recovery. Insanity provides the cardio to burn calories, increase endurance as well as provides an all over body strengthening workout for maximum results as HIIT training promises.
As a certified Insanity instructor, I can create a different routine for each class. Music is on point and most of all we keep it FUN and encouraging! I have taught members that pro atheletes to 80 years young! Our motto is “Train Insane or Remain the Same”!
In addition, you get support from other group members and maybe a little friendly competition.
So, what’s holding you back? Set your alarm and join the Insaniacs 5:45 a.m. each Tuesday and Thursday morning. It’s 45 minutes you will never regret!!
When it comes to counting calories, remember this is not an exact science, and heart rate monitors vary by how they measure heart rates and calculate calories burned. Also, everyone’s metabolic rate is different.
According to Eileen Stellefson Myers, MPH, RD, LDN, FADA, “When one eats too little, the body can compensate and conserve calories to fuel the vital organs. Most people don’t realize that the Resting Metabolic Rate is the number of calories needed for the organs to function if one was simply sitting all day. When you don’t eat enough and exercise too much, the body needs to figure out how to supply the organs with fuel, and all organs, including the muscles, have less energy to burn.”
Muscle make up also has something to do with it. Some people have more efficient muscles that another, therefore they burn more calories than someone else. Other studies show that the temperature in a room could also affect calorie burn. According to the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, both prolonged exposure to cold temperatures and perspiration to lower body temperature use extra energy. The effect of temperature on your caloric burn rate varies with your body mass and the extremity of the temperature.
Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) changes as a function of temperature. BMR will change by seven percent for each temperature change of 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, when external conditions affect your body temperature, your body will burn more calories as it tries to compensate for the anomaly and restore your body to its normal temperature, increasing your BMR. This effect occurs in conditions of both heat and cold.
Because each person’s metabolism reacts differently to heat and / or cold, calorie usage can vary widely.
Heat affects the body’s fuel preferences change in hot conditions as well. As this Spanish study from 2010 noted:
Exercise in the heat (40 C) increases muscle glycogen oxidation and reduces whole-body fat oxidation (Febbraio et al. 1994), in comparison to the same exercise intensity performed at 20 C.
This makes the effect even more pronounced: not only does exercising in the heat increase your intensity (which increases the carb:fat ratio), but it also increases the carb:fat ratio even at the same intensity.
So while many people live and die by their FitBits and other related technology, the bottom line, is not how many calories did I burn today, but how did I feel about that workout? Did I feel like I worked to the best of my ability? Could I have put more into the workout? Use this information to gauge the value of the workout, not to compare ourselves to others, but to compare ourself to ourself. Does the number go up over the course of a period of time? Or does it go down.
Improvements in fitness can only occur when the status quo is challenged.
Say your goal was to fly a commercial jet liner. You wouldn’t expect to be able to plop down in the cockpit of a 747 and fly that plan off of the tarmac would you? Of course not, you would make several short term goals to work your way up to that long term goal. You might decide your first goal would be to sign up for the military to get training. Or maybe go to flight school. You might work your way up from small plane to commercial jet licenses. Or maybe your first step is to hang glide.
Health and Fitness is no different. perhaps you are a smoker. Your first goal may be to stop smoking. You might have a sweet tooth, your first short term goal would be to reduce the sugar you eat. You could begin your fitness journey by simply making a short term goal to walk around the block every day. Choose a goal that you know you are capable of obtain in the amount of time you have set aside to attain it. Then make a plan and stick with it.
Several Firm members have decided that they would like to run the Spartan race in Dallas this June. This is a grueling race and a lofty goal. But it is attainable by following an exercise and eating plan. The promoters of the race have made it simple. They have laid out a plan of action for race hopefuls. All we have to do is follow it.
At the Firm we are all about helping members reach their goals. For this reason, we will be incorporating exercises designed to help get in shape for the race. Whether you plan on racing or simply want to train like a Spartan, you are invited to take any Spartan training designated class offered at The Firm Cardio Studio during May and June.
The following classes will be ramped up for Spartan training:
Run Club — Monday & Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 8:00 a.m.
Surfset Build, Surfset Burn and Surfset Blend offered at 6:30 p.m.
LeBoot offered at 5:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
The 2015 Cowtown Marathon hit the record books this year and not because of the record breaking attendance that was predicted, but because races were cancelled for the first time in more than 30 years. All of Saturday’s races were cancelled because of the hazardous weather conditions. Sunday, the Marathon and Ultra Marathons were cancelled because the longer routes were considered too hazardous.
The promise of 28,000 runners dwindled down to some 6,000. However, you have to admire those that did run. Most of us would have simply said “It is too cold, too wet and too slick” and called the ball on the whole thing. Those that braved treacherous road conditions just to get there, then ran a half marathon in less that ideal conditions—temperatures hovering just above freezing and a steady rain — have to be admired.
As an exhibitor at the Expo, the Firm Cardio Studio gave away door prizes throughout the expo. We wish we had the resources to give everyone that ran a prize, that is how much we admire them. Many of whom probably woke up before dawn Sunday morning to see the cold rain coming down.
They most likely checked the news and saw that overpasses were still frozen over and that driving there was going to be a challenge. They most likely considered getting back under the covers and staying put. But they fought off the voices in their head that told them that this would be tough, that they would be cold and miserable and that there was a risk of injury. They pushed past those fears and slid their way to the race. They stood in the freezing rain to use the Porto-potties in the parking lot, they donned their rain gear, pinned on their bibs and hit the pavement. Their only goal — to cross the finish line 13.1 miles later. They trained for months for this race and nothing would stand in their way.
While we can’t give them all a prize, we can do this. We are inviting runners to take a free class at The Firm Cardio Studio, show your Medal when you visit the studio and we will give Cowtown Marathon 2015 runners one entire week of unlimited classes absolutely FREE!
Below is a list of those names drawn in the door prize drawing. If your name is listed and you haven’t already picked up your prize, please call or email. You can still pick up your prizes at our Studio. Everyone that registered for door prizes will remain in the drawing for our Grand Opening Giveaway of a Free One Year membership to The Firm Cardio Studio. Second Prize: heart rate monitor, Third Prize: gym bag.
Copyright © 2016 The Firm Cardio Studio, Inc.