Each week, Leyla explores a different class in Toronto and gives you a breakdown of what’s awesome and what’s not.
Studio: Barreworks – 625 Queen St. W., 3rd floor
Instructor: Lauren Pederson
Description: This class feels like the genetically engineered dream child of ballet and aerobics. Clearly some serious thought has gone into creating a workout that utilizes the muscles of a dancer through movements that are accessible to a layman. Using resistance bands, weighted balls, and the ballet barre, you’ll move through a series of squats (plies) coupled with arm curls (port de bras). Then comes the cardio: Jumps and gallops along the length of the studio. Back at the barre, you’ll squat and lunge some more before the resistance bands come into play, which are all about arms. Then comes the cardio, again. At some point your abs get some love/pain. Finally, with your leg hoisted on the bar, stretching it out like a true ballerina, it all feels worth it.
Reason I signed up: “Barre fitness” is the latest starlet in the world of workouts, originating, not surprisingly, out of New York and Los Angeles. As its downtown Toronto proxy, Barreworks is sharing some of the limelight. Thought I’d check it out.
Price: $21/class, plus HST. Introductory offer of $10/class or $40/two-week unlimited trial. Package savings available.
Level of difficulty from 1 (newbie) to 5 (hardcore): 3.8 – When they call it “Mixed Level,” they’re not lying. Technically there’s nothing here that you can’t do. If balance is an issue, you’ve got the barre to hold on to. If you’ve ever been in a sketchy bathroom, you know how to squat. But the class moves at a fast pace and keeping up can be challenging. Assuming you do, you’re body will hate you (and love you) the next day.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) try it: Fist of all, if you are going to try it, sign up in advance. I waltzed in for the Tuesday 5:45 class and found myself on a waiting list three people deep. Can’t hate them for being hot! There’s no denying that this beautiful Frankenstein of dance and exercise, if done regularly, will get you results. But with the instructor’s voice muffled behind a mike, the class moves more to the beat of over amped music than the pulse of its participants. What it rocks in “total body workout,” it lacks in “organic.”
Overall assessment: This is like the Starbucks of fitness classes: Solid.